April 17, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -
Complete Game Notes
No. 9 Louisville will play host to No. 17 USF in a doubleheader that pits the league-leading Bulls (40-6, 13-1) and the second place Cardinals (38-2, 9-2) Wednesday at 4 p.m. Both games will be televised by ESPNU with Adam Amin and Jennie Finch calling the game.
Prior to the game, U of L will honor the 19th Engineer Batallion from Ft. Knox as part in the President's Initiative to partner with the military.
The Cardinals (38-2, 9-2 BIG EAST) are coming off a three-game sweep of Longwood in which senior LHP Tori Collins tossed back-to-back no-hitters.
U of L is led offensively by senior Kristin Austin who is batting .418 with 35 runs and seven triples on the season. Sophomore Taner Fowler has driven in a team-best 31 runs and is tied for the team lead with five home runs.
Senior Tori Collins (18-1) carries a 1.11 ERA with 136 strikeouts in 120.1 innings.
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .324 and have outscored opponents 200-54. Louisville boasts seven players batting over .300 in the starting lineup. Kristin Austin leads the way at .418. Alicja Wolny (.395), Taner Fowler (.372), Katie Keller (.342), Jennifer Esteban (.330), Jordan Trimble (.325), and Whitney Arion (.313) round out the top seven.
The Cardinal pitching staff of Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for a 1.23 ERA and are holding opponents to a .170 batting average with 18 shutouts and 279 strikeouts in 267.1 innings of work.
No. 9/11 Cards vs. No. 17/17 USF
Series Record: U of L leads 21-16
Last Meeting: May 12, 2011 - U of L won 2-0 in the quarterfinals of the BIG EAST Championship. Katie Keller's sacrifice fly plated Tesha Peyson and Colby Wherry homered while Tori Collins struck out six in a complete game shutout. Sara Nevin took the loss, allowing four hits and striking out six.
The teams did not meet during the regular season
Series Note: USF is one of Louisville's long-standing rivals dating back to 2000 - U of L's inaugural season. The teams competed in Conference USA from 2000-05 and moved to the BIG EAST together (along with DePaul) from 2006-present. Coaches Sandy Pearsall and Ken Ericksen have been the head coaches of their respective schools throughout the rivalry.
Another note: The Bulls were on-hand for longest game played at Ulmer Stadium - a 15 inning affair in which USF edged Louisville 2-1 on April 15, 2000.
Scouting the Bulls: USF (40-6) enters Wednesday atop the BIG EAST standings witth a 13-1 record in BIG EAST play. The Bulls sufferered their first league loss of the season this past weekend when the fell 7-3 in the second game of a three-game series at Connecticut. USF opened the series with a 6-2 eight inning victory and won 11-3 in the deciding game.
Stephanie Medina and Janine Richardson lead the Bulls offensively with a .339 batting average and seven home runs. Medina has a team-best 28 RBIs, while Richardson is right behind her with 27. The Bulls have 70 stolen bases on the season with Gina Kafalas' 13 steals leading the way.
In the circle Sara Nevins (23-2) leads the nation with a 0.74 ERA. The sophomore also leads the conference and is third in the nation in wins and is fifth in the nation with a league-best 237 strikeouts in 180.2 innings of work and has limited opponents to a .171 batting average.
Sam Greiner (9-4) holds a 1.22 ERA with 56 Ks in 86.0 innings while Lindsey Richardson (8-0) has struck out 62 in 46.1 innings of work.
Cards Move up to 9 and 11 in Coaches' Polls
U of L jumped three spots to No. 9 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll - reaching the top 10 for the first time in program history. The Cards reached their previous highest ranking three weeks ago when they appeared at No. 11 in the poll. This is Louisville's tenth 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.
The Cardinals moved up to No. 11 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association, tying their highest national ranking in that poll. Two weeks ago Louisville reached the highest ranking in program history at No. 11, but suffered two losses at DePaul (RV) on the weekend which slid them to No. 12 the next two weeks. The Cards have appeared in the top 25 in all 11 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.
Collins Named Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week
Senior pitcher Tori Collins of Louisville has been named as the Louisville Slugger Division I National Player of the Week for games played April 9-15. This marks the first time a Cardinal pitcher has earned the honor and the second time a player from Louisville has been named national player of the week. Chelsea Bemis earned the honor on April 27, 2010.
Collins went 3-0 with a save last week and did not allow a run, earned or otherwise, over 21.0 innings of work. Over four appearances, she allowed just four hits and five walks, while striking out 17. She ended the week with a perfect 0.00 ERA and a .087 opponent's batting average.
In a mid-week doubleheader with Villanova, the Lafayette, Ind., native pitched a complete game four-hitter in the opener, before returning in the second game to close out the final two innings and earn her third save of the season. In a weekend three-game set with Longwood, the senior the first notched the first two no-hitters of her career during the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday and the series finale on Sunday.
Collins is now18-1 on the year with a 1.11 ERA, the ninth best in all of Division I. Through 120.1 innings of work, she has walked just 32 while striking out 132. She is also ranked seventh in the nation in hits allowed per seven innings at 4.07 and 22nd in shutouts with 7.0.
Collins and Wolny Sweep BIG EAST Weekly Honors
The University of Louisville softball team swept the BIG EAST Conference weekly awards with junior Alicja Wolny earning Player of the Week honors and senior Tori Collins being named Pitcher of the Week on April 16.
Wolny led the Cardinals to a 5-0 week, batting .692 with nine hits, eight RBI and four runs scored. She posted a 1.077 slugging percentage with two doubles and a home run. The junior also walked four times to give her a .778 on-base percentage. She produced three multi-hit games, including a 3-for-3 performance with two RBI in a 7-0 win over Villanova. Wolny is second on the team with a .395 average and is tied for the team lead with five home runs this season.
Collins did not allow a run in 21.0 innings and tossed two no-hitters and three complete-game shutouts to earn three wins and a save for the Cardinals. The senior registered her first career no-hitter and struck out eight batters in an 8-0, five-inning win over Longwood on April 14 and followed it up with a seven-inning no-hitter in a 1-0 win over the Lancers on April 15. She also picked up a complete game shutout and a save in two appearances against Villanova. Collins is 18-1 on the season with a 1.11 ERA. She has 136 strikeouts in 120.1 innings and is holding opponents to a .160 batting average.
Collins Named College Sports Madness National Pitcher of the Week
Senior Tori Collins was named College Sports Madness National Pitcher of the Week for the period ending April 15. Collins did not allow a run and posted a 0.00 ERA while hurling back-to-back no hitters and going 3-0 with three complete game shutouts and registering a save in four appearances on the week.
Cards in the national standings
The most recent national statistical ranking were released on April 16 and the Cardinals were among the nation's leaders in several categories including triples and doubles per game, win/loss percentage, earned run average, batting average, fielding percentage and slugging percentage.
Louisville has belted out 14 triples and is sixth in the nation with 0.35 triples per game. With 64 doubles (1.6 per game, the Cards are eighth. Their .950 winning percentage stands at third. The collective 1.23 team ERA is fifth while the Cards .974 fielding percentage is 19th. Louisville boasts a .324 batting average and a .487 slugging percentage - placing the Cards at Nos. 14 and 18 respectively.
Sophomore Chelsea Leonard leads the nation with eight saves. Senior Kristin Austin is third in the nation with seven triples and is fourth with 0.18 triples per game. Senior Tori Collins is ninth with a 1.11 ERA and seventh with 4.07 hits allowed per seven innings.
Collins and Fowler honored at 2012 All-Sports Banquet
Tori Collins earned the 2012 Ed Kallay Co-Female Senior Athlete of the Year at the 2012 U of L All-Sports banquet on April 16. She has helped lead the Cardinals to their best record and ranking in program history including a record-setting 28-0 start and became the first player to record back-to-back no-hitters.
Sophomore Taner Fowler received the Inspiration Award for her performance on the field and in the classroom in the wake of the sudden loss of her father in the fall of 2011.
Following Wednesday's doubleheader with USF, the Cards will hit the road for a three-game league series at Seton Hall April 21-22.
Last up for the Cardinals
The No. 12/12 University of Louisville softball team swept Longwood in a three-game series with senior Tori Collins tossing no-hitters in games one and three.
Louisville 8 - Longwood 0 (5 innings)
In game one, senior Tori Collins gave up only one walk and struck out eight en route to her first career no-hitter. Every batter in the Cards lineup had at least one hit as Louisville cruised to an 8-0 win.
Louisville 7 - Longwood 1
In game two, Wolny was 3 for 4 with a double, four RBIs and two runs and Fowler was 3 for 3 with a double and two RBIs to lead the Cards to a 7-1 win.
Sophomore Caralisa Connell got the win allowing one earned run on two hits and striking out four in 4.0 innings. Sophomore Chelsea Leonard did not allow a run and fanned three while picking up her eighth save of the season. Austin was 3 for 4 with two runs.
Louisville 1 - Longwood 0
Senior Tori Collins registered her second straight no-hitter and freshman Whitney Arion delivered the game-winning RBI single as the No.12 University of Louisville softball team defeated Longwood 1-0 Sunday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium.
The only run of the game came in the bottom of the fifth when sophomore Jordan Trimble connected on a leadoff double, moved to third on a groundout by sophomore Maggie Ruckenbrod and came home on Arion's two-out single. Collins struck out six in the complete game shutout. Arion was 1 for 2 with an RBI. Trimble was 1 for 3 with a double and the game-winning run.
Collins Tosses Back-to-Back No-Hitters
On April 14, senior Tori Collins registered her first career no-hitter and struck out eight in the Cards' 8-0, five inning win over Longwood on Saturday. On April 15, she followed that with a seven inning no-hitter in the 1-0 win over the Lancers. She became the first player in program history to toss back-to-back no-hitters.
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 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 540, needing 14 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 28 home runs with 10 players connecting on roundtrippers. Four 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.
Senior outfielder Kristin Austin is having a career-best season with a .418 batting average, 35 runs, seven triples and eight stolen bases. The speedy slap hitter was also 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 18 shutouts through the Cards' 40 games. They carry a 1.23 team ERA - which stands at No. 5 in the nation and have 279 strikeouts in 267.1 innings. The trio of pitchers have also held opponents to a .170 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 1.24 ERA and is limiting opponents to a .160 batting average while striking out 80 in 68.0 innings. She has notched a league-leading eight saves and also leads 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 every game in centerfield or shortstop and carries a .321 batting average and 20 RBI.
Sophomore second baseman Katie Keller recently snapped a season-high 11 game hitting streak and is second on the team with 30 RBI. 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.
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 .372 with a team-best five home runs - surpassing last year's total of four - and leads the team with 31 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.
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.