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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday Cardinal Couple -- Unfinished business...Softball heads to Tampa



TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

-Cards open BIG EAST Tournament against nemesis Syracuse


It has been an outstanding season so far for the Louisville Softball squad. With a 45-10 record and third place finish in the BIG EAST regular season, UofL can point proudly to their achievements so far and kudos go to the team for providing two pitchers with 20 or more wins and two players with over .400 averages at bat.

There is still some unfinished business at hand, though.

First on the docket...defense of their 2012 BIG EAST Tournament title. The road will not be easy in the single-elimination event. Opening foe Syracuse hung one of Louisville's ten losses on them back on March 29th. in Ulmer Stadium. It was the conference opener for both schools and the Cards fell in the second game of the double header 4-2 after winning the first challenge 8-1. Louisville rebounded to take the "rubber match" 9-0 the next day.

There's also the history of Syracuse's success against UofL in the BIG EAST Tournament. The Orange holds a 2-1 advantage - defeating the Cards in the finals in 2010 and 2011 in Ulmer Stadium. Gone from those teams is SU pitching ace Jenna Caira, but so is Cardinal shut out star Tori Collins.

Louisville holds a 12-8 lifetime advantage over Syracuse. The Cards will look to advance to a Friday, May 10th. semifinal duel against either #2 seed South Florida or #7 seed Providence. The final game of the championship will take place Saturday at 4 p.m. and will be televised live of ESPN2.

Junior second baseman Katie Keller provided the greatest offense spark for the Cards in the 55 game regular season...batting .420 with 12 home runs, 54 RBI's, and 58 runs scored. Senior first baseman Alicja Wolny was close behind with a .417 average, 10 fence clearers and 51 RBI's.
Senior centerfielder Jordan Trimble slugged for a .387 mark...driving in 24 runs and scoring 47.

The duo of Caralisa Connell and Rachel LeCoq had 291 strikeouts in 354 innings pitched. Connell tossed for a 2.17 ERA while going 25-4. LeCoq produced a 1.69 ERA to go with her 20-6 record.

The word on Connell is that she is healthy and available for BIG EAST play. She pitched just one inning in the three-game set against Notre Dame...control problems allegedly being the reason for the lack of circle time.

Louisville has reached the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament every year since joining the conference in 2006 and advanced to the finals in five out of their seven appearances.

The Cards are hovering on hosting a first round regional site for the NCAA Tournament. A three-day sweep in Tampa would most certainly bolster those chances of getting to play at Ulmer Stadium in mid-May. They have displayed the ability to hit the cover off the ball at times...but were shut down by Notre Dame pitcher 3-1 in the final regular season game in South Bend.

For Louisville, a chance to gain one of the two post-season trophies still exists...if they can win three on the Bulls home field. The bats need to be popping and the pitching precise and powerful.

A great time to start a winning streak. We hope the bags are full of Cards leading up to Mother's Day and that home plate delivery comes often.

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Thursday and Friday action of the quaterfinals and semis will be available on bigeast.tv

Louisville plays at 4 p.m. Thursday. The first game of the day is at 10 a.m.



-Paulie

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