Feb. 23, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
The No. 18/20 University of Louisville softball team is set for its home-opening weekend when the Cards play host to Creighton in a three-game series starting with a single game on Friday, Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. and a doubleheader starting at noon on Saturday at Ulmer Stadium. Admission is free.
Louisville (9-0) has matched the best start in program history, tying the record set in the 2006 season when the Cards went 9-0 before falling to Illinois State. The Cards are batting .315 as a team with sophomore Taner Fowler leading the way at .469 (15 for 32), 11 RBI, two home runs and three doubles.
Cards Against Creighton
Series Record: First meeting
Scouting the Blue Jays: Creighton enters the weekend with a perfect 7-0 record. The Blue Jays opened the season with a four-game series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff - and outscored the Lady Lions 54-5. They followed that with a 3-0 performance at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Classic in which they defeated Northern Illinois 5-4 in eight innings in the opening game and closed the weekend with a 5-1 victory against them. The Blue Jays also picked up an 8-1 decision over South Dakota State.
Amy Baker carries a .600 batting average with four doubles and 15 RBIs t lead Creighton offensively. Becca Changstrom (3-0) holds a 1.29 ERA with 17 strikeouts in 12.0 innings of work.
Cards move up to No. 18/20 in Coaches' Polls
The Cards have moved up to No. 18 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches' Associate rankings - they moved up two spots from last week's ranking of No. 20.
U of L is also No. 20 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Coaches moving up three spots from last week's No. 23 ranking.
The Cardinals are coming off of a 4-0 performance at the East Carolina Pirate Clash. Louisville posted wins over Virginia (2-1) , East Carolina (5-0), Hofstra (7-6 - 9 innings) and UNC-Greensboro (5-4) to improve to 9-0 on the season and tie a school record for the best start in program history. The 2006 Cardinals also won nine straight before taking their first loss.
Austin led the team offensively as the Cards posted a 4-0 record in the East Carolina Pirate Classic. The senior outfielder batted .500 (7 for 14) with two triples, a double and six runs scored. She also registered an .857 slugging percentage and a .533 on-base percentage. Austin had at least one hit and one run in each game, including two hit performances in the wins over Virginia and Hofstra.
Collins posted a 2-0 record with wins over Hofstra and UNC Greensboro as the Cards went 4-0 in the East Carolina Pirate Clash. The senior lefty recorded a 1.58 ERA with 20 strikeouts in 13.1 innings of work. She scattered seven hits for a .128 opponent batting average and threw two complete games.
Following their home-opening weekend, the Cards will go back on the road, this time traveling to Knoxville Tenn., where they will face Middle Tennessee, Memphis, No. 9/10 Tennessee and Boston University. Louisville will also play an exhibition game against the Dutch National Team.
The Cardinals posted a 4-0 record in the East Carolina Pirate Clash, marking the best start since 2006 when the team opened the season with nine straight wins. Louisville went on to produce a 45-11 record that year.
Louisville featured a young lineup in its past two weekends with four freshmen and four sophomores in the lineup at times.
Junior left fielder Jennifer Esteban is currently on a team-best seven-game hitting streak.
Head Coach Sandy Pearsall is entering her 13th season as the head coach of the University of Louisville softball program. After building the program from scratch in 2000, Pearsall has guided the Cardinals to three conference championships, eight consecutive NCAA regional appearances including serving as a host site in 2009 and 2011.