April 3, 2012
Complete game notes vs. Kentucky
The No. 12/13 University of Louisville softball team will play host to in-state rival Kentucky on Wednesday, April 4 at 6 p.m. The game will be televised by WHAS and can be seen on 11.2, Comcast 207 and Insight 432.
The Cardinals (29-2, 4-2 BIG EAST) edged the Wildcats 1-0 behind senior Kristin Austin's home run in the teams' first meeting just a week ago on March 28.Tori Collins and Chelsea Leonard combined on the shutout.
U of L is led offensively by Austin who is batting .410 with 30 runs and seven triples on the season. Junior Alicja Wolny follows at .375 with seven doubles and 23 RBIs. Senior Tori Collins (13-1) carries a 1.35 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 88.1 innings.
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .323 and have outscored opponents 161-46 through the first half of the season. Louisville boasts six players batting over .300 in its starting lineup. Kristin Austin leads the way at .410. Alicja Wolny (.375), Taner Fowler (.358), Katie Keller (.352), Jennifer Esteban (.339) and Jordan Trimble (.323) round out the top six.
The Cardinal pitching staff of Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for a 1.39 ERA and are holding opponents to a .181 batting average with 13 shutouts and 230 strikeouts in 206.1 innings of work.
Cards vs. Kentucky
Television: The game will be televised by WHAS and can
be seen on 11.2, Comcast 207 and Insight 432. Sean Moth will be calling play-by-play and Patty Norton will provide color commentary.
Series Record: This will be the 29th meeting between the teams with the Cards holding a 15-13 edge in the series.
Last meeting: On Wednesday, March 28, the Cards defeated the Wildcats 1-0 at the UK Softball Complex. Senior Kristin Austin's solo home run in the fourth lifted the then-No. 11 Cardinals to a 1-0 win over Kentucky. Senior Tori Collins improved to 13-0 and sophomore Chelsea Leonard picked up her fifth save as the Cards notched their 13th shutout of the season.
Chanda Bell took the loss, allowing one earned run on three hits and striking out seven in 5.0 innings. Rachel Riley gave up three hits with one strikeout in 2.0 innings.
Scouting the Wildcats: Kentucky enters Wednesday's matchup with a 16-19 overall record after going 1-2 in a three-game series at No. 9/10 Tennessee over the weekend.
UK upset the Lady Vols 5-3 in the first game of the on Friday. Tennessee came back even the series with an 8-0 win on Saturday. The Lady Vols used a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to clinch the series with a 4-2 win on Sunday.
Kara Dill carries a team-best .408 batting average and has 15 stolen bases on the season. Rachel Riley has belted out four home runs and leads the Wildcats with 21 RBIs. Chanda Bell (8-7) carries a 2.50 ERA with 101 strikeouts in 81.1 innings.
Promotions: `PACK THE PARK, RED OUT' All fans are encouraged to pack Ulmer Stadium to try and help beat the attendance record of 1,134 fans. In addition, to create the ultimate home field advantage, fans are asked to wear red.
Ticket Information: Admission is $5 for reserved seats only. There is no charge for berm seating and children ages 2 and under. Tickets may be purchased by calling 502-852-5151.
Following Wednesday's game, Louisville will return to BIG EAST Conference play when it plays host to Rutgers in a three-game series. The teams will square off in a doubleheader on Friday at noon and will play a single game Saturday at 11 a.m.
Upcoming Promotions: ANNUAL CARDINAL EGG HUNT prior to the game on Saturday, April 7, Cardinal Athletics will hold its annual Cardinal Egg hunt. In addition to the Egg hunt, the day will include arts and crafts, face painting, inflatables and more!
Cards No. 12/13 in Coaches' Polls
The Cardinals slipped one spot to No. 12 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings. Last week Louisville reached the highest ranking in program history at No. 11, but suffered two losses at DePaul (RV) on the weekend. The Cards have appeared in the top 25 in all nine ranking periods this year. Their preseason ranking of 24th marked the Cards' first appearance in the top 25 since April 13, 2010 when they were ranked 25th. 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 No. 13 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, dropping two spots from last week when they attained their program-best ranking at No. 11 in that poll. This is Louisville's eighth 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 April 2 and the Cardinals were among the nation's leaders in several categories including second in triples per game, fifth in win/loss percentage, 11th in ERA, 16th in fielding percentage and 19th in slugging and batting percentage.
Louisville has belted out 12 triples and is second in the nation with 0.39 triples per game. Their .935 winning percentage stands at fifth. The collective 1.39 team ERA is 11th while the Cards .974 fielding percentage is 16th. Louisville boasts a .323 batting average and a .495 slugging percentage - placing the Cards at No. 19 in NCAA standings.
Senior Kristin Austin leads the nation with 0.23 triples per game as is second with a total of seven triples on the season. Sophomore Chelsea Leonard is third in the nation with six saves.
Last up for the Cardinals
The No. 11 University of Louisville softball team split a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader with host DePaul. The Cards fell 7-1 in the first game, snapping a 28 game winning streak, but rebounded for a 4-3 victory in the nightcap. DePaul used a three-run homer in the first to defeat the Cards 3-0 to clinch the series.
DePaul 7 - Louisville 1
In game one of the doubleheader, Katelyn Braget connected on two home runs to help the host Blue Demons hand the Cards their first loss of the season. Kirsten Verdun got the win, allowing one earned run and holding the Cardinals to a season-low three hits while striking out five. Braget was 2 for 2 with two RBI and two runs. Tori Collins took the loss, allowing four earned runs on four hits and striking out two in 4.0 innings. Kristin Austin tripled and scored on Katie Keller's sac fly for the Cards' lone run.
Louisville 4 - DePaul 3
Kristin Austin was 3 for 4 with two doubles, two runs and two RBIs. Jennifer Esteban was also 3 for 4 with two doubles and two runs.Caralisa Connell got the win, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and striking out six in 5.1 innings. Leonard gave up one hit and struck out one in 0.2 innings. Tori Collins did not allow a hit in 1.0 inning. Bree Brown (4-3) took the loss, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits and striking out six in the complete game effort. Braden was 3 for 4 with two runs.
DePaul 3 - Louisville 0
DePaul got all the scoring it need in the first inning when Kirsten Verdun belted out a three-run home run. Lynsey Ciezki reached on an error and Samantha Dodd walked to set up Verdun's shot over the left field fence. Verdun (11-5) got the win, holding Louisville scoreless for the first time this season, allowing two hits and striking out six in a complete game errors. She was also 1 for 2 with three RBI.
Connell (10-1) took the loss, allowing three runs, two earned on four hits and striking out two in 5.1 innings of work. Ruckenbrod and Arion registered the lone hits for the Cards.
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 508, needing 48 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 opened the 2012 season on a 28 game win streak and were the only remaining undefeated team in Division I softball until March 31 when BIG EAST Conference rival DePaul handed them a 7-1 loss. Not only was 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 31 games this 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 .410 batting average, 30 runs, seven triples and seven stolen bases. The speedy slap hitter has scored at least one run in 22 of the 31 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' 31 games. They carry a 1.39 team ERA - which stands at No. 11 in the nation and have 230 strikeouts in 206.1 innings. The trio of pitchers have also held opponents to a .181 batting average.
After missing the majority of the last two seasons with injuries, redshirt Sophomore Chelsea Leonard has had an impact on the Cards' success in 2012. She carries a team-best 1.13 ERA and is limiting opponents to a .153 batting average while striking out 72 in 55.2 innings. She has notched a league-leading six saves and stands at third in the nation in that category.
On Feb. 25, Leonard tied a school record (and her own career high) with a 16 strikeout performance in the 7-0 win over Creighton. In her first complete game since Feb. 21, 2010, the redshirt sophomore took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before surrendering her only hit of the game.
After suffering a season-ending injury early last year, redshirt sophomore Jordan Trimble has returned to form, starting all 31 games in centerfield or shortstop and carries a .323 batting average and 16 RBI.
Keller is clutch
Sophomore second baseman Katie Keller recently snapped a season-high 11 game hitting streak and is the Cards' leading RBI producer with 25. 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 as a catcher and designated player last season, Fowler opened 2012 as the Cards' designated player and also saw some time at first base while Alicja Wolny was injured before becoming the regular starter behind the plate for 12 games.
Fowler is having a career- best season, batting .358 with a team-best five home runs - surpassing last year's total of four - and is second on the team with 23 RBIs.
Connell Deals a No-Hitter
On March 3, Caralisa Connell posted a no-hitter in the 11-0 win over Memphis at the Tennessee Classic. The sophomore struck out three and issued three walks, but did not allow a hit in the complete game shutout, registering her first career no-hitter and Louisville's first since April 22, 2006 when Catherine Bishop notched one against Syracuse.