May 16, 2012
Complete NCAA Game Notes
The University of Louisville softball team earned the No. 15 seed in the NCAA tournament and has been selected as a host site for NCAA softball regional May 18-20 at Ulmer Stadium. The Cards (53-3) will face Valparaiso (42-17) Friday at 7 p.m. with Kentucky (29-28) and Michigan (39-15) meeting at 4:30 p.m. Friday. All Louisville Regional games will be carried on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPN3.
The Cardinals won the BIG EAST Conference tournament and earned the league's automatic bid. This marks Louisville's ninth consecutive NCAA tournament bid and the third time it has served as a regional site host. The Cards also hosted in 2011 and 2009.
U of L is led offensively by senior Kristin Austin who is batting .402 with 44 runs and eight triples on the season. Junior Alicja Wolny follows at .377 with 13 doubles, eight home runs and 37 RBIs. Sophomore Taner Fowler is hitting .372 and has a team-best 12 home runs and 50 RBIs. Senior Tori Collins (24-1) carries a 1.25 ERA with 179 strikeouts in 167.1 innings.
2012 Louisville Regional
NCAA Regional Schedule
Friday, May 18
Game 1 - Kentucky vs. Michigan - 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)
Game 2 - Valparaiso vs. Louisville - 7 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)
Saturday, May 19
Game 3 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 - 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4 - Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 - 5:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 5 - Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 - 8 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, May 20
Game 6 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5 - 1 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)
Game 7 - (If necessary) - 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2/ESPN3)
Cards Against the Regional Field
Cards vs. Valparaiso
Series Record: First meeting
Scouting the Crusaders: Valpo is making its first NCAA appearance after earning the Horizon League's automatic bid. The Crusaders won the league regular season and tournament titles. In the first round of the double-elimination conference championship, Valpo fell 6-1 to Butler, but came back with five straight wins - including two walk-off wins against Loyola on the final day. The Crusaders have now won 11 of their last 12 games.
As a team, Valpo is batting .303. Jordan Rutkowski leads the team with a .428 batting average, 14 home runs, 19 doubles and 60 RBI. Sara Strickland has scored a team-best 45 runs and has 12 stolen bases. Alex Lagesse (22-9) carries a 1.98 ERA with 162 strikeouts in 218.2 innings.
Cards vs. Michigan
Series Record: Michigan leads 15-2
In the NCAA: The teams have met once in NCAA tournament play. Michigan won 6-3 in the second round of the 2007 Ann Arbor Regional.
Last Meeting: March 10, 2012; U of L 2 -UM 1 - Louisville, Ky.
Tori Collins and Chelsea Leonard combined for 10 strikeouts while Whitney Arion went 2 for 2 with an RBI and Katelyn Mann drove in the winning run as the No. 16/17 Cards defeated No. 14/14 Michigan 2-1.
Collins got the win, allowing one earned run on four hits and striking out eight in 5.0 innings. Leonard fanned two in 2.0 innings en route to her first save of the season.
Haylie Wagner took the loss, allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits in 6.0 innings. Bree Evans was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Scouting the Wolverines: No. 19/21 Michigan recently captured its fifth consecutive Big Ten championship to earn the league's automatic bid. The Wolverines are making their 18th consecutive, and 20th overall, appearance in the NCAA tournament. Michigan has won it last six games including three-game sweeps of Wisconsin and Purdue.
Amanda Chidester is batting .354 with a team-best 35 runs, 12 doubles and 44 RBIs. Ashley Lane has belted out 11 home runs and 37 RBIs. Haylie Wagner carries a 29-5 record and a 1.55 ERA with 148 strikeouts in 217.0 innings. She is also holding opponents to a .205 batting average.
Cards vs. Kentucky
Series Record: U of L leads 16-13
Last Meeting: The teams met twice in 2012 with Louisville winning both games 1-0 and 2-1.
March 28,, 2012 - Louisville 1 - Kentucky 0 - Lexington, Ky.
Kristin Austin's solo home run in the fourth lifted the No. 11 Cards to a 1-0 win over Kentucky. Kayla Soles led the Cardinal offense, going 2 for 3 at the plate. Austin collected the lone RBI in the game. Tori Collins scattered two hits and struck out four and did not issue a walk in 5.1 innings. Chelsea Leonard did not give up a hit, struck out three and walked one in 1.2 innings of relief.
Chanda Bell took the loss, allowing one earned run on three hits and striking out seven in 5.0 innings.
April 4, 2012 - Louisville 2 - Kentucky 1 - Louisville, Ky.
Taner Fowler went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs and sophomore Caralisa Connell scattered two hits in 6.0 innings as the No. 12/13 Cards defeated Kentucky 2-1 at Ulmer Stadium in front of record crowd of 1,294
The Cards struck early with a run in the first when sophomore Katie Keller connected on a two-out single and Fowler followed with an RBI double. Keller and Fowler combined again to score another run in the third. Keller delivered a leadoff double and came around to score on a single by Fowler to make the score 2-0.
A seventh inning Kentucky rally fell short as Kentucky scored an unearned run on a bases-loaded and left the bases loaded. Joiner and Cervantes drew back-to-back walks. An error allowed Riley to reach and loaded the bases with no outs. Ginny Carroll and Alice O'Brien's fielder's choices saw Joiner and Cervantes out at the plate. Emily Gaines drew a walk to put the Wildcats on the scoreboard. Emily Jolly flied out to left field to end the game.
Rachel Riley took the loss, allowing two earned runs on six hits and striking out three in 3.0 innings. Kara Dill and Griffin Joiner accounted for Kentucky's hits.
Scouting the Wildcats: Kentucky (29-28) earned its fourth-straight at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. Last season they advanced to, and hosted, their program's first Super Regional.
UK produced a 15-13 record in the SEC which sent nine teams to the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats have won four of their last six games including a three-game sweep of then-No. 22 LSU and a victory over then-No. 2 Florida.
Kara Dill leads the team with a .359 batting average, 37 runs and 19 stolen bases. Brittany Cervantes has belted out a team-best 13 home runs and has 35 RBIs. Chanda Bell (16-11) carries a 2.72 ERA with 195 strikeouts in 165.0 innings and is limiting opponents to a .204 batting average.
The Wildcats earned a No. 5 seed in the SEC tournament and fell 6-4 to the No. 4 seed Georgia.
Cards Against the NCAA Tournament Field
Louisville has a 14-3 record against teams in the 2012 NCAA Softball Championship field. Here's the breakdown of records against the teams in the NCAA tournament...
Illinois State: 2-0
Notre Dame: 1-0
Louisville NCAA Tournament History - Ninth Season (11-16)
2011 Regional at Louisville, Ky. (2-2)
Louisville 5 - Illinois-Chicago 2 (9 innings)
#5 California 4 - Louisville 0
Louisville 12- Jacksonville State 0 (5 innings)
#5 California 3 - Louisville 0 *
*California advanced to the WCWS
2010 Regional at Knoxville, Tenn. (2-2)
Virginia 1 - Louisville 0
Louisville 5 - Ball State 1
Louisville 7 - Virginia&
#15 Tennessee 3 - Louisville 1 (9 innings)
* Tennessee advanced to the WCWS
2009 Regional - at Louisville, Ky. (1-2)
#18/19Louisville 4 - Purdue 1
#7 Arizona 18 - Louisville 4
Purdue 5 - #18/19 Louisville 4
* Arizona advanced to the WCWS
2008 - Regional at Knoxville, Tenn. (1-2)
#16 Virginia Tech 1 - Louisville 0 (10 inn.)
Louisville 4 - Winthrop 1
#13 Tennessee 8 - Louisville 1
* Virginia Tech advanced to the WCWS
2007 - Regional at Ann Arbor, Mich. (1-2)
Louisville 8 - #15 Oregon State 0 (5 inn.)
#10 Michigan 6 - Louisville 3
#15 Oregon State 11 - Louisville 4
2006 - Regional at Knoxville, Tenn. (2-2)
Virginia Tech 1 - Louisville 0 (12 inn.)
#19 Louisville 3 - Tennessee Tech 0
#19 Louisville 10 - Virginia Tech 1 (5 inn.)
#5 Tennessee 8 -#18 Louisville 1
* Tennessee advanced to the WCWS
2005 - Regional at South Bend, Ind. (1-2)
Notre Dame 3 - Louisville 2
Louisville 5 - Albany 4
#18 Northwestern 8 - Louisville 2
2004 - Regional at UCLA (1-2) -
Cards earn first at-large bid in program history
Louisville 1 - Missouri 0 (8 innings)
#4 *UCLA 2 - Louisville 0
#17 Long Beach State 3 - Louisville 2
* UCLA was the 2004 NCAA champion
As a team, the Cardinals are hitting .314 and have outscored opponents 296-85. Louisville boasts five players batting over .300 in its starting lineup. Kristin Austin leads the way at .402, Alicja Wolny (.377),Taner Fowler (.372), Jennifer Esteban (.328) and Jordan Trimble (.315) round out the top five.
The Cardinal pitching staff of Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for a 1.29 ERA and are holding opponents to a .184 batting average with 24 shutouts and 379 strikeouts in 373.1 innings of work.
Trimble's Walk-Off Bomb Lifts Cards to 4-3 Win Notre Dame in BIG EAST Championship
Sophomore Jordan Trimble's leadoff home run in the bottom of the eighth broke a 3-3 tied and lifted the No. 8/9 University of Louisville softball team to a 4-3 win over host Notre Dame (38-14) in the finals of the 2012 BIG EAST Championship. The regular season champion Cardinals (53-3) rallied from a 3-0 deficit and sent the game to extra innings to claim their second league tournament title.
Notre Dame took a 1-0 lead in the second. Kasey O'Connor registered a one-out single and moved to third on an error following Chloe Saganowich's infield single. Alexa Maldonado followed with an RBI single to put the Irish on the scoreboard.
The Irish put up two more runs behind Katey Haus's two-run homer in the third. Emilee Koerner delivered a two-out single to set up Haus' home run to take a 3-0 lead.
Louisville got two runs back in the fourth when Taner Fowler led off the inning with her twelfth home run of the season. The sophomore took a 0-1 pitch over the left field fence to make the score 3-1. Jordan followed with a triple off the top of the right field fence and came home on a squeeze bunt by Katelyn Mann to cut the lead to 3-2.
In the fifth, junior Jennifer Esteban reached on a one-out single. One out later, junior Alicja Wolny drew a walk to set up Fowler's two-out RBI single which brought Esteban home and tied the score at 3-3.
Trimble, the BIG EAST Tournament's Most Outstanding Player took the first pitch over the right field wall for her fourth homer of the season to give the Cards the 4-3 win.
Chelsea Leonard got the win, giving up one hit and striking out one in 1.1 innings of relief. Connell held the Irish scoreless on one hit and struck out one in 2.2 innings of relief. Starter Tori Collins allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits and fanned two in 4.0 innings. Trimble was 2 for 4 with a triple and a home run and scored two runs. Mann was 3 for 3 with an RBI. Fowler was 2 for 4 with a home run, two RBIs and a run.
Trimble BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player - Cards Place Four on All-Tourney Team
In addition to Trimble's MVP honors, she was also named to the All-Tournament team after batting .600 (6 for 10) with two doubles, a triple and a home run for a 1.300 slugging percentage. She totaled four runs in the tournament, scoring in each game and notching a pair of runs in Saturday's title game. The centerfielder had two hits in each game: the 8-0 win over Connecticut, the 2-0 win over DePaul and the 4-3 victory over Notre Dame.
Tori Collins, Taner Fowler and Alica Wolny joined her on the All-Tournament team.
Collins got the complete game shutout win against DePaul in the semifinals and posted a 1.27 ERA with eight strikeouts in 11.0 innings. Wolny batted .429 (3 for 7) with a home run, two RBIs and a run. Fowler hit .400 (4 for 10) with a home run, four RBIs and two runs in the tournament.
Notes From the BIG EAST Tournament
Prior to the 2012 title, the last time the Cardinals won the BIG EAST Tournament title was in 2007, when they defeated host Notre Dame 3-1.
This was the third straight year Louisville reached the finals of the tournament. They finished runner-up to Syracuse in 2010 and 2011.
Louisville (53-3) became the first team to win both the league's regular-season and tournament titles since Notre Dame did so in 2003.
The Cards snapped Notre Dame's 17 game winning streak .
Louisville Named BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year; Nine Cards Take Home BIG EAST honors
The University of Louisville softball coaches earned BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year and a school-record nine players earned all-conference honors as announced at the 2012 BIG EAST Softball banquet. Seniors Tori Collins and Kristin Austin and sophomore Taner Fowler were named to the first team. Sophomore Katie Keller was selected to the second team, while juniors Jennifer Esteban and Alicja Wolny, sophomores Caralisa Connell and Jordan Trimble and freshman Whitney Arion earned third team honors.
Coaching Staff of the Year
Louisville head coach Sandy Pearsall, associate head coach Carol Bruggeman, assistant coach Courtney Scott, volunteer assistant coach Lacy Wood and director of operations Lisa Pinkston were unanimously selected the 2012 Coaching Staff of the Year. This is the second coaching honor for UofL and the first since 2006. The No. 8/9 Cardinals, who have been ranked in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA polls all year, produced a 50-3 record this season, setting a school mark for wins in a season. UofL also set a school record for the longest winning streak, when it opened the season 28-0. In a win against St. John's on May 5, the Cardinals earned the program's, and its coaching staff's, 500th victory since its inception in 2000.
Nine All-Conference selections
Austin finished the regular season with a .377 average in BIG EAST play with 14 runs and two stolen bases. This marks her third all-conference selection.
Collins posted a 9-1 record and a 1.35 ERA against BIG EAST teams. The two-time All-Conference selection struck out 56 in 62.1 innings and registered two saves.
Fowler makes her first appearance on the all-conference team after posting a .303 batting average with six home runs, five doubles and 19 RBIs in league play.
Keller belted out four doubles and two home runs, drove in 13 runs and scored 11 in BIG EAST play.
Arion stepped into a starting role and went on to bat .291 with four home runs and 17 RBI in league play.
Connell notched a 7-1 mark against conference opponents with 41 strikeouts in 51.1 innings.
Esteban is a two-time selection after batting .292 with 15 runs and six stolen bases against BIG EAST opponents.
Trimble registered a .286 batting average with two home runs, seven doubles, 15 RBIs and 12 runs in league play.
Wolny earns her third-straight league honor after batting .322 with five doubles and three home runs with five doubles against BIG EAST competition.
Cards Ranked No. 7/9 Coaches' Polls
The Cardinals moved up to a program-best No. 7 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll after spending two weeks at No. 8. On April 17, the Cards reached the top 10 for the first time in program history when they jumped three spots from No. 12 to No. 9 - they have been in the top 10 for the past five weeks. This is Louisville's 14th week in the USA Softball top 25 after debuting at No 23 on Feb. 14 and moving up each week. Prior to this season, 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 Cards remained at No. 9 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll for the fourth straight week - also marking the program's highest ranking in that poll. The Cards have appeared in the top 25 in all 15 ranking periods this year and have been in the top 10 for the past two weeks. 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.
Pearsall and the Cards reach the 500 win mark
The May 5 8-4 win over St. John's marked the University of Louisville's 500th win under head coach Sandy Pearsall since its inaugural season in 2000. Pearsall is in her 13th season after building the program from scratch. She has guided the Cardinals to four conference championships, and nine consecutive NCAA regional appearances including serving as a host site in 2009 and 2011.
Louisville Captures 2012 BIG EAST Regular Season Title
On May 5, the No. 8/9 University of Louisville softball team captured the regular season BIG EAST Conference title with a doubleheader sweep of host St. John's. The Cardinals defeated the Red Storm 15-4 and 8-4 to secure the title. Louisville notched its second BIG EAST Conference regular season title with the first one coming in 2006. The Cardinals won the 2007 tournament at Notre Dame.
Cards in the national standings
The most recent national statistical ranking were released on May 14 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 .946, The Cards have registered 90 doubles and are fourth with 1.61 doubles per game. Their 18 triples place them sixth in the nation with 0.32 triples per game. The collective 1.29 team ERA is fourth while the Cards' .975 fielding percentage is 15th. Louisville boasts a .314 batting average and a .489 slugging percentage - placing the Cards at Nos. 14 and 15 respectively.
Sophomore Chelsea Leonard leads the nation with 11 saves. Senior Kristin Austin is fourth in the nation with eight triples and sixth with 0.15 triples per game. Senior Tori Collins stands at 14th with a 1.26 ERA and sophomore Katie Keller is 19th with four sacrifice flies.
Seniors Kristin Austin, Tori Collins and Tesha Paysen, have won 180 games - the most of any class in program history. As freshmen, they helped set a school record with 48 wins and have broken that record with a 53-3 record as seniors. They have been to three straight NCAA regionals and hosted two. They won the 2012 BIG EAST regular season and tournament titles and posted two runner-up finishes in the BIG EAST Conference championship.
Cards Register First 50-win season; seventh 40-win season; ninth straight season of 30 or more wins
On May 5, the Cards defeated St. John's 15-4 and 8-4 to improve to 50-3 on the year, setting a new record for season win totals and registering the first 50-win season in program history.
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.
2012 - 53-3
2010 - 41-19
2009 - 48-11
2008 - 31-23
2006 - 45-11
2005 - 43-20
2004 - 41-19
2003 - 24-26
2002 - 27-28
2001 - 40-36
2000 - 36-26
Home Sweet Home
The Cards have been tough at home this season, posting a perfect 25-0 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 583, needing 35 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 with 207 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 recently snapped an 18 game win streak - which is the second longest streak in program history - on May 2 with an 8-1 loss at No. 5 Tennessee
The Cardinals have hit 46 home runs with 10 players connecting on roundtrippers. Taner Fowler leads the team with 12 home runs. Junior Alicja Wolny has eight. Sophomore Katie Keller and freshman Whitney Arion are tied with seven homers apiece. SophomoreJordan Trimble has four home runs while sophomore Katelyn Mann has notched two. Senior Kristin Austin, 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 .402 batting average, 44 runs, eight triples and recently tied a program-best hitting streak at 16. 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 24 shutouts through the Cards' 56 games. They carry a 1.29 team ERA - which entered the week at No. 5 in the nation and have 379 strikeouts in 373.1 innings. The trio of pitchers has also held opponents to a .184 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 1.30 ERA and is limiting opponents to a .192 batting average while striking out 104 in 86.0 innings. She leads the nation with 11 saves.
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.
Welcome Back Jordan
After suffering a season-ending injury early last year, redshirt sophomore Jordan Trimble has returned to form. The 2012 BIG EAST Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player started every game in centerfield or shortstop and carries a .315 batting average with 30 RBIs and 15 doubles.
Her leadoff home run in the top of the eighth lifted the Cards to a 4-3 win over Notre Dame in the BIG EAST Conference title game. She also registered her first career grand slam in the 9-0 win over No. 17 USF on April 18.
Sophomore second baseman Katie Keller recently snapped a season-high 11 game hitting streak and is second on the team with 39 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.
Ruckenbrod is now batting .283 with 19 RBIs and has thrown out 13 base stealers and picked off four.
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 12 home runs - surpassing last year's total of four - and leads the team with 50 RBIs.