Louisville Softball Left Out
Sixty-four teams heard their names called last night as the selection committee built the regional groupings for the 2017 NCAA Softball Championship. Louisville was not among them. As Jeff pointed out yesterday, the team boasted a 13 year streak of tourney bids, but that streak came to an end last night. Louisville's exclusion was curious, but maybe not as much as we'd like to think. The Cards had an RPI of 55 through May 7th, and only 3 ACC teams ranked ahead of them in the statistic. Florida State, the shining glory of ACC softball this season, only came in ranked 7th. A lack of RPI love for the league leads to a weaker showing in strength of schedule, which is, unfortunately, still taken into account by most selection committees. It is a disappointing end to an up and down season, to be sure, but there is nothing else the Cards can do to change it. Coach Pearsall will undoubtedly use this heartbreak as motivation for the returning players next year. The Cards will lose some fire power on both sides of the ball, but the team will still have plenty of pieces for a great year. There will be more throughout the summer on softball wrap-up, but for now, we're on the outside looking in.
Baseball Closer to Clinching
Though the Clemson Tigers have run into a rough patch of late, the Louisville sweep is not any less sweet because of Clemson's struggles. The Tigers haven't been swept at home since 2014 and Louisville continues its dominance in Game 3s. Louisville finished off the Tigers yesterday in another "come from behind" victory. Though not as large a comeback as the 4 run swing on Saturday, Louisville did trail 2-1 after the first inning. The Clemson lead was short lived, though as Louisville regained the lead in the top of the second inning and never trailed again. The win moved Louisville to 23-4 in conference and 46-6 overall.
After some faltering from North Carolina over the weekend, the Tar Heels trail Louisville by two games for the number one overall seed in the ACC. With three conference games to play, Louisville's magic number is 2. A "magic number" is a measure of a team being able to control their own destiny. It represents the number of games a team must win to clinch (division, playoffs, homefield, etc). This number can decrease based on losses by other teams, but it cannot increase. Louisville's magic number of 2 means that winning at least two games against Florida State this weekend ensures that North Carolina cannot tie Louisville atop the standings. Louisville's 46 regular season wins also ties the school record, and the Cards can reach the magical 50 win regular season if they can extend their winning streak to 19 games by next Sunday. As much as I want the Cards to win every game, I'd be on even more pins and needles if they were riding a 20+ win streak going into the NCAA tournament. That said, this team is really good, and if they wanna stay hot, I'm certainly not going to stop them. Louisville is back in action in Bloomington on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6PM and the game will be available on 93.9 The Ville and the Big Ten Network.
Rowing Places 5th at ACCs
Louisville finished their day at the ACC tournament with a respectable 5th place finish. Though it was only out of 9 teams, Louisville was well clear of the 6th place Clemson squad and finished only three points behind 4th place Duke. Louisville put a boat in all 5 grand final events, with a best finish of second in those events. Virginia won the tournament after nearly sweeping the grand finals. The Cavaliers finished 2nd in only one race, and the loss was by less than a second to the Syracuse team that finished as the tournament runner-up. Louisville's Sarah Podwojski was named to the first team all ACC and Kirsti Harrison was named to the second team. The NCAA Selection show for Division I Rowing will take place tomorrow at 5PM. Here's hoping the Louisville rowers can continue the great season they've had!
Until next time, Go Cards!