April 13, 2012
The No. 12/12 University of Louisville softball team will take a break from BIG EAST Conference action when the Cards play host to Longwood in a three-game series this weekend.
Saturday, April 14 - Longwood (12 p.m. & 2p.m.)
Spring Game Tailgate: In honor of the football team's Spring Game taking place the same day, the Cards are encouraging all fans to join in their tailgating party.
Sunday, April 15 - Longwood (12 p.m.)
Pink Game: The annual Pink game will be held to help raise awareness for breast cancer. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game and participate in the day's activities including a raffle. In addition, the team will be wearing special pink jerseys that will be auctioned off after the game. All proceeds from the raffle and auction will go towards Breast Cancer Research.
The Cardinals (35-2, 9-2 BIG EAST) are coming off a doubleheader sweep of host Villanova in a midweek matchup.
U of L is led offensively by senior Kristin Austin who is batting .411 with 33 runs and seven triples on the season. Sophomore Katie Keller has driven in a team best 30 runs and is in a five-way tied for the lead with five home runs. Senior Tori Collins (16-1) carries a 1.23 ERA with 122 strikeouts in 108.1 innings.
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .318 and have outscored opponents 184-53 through the first half of the season. Louisville boasts seven players batting over .300 in its starting lineup. Kristin Austin leads the way at .411. Alicja Wolny (.380), Taner Fowler (.348), Katie Keller (.345), Jordan Trimble (.330), Jennifer Esteban (.328) and Whitney Arion (.304) round out the top seven.
The Cardinal pitching staff of Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for a 1.27 ERA and are holding opponents to a .176 batting average with 16 shutouts and 258 strikeouts in 248.1 innings of work.
Cards vs. Longwood
Series Record: First meeting
Scouting the Lancers: Longwood enters the weekend with a 26-18 overall record. The Lancers are coming off of a doubleheader sweep of Norfolk State, winning the first game 4-3 and the second 9-1 in six innings. Longwood has a 4-1 record against BIG EAST teams this season with wins over St. John's (9-2), Seton Hall (8-5), Georgetown (4-3) and DePaul (4-1). DePaul also defeated Longwood 10-2 in five innings.
Megan Baltzell leads the team with a .366 batting average, 12 stolen bases, has belted out nine home runs on the season and has 30 RBI. Jordan Cox is tied with Baltzell with nine homers and 30 RBI. Ashley Cornell (10-6) carries a 2.59 ERA with 56 strikeouts in 102.2 innings. Libby Morris (10-9) holds a 5.31 ERA with 58 Ks in 116.0 innings of work.
Following this weekend's action, the Cards will play host to No. 16/18 USF in a midweek BIG EAST doubleheader. Both games will be televised on ESPNU. Adam Amin will handle play-by-play duties and Jennie Finch will provide color analysis.
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 10 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. 12/12 University of Louisville softball team swept Villanova in a BIG EAST Conference doubleheader Wednesday. Senior Tori Collins pitched a complete game shutout in the opening 7-0 win and she picked up the save as the Cards (35-2, 9-2 BIG EAST) rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the fourth to pick up an 8-4 victory to complete the sweep.
Louisville 7 - Villanova 0
In game one, junior Alicja Wolny went 3 for 3 with a home run, sophomore Katie Keller went 2 for 3 with a home run and three RBIs and senior Tori Collins registered the Cards 16th shutout of the season as Louisville picked up a 7-0 win over Villanova (25-14, 0-8).
Collins (16-1) scattered four hits and struck out two in the complete game shutout.
Kaity Sitzman (2-1) took the loss, allowing five earned runs on four hits in 1.1 innings. Valerie Ortega was 2 for 3 to lead the Wildcats at the plate.
Louisville 8 - Villanova 4
In game two, sophomore Taner Fowler was 2 for 4 with three RBIs as the Cards rallied from a 4-1 deficit in the fourth to defeat the Wildcats 8-4 and complete the doubleheader sweep.
Caralisa Connell (12-1) got the win, holding the Wildcats scoreless on three hits and striking out two in 2.2 innings of relief. Collins picked up her third save of the season allowing two hits and striking out one in 2.0 innings. Ruckenbrod was 2 for 3 with an RBI and Arion was 1 for 3 with two RBIs to lead the Cards at the plate.
Caitlyn Delahaba (13-9) took the loss, allowing seven runs, three earned on nine hits and striking out three in 5.2 innings. O'Hara was 3 for 4 with a run. Manning was 3 for 4 and Kurlin was 1 for 4 with two RBIs.
Collins Selected to BIG EAST honor roll
Senior Tori Collins posted a 2-0 record and a 1.27 ERA with 11 strikeout scattered four hits in 11.0 innings for a .105 opponent batting average on the weekend. The lefty tossed a one-hitter and struck out 10 in the Cards' 2-0 win over Rutgers and got the win in the 3-2 victory.
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.
While in the midst of their 13th season, the Cards have posted at least 30 wins 11 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 526, needing 34 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 28 home runs with 10 players connecting on roundtrippers. Five players lead the team with five homers apiece, sophomore Taner Fowler, junior Alicja Wolny, sophomore Katie Keller and freshman Whitney Arion are all sitting atop the home run leaderboard. 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.
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.