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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Softball wins doubleheader to go to 26-0...L1C (final) 4 !!!


-Softball takes two from Pitt to go to 26-0

-L1C(final)4. Cards headed to New Orleans! 

-"Three" has a different meaning around Cards softball.

-Lacrosse loses narrowly to undefeated Irish.

Louisville softball rallied from deficits in both games today to sweep the double-header and go to 26-0 on the season. 3-1 and 4-3 were the final scores.


Banner over left field fence
Took a different approach to game viewing today. Instead of hanging in the press box, I brought a folding lawn chair and took in the action from left-center field behind the fence. The outfielders probably would have disapproved if I'd made camp on the field in left-center in front of the fence. Seated over to the right of me was Cards basketball star Becky Burke, enjoying the afternoon from the grassy berm with a couple of friends.

Arriving in the second inning of game one, it was obvious that the Cards were waiting for me to get there before getting the action started...trailing 1-0.

In the bottom of the fourth, Louisville struck for their three runs...getting a lead-off double from Taner Fowler and Kirsten Straley came in to pinch-run for her. She got to third on a Alicja Wolny single and scored on Jordan Trimble's infield single. Maggie Ruckenbrod drove a double to the base of the fence (and right in front of me in left-center) to score Wolny and Trimble to make it 3-1.

Pitt threatened in the top of the seventh, loading the bases with two outs...but Chelsea Leonard struck out Pitt left-fielder Carissa Throckmorton to get out of the jam and end the game.

Cloudy skies over Ulmer Stadium grandstands
By then, I had temporarily moved to the press box to pick up  lineup and information sheets. I also kidded public address announcer Jared (J-Bone) Stillman about being up there in shorts and sandals. He offered a well-thought out and lucid response. 

While walking to the press box I noticed Shoni, Tia and Sherrone in attendance cheering on the squad. We've been told that Shoni's a pretty good softball player, in addition to her hoop skills. Wonder what kind of eye-popping, incredible moves she has on the diamond? No-look throws to first base after fielding grounders? Picture perfect tosses to home plate from way beyond the outfield warning track? 

Earlier, I had jokingly yelled out to Pitt's Chrissa Throckmorton to 'take it easy on us' when she was standing in front of me in left field....we wanted to stay undefeated. She obviously takes direction and commands well by striking out with the bags loaded...but she is a talented freshman for the Panthers and will prosper against ACC competition down the road. 

Tori Collins got the start and the win for Louisville, going four innings...striking out five, allowing one run and five hits. Chelsea Leonard earned the save...going three innings and giving up one hit while fanning four.   


I returned to the outfield for the start of game two and Louisville jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Kristin Austin scored after reaching first on a error, stole second and came home on a Taner Fowler's fielders' choice.

Bill Hancock was in attendance at three different UofL
sporting venues Saturday. Looks like that plan to get
him out of the house is working, Barb...
I also ran into buddy Bill Hancock on the path that circles the outfield. Talk about a busy Saturday...he had already been to watch football practice, the baseball game and was planning on heading home in time to watch the men's basketball game. 

Wonder if he caught a jet and flew up to South Bend to take in a little lacrosse? Bill's a great guy and does a lot of things with the Central Cardinal Club. His wife Barbara is an avid Cardinal fan as well and we sat with them at many UofL women's and men's basketball games for years. They also help organize and run road trips each year for women's basketball and baseball. 

Pitt took the lead with two runs in the top of the third but Louisville once again used the fourth inning to explode. Trimble drew a walk, Ruckenbrod reached on a fielders' choice...Trimble safe at second and Whitney Arion lifted a deep fly to (you guessed it) left-center that landed about 10 feet behind me and rolled across Arthur Street for the three-run homer. I joyously jumped up to retrieve the blast and returned it one of the Cards Care yellow shirt attendants. 4-2 Cards.

Friendly Cards Care attendants who were on the berm
with me.
I thought about hanging on to it and getting it autographed after the game...but I found out that a player who parks one out of the stadium gets the option of keeping the I gladly turned Arion's fourth home run ball of the season back over to Yellow Shirt custody. Send me a autographed practice ball, Coach Pearsall. 

Pitt made it 4-3 in the fifth when Maggie Sevilla blasted a shot over the (could it be??) was to center field fence...the blast nearly landing in Cardinal WBB star Sara Hammond's lap. Her group returned the blast over the fence but was chastised for doing so by the yellow-shirt authority. As explained to me, what if the return throw hit a player on the head or interfered with play?

Always give the ball to a yellow-shirt, fans.

After the blast, Caralisa Connell gave way to Leonard...who finished the game for her second save of the day...holding Pitt score-less over 2.2 innings. Connell got the win, going to 9-0.

26-0. Game Sunday at noon. Head out for the sweep. 


Glory, hallelujah! We're headed to New Orleans! 
The Cards are headed to New Orleans!! The improbable win, after being down by 11 after Erving Walker hit four free throws after a Rick Pitino technical, puts the Cards in the FINAL FOUR. 72-68...Louisville ending the game on a 23-8 run...Chane Behanan hitting the winner with 1:06 on the clock. 

Fitting that Louisville wins. All five commentators on CBS picked against them on Thursday night to lose to Michigan State before that game and then to lose to Florida after Louisville beat the Spartans. Keep choosing the opposition, Barkley and boys. 

Regional trophy (Courtesy @howielindsey)
Pitino is now 7-0 against former assistant and player Billy Donovan. That's gotta hurt. Even though some of those were Kentucky wins against's a whitewash. Donovan and Pitino are close, as evidenced in Billy the Kid's and Rick's post-game interviews, but only one survives and advances in this case. 

And...Louisville is in the FINAL FOUR! 

They'll face the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday. Time for revenge on the earlier season loss to them...


Cardinal basketball fans delight in hearing public address announcer Sean Moth boom out "Threeeeeee Kyle !" or "Threeeeeee Becky !"when one of the UofL men's or women's basketball players hit one from beyond the arc. Over at Ulmer Stadium, though, "three" has a different connotation. 

Connell got a win in the
second game vs. Pitt.
For many softball fans, it's a description of the three pitchers on the current softball roster. The "three" have combined for some pretty amazing numbers so far this season inside the pitching circle. 

The Cardinal pitching staff of Tori Collins, Chelsea Leonard and Caralisa Connell have combined for 1.05 ERA and are holding opponents to a .166 batting average thru 24 games. They have tossed 12 shutouts and recorded 195 strikeouts in 159.1 innings of work. Through 26 games, Collins is 12-0, Connell is 9-0 and Leonard 5-0. All three have been named to the BIG EAST Softball honor this year for outstanding performances and Collins was chosen BIG EAST Player of the Week back on Feb 13th.

Tori Collins, a lefty, got the win
in the first game vs. Pitt.
Collins is a senior from Lafayette, IN. She wears #25 and is the tallest of the three at 5'10". Connell is a sophomore and stands 5'8". She's out of Murfreesboro, TN and has #13 on the back of her jersey. Leonard wears #10 and is a 5'8" red-shirt sophomore from Lexington, NC. They're three of four tallest on the softball roster...junior Alicja Wolny stands 5'9". 

Chelsea Leonard picked
up two saves vs. Pitt.
The pitching staff is a far cry from last season...when injuries had head coach Sandy Pearsall down to just freshman Connell and walk-on Katie Petrino from the women's golf team to choose from for a significant stretch during the season. 

A popular adage notes that "hitting fills the bleachers but pitching wins games" and it seems to be true for the Louisville softball team this year. 

The crowds are the largest in recent memory and the team is undefeated. Plus, UofL representatives toss out free peanuts and stuffed Cardinal Birds to the fans. All they're missing is Louie the Cardinal Bird and radio broadcasts. They will be on 11.1 WHAS TV locally for Sunday's game. Haven't tried to find that channel yet. 

Be sure to catch the Louisville Softball team in action as the spring progresses. They have 11 home games left...including today's noon first pitch against Pitt. In-state rival Kentucky visits on April 4th, and BIG EAST foes Rutgers, USF and Georgetown will be making visits to Ulmer Stadium. 


Louisville Lacrosse lost a close one to Notre Dame yesterday in South Bend 13-11. The Cards led early 5-1 but couldn't prevent the Irish comeback.

Louisville is 2-6 on the season and 0-1 in the BIG EAST. The Irish improved to 7-0 and are 1-0 in the BIG EAST. Louisville has never defeated UND in lacrosse.

Rebuilding season for Coach Kellie Young. Have to go through those from time to time. The lacrosse team is in the midst of a five game road trip swing that ends Tuesday with a match against the Cincinnati Bearcats. 


  1. Congratulations on the UofL Final Four trip. they have no chance against the Kentucky Wildcats though. Title #8 coming to Lexington!

  2. And so it begins. Cats fans coming over to talk smack. We didn't have a chance against Michigan State. Florida was better than Louisville. No way we'd win the BIG EAST. Some doofus at ESPN picked New Mexico to beat the Cards.

    Blah, blah, blah, blah. We're still dancing.



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