2016 SOFTBALL WILL BE A MIX OF THE OLD AND NEW
Sandy Pearsall's Louisville softball squad is getting in a few fall exhibition games before they start their season in the spring of 2016.
On Sunday, the Cards entertained Bellarmine in "The Battle of Eastern Parkway" and took a double-header against the Knights 8-5, 6-2. Red-shirt sophomore Nicole Pufahl provided the big hit in the first game...her three run homer in the seventh inning proved the distance. In the Cards second win, Pearsall turned freshmen pitchers Kaylea Horn (Richland, KY) and Jordan Hensley (Ashland, KY) loose on the Knights to get the win.
Cardinal "pitch and hit" fans will remember about half the current roster from last season and there are some big names back to play in Ulmer.
Maryssa Becker would have to top that list of stars back on Floyd Street. The junior pitcher from Oregon was the Cards ace last season and we don't see that changing. Pufahl hit for power at times for UofL last season and should provide the same "boom factor" this year. Senior infielder Brittany Sims is also very capable of parking Spaldings out on Brandeis Street and can cover several infield positions as needed.
Madi Norman was a very effective pitcher at times for the 2015 Cards and returns to fill that role again. Everyone's favorite "slap" hitter...the speedy Jordan McNary will be a familiar site sprinting down the first base line again for Louisville. Senior 3rd baseman Hailey Smith proved to be a steady performer and the "hot corner" and also provided the Cards with an offensive punch in 2015.
Tierra Sanabria saw plenty of action at first base for UofL last year and Alison "Mike" Szydlowski handled catching duties with aplomb last year. Add letter-winners Ashley Nikolao, Morgan Meyer, Morgan Hart and Sidney Melton into the mix and Pearsall has a solid nucleus of experience to work with.
The Cards graduated shortstop Whitney Arion, outfielder Kelsi Jones, DH Brittany Duncan and the pride of New Egypt, New Jersey...Kayla Soles. ( Kayla has sent "new pride" however...in the form of her little sister Jamie Soles...who joins the Louisville roster this year).
Names missing from last year's roster are Shelby McCombs, Kristina Dillard, Bridgette Flaherty, Paige Alford, Hannah Tow, Sydney Benz and Autumn McDuffie. Maybe I missed something here...did selected players in the Classes of 2013 and 2014 go on some sort of strike or something? McCombs is at Ohio State now, Flaherty enrolled at Georgia State, Dillard to Maryland and Tow at Missouri. Not sure about Benz, McDuffie or Alford.
Five freshmen and six transfers also join the roster...and they played significant roles in the double-header sweep of the Knights Sunday.
All in all, a roster comprised of 12 girls from in-state, three seniors, six juniors, eight sophomores and five freshman. The contingent looks to better last year's 30-19 overall record and 16-7 fourth place ACC finish. The Cards went to the Columbia, MO regional in NCAA Tournament play in 2015.
BEAT THE PAULIE
The question is...can you?
Each week, Paulie will try to successfully predict the outcome of four or five UofL women's athletic contests. If you can "beat the Paulie" on his picks...we'll enter you for the chance to win a $25 gift card for Panera or Cracker Barrel (your choice!) . Last week's inaugural run found Paulie going 3-1 and no one could top him.
You can leave your picks in the comments section or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org via e-mail.
Why not beat Paulie each week and get several entries to win the gift card? Here's the Paulie Picks for week ending Sunday Oct 4th.
MAKE SURE YOUR PICKS ARE IN BY 6 P.M THURSDAY OF THIS WEEK!!
1) Louisville vs. Syracuse (Volleyball). I'll go with the Cards here in a tough match. Former UofL coach Yelin returns.
2) Louisville @ DUKE (Field Hockey) . Taking the Dookies here in another battle of present and past Lou FH skippers.
3) Louisville @ UMASS (Field Hockey). Cards win at Justine Sowry's former head coaching gig.
4) Louisville vs. Morehead (Women's Soccer). Cards get revenge in Lynn for last year's loss at Morehead.
5) Louisville @ Syracuse (Women's Soccer). A real tough call here but I'll pick Syracuse on their home turf.
REMEMBER, PICKS NEED TO BE IN BY 6 PM THURSDAY
WE'RE ON THE VILLE 93.9 TODAY
Howie Lindsey of The Howie Show on 93.9 FM kind enough to have Paulie back on today around 11:30 to discuss the joy and excitement of UofL Women's Sports today.
We appreciate the opportunity the spread the word about Cardinal Women's athletics.
Catch the whole show from 10-noon. Internet link:
THE HOWIE SHOW