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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Two Cardinal homers produce seven runs in win over USF.


- Softball Cards sweep USF 4-1, 9-0 to take 1st place in BIG EAST.

-Pat Summitt retiring

-Greg Collins headed to WKU WBB

The University of Louisville softball team beat the University of South Florida twice in softball Wednesday at Ulmer Field to go to 40-2 on the season and a league leading 11-2 in BIG EAST play. The Cards rocked USF standout pitcher Sara Nevins for eight runs in the two games and Jordan Trimble and Taner Fowler each had home runs for the Cardinals in the second game.

A crowd of nearly 800 fans enjoyed the picture-perfect, sunny mid 60's weather. 


Tori Collins is now 19-1.
It was Tori Collins on the mound against Nevins in the first game, two of the best pitchers in the BIG EAST facing off and early on it was a pitchers' duel. 

South Florida loaded the bases on Collins in the top of the second on two singles and a batter hit by a Collins pitch with just one out, but Collins got out of the jam by striking out the next two Bulls batters. 

Alicia Wolny drew
three walks from
Bulls pitching today.
Louisville broke up the scoreless contest in the bottom of the second when Alicja Wolny drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a Fowler fielders choice grounder. Jordan Trimble walked to give Louisville runners on first and second and after a Kayla Soles ground out...Maggie Ruckenbrod drove home both Wolny and Trimble to give Louisville a 2-0 lead.

That proved to be all Collins would need to get her 19th win of the season but Louisville added a run in the third when Kristin Austin safely bunted with one out and came home on Wolny's sharp shot down the 3rd base line. 

Sam Greiner replaced Nevins to face the Cards in the fourth inning. 

The Bulls scored their only run of the game and the day in the top of the fifth, an unearned run when Janine Richardson reached on a infield bobble and scored on Jessica Mouse's infield single with two outs. 

Maggie Ruckenbrod drove
in the Cards first two runs.
Louisville added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth when Katie Keller reached on an error and Katelyn Mann came in to pinch run. Mann scored on a Fowler single to center but Bulls relief pitcher Lindsey Richardson retired Trimble, Soles and Ruckenbrod to end the threat. 

Collins shut down the Bulls in order in the top of the seventh, striking out Richardson, getting Kalafas to ground out to her and Mouse to pop up to Kristin Austin to end the game. 

Collins gave up six hits and struck out eight Bulls in the complete game. 


Nevins returned to the mound to start the second game and Caralisa Connell drew the start for the Cards. Nevins had no trouble with Louisville in the first three innings, retiring the side in order each inning. 

Caralisa Connell started
the second game for UofL
Connell loaded the bases with Bulls in the top of the second after giving up a walk, a single and hitting a batter with two outs. She struck out Ashii Goff, though, to get out of the inning unscathed. 

Chelsea Leonard took the mound to replace Leonard and face to Bulls in the top of the third. She retired the side 3 up, 3 down.

The Cards needed to fire up the bats against Nevins and went into the bottom of the fourth with the top of the order in Jennifer Esteban leading off.

It was quite an inning for Louisville. 

Trimble's grand slam was
the second of the
year for Louisville.
Esteban started the fireworks off with the first Cardinal hit of the game, a single to center. Kristin Austin followed with a walk from Nevins. After Keller went down swinging, Wolny lofted a deep fly to the right center fence that fell for a hit, scoring Esteban. Kirsten Straley came in to run for Wolny and USF decided to intentionally walk Fowler, loading the bags full of Cardinals.

That idea backfired...setting the stage for Trimble's grand slam homer -- the first of her career -- a bomb to right center that just cleared the fence. Suddenly, it was 5-0 Louisville and the Ulmer Stadium crowd was going nuts.

That did it for Nevins and Greiner came in to pitch. She retired two of the next three Cards to end the inning but the damage had been done and the Cards were celebrating in the third base dugout. UofL had sent nine batters to the plate in the inning.

Leonard allowed a bunt single to start the top of the fifth but retired the next two Bulls before allowing another single. She quelled the USF rally, though, by fanning D'Anna Devine for her fourth strike out of the game.

Fowler's three run blast
ended the game
Esteban walked to begin the bottom of the fifth. Austin followed with a infield single and Keller singled to left but Esteban was thrown out at home on the play. USF elected to intentionally walk Wolny but a wild pitch allowed Austin to score to make it 6-0 Louisville.

 After the walk, USF brought Lindsey Richardson in to face Fowler but the strategy failed when Fowler lifted a deep shot to left field that easily cleared the fence to make it 9-0 Louisville and end the game via the eight-run rule. 

Leonard got the win to go 8-0 on the season. Nevins was tagged with her second loss of the day... dropping her record to 23-4. 

Maybe two of the biggest wins in Cardinal softball history on Wednesday. The Cards scored eight runs on Nevins...who had a 0.70 ERA coming into the games.

Louisville pitchers allowed just one run and ten hits...all 44 at-bats to a USF squad that was batting .284 as a team going into today's games. 
The combination of Collins, Leonard and Connell struck out 14 Bulls batters in 12 innings.

Louisville had ten hits as well but four were either doubles or home runs. The Cards also drew seven bases on balls against the Bulls pitching -- a couple of them intentional. Fowler's home run was her sixth of the year, Trimble's blast her second of the season. Louisville's nine runs in the second game are the most scored on USF this year and it was the first time the Bulls have lost by the eight-run rule this season. 

No Cardinal had more than one hit in either of the two games but the hits they got were key...Louisville left only four runners on base in both games, South Florida stranded a total of 14.

The Cards take first place in the BIG EAST with the wins today and will face Seton Hall South Orange, NJ...beginning with a noon Saturday start.

Cardinal fans were thrilled with the victories. WE caught up with a few after the game. 

"Those home runs in the second game just made this place go crazy. It's rare you get to see a grand slam and the one tonight was just thrilling." - Ben Donnelly

"It was a great night for softball and the Louisville pitchers were the difference tonight. I'm so proud of this team!" - Connie Smith.

"This was our first time ever catching Louisville softball games but we'll be back. The kids loved it, and so did I. We even went to the playground before the game" - Tiffany Peters.


Pat Summitt will announce she is retiring as the Lady Vols skipper after 38 years as a head coach in a news conference today at 1:30 p.m. in Knoxville. 

Summitt says she has no sadness about the decision and will remain close to the program in her new role as head coach emeritus.   

Long time Tennessee assistant Holly Warlick will become the new head coach. 

WE can only wish Pat the best as she battles early onset dementia and extend our appreciation and love to the greatest coach to ever patrol the sidelines for women's college basketball.

Her announcement comes on the same day that her son Tyler will be announced as the newest assistant on the Marquette women's basketball team. An interesting revelation, given Tyler's close vigil over his mom over the last few months.

We had the chance to see Pat in person at the beginning of the 2010-11 season when she brought her Lady Vols to the KFC YUM! Center to play Louisville. Summit was gracious, affable and even a bit cantankerous in the post game media interviews...complaining, tongue-in-cheek, about having to climb to the step-less podium to address the media. She raved glowingly about the KFC YUM! facilities and expressed her admiration for then-freshman Shoni Schimmel and her play that evening. 

Sally Jenkins, of the Washington Post, has a great read on Pat. Link below.

Pat still much more able than disabled


Congratulations to Greg Collins, who has been named as assistant coach for the WKU women's basketball team. Collins leaves Arkansas and Tom Collen to join Michelle Clark-Heard's staff. Collins was an assistant at Louisville from 2002-2007 prior to going with Collen to the Razorbacks. He also coached at Louisville Manual High School before joining UofL in Martin Clapp's final season as head coach.

Greg is one of the good guys. His recruiting skills and teaching techniques are among the best in the women's college game. He was essential in holding the 2002-2003 UofL squad together after Clapp's departure until Tom Collen arrived on campus. 

Getting a little closer back to Louisville, Greg. Good luck to you and do well with Michelle ! 

1 comment:

  1. How does a big win like this get buried deep in the C-J sports section? They gave the freakin' Bats a front page! Thanks, Cardinal Couple for giving the victories the proper write-up and acknowledgement they deserve.

    Just another reason to cancel the C-J.



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