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Friday, May 24, 2019

AC, AD, VB and CC from Jared Anderson -- FRIDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



Good news in the realm of professional women's basketball....WNBA style. 

Asia Durr and Arica Carter were both announced to their respective WNBA team rosters yesterday.  Durr, who went second overall in the WNBA Draft and wound up with the NY Liberty was, by all accounts, a shoo-in. Definitely one of the best women's college basketball players we say last season, or of this generation. She saw starts in the pre-season and we'll venture to say that stays the same in the regular. 

Carter, going in the third round to the Phoenix Mercury, wasn't as solid as guarantee for a roster spot. In terms of basketball IQ, Arica is one of the most knowledgeable. The Mercury roster is a interesting mix of six players with 10 years of NBA experience or more and three rookies. Add the coaching staff, primarily from Australia,  and 6'9" Brit Griner and you have an eclectic mix of age, culture and possibilities out in our nation's 48 state. 

Cardinal fans will also be delighted to know that Myisha Hines-Allen returns to Washington's roster this season and Asia Taylor will be playing for the Indiana Fever. Nine-year veteran (has it really been that long since we've seen her dashing around Freedom Hall in the red and black?) Angel McCoughtry is also listed on Atlanta Dream's roster but won't be playing anytime soon because of torn ligaments in her left knee -- suffered in August 2018 -- .

There you have it, Cardinal fans. Five players, five different teams to draw your rooting interests. Sadly, the Washington Mystics prevented Sam Fuehring from making this a ""six pack of Cards" -- but she has been one of the strongest fighters to ever step on the court at UofL and it wouldn't surprise me to see her head overseas to gain valuable experience and give it another shot in 2020. 


As spring begins to leave and summer rolls in, we have reached the point of the year where fall schedules are being released. Field Hockey issued their schedule recently and now Volleyball has done the same. 

The Student Activities Center Arena (SAC) has been renamed the L&N Federal Credit Union Cardinal Arena. They dropped a generous donation in Cardinal Athletics lap 

Will fans call it "the LNFCUCA"? That's rather unwieldy, so I expect either "the L&N", "Cardinal Arena" or...still, "the SAC" will be the terminology used when referring to events there. 

Here's a quick look at the schedule: 


The Red and Black intra-squad scrimmage starts things off on August, 17th. A week later, Miami (OH) pays a Saturday visit to campus. The Cardinal Classic is slated for the weekend of August 30th. and Florida, Dayton and Texas A&M are the invitees.


A new tournament, the Fleur de Lis, will be hosted at "Cardinal Arena" beginning Sept. 6th. Tenn. Tech, WKU and Arizona State are the participants with our campus "serve and kill" girls. The Cards make a road trip, their first of the season, Sept 13 and 14 to play in the Lipscomb Tournament in Nashville. Purdue joins the two down there. 

Kentucky hosts the Cards on Sept. 20th. and UofL keeps traveling, to Cincinnati for Sept 22nd. volleyball against the Cincinnati Bearcats.

The start of ACC play gets underway in the final weekend of September, Louisville hosting NC State and UNC. 


Georgia Tech and Clemson visit "the L&N" on the first weekend of Pumpkin month. The Cards go travelling after that, with four on the road at Duke, Wake Forest, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. Louisville returns home to close out October against Virginia and Pitt. 


To the road again for Dani Busboom Kelly's squad. Boston College, Syracuse, Miami and Florida State the venues before the Cards come home to take on Syracuse in a rematch on November 15th. The month and regular season closes out with Notre Dame and Miami visiting Louisville and a trip for UofL to Pitt on Nov. 27th. 

The ACC does not have a conference tournament for Volleyball. 

22 opportunities to see Volleyball on Floyd Street. 85 days until the action begins. 

You can expect Cardinal Volleyball expert Jeff "Worldwide" McAdams to break down and analyze this schedule and squad here at the site and on radio as the season gets closer.


It's back to the days of old when Paulie and Jeff will be the only bodies in the majestic, magical, magnificent media mansion on Mellwood this Saturday. 

Case is still watching cars turn left. Show contributor Daryl Foust's whereabouts are unknown, most likely rambling somewhere on her birthday month, Memorial Day sojourn.

As for me, I'm in Fort Mill, SC, visiting my lovely woman for the weekend. A potential trip to Charleston with her family looks possible as well. If you have any suggestions on what to do there, I'd love to hear them.  

I've informed Paulie I'll be available for a phone call Saturday for thoughts on softball, Volleyball and other assorted Cardinal sports subjects. 

I wrote this article on my flight to South Carolina, sent it to Paulie via e-mail and my I-Pad battery remained at 100% the entire time I performed the task. Thank you, God of Smart Devices, for the divine providence and guidance. 

11 a.m. Saturday for the show. You'll find a link below to explore your viewing and listening options. The show is broadcasted on Facebook Live, as well as regular FM  radio, on-line and by selected alien representatives from the moons of Mars. 


Happy Friday and Memorial Day weekend!


Thursday, May 23, 2019

11 from Women's Track and Field to compete in NCAA Prelims -- WNBA News -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


The University of Louisville has 11 student-athletes competing in the NCAA East Preliminaries at the University of North Florida beginning today.

They will be trying to qualify for the NCAA Outdoor Championships that will take place June 5-8 in Austin, TX. 

Here's the breakdown: 

HAMMER THROW -- Makenli Forrest, Halee Hudson

POLE VAULT -- Gabriela Leon, Morgan Zacharias

100m HURDLES -- Kayla Alexander, Sydney Hill

LONG JUMP -- Alexis Gibbons

10000m -- Dorcas Wasike, Ivine Chemutai

HIGH JUMP -- Alivia Ash

SHOT PUT -- Rashida Harris

If you have the paid subscription to FloSports Track, they'll be showing the East Prelims live. UofL's track and Field twitter account also will keep you up on the progress. 

Check with Cardinal Couple for the latest updates on these Cardinals in their pursuits for the NCAA Championships.  

We wish our Track and Field Cardinal the very best of times, numbers and results over the next three days as they give it their best to make it to the NCAA Championships! 



With one day (today) left before WNBA rosters have to trim down to 12 players, all four  former UofL WBB players on rosters have survived the cuts, so far. 

Asia Taylor looks to remain with the Indiana Fever, Indiana did waive Kayla Alexander yesterday, so A-Tayy's spot looks to be safe. A-tayy seems to be a good fit in Indy and with seven guards listed on their current 13 player roster, we'll predict anymore waivers come from that spot. 

Arica Carter made it through another round of cuts out in Phoenix. She's one of six guards listed on their current roster of 13 and one of four rookies listed. With Diana Taurasi unavailable for another 3-5 weeks but listed on the roster, we like A/C's chances to remain with the Mercury. 

Myisha Hines-Allen is listed as one of the 13 left on the Washington Mystics roster. We feel "Mooks" is O.K. here...the Mystics cut a couple of players back over the last few days and with eight guards still on Washington's roster, we're betting any final cuts would come from that position. 

Asia Durr looks to be solid with the New York Liberty. They still show 15 players on roster, but six of them are centers and eight are guards...I doubt the Liberty would waive the 2nd overall 2019 WNBA draft pick and Durr has been starting for NY, so...we declare her safe as well for a spot on the "Big Apple" roster. 

Here's a cut that is surprising: 

Megan Gustafson was the 2019 Naismith Award winner and was the AP Player Of The Year, and she was the Big Ten Player Of The Year in both 2018 and 2019 for the Iowa Hawkeyes. She averaged 27.9 points and 13.5 rebounds per game as a 6'3" center and shot 70.1% from the floor while attempting 16.5 field goals per game.

She was drafted 17th overall, the fifth pick of the WNBA's second round in the 2019 draft. On Wednesday, Gustafson was part of the Dallas Wings' final round of cuts.



Asia Taylor has a close and special relationship with her mom, Felicia. She had the chance to do something very special for her buying her a house...and did so. 

The surprise revealing and announcement was captured on Instagram and we proudly share it with you today: 

Just one example of the kind, caring and giving student-athletes and their works that have graced the Belknap Campus over the years and continue to. We salute you, A-Tayy ! 

(thanks to former Cardinal Couple columnist and reader Jenny O'Bryan for notifying me of this special moment.) 

have a terrific Thursday 


Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Jared Anderson looks to 2020 in Softball and reviews 2019 -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


(In a probably-way-too-early look at Louisville Softball for 2020, columnist Jared Anderson takes a look at who could be key for Holly Aprile's team next season).

With Paulie covering a wide range of women's basketball news yesterday it left the door open for me to talk about my favorite sport we cover here at CARDINAL COUPLE. 


Softball season has just ended for the gang that graces Dan Dobina Field at Ulmer Stadium and it was a highly successful one for the Cards. They did something no one squad had ever done before in winning the first two games of their NCAA Regional assignment -- in Holly Aprile's first year as head coach. The 35-23, 12-12 record is a good start toward greater successes down the road. Pending no transfers-out and players retiring from the game, Louisville definitely has strengths returning...before we even look at new additions

PITCHING should not be a problem for UofL. Both Taylor Roby and Danielle Watson return to the circle and I can see them splitting the majority of the time there. Paige Schindler is also listed as a right-handed pitcher. Kyra Snyder saw action in the circle as well. The loss of Megan Hensley, although significant, is one of those things you can't avoid...players eventually graduate and move on. 

CATCHING should be very solid with Rebecca Chung behind the plate. Between her powerful bat and ability to gun down runners on base, it's hard not to imagine her seeing the bast majority of time in front of the umpire. Cassidy Greenwood is listed as a catcher as well and showed dependability in her playing time. Madison Cousineau saw some starts for the Cards in 2019 behind the plate and will be missed. 

FIRST BASE should continue to be strong with Kyra Snyder covering the bag. As mentioned, she's also listed as a pitcher but only made two appearances in the circle for a total of five innings. She played almost every inning "at the bag" and did it quite effectively in 2019. Unless Aprile decided to move her into a pitching role, she should be covering first for UofL.

Madison Ciaccio has experience at the spot also. 

SECOND BASE. When Blaire Bass went down with the knee injury early in 2019, Maddy Newman took over the position and was a ball magnet on the right side of the diamond. Newman also showed she had some very good hitting skills and I expect to see her continue to grow and develop for Louisville. 

SHORTSTOP. Caitlin Ferguson has played both short and third in her three years at Louisville and would appear to have short "locked down" again, unless Aprile moves her to third. She was the starter at short in 2019 and made some very nice plays there. 

THIRD BASE.  This is an area that Aprile will need to fill, with Sidney Melton's graduation. Eden Mayo, Erin Wilbur and Madison Ciaccio are all listed as reserve infielders. Does Aprile go there, or move someone from another position to "the hot corner" or put a freshman by the bag? We'll watch with interest the developments there. 

LEFT FIELD.  Charley Butler had the ground well covered unless she went out with an ACL injury. Jordyn Wolfe stepped in and handled to sport quite well. With right-field being vacant also (we'll get to that) you would figure Butler to start out in the grass somewhere, but, that'll all depend on the knee. Either way, Louisville will be solid at the spot 

CENTER FIELD. This is Celene Funke's domain and she plays the spot with abandon and fiery competition. Moving over from left after the 2018 season and graduation of Nicole Pufahl, Funke made herself right at home covering the middle of the outfield and we can see no reason she won't do the same in 2020. 

RIGHT FIELD.  Megan Hensley saw a lot of time there in 2019 and Riley Schindler patrolled the area when Hensley was in the circle. Aprile will have a key decision to make for 2020. Does she move Wolfe to right or put Schindler in the spot full time? Could Butler go to right? Another spot we'll be watching and wondering about when the squad gathers in the spring for pre-season ball. 


So, the Holly Aprile Era has begun and year one is complete. The former Pittsburgh coach led the Cards to their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2016 and to their first "winner's bracket" final. 

Highlights would include several major wins against top 25 programs. Two against FSU, a walk-off victory over Kentucky, a win at Virginia Tech, a win over Missouri -- plus victories against Northwestern and Michigan. 

We saw plenty of spotlight moments from Softball's student-athletes. Charley Butler and Jordyn Wolfe both "dove" their way into SportsCenter Top 10 recognition with amazing fielding catches. Rebecca Chung and Taylor Roby each received praise from "that four-letter network for their walk-off hits against FSU and Kentucky. 

Several individuals had seasons that ranked them in certain categories in the NCAA and several program records fell this season. 


-- 11th in the country with 35 stolen bases. A school record
-- 23rd at .60 steals per game 
-- 4 steals against Morehead St., a school record for a game.
-- 68 career steals, good for second all-time career at UofL
-- 157 runs scored, placing her in the top three in UofL history


-- 31st in the nation with 29 steals
-- 13 triples, good to lead the NCAA this season and a UofL single-season record
-- 15 career triples, currently in a tie for second all-time at Louisville.
-- Funke still has a year to go, so we expect there are many more record within her reach


-- Four grand-slams, tying her for first in Cardinal program history
-- 38 home runs, good for a tie for second all-time at UofL
-- Nine career saves from the circle, fifth in program history
-- With 543.2 innings pitched, she is fifth in program history
-  50 career wins, fifth in program history


-- 164 strike outs, a career-high and 72nd in the nation
-- 269 career strike outs put her in the top 10 in program history. She still has two years       remaining to better this mark.

Some team numbers of note would include leading the nation in triples in 2019 (31) and stealing 106 bases, putting them the country in this stat. 311 runs scored tied them for 33rd. in the nation and 5.36 runs per game is 42nd. in the country. 

The Cards do lose five seniors, in Hensley, Melton, Cousineau, Bass and Darianne Hale. Hensley and Melton spent their entire careers at Louisville, the other three were transfers into the program. All will be remembered for their contributions in their careers and missed. 

Stats aside, this squad set the tone for what expectations can be for Louisville softball. They were one of five ACC squads to make the NCAA Tournament and as Aprile starts to get "her players" on campus and the team grows even more familiar with "Holly-Ball", I fully expect the Cards to climb even higher in the polls, ACC and make yearly runs in the NCAA Tournament. 

Happy Wednesday and GO CARDS
Jared Anderson

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

2019 USA Basketball Women's U19 and Pan Am Teams Announced -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Out of the 30 athletes that tried out for this squad in Colorado Springs over the past week or so, 12 have been selected for Head Coach Jeff Walz and his assistants Natasha Adair and Cori Close to coach.

Cardinal WBB fans will recognize a few of the names on the 12-player roster that will go to the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup in Bangkok, Thailand July 20-28.

The roster is listed below, in alphabetical order, with asterisks by those who have made college choices or already played for their college team)   

* Francesca Belibi (Connecticut) 

* Aliyah Boston (South Carolina) 

* Cameron Brink (Stanford) 

* Paige Bueckers (Connecticut) 

Caitlan Clark (Dowling Catholic/ West Des Moines, IA) 

* Queen Egbo (Baylor)  

* Naz Hillmon-Baker (Michigan) 

* Rhyne Howard (Kentucky)

* Jordan Nixon (Notre Dame) 

* NaLyssa Smith (Baylor) 

Celeste Taylor (Long Island Lutheran_ /Valley Stream, NY)

Hailey Van Lith (Cashmere H.S./Wenatchee, WA) 

Some players who did try out for the squad and did not make it include...Elizabeth Dixon (Louisville), Ashley Joens, Maori Davenport and Aijha Blackwell. The last three played on the 2018 U18 squad Walz coached in Mexico City and Dixon is headed to Louisville after leaving Georgia Tech. 

Howard is back and she was the MVP of the 2018 Tournament. She also plays at UK, a fact UofL fans well know and have to deal with the next three years. Hillmon-Baker and Smith also participated for USA when they won the title last year. 

Out of the 12, Connecticut is represent with two on the roster. So is Baylor.  

Selections were made by the USA Basketball Women's Junior National team Committee, chaired by George Washington University's head Coach Jennifer Rizzotti. 


Another UofL WBB star, Dana Evans, tried out for the 2019 USA Pan Am team. Unfortunately, she did not make the squad.

Followers of NCAA DI women's basketball will recognize most of the names that made the squad. The roster looks very solid for Merchant and her staff and Cardinal fans will notice that Miami front-liner Bea Mompremire is on the roster.  

 That roster, to be coached by M.S.U.'s Suzy Merchant, is below: 

Bella Alarie  (Princeton) 
Brittany Brewer  (Texas Tech) 
Chennedy Carter (Texas A&M) 
Kathleen Doyle (Iowa)
Tyasha Harris (South Carolina) 
Taylor Mikesell  (Maryland)
Bea Mompremier (Miami) 
Michaela Onyenware (UCLA) 
Mikayla Pivec (Oregon St.) 
Lindsey Pulliam (Northwestern) 
Kiana Williams (Stanford) 
Peyton Williams (Kansas St.) 


Four Cardinals still on WNBA rosters after team waivers through 5/20/19.

Myisha Hines-Allen is still on Washington's roster. Asia Durr remains with the NY Liberty.  Asia Taylor a part of the Indiana roster and Arica Carter listed on Phoenix's roster. 

Teams have until 5/23/19 (Thursday) to get down to a 12 player roster. The WNBA season starts May 24. 

In Sunday pre-season action, Asia Taylor played 10 minutes in Indiana's 71-66 win over Dallas. A-Tayy had two points on 1-3 shooting, two steals and two rebounds. Asia Durr started for New York on Sunday against the Connecticut Sun. Nite-Nite played 19 minutes, going 0-3 from the floor and picking up two assists and two rebounds in the Liberty's 100-66 loss. 

Have a terrific Tuesday!


Monday, May 20, 2019

Softball Cards fall twice to Northwestern in Evanston Regional -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


A tough Sunday for the Louisville Softball Cards and their fans in Evanston,IL yesterday. 

Northwestern needed to win two games on Sunday to win their regional and they were able to do that. One of those wins was very solid...the other was greatly aided by a blown call on the diamond. 


After a two-hour delay because of rain in Evanston, the squads finally took the field for the first game. Louisville was facing freshman lefty Danielle Williams and the Big 10 Freshman of the Year was on her game in the circle during the first contest. 

The Wildcats put together two walks and a sacrifice fly in the top of the first inning for a run against Cardinal starter Megan Hensley and that lead held for three innings in a pitcher's duel. Hensley had a no-hitter going, despite trailing 1-0 when she was replaced by freshman Taylor Roby in the circle. 

(Yes...I got your texts, Cardinal Couple readers and fans. I can't tell you why the change in the circle happened. It might have been pre-planned, since Hensley hadn't thrown in two weeks. I am definitely not the one to question any coaching decision in any sport. Coach Aprile certainly must have had her reasons, so you need to trust in your coaches and their decisions and I won't second-guess them.) 

The change in throwers didn't go well. Northwestern responded with a four-hit, four run inning to take a 5-0 lead. 

With Williams continuing to keep the Cards off-balance at bat with her deceptive and effective change-up. Louisville never put a run across the plate. Williams struck out 10 UofL batters in six innings of work and the Cards produced just two hits for the game. Hensley eventually returned to the circle for Louisville and Northwestern added runs in the sixth and seventh innings in the shutout. 


Williams returned to the circle for Northwestern in game two and the Cards countered with a Danielle of their own...sophomore Danielle Watson. Watson had handled the Wildcats on Saturday with a 2-1 win and, despite the turn in momentum, you had to feel good about Louisville's chances in the seventh game of the regional. 

And, we saw a pitcher's duel for the first three innings. Due to a lack of communication from ESPN on where the game was being shown, I missed the Cards first at-bat. Eventually finding it on my television and on ESPNU instead of my laptop (where I had watched the first game) I picked up the action in the bottom of the first inning. 

Thanks...four-letter network...for throwing me and other fans unable to attend the game a change-up.

Northwestern struck first, in the bottom of the fourth, when Morgan Newport connected on a two-RBI double. Watson was beginning to show a little discomfort in her throwing hand (she mentioned later it was a blister on her finger) but got out of the jam, allowing just two runs. 

The Cards had an answer in the top of the fifth. Caitlin Ferguson worked Williams for a walk. Kyra Snyder singled to center and Rebecca Chung got hit by a pitch. Bases loaded, no outs. Pinch-hitter Darrianne Hale went down on a strike-out, but the last pitch eluded the Northwestern catcher and Ferguson scored. Celene Funke laid down a sacrifice bunt, trying to score Snyder, but the play at home resulted in Snyder being called out. Sidney Melton's single brought Chung home and the Cards had tied it up at 2-2. Megan Hensley drew a walk to load the bases again, but Williams got out of the jam by getting an inning-ending strike out.

It was Northwestern's turn in the bottom of the fifth. With Watson having trouble finding the strike zone because of the blistered finger, the Cats benefited from two walks, a hit batter and two RBI single to center. It was now 4-2 after five. 

The Cards threatened again in the top of the sixth. Maddy Newman beat out an infield single and moved to second on Ferguson's single to center.  Snyder followed with a single to left, but, in a totally-blown call...Newman was called out at third on the relay throw. 

Video evidence, shown time and time again on ESPN U, clearly showed that the Northwestern third baseman's foot was OFF THE BAG when she caught the throw from left field. Newman should have been called safe. The third base umpire blew the call. Holly Aprile charged onto the field, protested the call, asked the home plate umpire for a reversal, but the call was upheld. Aprile was furious and had every right in the world to be. 

There is no video replay in college softball. Newman was safe, video evidence backed that up and the archaic NCAA Softball rules that don't allow video reviews hurt the Cards badly. Instead of the bases loaded and no outs, the situation now stood at runners on first and second and one out.

Talk about a situation-changer!  A back-breaker, for sure. The Cards still had at-bats remaining but couldn't get Ferguson or Snyder home and left the inning scoreless. 

Celene Funke made an incredible catch in left-center in the bottom of the sixth to prevent any further Wildcat damage but fell awkwardly on her shoulder during the diving grab and actually popped the shoulder out of socket. She was able to get it back in place after a very nervous-for-Cardinal fans and players stoppage of action and did not have to leave the game. It was still 4-2 when the Cards came to bat in the top of the seventh. 

Funke was the first batter for UofL and heroically drove a one-handed shot down the right-field line for a triple. She scored on a Melton grounder to get Louisville back within one run. Unfortunately, the Cards could not muster another base-runner or run in the rest of the inning and Northwestern took the 4-3 win.

A tough way to end the season, for sure. We usually try to stay away from ref-baiting here, as a rule...and maybe I ranted a bit too strongly, so I blame the system. A system set up by the NCAA, for not having the simplest of solutions in play. 

Video review.

It's readily available and the wrong call was clearly demonstrated on national TV.

Video review is used in many other NCAA Division I sports. It was certainly there for the asking yesterday. I blame the NCAA, but, hey...I guess I'm going to be standing in a long line to register a complaint like that. 


An incredible season ends for the Louisville Softball squad. For the first time in history, the Cards won their first two games in NCAA Regional action. Credit to this team that embraced new coach Holly Aprile, bought in to her style and philosophy and pulled some very nice upsets of nationally ranked teams this season.

A magnificent job by Holly and her staff in getting this group of student-athletes together, getting them to believe in themselves and their abilities and...despite a couple of season-ending injuries to key players...the team rallied around each other and fulfilled their mission to create an unforgettable 2019 season. 

Hensley and Melton will be greatly missed next season, no doubt, but both had fantastic careers as Louisville Softball student-athletes. The future looks very bright for 2020 UofL Softball, with seven starters depth in the circle and on the bench.

It's up to Funke, Roby, Watson, Snyder, Newman, Ferguson and the other returning Cards and the incoming freshmen to carry the torch now. Based on what we saw in 2019, there is no doubt that fire will continue to burn brightly and softball success for Louisville will continue to grow. 3/4th of the infield returns, 2/3rd of the outfield and  strong arms in the circle and behind the plate are back. The future looks quite bright, indeed.  

It's been a wonderful pleasure and honor to follow and report to you this season the successes of these battling "Ulmer" Cards and I truly look forward to next season. 


Post game remarks below from Danielle Watson, Celene Funke and Holly Aprile.



Sunday, May 19, 2019

Softball Upsets Northwestern -- SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

(Case Hoskins writes the Sunday CARDINAL COUPLE

column today, as regularly scheduled Sunday Columnist "Worldwide" Jeff McAdams wrote Saturday's article. )

Cards Advance to Regional Finals

After a lengthy rain delay in the fifth inning yesterday, Louisville was able to hold on against the hosting Northwestern Wildcats to advance to today's final game(s). The Cards defeated NU 2-1 at around 7:15 p.m.Eastern time, after which two games still had to be played. Northwestern had to compete in the second of the two, which wrapped up after midnight local time. The Cards and Cats will hit the field for the first of a possible two games at 2 p.m.Eastern today.

After the Cards went down 1-2-3 with two strikeouts in the top of the first, Northwestern came to bat with a bit more patience at the plate. The Wildcats coaxed three walks out of Danielle Watson to load the bases before Watson was able to pick up the third out with a strikeout looking on a 2-2 count. Sometimes patience can bite you. In the second, the Cards went 3 up, 3 down after a huge beginning to the inning. .

Those three outs came after first batter of the inning Taylor Roby took the first pitch she saw over the fence in right center field. Louisville led 1-0. Moving to the bottom of the second, Northwestern was able to get some action going, as they put two runners on base with one out before Watson shut down the momentum with a pop out and a strikeout. 

The next two and a half innings would see a total of two base runners reach, a walk and a single in
the bottom of the third. Louisville played five innings at bat with just the one base runner being Roby's home run. After the top of the fifth, the weather delay started. It began with rain coming down fairly hard, putting the game into a rain delay.

As the rain appeared to let up, lightning took its place, bringing on required 30 minute delays. Everyone watched as the day moved on, knowing the schedule showed the continuation of this game plus two more for the evening. The wait continued. After a 3 hour and 11 minute delay, Northwestern took their shot at the bottom of the fifth. They got one single and Watson shut down the inning.

In the sixth inning, for the fifth time, Louisville went 3 up, 3 down. In the bottom half, for only the second time, Danielle Watson faced the minimum. An error still put a runner on base, but that runner was eliminated after the next batter hit into a double play. The top of the seventh was familiar to Louisville fans. Sidney Melton, like Taylor Roby, led off the inning with a home run. It took Melton one more pitch to do it, but she sent a 1-0 fastball directly over the center field fence. The Cards' next three batters were sat down in order.

Needing three outs to avoid advance, Louisville once again sent out Danielle Watson and for the first time all day, she was tagged. Watson got two quick outs with a strikeout and fly out, but the third batter reached on Watson's sixth walk of the day. She was brought home by a double that went over Hensley's head in right, making the Louisville fans a bit nervous. Northwestern sent out a pinch hitter to try to bring in the tying run or more, but Watson kept the ball on the ground for an easy grounder to Fergie to end the game. 

Overall, Northwestern's Danielle Williams threw a perfect game outside of the two home runs. She struck out ten Cardinals and allowed no baserunners otherwise. Roby and Melton saved the Cards by finding just enough pop to send their hits over the fence. Danielle Watson, on the other hand, found herself in trouble most of the day, but was able to show the resolve to pitch out of it in every situation. It was a testament to Holly Aprile's trust in her pitcher to not pull Watson in any of the situations that could have led to some damage by the Wildcat hitters.

We'll see who Aprile trusts today as the Cards will take on the Wildcats today until one of the two teams has two losses on the weekend.

Hopefully, Louisville can come out and win the first game and be done with it. If not, the Cards will have the advantage of Northwestern playing back to back games after a very late night last night. First pitch is set for 2 P.M. Eastern. Television is not listed, but you should be able to find it on ESPN 3 on-line As the 16th seeded regional, it's not likely the Cards vs. Wildcats will get ESPN or ESPN 2.

Best of luck to Holly's Heart-stoppers! One win away from the Cards first-ever Super Regional!

Follow Paulie on Twitter today for updates:  @cardinalcouple

LINK: Post-game comments from Danielle Watson, Sidney Melton and Holly Aprile below:


Until next time, Go Cards!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Softball Swings for the fences -- The Jeff McAdams fill-in column today -- Saturday Cardinal Couple

"Worldwide" Jeff McAdams with article today, in a swap with Case.  He'll have the Sunday write-up.  Let's hope the theme of winning stays the same.

Softball Swings for the Fences

NCAA opening rounds for Softball got underway, with the Cards visiting Evanston, IL with hosting 16 seed Northwestern.  The first matchup for the Cards was with Southern Illinois.  They're the Salukis, a breed of dog similar to a Greyhound.

The Cards got the scoring going early.  Sidney Melton got it started with a walk, and then of course stole second, because that's just what she does.  The throw to second was missed and the ball rolled out into the outfield, giving Melton enough time to pop up from her dive, and get the wheels spinning again to 3rd and slid between the catcher's legs to beat the throw at the plate for the first run.  Megan Hensley, Taylor Roby, and Rebecca Chung all got walks, and then a passed ball let Hensley slip home for the 2nd run.

In the 2nd inning, Celene Funke beat the throw for an infield single, and then, well, yeah, she stole
2nd as well (do you really need me to confirm that Melton or Funke stole 2nd when they get on 1st at this point?).  Then it was Melton's turn again.  Just between us friends, she never should have swung at this ball, it was high and tight, and probably would've been called a ball, but Sid chased it upstairs, and with an awkward swing, not only made contact, but got some power behind it and took it past the left field fence.  Funke and Melton both cross the plate on the shot making it 4-0.

The Salukis would get their bats unlimbered, though and score 2 in the 3rd inning, and 3 in the 4th to take the lead 5-4.

The Cards would answer that 5th run in the bottom of the 4th, though.  Maddy Newman got an infield hit, advanced to 2nd on Caitlin Ferguson's sacrifice bunt, and then reached the plate on Funke's single.  (OK, in the interest of fairness, Funke got caught out trying to steal 2nd to end the inning.)

While SIU was done scoring, the Cards weren't.  Hensley got her power going with a solo shot to left centerfield for her 13th of the season.  She leads the team, here.  Taylor Roby reached, then advanced when Rebecca Chung got hit by a pitch.  Erin Wilbur came in to fill in for Chung on the basepaths.  Roby and Wilbur both advanced on a Kyra Snyder groundout, and then came home for the 2nd and 3rd runs of the inning on a Maddy Newman double.

The Cards would add one more in the bottom of the 6th.  On two outs, Sid Melton got a single on a bunt, advanced to 2nd when Hensley got to take a stroll, they both would advance, and Taylor Roby reach first on a fielding error by the SIU shortstop.  Rebecca Chung got the final RBI with a single that brought Melton home.

The Cards will play hosting Northwestern in the 1-0 game of the double-elimination Regional.  SIU drops down to the elimination half of the bracket and will play Detroit Mercy who were on the losing side of the other first day game.

The schedule for the day is the 1-0 game between NU and UofL at 2 P.M.

Jeff McAdams