The University of Louisville softball team will play host to Ohio State in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Ulmer Stadium.
The Cards (22-0) are coming off of a 6-1 win over Akron in the Sacramento State Capital Classic on Saturday. Senior Kristin Austin leads the team with a .479 average and 24 runs. She also leads the nation with six triples. Junior Alicja Wolny follows with a .463 average, five doubles, four home runs and 15 RBI. Sophomore Taner Fowler rounds out the top three, batting .406 with a team-best five home runs and 20 RBIs.
Senior Tori Collins (10-0) carries a 1.29 ERA with 92 strikeouts in 65.1 innings of work. Chelsea Leonard (5-0) holds a 0.52 ERA with 58 Ks in 40.0 innings and Caralisa Connell (7-0) has a 1.40 ERA and has struck out 37 in 40.0 innings.
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .351 and have outscored opponents 132-26 through the first 22 games of the season. Louisville boasts four players batting over .400 and eight players batting over .300 on the season.
The Cardinal pitching staff of Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for a 1.06 ERA and are holding opponents to a .160 batting average with 11 shutouts and 187 strikeouts in 145.1 innings of work. Senior Tori Collins (10-0) carries a 1.29 ERA with 92Ks in 65.1 innings.
Louisville has featured a young lineup this season with four freshmen and four sophomores in the lineup at times.
Head Coach Sandy Pearsall is in 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.
Cards vs. Ohio State
Series Record: OSU leads 2-1
Last meeting: March 20, 2011 - U of L won 9-1 in San Diego
Scouting the Buckeyes: Ohio State (14-8) is coming off of a 3-0 performance at the Tennessee State Tournament with wins over St. Bonaventure (8-2), Belmont (15-3) and Tennessee State (6-0).
The Buckeyes are batting .301 as a team and are led by Alicia Herron who is hitting .431 with eight home runs, 22 runs and 29 RBIs. Danielle LeBeau follows at .404 with two homers and 15 RBIs. Mikayla Endicott (8-6) carries a 1.72 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 89.2 innings of work.
Louisville will return to Ulmer Stadium for its BIG EAST Conference opener, a three-game series against Pittsburgh March 24-25. The teams are scheduled to meet in a doubleheader Saturday at noon. Sunday's game will be televised live in WHAS 11 at noon.
Wolny Named to BIG EAST honor roll
For the second week in a row, junior Alicja Wolny was named to the BIG EAST Conference honor roll. The first baseman helped lead the Cards to a 4-0 performance on the week, batting .571 (8 for 14) with two home runs, two doubles, eight RBIs and three runs. She had at least one hit and one RBI in each game and went 3 for 3 with three RBIs in the 8-0 win over Illinois State. Wolny posted a 1.143 slugging percentage and a .600 on-base percentage on the week.
Cards in the national standings
The most recent national statistical ranking were released on March 11 and the Cardinals are among the nation's leaders in several categories, including tied for first in win/loss percentage as one of three undefeated teams in the nation. The other two teams are Louisana-Lafayette (26-0) and Alabama (24-0). Louisville also leads the nation in triples per game with 10 total triples (0.63 per game).
Senior Kristin Austin leads the nation with six triples and 037 triples per game. She is also ranked fifth with a .492 batting average
The Cards were ranked ninth with a 1.11 ERA and 12th with a .344 team batting average.
Recapping last weekend
The Cardinals were scheduled to play four games in the Sacramento State Capital Classic, but rain in the area allowed only one game to be completed - a 6-1 win over Akron. In that game, Caralisa Connell got the complete game win, allowing one earned run on eight hits and striking out seven. Wolny was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI. Esteban, Austin each had two hits apiece Keller. Sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod was 1 for 2 in her first extended appearance since suffering an injury in the opening weekend.
Louisville was leading host Sacramento State 4-3 in when the game was called because of rain. At the time the game was called, Katie Keller was 2 for 2 with a home run and three RBI.
Tennessee Matchup Rescheduled for May 2
The Cardinals were slated to play No. 9 Tennessee in the Tennessee Classic on March 3, but inclement weather in the area forced the tournament schedule to be altered. A make-up game has been scheduled for May 2 at 6 p.m. in Knoxville.
Senior outfielder Kristin Austin is having a career-best season with a .479 batting average, 24 runs, six triples and six stolen bases. The speedy slap hitter reached safely via a hit or a walk in the past 17 games and in 21 of the Cards' 22 games this season. She has scored at least one run in 16 of the past 17 games.
The `S' word
The Cardinals have opened the 2012 season on a 22 game win streak. Not only is it the best start in program history, it also set a new school record, surpassing the 17 game streak the 2006 team put together from April 22-May 13.
The Cardinals have hit 22 home runs through their first 22 games of the season with nine players connecting on roundtrippers. Sophomore Taner Fowler leads the team with five homers, while junior Alicja Wolny has four on the season. Sophomore Katie Keller and freshman Whitney Arion have three apiece. Sophomore Jordan Trimble and freshmen Hannah Kiyohara and Kayla Soles have one apiece. Sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod belted out three home runs in her first four games before being sidelined by injury.
The Cardinal pitching staff of senior Tori Collins and sophomores Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have shut out nine of the Cards' last 13 opponents. During that stretch, they have scattered five runs in the last 71 innings for a 0.43 ERA. The trio has notched a pair of one-hitters (Collins and Leonard) and a no-hitter (Connell) and combined scatter a total of 45 hits (.156 batting average) and register 103 strikeouts.
Katie Keller recently snapped a season-high11 game hitting streak and is tied for the Cards' leading RBI producer with 20. As a freshman in 2011, Keller tied the school record with a 16-game hitting streak.
Maggie's on the mend
In the March 12, 8-2 win over Illinois State, sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod took her first at-bat (resulting in a groundout) since Feb. 11 when she was sidelined by a hand injury in the win over FIU. Prior to that, the sophomore opened the season on an offensive tear, registering a .417 batting average, three home runs, seven RBI and five hits through the first four games of the season.
Defensively, Ruckenbrod had already thrown out four base stealers and picked off one runner. Last season, she led the league and set a new school record with 10 pickoffs on the season.
Ruckenbrod registered a hit in the 6-1 win over Akron (3/17) and saw her first (unofficial) start since that time in he game against Sacramento State before it was rained out.
Taner's taking over
Taner Fowler has taken over at catcher in Ruckenbrod's absence and has turned in a solid performance. After serving playing catcher and designated player last season, Fowler opened 2012 as the Cards' designated player and also saw some time at first base before becoming the regular starter behind the plate for the last 11 games.
Fowler is having a career- best season, batting .406 with a team-best five home runs - surpassing last year's total of four - and is tied for the team lead with 20 RBIs.