Feb. 28, 2012
The University of Louisville softball team has moved up to No. 17 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches' Association rankings and No. 19 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
Cards in the polls:
This marks the fourth week in the 2012 USA Today/NFCA polls. Their preseason ranking of 24th marked the Cards' first appearance in the top 25 since April 13, 2010 when they were ranked 25th. The Cards subsequently moved up to 21st and were 18th last week. Louisville reached its highest ranking at No. 14 in the NFCA poll on March 24, 2010 and spent several weeks in the top 25 in 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 and was receiving votes in 2011.
U of L is also ranked No. 19 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball moving up one from last week's No. 20 ranking. This is the Cards' third week in the USA Softball top 25 after debuting at No 23 on Feb. 14 and jumping to No. 20 last week. Louisville reached a program-best 14th in the ESPN.com/USA on March 1, 2010. They were also ranked in the top 25 in the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 seasons.
At 12-0, the Cardinals are off to the best start in program history and will travel to Knoxville, Tenn. for the 2012 Tennessee Classic March 2-4. The tournament field includes Middle Tennessee, Memphis, No. 9/8 Tennessee and Boston University. U of L will also play the Dutch National team in an exhibition game.
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .327 and have outscored opponents 61-21 through the first 12 games of the season. Senior outfielder Kristin Austin leads the team with a .462 batting average, four triples, three doubles and 11 runs. Sophomore Taner Fowler follows closely at .450 with a team-best three homers and 13 RBI.
The Cardinal pitching staff of senior Tori Collins, sophomore Chelsea Leonard and sophomore Caralisa Connell have combined for a 1.41 ERA and are holding opponents to a .151 batting average with five shutouts and 123 strikeouts in 84.1 innings of work. Collins (6-0) carries a 1.34 ERA with 65Ks in 41.2 innings.
Following this weekend's Tennessee Classic, the Cardinals will return to Ulmer Stadium for the Red & Black Classic March 10-12. No. 16/15 Michigan, Saint Louis and Illinois State will pay a visit to Ulmer Stadium for Louisville's only home tournament of the season.
Recapping last weekend
The Cardinals posted three straight shutouts and scored 19 runs against Creighton in Louisville's home-opening weekend.
Louisville 8 - Creighton 0
Senior Tori Collins tossed a one-hitter with 12 strikeouts and sophomore Katie Keller went 3 for 4 with four RBIs as the No. 18/20 University of Louisville softball team defeated Creighton 8-0 in its home opener.
Louisville 7 - Creighton 0
In game one, sophomore Chelsea Leonard (3-0) tied a career and school record with 16 strikeouts in a complete-game one-hitter and the Cardinal offense backed her with seven runs on 10 hits to give the Cards their eleventh straight win.
Louisville 4 - Creighton 0
In the nightcap, sophomore Caralisa Connell (3-0) struck out eight and scattered four hits and senior Tori Collins fanned three on one hit to combine for the Cards' third straight shutout in the 4-0 victory over Creighton. Katie Keller was 2 for 3 with two RBIs and Taner Fowler was 2 for 3 with an RBI to help the Cards improve to 12-0 on the season.