Dec. 6, 2012
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - University of Louisville head softball coach Sandy Pearsall has released the 2013 softball schedule. The slate features five top 25 teams including No. 2 Oklahoma, No. 9 Texas, No. 15 Michigan, No. 23 Syracuse and No. 24 North Carolina as well as 13 teams who played in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. The Cardinals will also play 25 games at Ulmer Stadium.
"The 2013 schedule will be challenging, but at the same time a great opportunity to play several quality programs," said Pearsall. "Our team is coming off of a very successful year and we return the majority of our starting lineup. They have worked hard in the offseason and are eager to get started and continue that success."
Louisville will open the 2013 season at the UNLV Sportco Kickoff Classic Feb. 8-10 where they will face Central Florida, UNLV, Minnesota, Texas Tech and DePaul in a non-conference matchup. The Cards will then travel to the Jacksonville Tournament where they will face Stony Brook, Bethune-Cookman, Ohio State and Jacksonville Feb. 15-17.
The Cardinals will play their home opener against Kent State on Feb. 22 as part of the 2013 Cardinal Classic which also features Buffalo and Eastern Illinois in the final weekend of February.
The following weekend, Louisville will go back on the road to Orlando for the 2013 Citrus Classic, where they will face No. 9 Texas, Georgia Tech and Temple. The Cards will kick off a nine-game home stand against No. 15 Michigan, Miami, Austin Peay and Illinois State in the Red & Black Classic March 8-10 at Ulmer Stadium. The Cards will stay at Ulmer Stadium to face in-state rival Western Kentucky in a midweek matchup and will close out the home stand with the Louisville Classic which will feature North Carolina, Wisconsin, Ball State and Iowa.
Louisville will travel to Norman, Okla., for a three-game series with the Sooners who reached the 2012 Women's College World Series and finished the season ranked second in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches' Association poll. Upon returning from Oklahoma, the Cards will open the BIG EAST Conference slate when they play host to Syracuse March 29-30.
The Cards will open the month of April at home when in-state rival Kentucky pays a visit to Ulmer Stadium on April 3 to mark the last non-conference home game of the season. The following two weekends bring road trips to league opponents St. John's and Providence. Louisville will continue BIG EAST play at Ulmer Stadium against Connecticut in a three-game set and Pittsburgh in a midweek doubleheader before going back on the road for weekend series at Villanova.
U of L will wrap up the home season and celebrate senior weekend April 27-28 against BIG EAST opponent Georgetown when the Hoyas visit Ulmer Stadium. A trip to South Bend will conclude the regular season when the Cards and the Irish face off in an ESPNU televised doubleheader on May 4 and play the season finale on May 5.
The BIG EAST Conference Championship will be held May 9-11 in Tampa, Fla.
U of L is coming off of a program-best 2012 season in which the Cards posted a 55-5 overall record, won the BIG EAST regular season and tournament titles and made their ninth straight NCAA regional appearance. The Cardinals finished the season at No .17 in the USA Today/NFCA rankings and No. 18 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball coaches' poll, but spent five weeks in the top 10 of both polls, reaching as high as Nos. 9 and 7 respectively. Louisville returns seven starters and 12 letterwinners including All-American Taner Fowler and fellow all-conference selections Alicja Wolny, Katie Keller, Whitney Arion, Caralisa Connell, Jennifer Esteban and Jordan Trimble.