THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
CARDS DEFEAT UCONN 8-0
- Louisville coaching staff best of BIG EAST
-Cards play UConn today at 12:30 in first round of BIG EAST Softball Tournament
Who knew? "Big Mike" sings at Wrigley
SPECIAL GAME REPORT: LOUISVILLE 8 - UCONN 0
The Cards run rule UConn in five innings to start play in the BIG EAST Tournament. A five run bottom of the fifth gets it done for UofL. They advance to the semifinals and face DePaul -- a 6-0 winner over South Florida today -- at 4 p.m. Friday.
Caralisa Connell drew the start for Sandy Pearsall and Louisville provided her with three runs in the first three innings. An Alicja Wolny home run gave Connell the 3-0 cushion going into the top of the fourth...but Connecticut loaded the bases with one out and Chelsea Leonard entered the contest to pitch for Louisville. She got the next Husky batter to pop up to her and ended the inning with a strike-out to get the Cards out of the jam.
Louisville started the bottom of the fourth with a Jordan Trimble double...but the Cards left her stranded with three outs after that.
Leonard retired the side in order in the top of the fifth to preserve the 3-0 lead.
Louisville used two errors, a walk and three hits to finish the game in the bottom of the fifth. All with two outs. After Jennifer Esteban and Hannah Kiyohara grounded out, Katie Keller reached on a fielding error by the UConn pitcher. Alicja Wolny drew a walk and Taner Fowler singled (her second RBI for the day) to score Keller and make it 4-0.
UCONN went with a pitching change after the walk to Wolny but it didn't turn out well for them. Jordan Trimble singled to load the bases with Cardinals. A walk to Kayla Soles forced in Wolny to increase the UofL lead to five.
That set the stage for Maggie Ruckenbrod. A sharp single to right plated Fowler and Trimble and the relay throw to third to try and get Soles out was wide. Soles advanced to home plate to make it 8-0 and end the game.
Connell gets the win....allowing two hits and two walks in 3.2 innings. She goes to 20-1 on the season. Leonard picks up her 11th save of the year...retiring all five batters she faced.
We guessed wrong about today's starting pitcher for the Cards...but everything turned out fine and Tori Collins will tangle with DePaul's Kristin Verdun (we think...) tomorrow. Sandy rolled another "seven" today.
The University of Louisville softball coaching staff has been named the BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year and a school-record nine players earned all-conference honors at the 2012 BIG EAST Softball Banquet last night. Tori Collins, Kristin Austin and Taner Fowler made the first team. Katie Keller got second team honors and Jennifer Esteban, Alicja Wolny, Jordan Trimble, Caralisa Connell and Whitney Arion landed on the third team.
2012 Player of the Year went to Kacee Cox (St. John's) and Pitcher of the Year to Laura Winter (Notre Dame) How Tori Collins and Kristin Austin didn't get these two awards is a mystery...but, it is the BIG EAST. Expect the unexpected.
The Cardinal coaching staff ( Sandy Pearsall, Carol Bruggeman, Courtney Scott, Lacy Wood and Lisa Pinkston) were unanimously selected the 2012 Coaching Staff of the Year. It's the second time Pearsall and crew have received this honor...2006 the other time.
They don't award Assistant S.I.D. of the year...but if they did, Lori Korte of Louisville would have been the runaway winner. WE'LL just go ahead and present the CARDINAL COUPLE Softball S.I.D. award to her. Great work, Lori !
Louisville led the BIG EAST in batting average, slugging percentage, runs scored and total bases. They were second in ERA and opponent batting average.
Wolny and Austin make their third appearances on the all-conference teams. Collins her second.
Hard to believe that Louisville pitcher Chelsea Leonard was snubbed in the voting for the teams -- along with South Florida pitcher Sara Nevins...but we guess there is only so much room for pitchers.
Louisville's first round opponent -- Connecticut -- landed two players on the teams. 3B Kim Silva made the first team and DP Amy DeLuca the second squad.
Breakdown of players selected by team:
Louisville - 9 De Paul - 2
Notre Dame - 6 Pittsburgh -2
Syracuse - 4 St. John's - 2
USF - 3 Connecticut - 2
Rutgers - 3
The Cards begin their quest for the BIG EAST Tournament title today at 12:30 p.m. against the Connecticut Huskies. Hard to say who Pearsall and Scott will choose to put in the circle to start...but we'll venture a guess and say it'll be senior Tori Collins. After all, it's survive and advance and Collins is your ace on the staff. We're going by the assumption that you use Caralisa Connell for the winner of the South Florida vs. DePaul game. Then, you bring Collins back for the championship.
You have reliever extraordinaire Chelsea Leonard available should the starters get into a jam. Of course, WE'RE not the BIG EAST Bloggers of the Year here at CARDINAL COUPLE. Sandy could have a different plan...and she's been rolling "sevens and elevens" all season long.
Whoever UConn sends out to throw (we're guessing it'll be junior righty Kiki Saveriano) will have to deal with these Cardinals:
- Kristin Austin OF. Austin finished the regular season with a .377 BIG EAST batting average.
- Taner Fowler DH. Fowler had six home runs against BIG EAST opponents.
And the list goes on and on. Wolny, Esteban, Trimble, Ruckenbrod, Keller, Arion, Mann...Cardinal batters make you pay.
We'll have a update on the game later today. Be sure to check back. It's available for viewing on BIG EAST TV. Just go to bigeast.tv and enjoy. LINK:
BIG EAST SOFTBALL
Finally, Michael Bush is one of our favorite UofL football players of all time. What a great running back he was, and still is. He recently left Oakland and signed with the Chicago Bears...which makes us love him even more. Below is a clip of him singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch during a Cubs game at Wrigley Field. Thanks to Nick Coffey, of CARDINAL CONNECT notoriety, for the find...
Like we said, a great running back...
Mike croons at Wrigley