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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Softball and Odds and Ends - Sunday Cardinal Couple

 Softball Loses to UNC

Louisville Softball is in a battle to earn a first round bye in the ACC tournament this coming week.  Alas, they stumbled a bit yesterday and are now in a bit of jam to get it done.  UNC downed the Cards 5-0 and moved into a tie with Pitt in the ACC standings in the battle to get the last seed in the tournament.  More numbers analysis on this below.

In yesterday's game, UNC scored in the even numbered innings, starting off with a trio in the second.  A solo shot home run on the first pitch of UNC's at bat in the second set the tone for the inning.  They followed it up with a single, and then took advantage of a Cardinal error to advance runners into scoring position.  Another single up the middle scored the two.

In the fourth, UNC did the job with two outs on the board.  A single kept the inning alive, and then the runner stole second.  Another single scored the runner.

Finally, in the sixth, a solo shot to right field would bring the Tarheels to their final tally.

On the field today, the Cards and UNC will play each other in a double-header, but in some respects, the Cards are also playing against NC State, and UNC is playing against Pitt.  NC State and Pitt each are playing only a single game today, with the Wolfpack hosting Duke, and Pitt hosting Florida State.

Here's how it breaks down...assuming I've done all my math right.  If UofL wins both games today, they should be assured the sixth seed and the first round bye.  A single win by the Cards would leave their fate in NC State's hands.  A single win in the first game would edge UofL ahead of NC State's current standing by the margin of the one game against FSU being a tie instead of a loss.  If the Cards lost the second game, they would need NC State to lose as well to maintain that tie-vs-loss thin margin.  Obviously, if UofL and UNC split, the win and lose could be reversed from what I've outlined above for the same result, but it was easier for me to work out thinking through the scenario above.

On the UNC vs Pitt side, it's a similar story.  Currently UNC and Pitt are exactly tied in the conference win percentage, but Pitt has played a significantly larger number of games overall.  This means wins and losses for UNC moves their percentage more.  So, a win by UNC in the first game moves them just ahead of Pitt, and then a lose in the second against puts it in the other team's hand.  A win by Pitt with a UNC split today and UNC's season is over.  A lose by Pitt with a UNC split today and UNC gets into the ACC tournament with the 10 seed.  A sweep by UNC today and Pitt's season is over regardless of what they do in Pennsylvania.

The Cards and UNC, as well as Pitt vs FSU, get underway at 10am.  NC State vs Duke gets started at noon.  I believe all of these games will be on ACC Network Extra, although Pitt vs FSU currently isn't listed in the "Upcoming" games on ESPN's site.

Field Hockey Returns Home

The Field Hockey squad returned home after their semi-final lose in the NCAA tournament against Michigan.

On the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast yesterday, we expressed the general notion that this was a successful year for the squad overall, despite that last game outcome.  It seems we're not alone in that sentiment.

The Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport saluted the returning squad with a water cannon salute as they taxied to their parking location.  Louisville Social Media Coordinator Tim Haag captured the occasion.

It was exciting to see so much of the city of Louisville recognize what the Field Hockey squad has accomplished and show the love and respect to a team that, let's be honest, doesn't tend to get a whole lot of attention outside of here on Cardinal Couple.

Kudos to the airport personnel for the salute.

Angel McCoughtry Injury

In a pre-season game with her current team, the Las Vegas Aces, UofL great Angel McCoughtry, went down in significant pain, holding her right knee, about two and a half minutes into the game.  She would not return to the game.

Head Coach Bill Laimbeer did not have any official update on McCoughtry after the game, only saying that "it doesn't look like it's very good news for us at the moment."

Angel ended her 2018 season, and missed all of the 2019 season rehabbing a left knee injury.

We wish Angel the best and hope for a complete recovery.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Finally, the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast was back in action after taking Derby day off.  Case couldn't be with us, but Daryl, Jared, Paulie, and I were on the call.  We covered Field Hockey, Softball, Lacrosse, Basketball, Golf, and Volleyball.  A busy hour or so, to be sure.

Check it out!

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