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Friday, May 19, 2023

Softball Gets Underway in NCAA Tourney

 Fridays with Daryl Jeff

Hello readers and happy...uh...random weekend!

Jeff here filling in for the birthday celebrating and Bats involved Daryl this week.  Thought I'd try to start out the article kinda like she does, but I just can't mimic Daryl's happy tone that always comes through her writing.

Anyway, I'm here, and we've got an NCAA tournament in Softball to look into.

Softball in Knoxville

The Holly Aprile squad will be playing Indiana to start off the NCAA Softball tournament, but rather than heading north, they are, of course, off to the south to play in the Regional hosted by Tennessee.  Put on your sunglasses, that orange can be piercing!

The Cards and the Hoosiers will get the Regional underway with a 3pm start time.  You'll be able to find the video on ESPN2, which is nice as the later game, Tennessee vs Northern Kentucky apparently merely rates ESPN+ coverage.

The winners will play Saturday at 1pm, the losers will play at 3:30pm.  Beyond that, I'll leave you in the capable hands of Case and his Saturday column to outline the next steps in tomorrow's article.


Indiana arrives in Knoxville boasting a 42-16 record for the season.  They had a good run in the Big 10 tournament, eventually dropping to Northwestern in the championship game, 2-1.  Being in the Big 10, there are lots of teams with predominantly reddish logos in the latter part of their season (Nebraska, Rutgers, Minnesota, Ohio State) but they slipped in an extra in the midst with a game on April 11th where they hosted the Cards in Bloomington.  The Hoosiers did come out on the winning that one 10-5.  And, to be fair, they also got in a non-conference game against Western Kentucky the week before, adding to the red theme.

That battle was a two hour 23 minute affair, not terribly surprising with that much scoring, and with that much scoring both teams also used four pitchers in the circle.  UofL started with Alyssa Zabala, followed with Taylor Roby, Gabby Holloway, and finished out with Cassie Grizzard with none of them pitching more than two innings.

The aces of the Hoosier squad are Brianna Copeland, and Heather Johnson, both with over 100 innings pitched.  Copeland brings an ERA of 2.81, and Johnson a still respectable 3.58.  IU looks to have a pretty stable lineup, with eight players playing in 51 or more games, the worst comes up with a .225 batting average and six of them are hitting above .300.  Taryn Kern, and Taylor Minnick lead the team in batting averages with .426 and .404 respectively.

So the Cards have their work cut out for them.  In addition to just wanting to stay on the upper, winners, part of the bracket, advancing through the elimination bracket involves playing back to back games on Saturday, and Aprile will be keen to avoid that.

Podcast Plugging

With my normal Sunday articles, I always get to share the latest from the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast, and I wouldn't want you, our dear readers, to miss out on a podcast plug just because it's Friday.

The CCRHP crew will be up and active tomorrow as per normal, but in the meantime, you can check out a new podcast hosted by Associate Head Coach of Louisville Volleyball Dan Meske.  The podcast is called Out of Rotation and is available, like the CCRHP at all significant podcast directories.  There are two full episodes plus a "Quick Hitter" available at this point.

Episode 0 is the "Quick Hitter" and is about five minutes long on the subject of giving, and receiving feedback in a coaching role, with good life advice for those of us that are in any sort of leadership role.

(Dan Meske jotting down notes for
his next podcast...or a grocery list...maybe
his top ten favorite songs?) 

Episode 1, the first "full" episode, has Raquel Lázaro as a guest and she discusses with Dan her upbringing... playing volleyball, through her progress through college play which of course culminated with UofL in the fall, and her experiences and challenges so far playing at the pro level in Italy.

The other full episode available is a discussion between Meske and Ryan Theis (pronounced Tice), where Theis shares his "grind" through the coaching profession and how he navigated the process to his first head coaching role at Ohio, and now head coach at Marquette for 10 years.

Dan Meske has a great voice for podcasting, and his podcast should be an entertaining listen for anyone interested in college volleyball.

Check out the CCRHP tomorrow, of course, but in the meantime, maybe check out Meske's work.

As always, Go Cards!
-- JMcA

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