April 27, 2012
Weekly Game Notes
Chelsea ~nbsp>Leonard talks about the senior class
Katie ~nbsp>Keller's message to the seniors
Alicja ~nbsp>Wolny on the seniors
Maggie ~nbsp>Ruckenbrod on the senior class of 2012
The ninth-ranked University of Louisville softball team will return to Ulmer Stadium to celebrate senior weekend with a three-game series against Georgetown April 28-29. The teams will meet in a doubleheader at 2 p.m. Saturday and will wrap up the home season Sunday at 1 p.m.
Seniors Kristin Austin, Tori Collins and Tesha Paysen, have won 171 games - the most of any class in program history. As freshmen, they helped set a school record with 48 wins and as seniors, they are on track to break that record. They have been to three straight NCAA regionals and hosted two, they have also posted two runner-up finishes in the BIG EAST Conference championship.
U of L is led offensively by senior Kristin Austin who is batting .424 with 39 runs and seven triples on the season. Sophomore Taner Fowler follows at .384 and has a team-best nine home runs and 39 RBIs. Senior Tori Collins (21-1) carries a 1.24 ERA with 161 strikeouts in 141.2 innings.
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .313 and have outscored opponents 237-65. Louisville boasts five players batting over .300 in its starting lineup. Kristin Austin leads the way at .420. Taner Fowler (.376), Alicja Wolny (.364), Jennifer Esteban (.340) and Katie Keller (.319) round out the top five.
The Cardinal pitching staff of Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for a 1.248ERA and are holding opponents to a .173 batting average with 19 shutouts and 324 strikeouts in 307.1 innings of work.
Cards vs. Georgetown
Series Record: U of L leads 3-0
Last Meeting: May 4, 2011 - U of L won 8-1 at Georgetown.
Scouting the Hoyas: Georgetown is coming of a midweek doubleheader against Villanova. The Hoays fell 4-1 in the first and 4-3 in the second.
Cara Savarese leads the team with a .298 average. Shikara Lowe has a .293 average, and a team-best five home runs and 23 RBIs. Lauren O'Leary (8-13) carries a 3.31 ERA with 115 strikeouts and 121.1 innings. Megan Hyson (6-6) holds a 2.53 ERA with 87 Ks in 92.1 innings.
Louisville will travel to Knoxville, Tenn. to face No. 6/7 Tennessee on Wednesday, May 2 at 6 p.m. The Cardinals were slated to play the Lady Vols in the Tennessee Classic on March 3, but inclement weather in the area forced the tournament schedule to be altered.
Following Wednesday's game Louisville will conclude the regular season with a three-game BIG EAST Conference senies at St. John's.
Fowler Named BIG EAST Player of the Week; Collins selected to honor roll
Taner Fowler was selected as the BIG EAST Softball Player of the Week and senior Tori Collins was named to the honor roll on April 23.
Fowler led the Cardinals to five wins over league opponents, including two victories over No. 17/17 USF. The sophomore registered eight hits, four home runs and a double while also knocking in eight RBI and scoring six runs. She batted .471 with a .500 on-base percentage and a 1.235 slugging clip. She hit two long balls in Game 1 of the series at Seton Hall and added another in the nightcap.
Collins posted a 3-0 record and a 1.11 ERA and struck out 24 in 19.0 innings. The left scattered 11 hits in 19.0 innings limiting opponents to a .172 batting average. Collins got the complete-game win, allowing one unearned run on six hits and striking out eight in the 4-1 victory over No. 17 USF. She also got the win and struck out six in the 6-3 victory over Seton Hall. Collins closed the weekend with a 10 strikeout performance against the Pirates in which she entered the game with the bases loaded and not outs in the first inning and did not give up a hit until an infield single in the bottom of the seventh.
Fowler Selected College Sports Madness National Player of the Week
College Sports Madness has named Louisville's Taner Fowler Madness Softball National Field Player of the Week and Big East Player of the Week for her exceptional performance during the week ending April 22. College Sports Madness identifies the highest impact players nationally and from each conference in their weekly feature.
Fowler led the Cardinals to five wins over league opponents, including two victories over No. 17/17 USF. The sophomore registered eight hits, four home runs and a double while also knocking in eight RBI and scoring six runs. She batted .471 with a .500 on-base percentage and a 1.235 slugging clip. She hit home runs in the 6-3 win over Seton Hall and added another in the 6-1 victory.
Cards Ranked Ninth in Both Coaches' Polls
For the second straight week, U of L remained at No. 9 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Last week, the Cards reached the top 10 for the first time in program history when they jumped three spots from No. 12. The Cards reached their previous highest ranking three weeks ago when they appeared at No. 11 in the poll. This is Louisville's eleventh 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 two spots to No. 9 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association, earning their highest national ranking in that poll. Last week Louisville tied its previous high at No. 11 - originally achieved on March 27. The Cards have appeared in the top 25 in all 12 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.
Cards in the national standings
The most recent national statistical ranking were released on April 24 and the Cardinals were among the nation's leaders in several categories including win/loss percentage, triples and doubles per game, earned run average, batting average, fielding percentage and slugging percentage.
Louisville leads the nation in win/loss percentage at .956, has belted out 14 triples and is ninth in the nation with 0.31 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 eight triples and is fourth with 0.18 triples per game.
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.
Last up for the Cardinals
Sophomore Katie Keller's two-run home run in the fifth broke a 4-4 tie to lift the ninth-ranked University of Louisville softball team to a 6-4 win over host Indiana (23-23) Wednesday afternoon.
Caralisa Connell (15-1) did not give up a hit and only walked one batter while striking out four in 4.2 innings of relief. Keller went 1 for 3 with three RBIs. Esteban was 2 for 4 with two runs and Austin was 1 for 4 with two RBIs and a 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 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 Register Seventh 40-win season - hit 30-win mark for ninth straight year
On April 18 Louisville swept USF 4-1 and 9-0 to improve to 40-2 on the year, marking the seventh time the Cards have reached the 40-win mark. The record for wins was set in 2009 when Louisville went 48-11.
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.
Home Sweet Home
The Cards have been tough at home this season, posting a 22-0 record at Ulmer Stadium. Among Louisville's victories at home are No. 20 Michigan and No. 17 USF. Last year, during the regular season, the Cards were an impressive 18-3 at Ulmer Stadium.
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 third on the all-time list with 564, needing 52 more to tie Catherine Bishop (2004-07) for second. Kristen Wadwell (2008-10) owns the record with 696.
Austin a member of the 200 Club
Senior Kristin Austin got her 200th career hit in the April 22, 6-2 victory over Seton Hall. She becomes the eighth player in program history to reach the 200 hit mark and moves to eighth on the school's career list. Audrey Rendon (2004-07) owns the school record with 283.
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.
They are currently on a 15 game win streak which is tied for the third longest streak in program history.
The Cardinals have hit 36 home runs with 10 players connecting on roundtrippers. Taner Fowler leads the team with nine home runs. Sophomore Katie Keller follows with seven. Freshman Whitney Arion is right behind her with six homers. Junior Alicja Wolny has belted out five homers. 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 league-leading .420 batting average, 40 runs, eight triples and is currently on a 14 game hitting streak. 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.
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 1.18 ERA and is limiting opponents to a .171 batting average while striking out 84 in 7.0 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.
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 .384 with a team-best nine home runs - surpassing last year's total of four - and leads the team with 39 RBIs.
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.