April 10, 2012
The University of Louisville softball team will travel to Villanova for a midweek BIG EAST Conference doubleheader.
The Cardinals (33-2, 7-2 BIG EAST) are coming off a three-game sweep of Rutgers at Ulmer Stadium. Louisville swept the series-opening doubleheader with 1-0 and 2-0 and wrapped up the series with a 3-2 win on Saturday.
U of L is led offensively by senior Kristin Austin who is batting .407 with 30 runs and seven triples on the season. Sophomore Taner Fowler follows at .349 with eight doubles and 25 RBIs. Senior Tori Collins (15-1) carries a 1.34 ERA with 119 strikeouts in 99.1 innings.
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .316 and have outscored opponents 169-49 through the first half of the season. Louisville boasts seven players batting over .300 in its starting lineup.
The Cardinal pitching staff of Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for a 1.28 ERA and are holding opponents to a .172 batting average with 15 shutouts and 252 strikeouts in 234.1 innings of work.
Cards vs. Villanova
Series Record: U of L leads 9-2
Last meeting: March 26-27, 2011. Villanova took the first game 3-1, but the Cards won 5-3 and 12-5 to claim the three-game series at Ulmer Stadium.
Scouting the Wildcats: Villanova enters Wednesday's matchup with a 25-12 overall record and a 0-6 mark in BIG EAST play. Most recently, the Wildcats were swept by Connecticut 7-6, 6-3 and 4-1 last weekend. Their other league series was against Providence - they fell 1-0, 6-3 and 5-2. The Cards are not scheduled to play UConn or Providence in the regular season.
Jamie O'Hara leads Villanova with a .384 average and 24 runs. Molly Manning and Briana Fujii have produced a team-best 21 RBI and Beth Smetana leads the way with three home runs on the season.
Caitlyn Delahaba (13-8) carries a 2.79 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 118.0 innings. Manning (10-4) holds a 3.11 ERA with 60 Ks in 87.2 innings of work.
Following the midweek doubleheader at Villanova, the Cards will take a break from BIG EAST play when they play host to Longwood in a three-game series April 14-15 at Ulmer Stadium.
Cards No. 12/12 in Coaches' Polls
The Cardinals remained No. 12 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings for the second straight week. Two weeks ago 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 moved up one spot to No. 12 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Last week, they were No. 13, dropping one spot from their their program-best ranking at No. 11 in that poll. This is Louisville's ninth 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 9 and the Cardinals were among the nation's leaders in several categories including sixth in triples per game, fourth in win/loss percentage, 14th in ERA, 14th in fielding percentage and 22nd in slugging percentage and 23rd in batting average.
Louisville has belted out 13 triples and is sixth in the nation with 0.37 triples per game. Their .975 winning percentage stands at fourth. The collective 1.28 team ERA is ninth while the Cards .975 fielding percentage is 14th. Louisville boasts a .479 slugging percentage and a 315 batting average - placing the Cards at Nos. 22 and 23 respectively.
Sophomore Chelsea Leonard leads the nation with seven saves. Senior Kristin Austin is second in the nation with seven triples and 0.2 triples per game.
Last up for the Cardinals
The No. 12/13 University of Louisville softball team posted a pair of one-hit shutouts with a 1-0 and a 2-0 doubleheader sweep on April 6 and won 3-2 on Saturday to complete the three-game BIG EAST series sweep.
Louisville 1 - Rutgers 0
In game one, freshman Kayla Soles' one-out RBI double in the bottom of the seventh provided the winning run in the walk-off victory and sophomores Caralisa Connell and Chelsea Leonard combined on the one-hit shutout as the Cards defeated Rutgers 1-0.
Alyssa Landrith took the loss, allowing one earned run on four hits and striking out three in 6.1 innings.
Louisville 2 - Rutgers 0
In the nightcap, freshman Whitney Arion went 2 for 2 with one RBI and senior Tori Collins took a no-hitter into the seventh inning as the Cards completed the doubleheader sweep with a 2-0 win and their 15th shutout of the season.
Abbey Houston took the loss, giving up two earned runs on six hits and striking out one in 6.0 innings.
Louisville 3 - Rutgers 2
The Cards scored three runs in the third and held on for a 3-2 win to complete a BIG EAST Conference series sweep of Rutgers Saturday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium.
Tori Collins (15-1) got the win, allowing two earned runs on three hits and striking out one in 4.0 innings. Leonard picked up her seventh save of the season, holding the Scarlet Knights scoreless on two hits and striking out two in 3.0 innings of relief. Trimble was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI. Arion was 2 for 2 with an RBI.
Alyssa Landrith took the loss, allowing three runs, one earned, on six hits in 6.0 innings. Curran was 2 for 4 to lead the Scarlet Knights at the plate.
Cards hit 30-win mark for ninth straight season
The April 4, 2-1 win over Kentucky gave the Cardinals 30 wins on the season, marking the ninth straight season the Cardinals have won 30 or more games (dating back to 2004). Coincidentally, the Cards have also reached the NCAA tournament eight straight years
As the program is in the midst of its 13th season, the Cards have posted at least 30 wins 10 times and 40 or more wins seven times.
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 523, needing 37 more to tie Jessica Rak (2000-03) for third. Kristen Wadwell (2008-10) owns the record with 696.
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 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.
The Cardinal pitching staff of senior Tori Collins and sophomores Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for 15 shutouts through the Cards' 35 games. They carry a 1.28 team ERA - which stands at No. 11 in the nation and have 252 strikeouts in 234.1 innings. The trio of pitchers have also held opponents to a .172 batting average.