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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Softball sweeps Seton Hall, Lacrosse vs. Ohio State today

CARDINAL COUPLE SUNDAY

-Cards improve to 4-1 in BIG EAST with sweep

-Katie Petrino joins softball squad

-Lacrosse against Ohio State today

-The Final Four...some thoughts and picks

-Sidelne Announcers Final Four

Louisville softball relied on the arm of Caralisa Connell yesterday and powerful hitting as the Cards sunk the Pirates 7-2 and 10-2 in BIG EAST softball action at Ulmer Stadium.

It's a Louisville team that is without the services of 2/3rds the pitching staff. Last year's #2 and #3 pitchers Tori Collins and Chelsea Leonard, who figured prominently in Sandy Pearsall's plans for the 2011 season are sidelined...Leonard most likely for the season with a knee injury and Collins with a fractured foot. Collins could possibily return in a couple of weeks. The pitching job has been turned over to true freshman Caralisa Connell and she's responded with six straight wins...since last Saturday...all complete games...and a 12-4 record on the year.

Louisville took the fight early to the Pirates in the first game, a Maggie Ruckenbrod double scored Chelsea Bemis in the 2nd inning to make it 1-0. Louisville added two in the third when Ruckenbrod singled to score Alicja Wolny and Kristin Austin's single brought home Chelsea Bemis. Katie Keller's solo shot in the 4th. increased the Cards lead to 4-0 and they ended the inning ahead 6-0, thanks to a timely triple from Alicja Wolny.

After the Pirates plated two runs in the top of the fifth, the Cards added their final run in the bottom of the inning when Hannah Kiyohara singled home Keller for the 7-2 win. Connell struck out eight in the victory and scattered seven hits.

In game two, the Cards gave up an early run to Seton Hall in the first but tied it in the bottom half on the inning when Keller reached on a fielder's choice and scored on an error. Louisville broke it open in the home half of the second with five runs on five hits and an error. Taner Fowler's double and Keller's single were key in the the outburst.

After Seton Hall got one back in the third, to make it 6-2...Louisville (25-10) went wild in the fifth with four runs for the final 10-2 margin. Singles from Austin, Fowler and Kiyohara produced two runs, Esteban double put runners on second and third and she and Kiyohara scored on a Keller double to end it.

The teams match up for the final game in the series today at 11 a.m.

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The Cards added backup pitching relief to the roster when Katie Petrino walked on the team before action on Saturday. If the name sounds familiar, it is. Her father Bobby Petrino was head football coach at Louisville for five years before accepting the job with the Atlanta Falcons NFL franchise. Katie is a redshirt freshman at Louisville who came here to compete on golf team. She was the starting pitcher on two Fayetteville, Arkansas state championship high school softball teams, though...and won several regional and local awards while on the mound...including two First Team All-Arkansas roster selecions. Ms. Petrino can "wail it a ton off the tee" according to Louisville women's golf coach Kelly Meyers Rothberg. Let's hope she carries the right ball to the mound if she toes the strip for the softball Cards...

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Lacrosse brings in Ohio State for a 1 p.m. match today at the Louisville Lacrosse Stadium. The wicket Cards are ranked #20 in the nation and are coming off a 12-6 win over Vanderbilt in their last outing. The 8-1 Cards have scored in double digits in the last 19 games. Liz Lovejoy had four goals in the recent win and Bergan Foley added the final two scores i the win over #13 ranked Vandy.

This is "Friends of Jaclyn" day at the stadium and donations will be accepted for the foundation that strives to improve the quality of life for children who have pediatric brain tumors.

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The Final Four is set in Indy and Connecticut, Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Stanford fight today for the right to play in Tuesday night's title game at the Conseco Fieldhouse. The Irish and Huskies are no strangers to each other, having met twice before this year. Connecticut defeated the Irish 79-76 in South Bend and 73-64 in the finals of the BIG EAST Tournament. The Huskies haven't loss since a 71-59 defeat to Stanford on Dec.30th. in the Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, CA.

WE see UConn surviving a close battle against the Irish in the 9:30 p.m. game tonight. The Huskies will have to win the battle of the boards against Bruiser Bruszewski  and Devereaux Peters. They'll also need to shut down guards Skylar Diggins and Brittany Mallory. WE'RE impressed with the improvement of Huskies' freshman center Stefanie Dolson throughout the season, though...and there's the Maya Moore factor, as well. A key could be the play of freshman Bria Hartley at point for UConn. 

The evening of hoops begins at 7:30 with the Texas A&M Aggies squaring off against the Stanford Cardinal. The Aggies surprised most by punching a ticket to 'Naptown' with a win over Baylor...a team that had beaten them three times in the regular season. Danielle Adams is a powerful center and prolific scorer. Stanford cruised through the PAC 10 schedule and then ousted Cinderella story Gonzaga in Spokane without much trouble. Coached by Tara VanDerveer and featuring the powerful Ogwumike sisters in the paint, Stanford can hurt you several ways...younger sis Chiney was named to the First Team Freshman All-American team and big sis Nnemkadi to the State Farm All Coaches First Team. Hmmm...Ogwumike must translate into "basketball" in Nigeria. They also have two younger sisters and older sis Gabe has played professionally in Europe and the WNBA. WE'RE betting those back yard battles in Texas are something to see...

WE'LL be pretty obvious here and selected the Stanford squad to slip into the Finals over A&M. Seniors Kayla Pederson and Jeanette Pohlen give the Trees a couple of more scoring options and Stanford is the only team to hang a "L" on UConn this year...that's enough to convince us that they're the shining star on the west coast. 

Is college basketball ready, though...for the possibility of BOTH title holders being from Storrs, Connecticut? Do the people in Connecticut need their egos inflated anymore? Are Jim Calhoun and Geno Auriemma actually the same person? How flooded was the Lexington. KY crisis hotline last night after "dem Kats" bowed out to the Huskies? Yeah...looks like a beautiful Sunday on tap today.
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Erin Andrews takes on Allison Williams in one of the semifinals today in the Sideline Annoucers Final Four. Is she the UConn of microphone holders?



The FINAL FOUR in our sideline announcers contest takes place today also. We've got Erin Andrews takng on newcomer Allison Williams and Pam Oliver matched up against Andrea Kremer. You can vote in the comments section here, or at cardinalcouple@insightbb.com

Does the veteran Kremer have what it takes to hold off Pam Oliver?
We'll announce the results in the Monday edition of CARDINAL COUPLE...

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