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Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thursday Cardinal Couple -- Is Maggie Ruckenbrod the best catcher in College Softball?



THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

- Maggie Ruckenbrod set for a sensational senior season.

I had the opportunity to hear UofL softball coach Sandy Pearsall and senior catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod speak at a dinner Wednesday night. A wonderful presentation by both and it served to fire me up about the upcoming UofL softball season.

It got me thinking about the squad and more directly about Maggie's role on the team this year. You remember Maggie, don't you? The fear and loathing of potential base runners this year in The American has to be off the charts.

Ask Oklahoma. Ask UCF.  See the parade of disillusioned would-be base pilferers while they walk dejectedly back to the dugout after arriving at second or third to find the ball already there.....delivered from Ruckenbrod's rifle right arm...and a smiling Cardinal infielder waiting to tag them out.

You don't step on Superman's cape.
You don't spit in the wind when it's large
You don't pull the mask off the ol' Lone Ranger
And you don't try to steal on Marge.

She'll have four pitchers to train, coddle, direct and handle this season. Two seniors (Le Coq and Connell) and two freshmen (Becker and Sanabria). For Cardinal fans who watched the collapse of the pitching staff in the NCAA Regionals...this is good news. And, it is rumored that the freshmen hurlers can also hit...quite well, in fact.

Oh, yeah. Marge can hit a bit, too. She led the team in doubles last season and had seven home runs. Here's a recap of her junior year:

2013 All-Great Lakes Region Second Team Selection
2013 All-BIG EAST Third Team SelectionAs a junior (2013): Started 59 games... Posted a .331 batting average with seven home runs, and tied for a team and conference-best 18 doubles... Third on the team with 41 RBIs... Fourth on the team with 35 runs... Selected to the All-Great Lakes Region second team... Named to the All-BIG EAST third team... Hit two home runs in the 16-2 win over Providence (4/9)... Scored a career-high three runs in the 17-6 win over Providence (49)... Two-time BIG EAST Player of the Week (3/18 and 4/15)... CollegeSportsMadness.com Big East Player of the Week (3/18)... Hit a two-run walk-off homer in the 4-2 win over No. 24 North Carolina (3/15)... Owns career record for pickoffs (23); and single season pickoff record (11 in 2011); currently has 10... Went 2 for 4 with four RBIs in the 9-3 win over Illinois State... Set a school record by throwing out three base stealers in the 5-3 win over UCF... Hit a home run in the 6-2 win over No. 11 LSU (3/3).

We're thinking she's the best catcher in NCAA Women's Softball. The hard part is realizing she's entering her senior season. Where does the time go? It seems like yesterday she was behind the plate...as a freshman...with the Big Wol at first, C.B. at the hot corner and torrid Tori Collins in the circle....

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The UofL Softball "Bullpen" Dinner is Jan 25th. at the Brown and Williamson Club in Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. For ticket and more information, go to www.gocards.com

It's a good evening. We suggest you go!

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CARDINAL COUPLE COLUMNIST AND STAFF HOOPS GURU JENNY SENDS THIS ABOUT  THE MCDONALD'S GIRLS HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME NOMINATIONS AND A LINK:

4 out of the 5 2014 signees are nominated!

Mariya Moore
Syd Brackmyre
Myisha Hines-Allen
Ariana Freema

Arica Carter…is the only one who did not make the nomination list.

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paulie
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