March 7, 2013
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No. 13/13 Louisville (16-3) will play host to No. 14/14 Michigan, Miami (Ohio), Austin Peay and Illinois State in the Red & Black Classic March 8-10 at Ulmer Stadium. The Cards will open the tournament against Michigan Friday at 4 p.m.
This weekend's promotions
Friday: Free Softball Shirts for the first 150 fans, courtesy of adidas
Saturday: Trading Card giveaway #1: The first set of 2013 Cards for the first 150 fans.
Sunday: Sunday Funday Autographs after the game.
The Cardinals (16-3) are No.13 in both the USA Today/NFCA and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate polls as they enter the 2013 Citrus Classic.. Junior 2B Katie Keller leads the team with a .450 batting average, 22 runs and 20 RBI. Maggie Ruckenbrod follows at .396 with 11 RBI.
Caralisa Connell (9-2) carries a 2.12 ERA with 76 strikeouts and is holding opponents to a .210 batting average in 66.0 innings pitched. Rachel LeCoq (7-1) holds a 0.93 ERA with 28 Ks in 60.0 innings of work. Each pitcher has three shutouts.
Cards against the Red & Black Classic opponents
Series Record: Michigan leads 17-3
Last Meeting: May 20, 2012 - The Wolverines defeated the Cards 4-0 in the NCAA regional final at Ulmer Stadium. Michigan sent U of L to the loser's bracket of the regional with a 2-1, eight-inning decision on May 19, 2012. The teams also met during the regular season and the Cardinals came away with a 2-1 win on March 10, 2012.
Scouting the Wolverines: No. 14/14 Michigan enters the weekend with a 14-5 overall record prior to a game at UCF on March 6. The Wolverines have spent the past week in Orlando where they went 3-2 in the Citrus Classic with wins over Georgia Tech, No. 9 James Madison and No. 9 Texas A&M. Their losses came to No. 11 LSU and No.. 10 Oregon. They also posted 14-5 win over Boston College on Tuesday, March 5.
Sierra Lawrence leads the team with a .400 batting average, while Sierra Romero is hitting .361 with a team-best five home runs and 20 runs. Sara Driesenga (12-4) carries a 1.37 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 97.1 innings.
NOTE: U of L associate head coach Carol Bruggeman was an assistant under Michigan's Carol Hutchins from 1989-93.
Series Record: Tied 1-1
Last Meeting: Feb. 27, 2011- The RedHawks defeated the Cardinals 6-5 in eight innings in the 2011 Red & Black Classic.
Scouting the RedHawks: Miami enters the weekend with a 2-8 overall record. The RedHawks have been idle for a week after back-to-back extra inning losses, a 10-6, nine inning setback at Chattanooga and an 11-9 loss to Lipscomb.
Allie Larrabee and Kayla Ledbetter are each batting .333 with 12 RBIs to lead the team. Ledbetter has a team-high 3 home runs on the season. Megan Mattera (1-3) carries a 4.02 ERA in 31.1 innings of work.
NOTE: Louisville head coach Sandy Pearsall was the head coach at Miami from 1992-98 prior to starting the Cardinals' softball program. She was recently inducted in the Miami University Cradle of Coaches Association, joining Randy Ayers, Thad Matta, Joe Novak and Sue Ramsey part of the class of 2012-13.
Series Record: First meeting
Scouting the Governors: Austin Peay brings a 5-3 record into the Red & Black Classic. The Governors were slated to play in the Evansville Tournament March 2-3, but the tournament was cancelled due to inclement weather. APSU is a four-game win streak after beating Trevecca 4-1 and 18-6 on Feb. 16 and sweeping Alabama A&M 6-0 and 6-2 on Feb. 27.
Laurel Burroughs leads the team with a .577 batting average with four doubles, two home runs and 10 RBI while Lauren Castro is hitting .417 with six runs and eight RBIs.
Series Record: Tied 3-3
Last Meeting: March 12, 2012 then No. 16/17 Louisville swept the Redbirds 8-2 and 8-0 at Ulmer Stadium.
Scouting the Redbirds: Illinois State enters the weekend with a 11-10 record with wins over then-No. 22 Baylor on Feb. 8, and victories over No. 13 Louisiana-Layette on Feb. 23 and March 3. The Redbird have losses to then-third ranked Arizona State, No. 15 Michigan and fifth-ranked Texas A&M.
Elizabeth Kay leads the team with a .319 batting average and five home runs. Laura Canopy has driven in a team-high 20 RBIs with three doubles, two triples and two homers on the season. Taylor Baxter (6-3) carries a 2.91 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 57.2 innings of work.
Louisville will continue its 10 game home stand with a single game against Western Kentucky on March 12.
Recapping last weekend
Louisville posted a 4-1 record in the 2013 Citrus Classic. The Cards opened the tournament with a 2-0 loss to No. 5 Texas, but went on to beat Temple 8-0, Longwood 9-1, Georgia Tech 6-3 and No. 11/11 LSU 6-2. Louisville outscored opponents 29-8 and hit four home runs in the weekend.
The win over No. 11/11 LSU marked the Cards' highest ranked win since defeating No. 7/8 Northwestern on March 23, 2007.
Keller Sweeps National Player of the Week Awards
Katie Keller has been named the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Player of the Week and becomes the first player in program history to earn USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week honors. Both awards were announced on March 5.
Keller, a junior from Livermore, Calif., helped lead the Cardinals to a 4-1 performance in the 2013 Citrus Classic. The second baseman batted .667 (8 for 12) with three doubles, seven runs and two RBIs. As the Cards' leadoff hitter in four of five games on the weekend, she also drew seven walks for an on-base percentage of .800 and registered a .917 slugging percentage. Keller had at least one hit and one walk in every game and scored at least one run in four of the Cards' five games on the weekend. Against No. 11 LSU, she went 2 for 2 with two runs and two walks. She was also 2 for 2 in wins over Temple and Georgia Tech.
NOTE This marks the third time a Louisville player has earned NFCA Player of the Week honors. Tori Collins selected on April 17, 2012 and Chelsea Bemis became the first to earn the honor on April 27, 2010. It is the first time the Cardinals have had a player selected USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week since the award's inception in 2006.
Keller and LeCoq Earn BIG EAST Weekly honors
Junior second baseman Katie Keller of Louisville was selected BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week for the second time this season and junior Rachel LeCoq of Louisville was named BIG EAST Softball Pitcher of the Week in the fourth weekly awards of the 2013 campaign.
Keller (Livermore, Calif.) helped the No. 15/16 Cardinals improve to 16-3 overall with a 4-1 week that included a win over No. 11/11 LSU. Louisville's only loss was a 2-0 defeat against No. 8/5 Texas. In five games, Keller batted .667 (8-for-12) with three doubles, two RBI and seven runs scored. The junior also drew seven walks for an .800 on-base percentage and registered a .917 slugging percentage. She went 2-for-2 with two runs and two walks in a 6-2 win against No. 11/11 LSU on March 2.
LeCoq (Gonzales, La.) posted a 3-0 record on the week with a 0.48 ERA. The junior allowed just one run (earned) on 12 hits in 14.2 innings pitched. She also recorded 11 strikeouts on the week and walked only one batter. LeCoq pitched a complete game shutout against Temple and held No. 11/11 LSU scoreless in 5.1 innings of relief to record the win.
Louisville Improve to No. 13 in both coaches' polls
U of L moved up three spots to No. 13 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll which was released on March 5. The Cards made their 2013 debut at No. 18.
Louisville is also up two spots to No. 13 in the most recent USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll. The Cards opened the 2013 season at No. 18.
Cards in ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings
The Cardinals reached a program-best No. 7 on May 15, 2012 after spending two weeks at No. 8 - they were ranked in the top 10 for the final five weeks of the season. Louisville spent 15 weeks in USA Softball top 25 after debuting at No 23 on Feb. 14.
Cards in USA Today/NFCA rankings
The Cards reached their highest ranking at No. 9 on April 24, 2012 and spent four weeks at that spot.
Home Sweet Home
The Cards went 4-0 in their home-opening Cardinal Classic Feb. 22-24. Louisville was tough at home during the 2012 regular season posting a perfect 25-0 record at Ulmer Stadium and a 27-2 record after the NCAA regional. In 2011, the Cards were an impressive 18-3 at Ulmer Stadium.
Louisville has 15 home runs on the season with six players connected on at least one home in the first three weeks. Junior Katie Keller leads the team with five while senior Alicja Wolny has four. Kayla Soles, Katelyn Mann, Hannah Kiyohara, Maggie Ruckenbrod, Whitney Arion and Taner Fowler have one apiece.
The Road Ahead
The 2013 schedule features five top 25 teams including No. 1/2 Oklahoma, No. 8/5 Texas, No. 11/11 LSU, No. 14/14 Michigan and No. 17/19 Kentucky as well as six teams which are receiving votes in the coaches polls (Illinois State, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse and Georgia Tech). Additionally 13 teams on the Cards' 2013 slate played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament.
Louisville does not face BIG EAST foe and Women's College World Series participant USF during the regular season, but the teams could potentially meet in the conference tournament which will be held May 9-11 in Tampa, Fla.
Maggie on Patrol
Junior catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod has thrown out five of eight base stealers and has picked off five runners this season. She owns the school record for pickoffs in a game (three), season (11 in 2011) and career (20).