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Monday, April 8, 2019

Softball rubber match tonight -- Baylor the WBB NCAA Champs -- MONDAY CARDINALCOUPLE


Probably would be pretty good at lawn bowling, too
Louisville Softball faces #3 FSU tonight at 7 p.m. in Ulmer Stadium for the deciding third game in the 2019 series between the two squads. These type of showdown games are sometimes referred to as "rubber" matches. 

So, the question is, how did the term "rubber match" get started? 

Most sports historians and people who research stuff like that trace it back to the quaint, old sport of English lawn bowling.

This bowling is unlike the more popular form of regular bowling -- it takes place on a big lawn instead of an indoor bowling alley -- and the participants throw or "bowl" small wooden balls across the field to see who can get closest to a smaller white ball at the opposite end of the field. Maybe like bocci ball or curling, in a sense.

A "rubber" is bad -- that means the ball you've just thrown has "rubbed up" against another previously thrown ball and usually results in knocking the opponents ball closer to the small white ball and stopping the progress of your ball. 

This sport's matches are usually played in games of three. What any of this has to do with a deciding third game in a series is still pretty nebulous to me -- maybe the term "there were a few rubbers in that third match that cost me" -- helps some, but...I still wonder why we drive on parkways and park on driveways.

Nevertheless, rubber or not, the Cards and Noles hope do to battle despite a Monday weather forecast that looks less than promising. A 60% percent chance in the morning hours, transitioning into cloudy skies tonight. As I look out my front bay window this morning (there's another term that gets me -- I have no bay in front of my house, just taxus bushes) it's overcast but not raining. Maybe I overthink these things...

The Noles sit atop the Atlantic division of the ACC with a 37-4 record and 9-2 in ACC play. The Cards in 4th in the Atlantic at 24-13 and 5-6. 

It'll be interesting to see who gets "the call" to enter the pitching circle for UofL tonight. Danielle Watson tossed a two-hitter at FSU Friday in the 2-0 first game win. She's 8-10 on the season and has an ERA of 2.86. Taylor Roby finished the 4-1 loss in the second game and is 7-1 on the year with a sizzling 1.74 ERA. Senior Megan Hensley tops the Cards with a 9-3 record, her ERA is 2.56. Watson leads Louisville with 100 innings pitched and she also has the most strikeouts of opponents with 106.

ESPN U has the broadcast for this one. Melissa Lee with the play-by-play and former Cardinal associate softball coach Carol Bruggeman with analytic observations and prognostications. 

Let's hope the skies stay dry. Let's hope Cards can get the pitching like they had in the first two and that the bats wake up and do great things for Louisville tonight. 

Play ball!  


If you're a fan of basketball, this one was fun to watch. The Bears taking control early, getting the lead up to 17 in the second half and then disaster struck when All-American Lauren Cox went down with what looked to be a very bad knee injury with 1:22 left in the third quarter. 


Notre Dame had started to cut into the lead, and without team leader Cox on the court..things went rotten pretty quickly. The Irish, led by Arike Ogunbowale and Marina Mabrey were giving it one last push...and it was paying off. Coming back to take the lead with less than three to go. Baskets traded. Baylor hanging on for dear life but getting big plays from a graduate transfer (Jackson), a freshman (Smith) and a force (Brown). 

Then, the scenario that Ogunbowale seems to thrive in on occasion. Keeping your team from losing. The Irish down by two, 1.9 seconds on the clock and you are at the free throw line after getting fouled with a chance to end it to overtime. 

Piece of cake, right, for the senior who already had 30 points. Who is an 81% free throw shooter on the season.  Your team is 17-20 from the charity stripe for the game. You're five for six in the contest. Overtime doubt about.


She rimmed the first free throw out. She needed a miss on the second one to give ND a chance to rebound and get up a game tying or winning shot.

She makes it.

Baylor ball and they have fouls to give before free throws.

LINK: Not today, Arike.

I have no doubt that she was trying to miss...but this "fate" stuff can be tricky. The miracle kid just struck out. Arike will go on and make good money in the WNBA, in Europe but that memory is bound to haunt her for a very long time. 

The ball bounces funny ways, sometimes. 

I'm not much for post-game celebrations and such, but I watched a bit of this one and was honestly worried Kim Mulkey was going to drop her grandson. Mulkey, obviously overcome with Cox's injury...a blubbering, hot mess in the post-game.

Like her or despise her, Mulkey was able to get the "bigs", has more on the way for next year, and finally got her third NCAA Championship win. A comeback to remember, tainted by the horrific injury to Cox.

No Griner. No Odyssey Sims. But...two post-players who learned how to work with each other, a couple of guards who could shoot and pass the ball to the post and managed to win despite the antics of their flamboyant coach on the sidelines. What might have been one of the biggest "folds" in the NCAA WBB Championship game history averted. 

Cox will be back, eventually. Maybe not in time for next season, though.  Baylor next year is minus Brown but Mulkey returns good talent. Notre Dame graduates four starters.

Cox... an inspiration to all, playing with a diabetic pump attached to her that provides insulin when it senses she needs a boost. A player that the Cards really went after a couple of years ago. We got Ciera Johnson instead. 

Baylor survives the comeback. Seeded #1 overall in the brackets, and living up to that pre-tournament ranking. They should send a thank-you, or condolence card -- something -- to Arike. 

2019. The year of the Bear. 



  1. That is a gruesome injury to watch but props to Baylor for hanging on without her. No Irish jig for Muffet, no husband dressed like a leprechaun dancing like a fool. No self-centered, we are suoerior attitude out of the Irish fans, thankfully.

    I do not feel sorry for Arike. She wielded that dagger a lot in the last couple of years. How does it feel to get stabbed by it, potty mouth?

    Second best.

    I had no dog in this fight. I just wanted to see Notre Dame lose. I want to see them lose in anything, everything. All the time.

    Curtis "Looks horrible in Green" Franklin

  2. Fate/karma wasn't kind to Arike this time.
    I am sick and tired of "Ogunbowale, for three" and glad that is over and no new ones to be shown again all damn year.
    The ONE player I love to hate.

  3. Nika Muhl (2020) elects to go to UCONN over UofL and others.


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