The 11th ranked University of Louisville softball team will travel to Chicago to take on DePaul in a three-game BIG EAST Conference series.
Junior Alicja Wolny leads the team with a .421 average. Senior Kristin Austin follows at .411 with a team-best 27 runs and six triples. Sophomore Taner Fowler rounds out the top three hitter with a team-leading five home runs and is tied with sophomore Katie Keller to lead the Cards with 23 RBIs. Senior Tori Collins (13-0) carries a 1.10 ERA with 104 strikeouts in 82.2 innings.
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .337 and have outscored opponents 156-33 through the first 28 games of the season. Louisville boasts two 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 1.08 ERA and are holding opponents to a .170 batting average with 13 shutouts and 215 strikeouts in 187.1 innings of work. Senior Tori Collins (13-0) carries a 1.10 ERA with 104Ks in 82.2 innings.
Cards vs. DePaul
Series Record: DePaul leads 23-15. The series with DePaul dates back to Louisville's first season as a program (2000). The teams have always played in the same conference (C-USA and then the BIG EAST).
Last meeting: March 20, 2011 - The Cards swept the Blue Demons 2-1 and 13-2 in a non-conference doubleheader.
Scouting the Blue Demons: DePaul enters their BIG EAST opening weekend with a 16-10 overall record. The Blue Demons slipped out of the top 25 this week after a 1-3 showing in the Alabama Challenge. Then-top ranked host Alabame edged DePaul 4-3 on Friday and 9-7 on Saturday and the Blue Demons defeated Longwood 10-2 on Saturday before falling 4-1 to Longwood on Sunday.
Samantha Dodd leads the team with a .408 batting average. Kirsten Verdun has belted out a team-best six home runs and 25 RBIs and also carries a 9-5 record in the circle with 71 Ks in 80.2 innings.
Following this weekend, the Cards will return to Ulmer Stadium to face in-state rival Kentucky - for the second time in a week. On Wednesday, March 28, the Cards defeated the Wildcats 1-0 at the UK Softball Complex.
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). 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 Cards took a break of BIG EAST play and traveled to Lexington, Ky. for a midweek game on March 28. Senior Kristin Austin's solo home run in the fourth lifted the No. 11 University of Louisville softball team to a 1-0 win over Kentucky (15-17). Tori Collins improved to 13-0 and Chelsea Leonard picked up her fifth save of the season as the Cards notched their 13th shutout of the season as the Cardinals improved to 28-0 and remain the only undefeated team in Division I softball.
Last weekend in BIG EAST play
The then-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. eShe is currently in fourth place on the all-time list with 504, needing 52 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 No. 11 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 28 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 25 home runs through their first 28 games of the season with 10 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. Senior Kristin Austin, 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 .411 batting average, 27 runs, six triples and seven stolen bases. The speedy slap hitter reached safely via a hit or a walk in 25 of the Cards' 28 games this season. She has scored at least one run in 20 of the 28 games. She was responsible for Louisville's only run in the 1-0 win over Kentucky - by slapping a home run over the left field fence.
The Cardinal pitching staff of senior Tori Collins and sophomores Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for 13 shutouts through the Cards' 28 games. They carry a 1.10 team ERA - which stands at No 8 in the nation and have 215 strikeouts in 187.1 innings. The trio of pitchers have also held opponents to a .170 batting average.
After suffering a season-ending injury early last year, redshirt sophomore Jordan Trimble has returned to form, starting all 28 games in centerfield or shortstop and is fifth on the team with a .345 batting average and 16 RBI She has reached safely via a hit or a walk in 15 of the last 16 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 mendbr>
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 12 games.
Fowler is having a career- best season, batting .379 with a team-best five home runs - surpassing last year's total of four - and is tied for first on the team with 23 RBIs.