March 27, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The 11th ranked University of Louisville softball team will travel to Lexington, Ky. to face in-state rival Kentucky Wednesday at 6 p.m.
The Cards (27-0) are coming off a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh in both team's BIG EAST opening series. The Cards picked up 4-3, 3-1 and 2-1 wins over the Panthers to remain the only undefeated team in Division I softball.
Junior Alicja Wolny leads the team with a .426 average. Sophomore Taner Fowler follows at .414 with a team-best five home runs and is tied with sophomore Katie Keller to lead the Cards with 23 RBIs. Senior Tori Collins (12-0) carries a 1.18 ERA with 100 strikeouts in 77.1 innings
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .341 and have outscored opponents 155-33 through the first 27 games of the season. Louisville boasts two players batting over .400 and seven players batting over .300 on the season.
The Cardinal pitching staff of Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for a 1.05 ERA and are holding opponents to a .166 batting average with 12 shutouts and 195 strikeouts in 159.1 innings of work. Senior Tori Collins (11-0) carries a 1.16 ERA with 95Ks in 72.1 innings.
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. Kentucky
Series Record: This will be the 28th meeting between the teams with the Cards holding a 14-13 edge in the series.
Last meeting: In 2011, the Cards defeated the then 24th-ranked Wildcats 6-0 on March 23 at Ulmer Stadium. Tori Collins threw a complete game shutout and struck out nine and Alicja Wolny went 2 for 2 with a home run.
On April 20, the Cards visited UK and built a 7-0 lead in the first two innings before the Wildcats rallied to score eight in the third and went on to beat the Cards 14-8, stopping the Cards' seven-game winning streak against them.
In that game, Colby Wherry was 3 for 3 with two RBI and Caralisa Connell took the loss, allowing eight unearned runs and striking out four. Rachel Riley paced the Cats offensively, going 4 for 4 with three RBI. Kara Dill and Aubrey Lamar each had two hits and three RBI in the game. Riley got the win, allowing one earned run and striking out four in 5.2 innings of relief.
Scouting the Wildcats: UK enters the game with a 15-16 overall record and a 2-4 mark in SEC play. Last weekend, the Wildcats went on the road and upset No. 21 Auburn 8-4 and 5-2 in the first two games and fell 2-1 in the final game of a conference series.
Kara Dill leads the Wildcats with a .407 batting average and 26 runs. Rachel Riley has a team-best four home runs and 21 RBI on the season. Chanda Bell (8-5) carries a 2.57 ERA with 85 strikeouts in 68.0 innings of work while Riley (4-4) holds a 3.96 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 69.0 innings.
Louisville will travel to Chicago to resume BIG EAST Conference action in a three-game series at DePaul.
Cards move up to No. 11/11 in Coaches' Polls
The Cardinals moved up two spots to No. 11 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings reaching the school's highest ranking. Last week, were No. 13 which was previously their highest ranking. This marks the eighth week in the 2012 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 each week. Prior to this year, 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. 11 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball, moving up three spots from last week when they tied their program-best in that poll. This is Louisville's seventh week in the USA Softball top 25 after debuting at No 23 on Feb. 14 and moving up each week. Louisville was ranked as high as 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.
Cards in the national standings
The most recent national statistical ranking were released on March 26 and the Cardinals were among the nation's leaders in several categories, including first in win/loss percentage as the lone undefeated team remaining in Division I softball.
Louisville also led the nation in triples per game with 11 total triples (0.41 per game). The Cards are eighth with a 1.13 team ERA. They are also tenth with a .341 team batting average and 12th in slugging percentage (.522). They are 20th with a .974 fielding percentage.
Senior Kristin Austin was second in the nation with six triples and 0.22 triples per game. Sophomore Chelsea Leonard is third in the nation with four saves.
Trimble and Collins Named to BIG EAST Honor Roll
Sophomore outfielder Jordan Trimble and senior LHP Tori Collins were selected to the BIG EAST honor roll on March 26.
Trimble batted 429 (6 for 14) with two doubles, three runs and five RBIs as the Cards went 5-0 on the week, including a three-game sweep of Pittsburgh in their conference opener. Trimble had at least one hit in each game and went 2 for 3 with a run in the 4-3 win over Pitt on Saturday. Her leadoff hit sparked a three-run fourth inning in the 4-3 win on Saturday and her two-run double erased a 1-0 deficit and keyed a 2-1 win to complete the three game on Sunday. She posted a .571 slugging percentage and a .400 on-base percentage on the week.
Collins posted a 2-0 record and notched a save to help the Cards to a 5-0 record on the week. Collins registered a 0.58 ERA, allowing only one run and one walk with eight strikeouts and scattered 11 hits in 12.0 innings. She tossed a complete-game shutout in the 7-0 win over Ohio State on March 20.
Last up for the Cardinals
The then-ranked No. 13/14 University of Louisville softball team swept Pittsburgh in a three-game series in both teams' BIG EAST Conference opening weekend.
Louisville 3 - Pittsburgh 1
A three-run fourth, highlighted by sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod's two-run double, proved to be all the scoring the Cards would need as they opened BIG EAST Conference play with a 3-1 win over Pittsburgh. Tori Collins (12-0) picked up the win, allowing one earned run on five hits and striking out five in 4.0 innings. Leonard earned her third save, holding the Panthers scoreless on one hit and striking out four in 3.0 innings
Louisville 4 - Pittsburgh 3
In game two, freshman Whitney Arion's three-run home run in the fourth keyed the Cards to a 4-3 victory over the Panthers. Sophomore Caralisa Connell (9-0) got the win, allowing three earned runs on five hits and striking out one in 4.1 innings. Leonard picked up her second save of the day and fourth of the season, holding the Panthers scoreless on one hit in the final 2.2. innings. Arion was 1 for 2 with a home run and three RBIs.
Louisville 2 - Pittsburgh 1
Sophomore Jordan Trimble's two-run double in the sixth erased a 1-0 deficit and lifted the No. 13/14 University of Louisville softball team to a 2-1 victory over Pittsburgh to complete a three-game sweep in their BIG EAST Conference opening weekend Sunday at Ulmer Stadium. The Cards move to 27-0 and 3-0 in league play while Pitt drops to 15-12 (0-3). Chelsea Leonard (6-0) got the win, allowing one earned run on two hits and striking out one in 3.2 innings of relief. Trimble was 1 for 3 with a double and two RBIs.
Collins Reaches 500 Strikeouts
Tori Collins struck out three batters in the March 24, 3-1 win over Pittsburgh to became the fourth player in program history to record over 500 career strikeouts. She is currently in fourth place on the all-time list with 504, needing 56 more to tie Jessica Rak (2000-03) for third. Kristen Wadwell (2008-10) owns the record with 696.
Tennessee Matchup Rescheduled for May 2
The Cardinals were slated to play 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.
The `S' word
The Cardinals have opened the 2012 season on a 27 game win streak and are the only remaining undefeated team in Division I softball. 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 24 home runs through their first 27 games of the season with nine players connecting on roundtrippers. Sophomore Taner Fowler leads the team with five homers, while junior Alicja Wolny, sophomore Katie Keller and freshman Whitney Arion have four on the season. Sophomores Jordan Trimble and Hannah Kiyohara and freshman Kayla Soles have one apiece. Sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod belted out three home runs in her first four games before being sidelined by injury.
Senior outfielder Kristin Austin is having a career-best season with a .414 batting average, 26 runs, six triples and seven stolen bases. The speedy slap hitter reached safely via a hit or a walk in 24 of the Cards' 27 games this season. She has scored at least one run in 19 of the 27 games.
The Cardinal pitching staff of senior Tori Collins and sophomores Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for 12 shutouts through the Cards' 27 games. They carry a 1.13 team ERA - which stands at No 8 in the nation and have 208 strikeouts in 180.1 innings. The trio of pitchers have also held opponents to a .173 batting average.
After suffering a season-ending injury early last year, redshirt sophomore Jordan Trimble has returned to form, starting all 27 games in centerfield or shortstop and is fifth on the team with a .358 batting average and 16 RBI She has reached safely via a hit or a walk in the last 15 games.
Sophomore second baseman Katie Keller recently snapped a season-high11 game hitting streak and is the Cards' leading RBI producer with 23. She leads the team in multi-RBI games, driving in two runs six times and producing a four RBI effort against Creighton. 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 (official) start at catcher in the 7-0 win over Ohio State on March 20.
Taner's taking over
Taner Fowler took 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 .381mwith a team-best five home runs - surpassing last year's total of four - and is tied for first on the team with 23 RBIs.