We report on the joy and excitement of UofL women's sports here. Thanks for checking us out! Click the picture of Louie to hear the latest Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast!!

Wednesday, May 31, 2023


Happy hump day readers! 

Its Daryl stepping in with ya midweek.  Bats are in town but Paulie phoned a friend for some back up to get something posted today so you get me to cover the summer Pro Cards.


Sky vs Dream

The Chicago Sky visited the Atlanta Dream on Tuesday evening where the Dream led pretty much the entire way and got the 83-65 victory.   The Sky are now 3-2 on the season while Atlanta moves to 2-2.   Both squads are in the middle of the pack in the standings at 5 and 6 respectively.  The Las Vegas Aces are the lone undefeated squad at 4-0... they're averaging an almost 25 point differential over opponents. 

Dana Evans scored 11 points to lead Chicago. Kahleah Copper, Marina Mabrey and Kristine Anigwe each added 10. Sky starters Courtney Williams was 2 of 10 from the field and Elizabeth Williams went 3 for 10.

Rhyne Howard scored 20 points, Allisha Gray and rookie Haley Jones each added 13 points each. AD had a free throw make in 14 minutes.

The Dream made 18 of 24 free throws compared to just 9 of 11 makes for the Sky.

The Dream led 40-25 at halftime after Chicago shot just 28% and turned it over eight times. The Sky finished the game 25 for 77 (33%) with 15 turnovers.

The Sky will head back to Chicago to face the NY Liberty, who stand third in the league standings, Friday at 6pm. 

Also happy belated birthday to Myisha Hines Allen who celebrated her 27th birthday yesterday at the Washington Mystics. They have yet to make their debut with the squad but some say it is getting near...  

Good luck to the Cards!!

Please, if you know anyone who can be a living donor or if you would like more information on how to be a organ donor, please call Madelyn Hunt at the Trager Transplant Center at UofL Hospital (502) 587-4358 option 5. 

As always, Go Cards 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

End of Season Sadness -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

End of Season Sadness, The Summertime Slump

While summertime offers a time of plenty of sunshine and a bit of a break from the constant scheduling headaches with various events, it also gives us a lengthy lull from UofL sports. As I mentioned on our podcast this past Saturday, this absence from being able to photograph games also brings a bit of sadness due to the empty void it leaves.

Just to give you an idea of how busy I actually am during the Louisville sports seasons, here's the number of events I photographed for each sport this past season with preseason exhibitions, regular season events, and postseason events included. This doesn't include work done with organizations or athletes or selection shows that are not NCAA sanctioned games/events.

In the 2022-2023 Louisville sports season, I photographed:
-9 women's soccer games
-6 men's soccer games
-19 volleyball games (includes trip to UK and first four postseason matches)
-8 field hockey games
-8 football games (includes trips to Clemson and UK)
-19 women's basketball games (includes trips to Bellarmine, UK, and ACC Tournament)
-18 men's basketball games
-4 lacrosse games
-14 baseball games
-15 softball games (includes trip to UK)

Would you believe that 120 games is considered a down year for me? In all fairness, if I added out-of-season scrimmages (ie fall softball, spring volleyball, spring field hockey, and spring football) and the other games in the ACC Tournament I photographed, that number would be about 132. I wasn't able to make it our to tennis or swim and dive this year, which cut down on the total number of sports I shot to 10. 

As I mentioned earlier, I do some other photo work that isn't NCAA sanctioned such as Louisville Live, selection shows and cheer and dance events.

You see photos from those women's sports here at Cardinal Couple almost on a daily basis. We do try to provide a mixture of action shows and emotions/smiling shots. Personally, I favor the celebration and smiling shots. I like showing the emotion from the players and coaches. To me, it shows that they are still humans, despite how close we get to idolizing them, and it's a time that those countless hours of practices and workouts pay off in that moment of celebration. I try to capture the emotion in a way that we can feel that. Sometimes, that may come across in tears and seasons come to a close or from Senior Day recognitions.

There's also quite a few men's sports up there. While we don't cover men's sports here at Cardinal Couple (we are glad to see when they perform well), the CC crew has always been kind and willing to work with me as I do some photo work for men's sports for other various sites out there. Those sites know there's a strict policy of not using my women's sports photos, as the rights to use those are solely with Cardinal Couple, but I am grateful that CC allows me to work with those sites in order to get out to sports such as football and men's basketball.

I've sat through a 2-12 season (football), a 4-28 season (men's basketball), a 5-13 season (lacrosse), and so many other rough patches for different sports. Regardless of the success, or lack thereof, I still try my best to get out to as many games as possible for each sport.

People ask me all the time why I feel like I have to be at each game and why I don't take games off. My answer is always the same: "I don't HAVE to be at each game. I WANT to be at each game. I love being there."

One of the positives I did not anticipate when I first stressed myself out so much to get to so many games is the appreciation from players and their families. While sports such as football, women's basketball, and men's basketball will draw in dozens of photographers and plenty more media, for many of the smaller sports, it's usually the photographer Louisville Athletics sends and myself. While Taris, Adam, and Co. do a phenomenal job photographing games (seriously, the work they produce should be award-winning), more cameras out there allows for more angles and more shots for players.

Players and parents reaching out to me to offer their appreciation for my photos happens weekly and I'm happy to play my part. Many of these players and their families share these photos on their personal social media or even blow the pictures up and print them out at home to keep for the long haul. These are memories they get to keep forever.

Being at these games each season also allows me to interact with so many people who love UofL just as much as I do. That includes the UofL digital media team, the UofL sports information folks, the ushers, other media members, and of course the Cardinal Couple crew. My outgoing and social personality tends to be in heaven during these times.

So, now we arrive at summer. Take away those 120+ events, travel time, time spent interacting with folks, and time spent editing and I have thousands of extra free hours available. Well, that's what happens in the summer. Free time can be nice to relax and focus on time with friends and family. This summer is especially different with my wedding in 11 days and my honeymoon to follow not long after, so that summertime lull won't be as extreme, but not having UofL games to look forward to each day, or at least each week when teams all seem to be on the road at the same time, can be difficult.

I really do appreciate Cardinal Couple for keeping me around after all these years as their photographer and grateful to all of you for allowing me to showcase so much of that work here all the time. A post of my favorite shots is in the works for later in the summer, but will have to wait until we get past the wedding craziness.


Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day -- College Softball World Series-- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE



....In remembrance....

I decided to see what people thought this holiday was for, in addition to cookouts and I asked three people I happened to talk to on Sunday and see what their answers would be. Not many I know of these days can get the answer correct.

The first person I asked (male, middle aged) told me it was the yearly time for the Indianapolis 500 and a weekend to remember people who had died.

The second person I spoke with (female, 30's)  was pretty sure it was a day to remember those who had served in the armed forces and had passed away and that it was the beginning of summer. . 

The final person I queried on this (male, retirement age) indicated that it was a day to remember and honor those who had died. 

Somewhere, in those answers is part of what Congress intended the holiday to represent. It was designed to be a day of reflection and remembrance of those who died while serving in the U.S. Military. 

The question posed to me was...if a sailor has a massive heart attack while leaving a U.S. Naval ship to go on shore he or (she) to be just as honored as the 19-year old guy who got shot down by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam war? 

Tradition tells us that the correct way to observe the holiday is to pause for a moment of silence at 3 p.m. on Memorial Day to honor those who died serving the U.S. 

I was indoctrinated into the meaning of the day very early in life. An uncle I never met, on my mom's side, was killed in WWII when his destroyer was attacked and sank by the Japanese Navy. My mom told me about it very early in my life. Then, later on, two guys in my neighborhood, older than me, were killed in combat in the Vietnam War. 

So, as you read this today, on Memorial Day, maybe take a little time at 3 p.m. to honor those who died while serving our nation in the Armed Forces


Eight DI softball programs have advanced to the 2023 College Softball World Series.  

-- From the Pac 12, Stanford, Washington and Utah are headed to Oklahoma City, 

-- The Big 12 has two schools headed to the College World Series (Oklahoma and Oklahoma State), 

-- Two SEC schools are among the final eight also, in Alabama and Tennessee. 

-- The final school is Florida State, from the ACC. 

So, how many of these "great eight" did the Louisville Cardinals face in the 2023 season? The answer is two...Florida State, who faced the Cards in a three game series to end both squads ACC regular season conference play. The Cards dropped all three contests in Tallahassee to the 'Noles' 4-6, 4-6 and 1-2. And Oklahoma is the second, who downed the Cards 10-1 on April 15th at the Miami (OH)University ballpark.

The Cards have face Tennessee six times, in the history of Louisville Softball, and are 0-6. Five of the matchups were in Knoxville and one in Clearwater, FL. The Cards are 0-8 lifetime against Alabama...six of the matchups in Tuscaloosa and two in Minneapolis. 

Against Oklahoma State, Louisville is 0-4 over the years, with three losses in Stillwater and once in Honolulu. The Cards are 0-1 vs, Stanford lifetime, and are 0-1 versus Utah. The Cards are 0-3 against Washington overall, all at neutral locations. 

Will we ever see Louisville in the College World Series? The first step is getting to a Super Regional, where you have a 50/50 chance of advancing to the College World Series. Winning games after the conference schedule is finished. 

Maybe 2024 will be that year...



Sunday, May 28, 2023

Track and Field Keep on Running - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Track and Field Championship Bound

Taylor Herbert, Kiyah Yeast, Tiriah Kelley, and Synclair Savage are headed to Austin for the NCAA Outdoor Championship.

The quartet, which has seemingly been setting school records all throughout the season, punched their ticket yesterday with an eighth place finish in the 4x100m relay with a time of 44.10.   That time is, again, a school record, beating their 44.55 from the ACC Championship meet a few weeks ago.

Synclair Savage was already set to go to Austin based on her 9th place finish in the long jump, flying 6.24m, or 20 feet and five and three quarters inches.

Also headed to Austin is Aliyah Welter based on her 4.12m pole vault that finish 11th place in Jacksonville.

The five, along with five from the men's side of the competition will comprise the largest contingent UofL has sent to the Outdoor Championships since 2009.

The NCAA Outdoor Championship meet will take place June 7-10 in Austin Texas.

The Mystics Pick Up Another Cardinal

No, unfortunately, they're not re-signing Emily Engstler or Jaz Jones, but a perhaps lesser known former Card will be joining the Mystics organization.

Ariana Freeman was admittedly only at UofL for one season, in 2014-15, joining the Cards in the freshman class along with Myisha Hines-Allen, Mariya Moore, Arica Carter, and Sydney Brackemyre.

You won't see Freeman on the Mystics' floor, though she will be beside it quite a lot.

With the growing visibility of the WNBA as a whole, and the Mystics as a program, they have added Freeman to their broadcast team as a sideline reporter.  This, of course, re-unites Freeman with Myisha Hines-Allen who is on the roster for the Mystics.  At the moment, Hines-Allen is not on the court as she continues to recover from off-season surgery.

Freeman has already had a distinguished career in broadcasting.  After leaving Louisville after her freshman year, she transferred to Colorado-Boulder where she earned her degree in broadcast journalism.

A native of the northern Virginia, Freeman returned to the area to start a masters program at George Mason University, but her career picked up almost immediately upon her return to the area.  She did a stint with the Washington DC professional football team as their on air Charitable Foundation reporter, before finding her way to CBS.  She joined in a part time news associate role, but was brought on board full time as a Broadcast Associate on the news desk and eventually joined the Evening News program.  She covered numerous stories relating to college sports, mostly women's basketball, and gained a great deal of national broadcast exposure.

She will be joining Christy Winters-Scott and Meghan McPeak to be the third member of the Mystics' broadcast team, one of the few all-women broadcast teams, even in the WNBA.

You can check out the Mystics' introduction of Freeman in a segment of the first episode of their Coffee with a Coach Show:

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

Perhaps we can get Ariana Freeman to the join the CCRHP as a guest someday, get her to bring an air of professionalism to the show?  No?  We're beyond hope?

Perhaps, but we have a lot of fun doing it, and for doing it on a budget of zero dollars, I think we do ok.

The CCRHP was on the air again yesterday, albeit getting a bit of a late start with the live stream thanks to a technical glitch.

You can catch the full show from the beginning in its podcast form however, at just about any podcast directory, or directly at turned Spotify at:

Jared, Paulie, and myself were on the show and we spent most of the show recapping the seasons for Softball and Lacrosse, and discussing the status of the programs and what's in store for them in the future.

We also give a shoutout to the various programs within the UofL Athletic Department for their academic successes, particularly Field Hockey and Women's Soccer for their 3.819 and 3.748 cumulative GPAs respectively.

Check it out and enjoy the fun!


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Track in NCAA Prelims; Catalano Honored -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

At Least Two Cards Headed to Austin

Photo per UofL Athletics
This week saw Louisville Track and Field athletes begin their quest for national glory at the NCAA East Region Preliminary meet. The Cards are in Jacksonville, Florida, where competition began on Wednesday. Thursday saw two Cardinals qualify for the NCAA meet in Austin when Synclair Savage placed 9th in the long jump and Aliyah Welter placed 11th in the pole vault. Savage's qualification is her second consecutive while this will be the third straight season in which Welter has advanced to the national level. One more athlete on the women's side will compete for a chance to go to Austin, Texas for the NCAA National Championship meet today. Katie Martin finished fourth in her heat and 12th overall in the first round of the 400m hurdles. She will participate in the quarterfinals with a chance to move on.

Allegra Catalano on Academic All-District Team

Photo per UofL Athletics
Jared wrote a bit about the academic announcements for the spring on Thursday, and one more honor came through yesterday. Allegra Catalano, a senior on the 2023 lacrosse team, was named to the At-Large Academic All-District team by the College Sports Communicators. Players must be a starter or key reserve and maintain a 3.5 GPA. Catalano started in 13 games for the Cards this season and scored 12 goals. Off the field, Catalano served on the Student Athletic Advisory Committee while working toward her degree in Sports Administration with a minor in Business Administration. She graduated this month with a cumulative 3.9598 GPA. Congratulations to Allegra!

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

I'm out this weekend as I'm "back home again in Indiana" as I am every Memorial Day weekend. It's time to watch cars go fast and turn left. Daryl is also out, playing golf with Peyton Siva. At least that's the excuse she gave us. The show will go on, though, as Paulie, Jeff, and Jared hold down the fort. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!


Friday, May 26, 2023



Hello again readers.  I hope you are finding some fun things to do this summer and enjoy this Memorial weekend however you choose to spend it.  I celebrated another birthday since the last time I checked in,  the pictures in today's post make me think I might've lost another inch in height this past trip around the sun. If anyone finds it, please return asap..

I will probably find my way over to a golf course at some point this weekend and I am looking forward to slamming the laptop shut at the end of the work day today!   


I will admit though, work isn't so bad when you get awesome visitors.

 We had the newest WBB member, Hennie Van Schaik, stop by the office!  I was glad to have a chance to meet Hennie and help process some paperwork to make them officially a Cardinal!  

She even indulged us in marking on the International Cards map where her hometown is.

Your newest 6'3 Cardinal forward...Hennie Van Schaik and Daryl. We're 99% sure who would win the opening tip between these two.  

Facts about Urk, Netherlands

  • Population about 21,000 

  • About an hour away from Amsterdam

  • The Urkish dialect is one of the oldest and most distinctive and includes elements that are older than standard Dutch and were never part of the standard language.

  • Until World War II, Urk was an island and could only be reached by boat.                                               
  • Hennie comes to Louisville from Cal-State Bakersfield, where she played as a freshman and sophomore. She was CSUB's best scoring threat and started 20 of the 22 games she played in last year. 

Cards in the Pros

The Washington Mystics (1-2) go to Wintrust Arena on Friday where they'll meet the Chicago Sky (2-0) on Friday 5/26.  Tip off is set for 8 p.m. Two Cards WBB greats are on the rosters. 

Dana Evans (Chicago) is averaging 7.5 points 2 rebounds and 3.5 assists to start the 2023 season where she played almost 35 minutes against the Phoenix Mercury on Sunday. Unfortunately, Myisha Hines-Allen (Washington) is still sidelined with a knee injury and will not play vs Chicago.  


We invite you to join us for Saturday's Cardinal Couple Rdio Hour Podcast. We'll  recap the week's activities in Louisville women's sports and look ahead to next week. Last we heard, it'll be Paulie, Jeff, Jared and Daryl on the podcast. Check it out on the Cardinal Couple You Tube Page. 

Have a GREAT holiday weekend everyone.  

As always, Go Cards!!

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Spring Semester Academic Success -- THURSDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Spring Semester Academic Success for Louisville Athletics

Louisville prides itself not only on the success on the court/field, but also the success on the academic side of the athletics world. 510 student-athletes were named to the Athletic Directors Honor Roll while Athletics as a whole had a 3.327 GPA.

In order to qualify for the Athletics Directors Honor Roll, a student-athlete must have at least a 3.0 GPA. For the 25th straight semester, the combined GPA was a 3.0 or better.

22 of the 23 recognized Division I teams logged a 3.0 GPA or better with field hockey showing up the rest of the teams again with a school-high 3.819 GPA. Baseball was the highest on the men's side with a 3.449.

Several teams had individuals post a perfect 4.0 GPA on the semester. Women's track and field had 13 with a 4.0, women's swim and dive had 11, and women's soccer had 10.

96 student-athletes graduated in the spring semester with 111 total graduating this most recent school year.

We constantly brag on the success on the sports side of things, but it's awesome to see so much success on the academics side for Louisville Athletics.

Happy Thursday and Go Cards!

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Louisville Softball: Roby graduating but Gray on the horizon



Usually, there is concern when a softball program loses their best player. In Louisville's case that would be Taylor Roby graduating. The two-way threat battled all season long to lead DI NCAA Softball in home runs and was also the Cards ace pitcher. Cards softball fans shouldn't get too worried about "in the circle" strength and skills, though. Hurlers Alyssa Zabala, Gabby Holloway, Sam Booe return and one of the best pitchers in high school softball is joining the Cards -- in Brooke Gray. 

Let's learn a little more about Brooke.

Gray plays for Louisville Ballard, the state's powerhouse program, and she's the powerhouse pitcher on a squad that has gone 69-1 over the last two years. Trying to determine just how many games Brooke has won over these last two years is akin to climbing Mt. Everest...the sports trackers like Max Preps and others are not easy to read and don't show easily, we think she's 24-0 this season, but could be off a win or two...and 31-0 so far this year. 

Gray's a lefty and stands 5'5". She's not an overpowering fast ball pitcher, but does have speed in  the mid 60's and throws with pin-point accuracy. She keeps batters confused on what to expect her to toss from the circle. Hits are rarities against Gray and it's not uncommon to see her strike out 10 or more any time she goes to "the flat mound" and throws a complete game. 

Gray's squad faced Eastern in the 7th region finals Tuesday night and Ballard  got a 5-0 win over the Eagles. Gray was in the circle and pitched a four-hit shutout for the Bruins, with 12 strikeouts in the 25 batters she faced. The game was played at UofL's Ulmer Stadium...fitting... since that's where Gray will be throwing her collegiate pitches. 

The win was Ballard's third win of the season over Eastern and improved their record to 32-1. 

Ballard is the defending state champs and defeated Lexington Catholic 3-2 last year for the title. Gray went 31-0 last year. All but one starter returned to that squad, so the Bruins figured to be pretty good again 

So, it's onto the state championships. We'll stay on top of this future Cardinals successes and work on maybe getting an interview with her down the road. Best of luck to her and the Bruins. 


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Softball Closes Out Strong Season, What to Expect Next Year -- TUESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Louisville Softball Closes Out Strong Season, But What to Expect for Next Year

As Paulie broke down in yesterday's article, Louisville softball's season came to an end over the weekend following a rough seventh inning against Indiana. But the season is far from defined by just that seventh inning. The season should be defined by a fourth place finish in the ACC; by the most wins in a season in nearly a decade; by one of the best home run hitting teams in program history.

Louisville finished the year 36-20. The last time the Cards had 36 wins in a year was in 2014, when they went 36-22. The 2014 team went 14-7 in the American Athletic Conference. This year's team went 16-7 in the much-stronger ACC.

The Cards hit .319 as a whole with 470 total hits and 64 home runs, twice as many home runs as opposing teams hit against them. Seven Cardinals hit above .300 and five players recorded at least 50 hits.

On the defensive end, Louisville had a 3.17 ERA as opposed to opposing teams having a 5.51 ERA. The Louisville pitching staff struck out 259 strikeouts while walking only 115 batters.

Where Louisville struggled on the defensive end was the .957 fielding percentage while logging 66 errors. In games where Louisville had multiple fielding errors, they went 6-11. They went 30-9 in games where they had one or fewer errors.

The Cards had win streaks of six, seven, and nine games. Their longest losing streak was five games. Louisville scored 10 or more runs 10 times while giving up double-digit runs six times. They run-ruled opponents 14 times.

Who is Leaving?

With the NCAA entering its final year of COVID-19 extra year eligibility this upcoming season, the confusion of "who is coming back for another year" is nearly gone.

Taylor Roby, Hannah File, and Makayla Hurst all utilized their COVID-19 year this year. Elana Ornelas and Taja Felder are both graduating but neither have hinted at returning next year.

Louisville has relied on Roby a lot in her time with the Cards. One of the nation's best home run hitters, Roby ranks high in the UofL record books in home runs and RBIs. She also has appeared in the record books in pitching.

File spent her final three seasons with the Cards after some time at James Madison and spent much of her time in a Louisville uniform at first base as well as being a factor at the plate.

Hurst, Ornelas, and Felder all filled in needed gaps at times for the Cards. Hurst's on base percentage of .577 was a team high.

Who is Returning?

Most of the starters are back. ACC Freshman of the Year Sarah Gordon is back at catcher. The middle infield will be back in second baseman Easton Lotus and shortstop Daisy Hess. Hess is using her COVID-19 year next season. Ally Alexander, who commanded third base a good chunk of the season, will be back. The entire outfield will be back. Korbe Otis was command the outfield from center field. Paige Geraghty will be back and most likely hold down left field. Vanessa Miller and Pickle Winkler battled it out for right field much of the season and both are returning.

In the circle, plenty of Cardinals will be back. Alyssa Zabala, the freshman ace, will be back and most likely be the go-to pitcher. She will have Gabby Holloway, Sam Booe, and Cassie Grizzard in the bullpen with her.

Louisville's top pinch runner, Mia Forsythe, should be back as well. Maddi Grant, who made an impact as a pinch hitter late in the season, should also be returning.

The entire coaching staff should be back again next year. Holly Aprile took over as head coach in the summer of 2018 with her first season with the Cards being in 2019. A majority of her tenure at Louisville has been during the COVID-19 pandemic, but has helped lead Louisville to a pair of 35+ win seasons and two NCAA Regional appearances.

Griffin Joiner has been with Louisville since Holly Aprile took over as head coach and specializes in the pitchers. She has been responsible for helping develop both Megan Hensley and Taylor Roby.

Bryce Neal just wrapped his second season as an assistant coach for the Cards. He specializes in the offense, and Louisville's offense has already improved in that short span.

Casey Bonk followed Holly Aprile from Pitt and has been the Director of Operations since. She is responsible for anything ranging from travel plans, to scheduling, to organizing teams to join the Cards on the field prior to home games, and so much more.

2024 Expectations

With a heavy amount of the starters returning who feature plenty of firepower, expectations will be high next season for the Cards. A 35+ win season should be within reach again.

While the home run totals might drop significantly due to the departure of Roby and File, the batting averages and multi-base hits should still be there. Louisville has plenty of speed returning next year in Otis, Lotus, Alexander, Hess Geraghty, Miller, Gordon, and Winkler. That group was a combined 78-89 (.877) in stolen base attempts They also combined for 87 extra base hits.

The returning group of pitchers combined for 229 innings pitched, 893 batters faced, and 195 strikeouts. Roby won't be around to fall back on anymore so Zabala should command the top spot while Booe, Holloway, and left-handed pitcher Grizzard should all see an increase in innings pitched.

There's plenty of time in the offseason to see what freshmen and incoming transfers will join the Louisville roster for next season, but the addition of new players should just help increase expectations. If you're looking for a women's program on the rise, Louisville softball is the place to go to.

Happy Tuesday and Go Cards!

Monday, May 22, 2023

Softball Cards fall to IU 4-2 to end season -- MONDAY CARDINAL COUPLE


Louisville Softball led for most of this regional elimination game in Knoxville Sunday, and got a masterful performance from Taylor Roby in the circle. Unfortunately, a couple of late-inning errors and some timely IU hitting allowed them to erase a 2-0 Cardinals lead with four runs in the final two innings. 

The Cards did their damage at the plate in the bottom of the second inning. Daisy Hess started the at-bats by drilling a pitch into right field for a single and a Vanessa Miller walk gave the Cards "two on, no out". A throwing error by the Hoosiers catcher allowed Hess to score and Miller to go the second. With two outs, Korbe Otis doubled to center and Miller scored easily. 2-0 Cards and the inning ended with Easton Lotus grounding out to short. 

With Roby in the circle, the lead held. It was still 2-0 after five and, neither team was showing much in terms of getting runners on base and scoring them. Louisville simply couldn't hit IU relief pitcher Heather Johnson, who took to the circle to begin the third inning and IU had mustered just two hits off Roby in five frames. 

Then, things changed. 

IU greeted Roby with two singles to start the sixth inning. Next, a couple of ground ball fielders choice plays advanced a Hoosier runner to the plate. The damage ended there, but IU had cut the Cards lead in half. 2-1 and Louisville needed to reawaken their bats. 

It was three up, three down for Louisville in the bottom of the sixth, though,  but all the Cards had to do was hold IU scoreless in the top of the seventh to advance and play Tennessee. 

IU had different plans, though. They got a break to start the seventh when Hannah File mis-judged a popup to first and failed to catch it for an out. The next IU batter worked Roby for six pitches before singling to left. Holly Aprile had seen enough and the decision was made to remove Roby and put Gabby Holloway in the circle. 

The strategy failed. An IU bunt moved the runners to second and third. Another IU bunt resulted in a wild throw to first by the Cards, and the ball skipped into right field. Both IU players on base reached the plate and the bunter advanced to third base. 

It was suddenly 3-2 IU.

Holloway got the next batter to fly out to center, but the runner that had been on third tagged and scored to increase IU's lead to 4-2. Holloway struck out the next batter to end the inning but the damage had been done. IU used six batters, two hits and two Cards errors to grab a two-run lead and Louisville was down to their final bat, needing two runs to tie it. 

Daisy Hess led off and hit a screamer down the first base line to start the bottom of the seventh, but it was right at the first baseman, who caught it for the first out. The next two Cards were victims of strike outs, one swinging and one looking.

 It was over and IU was advancing to play Tennessee in the reginal finals. 4-2. 

A tough way to end the season. Would have leaving Roby in the circle made a difference? We'll never know, of course, but...regardless...that didn't happen and IU capitalized on the runners that had reached base on Roby.  

The Cards battled proudly but ended up on the short end of the score. Only four total hits for UofL, and none in the final five innings of the game, was costly. 


"It was a hard-fought game. I'm really proud of our team. We showed a lot of heart and fight throughout the season and we got so much better from the beginning to the end. There's only one team that wins a national championship, so there are a lot of teams that lose along the way. I thought we battled today and I thought Taylor Roby was brilliant on the mound.  was proud of her and all our seniors. It was a tough loss but I'm proud of our team."

Louisville ends the season 36-20, the most wins since 2014. As I finish this article...I see that Tennessee defeated Indiana 7-3. Not saying that Louisville would have gotten any closer in a match with the Lady Vols, but I wish they'd had the chance...

Oh, well  They'll get 'em next year. 

A lot of talented underclass(wo)men on this Cardinal squad and I'm confident Holly and the staff will bring some more portal dwellers and some talented freshmen. 


Sunday, May 21, 2023

Rain, Rain, Go Away - Sunday Cardinal Couple

Rain Delays Make a Long Day

The second day of the NCAA softball tournament saw 31 teams eliminated rather than the expected 32.  The Knoxville Regional, where Louisville is playing suffered from several hours of rain delays yesterday pushing what should have been the late game, which would be an elimination game, to today.

The delay wasn't without a bit of drama, with the pause called in the third inning with Indiana at bat.  With two outs, bases loaded, the Tennessee pitcher, Ashley Rogers, one of the best in the country was changing softballs out after every pitch to try to get a grip and had walked three straight.  With Brianna Copeland up, the umpires called the delay after the first pitch of the at bat.  Indiana's coach was furious at the timing of the delay and, for a time, refused to vacate the field to allow the tarp to be rolled out.  After more than five hours, the game would resume, though it would experience another approximately 30 minute delay later in the game.

The Cards will be playing in the "held over" game today.  The Cards dropped to the elimination portion of the bracket after losing to Indiana on Friday, but were able to send Northern Kentucky home in what turned out to be the late game, starting at 9:05pm, and finishing up around 11pm.  The run-rule did come into effect, preventing the game from going even later, with the Cards finishing it off 9-1 after five innings.

Sam Booe pitched the complete five inning game, allowing just three hits, and the one run.  She only walked one batter, struck out five, making for a very fine appearance.

No scoring happened in this one through three and a half innings, with the Cards finally breaking through the bottom of the fourth for six.  With one out already registered, Taylor Roby doubled out to center field and was replaced on the base paths with Pickle Winkler.  Sarah Gordon singled to short advancing Winkler.  Daisy Hess singled to left field, scoring Winkler.  That brought up Vanessa Miller with two outs.  Miller, not particularly known for her power hitting, sent the ball beyond the left center fence, her second home run in two games, and the only two of the season for her.

With the bases cleared, Ally Alexander drew a four pitch walk, then Paige Geraghty singled up the center and both Alexander and Geraghty were able to advance on throws.  That was enough to chase the NKU pitcher (Alicia Flores), and the new pitcher (Madi Eads)... with two speedster runners in scoring position had herself quite a challenge.  Korbe Otis singled to short, scoring Alexander, and advancing Geraghty.  Otis then, predictably, stole second, and finally, Easton Lotus pulled off an excellent squeeze bunt, scoring Geraghty.  Six runs in the 4th inning and NKU was still scoreless.

That wouldn't last long, however, as NKU got their only run of the game with a touch-em-all on the fourth pitch of the 5th inning from Brielle DiMemmo.  Booe would issue her only walk of the game right after, but a strikeout, and some good defensive work, would shut down the rest of the inning.

With UofL back at bat in the bottom of the 5th, Sarah Gordon decided to one-up the NKU by giving Mr. Spalding a ride only the third pitch of the inning.  We, here at Cardinal Couple, hope Mr. Spalding enjoyed his trip out to left center.  Having a travel partner is always nice, though, so Hannah File thought it would be fun to provide him a companion, and sent her fourth pitch out beyond the center field fence.  I hope to get a postcard from the pair...or invite them to stop by the Cardinal Couple studios.

Vanessa Miller back at the plate, singled up the middle, and the a pair of walks to Alexander, and a pinch hitting Makayla Hurst, filled up the bases.  Hurst, having done her job, exited to let Geraghty re-enter and do the base-running.  There wasn't too much point to Geraghty re-entering, however.  With the line-up back up to the top, Otis singled, which advanced everyone, including Miller from third.  That made the score of the game 9-1, which, in the bottom of the 5th triggered the run rule ending the game.

NKU heads home as the only elimination from the Knoxville Regional at this point, where the original schedule would have had two eliminations.  That second elimination game will be played today, as mentioned above, with a 2:05pm start, and will be contested between UofL and IU.

Let's hope the third time is the charm for the Cards, having lost to IU during the regular season 10-5, and of course in Friday's game 4-3.

Today's game from the Knoxville Regional will only be available on ESPN+, though plenty of other softball will be on various ESPN properties throughout the day. Why the ACC Network can't pick this one up is beyond me...they ARE showing softball games today from noon to 6 p.m. Just another reason to listen to the Big 12's courting call...

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

.---Paulie and Jared review the show's (lack of) format---

The CCRHP was a lot of fun yesterday, mostly talking about softball, but we did take a few moments to catch up on Cards in the WNBA (Don't forget Liz Dixon!), as well as touch a bit on Anna (Stevenson) Hall, and Tori Dilfer-Stringer being selected for the overall roster for the Volleyball Nations League for the USWNT.

Daryl couldn't be with us as she was participating in a, we expect somewhat soggy, charity golf event, but a good time was had by "the guys."  Check it out via your favorite podcast directory, or it can be found at Spotify:

-- JMcA

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Cards Drop Game One of NCAA Tournament -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Two Late Homers Not Enough in 4-3 Loss

Korbe Otis got things started in the "Home Run Regional" almost as quickly as she could have, smoking a line drive shot over the center field wall to lead off the game. The only way it could have been any faster is if she had done it on the first pitch of the at-bat instead of the third. Easton Lotus got ahold of her third pitch as well, sending it down the left field line past third for a single. Two more hard hit balls in the inning would come next, but their results would be less than ideal. Taylor Roby sent one hard to the shortstop and got a terrible break out of the batter's box. The shortstop was fielding the ball before Roby crossed the plate, leading to an easy 6-4-3 double-play. Sarah Gordon tested the short stop again with another fast grounder, but the ball once more out ran her to first.

Yesterday's game was quite the different start for the Cards than their first matchup against IU. The cast of characters were largely the same. Brianna Copeland was in the circle for the Hoosiers in the top of the first inning with Alyssa Zabala taking the position in the bottom half. The offense wasn't on hand that evening in early April, though. Otis, Lotus, and Gordon hit three straight groundouts to let Copeland off the hook after just 15 pitches. The bottom half was also a bit better for Louisville. In the first game, a 10-5 IU victory, the Hoosiers scored three in the bottom of each of the first two innings, holding a 6-1 lead after two. 

Zabala opened the bottom half of yesterday's game with a three-pitch strikeout. She followed that up with a first-pitch HBP to put a runner on first. In real time, I commented that the pitch looked awfully close to the zone (implying the batter was leaning over the plate), but no replay was shown. For what it's worth (not much), a couple of innings later, the announcers praised how Kern crowds the plate and dares pitchers to throw inside. The NCAA rule clarifies that a base is not awarded if a pitch is in the zone or if the pitch is not completely in the batter's box and the batter does not make any attempt to avoid being hit. So... yeah. Anyway, with a runner on first and one out, a full-count single put runners on first a second. A ball into the outfield was to a hard-charging Otis, but her throw home was cutoff to hold the trailing runner at second. Tie game. Zabala continued to find the bats, this time to her counterpart Copeland, but Ally Alexander was on hand at third to glove the grounder and turn it into a nifty double play to limit the damage.

Copeland settled in in the second, sitting the Cards down 1-2-3 to bring her offense back to the plate. Once more, Zabala opened the inning with an out, but she gave up a free base (this time a walk) and back-to-back singles again to score another run. A flyout to Pickle Winkler (who has a cannon) prevented any hope of a sacrifice, but a full-count walk to Kern loaded the bases. Zabala was able to induce a grounder right back to the circle to get out of the jam, but her toss over to first very nearly pulled Hannah File from the bag, which would have been a disastrous error to continue the inning. Fortunately, File completed the stretch and the Cards headed back to the dugout.

What followed in the third can only be described as both very odd and (likely) very impactful. Alexander and Paige Geraghty lined out and struck out to give the Cards two quick outs while turning over the order. Korbe Otis singled and then successfully stole her 22nd base on 22 attempts this season. In response, the Hoosiers walked Easton Lotus. This was definitely a choice that was available to them, bringing up one of the top home run hitters in the country, but it was the choice they made. As it turned out, it didn't matter who was at the plate. On the first (or second - it's blurry) pitch, the IU catcher threw behind Otis at second and caught her completely asleep on the base paths. In a pickle, Otis had nowhere to go and ran hard at third but was easily tagged out to end the inning.

Then it got worse. Facing the heart of the order for the second time, the bats came to play against Zabala. We talked a bit on the show last week about how Zabala has been more efficient in getting outs but she has been more susceptible to throwing a meatball. Meatball number one of the inning came against the first batter, who sent one to straightaway center. Korbe Otis leaped at the wall, and the ball appeared to bounce off the top of the wall or her head or something before hitting a sign beyond the wall and coming back into the field of play. A home run was called and there was a brief conversation between Otis, Aprile, and an umpire. I'm not sure what their argument was, unless they just didn't see it clearly. The ball definitely left the field of play before returning, as it hit what I believe was the same sign Otis's homer bounced off of in the first. Unless there's a rule I'm unaware of that a ball off a leaping defender is a GRD instead of a home run, there wasn't much to discuss. IU led 3-1. The second meatball came three pitches later and there was no discussion about this one. Copeland (who the announcers had been sure to tell us absolutely dominated the entire team in the weight room) sent one over all the signage and nearly to the train tracks in left center field. 4-1 Hoosiers and the end of Zabala's day.

Taylor Roby came in to pitch and immediately got a grounder to pick up what looked like the first out of the inning. Unlike the end of the second, the umpire wasn't as generous with File's stretch, though, and ruled that Daisy Hess's throw had pulled her off the bag. Roby kept her head down, worked the next batter, and got another ground ball sent to Hess. This time, Hess calmly hit Lotus at second who turned and fired for the double-play. No harm done on the error. A pop-out to Hess fully redeemed her and the inning was over. 

The weird baserunning error in the top of the third wasn't done affecting Louisville. Since Roby didn't officially have an at-bat, she returned to the box in the top of the fourth - this time as the pitcher instead of the designated player. She fouled away the first pitch and then checked her swing on the second. As she trotted to first, ESPN scrambled for a replay while IU began their arguments. The umpires conferred, determining that Roby had both held up the swing and that the ball had not hit the bat. They needed only to look at Louisville's ace at first sorely trying to work her pitching hand. Pickle Winkler headed to first to pinch run and Roby headed to the bullpen. Sarah Gordon fouled out (although Copeland very nearly dropped it), and Hannah File singled up the middle. A fielder's choice kept runners on first and second for Louisville but gave them two outs. Makayla Hurst pinch hit and sent a floater into center field. As the lead runner with two outs, File (a sixth-year senior) knew very well that her job was to run on contact. That said, she didn't do it. It happens. File hesitated briefly before leaving second, and, as a result, had to retreat to third after a big turn rather than easily scoring on the play. Alexander grounded hard to second base, but it was fielded cleanly and the inning was over. Louisville still trailed 4-1.

Despite everyone's fears, Roby returned to the circle for the bottom of the inning. She forced a line-out and a ground-out before a double put another runner in scoring position. Another ground out ended the inning and Louisville was still clinging on to touching distance. A three-up three-down inning didn't do much to boost their confidence. However, Roby remained dialed in. She again got two quick outs before allowing a base hit. Once more, a grounder ended the inning. As she did a couple of innings prior, Roby led off the inning. This time, she didn't fuss around with an HBP. She smoked a ball to left center, aiming for the general area that Copeland had sent one earlier. She didn't quite get it there, but the result was the same: 4-2. Copeland responded with a pair of strikeouts before getting a ground out from Hess to end the inning.

Image from UofL Athletics
With the bottom of the order up, a pop-out gave Louisville a quick advantage by getting the first out before the top of the order. It was critical, too, as a bunt single and a single up the middle put two runners on with 3-4-5 due up. A foul out from Kern (who had been on base in each of her first three at-bats) and a strikeout from Minnick (who was now alone in second in home runs after Roby moved into a tie for first) ended the inning. The seventh inning saw Louisville hit their third lead-off home run of the game. This time it was Vanessa Miller, and it was her first home run of the season. Alexander grounded out before Maddi Grant drew a pinch-hit walk. Louisville looked to have the momentum with the top of the order up, but they couldn't pass the bat. Korbe Otis hit a grounder to third for a fielder's choice and Easton Lotus grounded out to second on a 3-1 pitch to end the game. 

Louisville's loss was their fifth straight, though there is a bit of a caveat to go along with that. The first three of this current skid came on the road at Florida State. The last loss was at the ACC tournament in the 4-5 game of a single-elimination bracket and they should have tied the game after trailing by six if not for a questionable call at the plate. In this game, Louisville was not favored. It was a rematch against a team that has already beaten them. That said, they had the chance to win this game. They gave up too much on the defensive end and they made mistakes on offense in key moments. We're to the point now where it is win or go home. Louisville must win four straight games in two days if they want to advance out of the regional. At least two of those wins would need to come against a team they will have already played in the regional (IU two more times or IU once and Tennessee once). 

There's no time to look ahead, though. If Louisville wants to stay alive, they can only do so one game at a time. The first opponent is NKU, who Louisville has already beaten twice this year. The Norse, who stunned everyone by winning the Horizon League championship to make the tournament after a 19-29 regular season, were no hit by Tennessee yesterday in a five-inning 12-0 run rule. NKU gave up one run in the first and none in the second before Tennessee exploded for six in the third and five in the fourth. On offense, they drew two walks and struck out for 9/15 outs. Louisville defeated NKU way back in March when they opened Ulmer with the Cardinal Classic. The home opener was a 7-0 win, and Louisville bounced back from a pair of losses to Northwestern by closing the weekend with a 2-0 victory. 

It's anyone's guess who will get the start for the Cards today. I'd say it's likely to be Zabala, since she pitched fewer innings yesterday. However, it's not like Roby isn't used to going on short rest. Roby, who pitched four innings yesterday compared to Zabala's 2+, pitched six full innings against NKU in the first game while Zabala tossed a complete game in the second. It's important to note that the regional is set up for all of the loser's bracket games to be played today rather than one tomorrow morning, so that will likely play into the pitching decision. Louisville's first game today is set for 3:30PM or 35 minutes after the conclusion of the first game of the day (1PM). The final elimination game is scheduled for 6PM or 35 minutes after the conclusion of the 3:30 game. If Louisville can make quick work of the Norse and get a longer break, that would surely be welcome. All of today's games will be on ESPN+ only. 

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour Podcast

We're without Daryl this week as she participates in a golf scramble that may see more beers consumed in the clubhouse than balls hit on the course. Four should be plenty to cover yesterday's matchup and preview today's game, though, plus get into who knows what else. As always, you can check out the live stream of the show by going to the Cardinal Couple YouTube page and clicking on the live video. Jeff usually creates that about an hour before the show, which officially starts at 11 AM Eastern. If the live time doesn't work for you, there are plenty of playback options, so be sure to check out whichever is best for you!

Cardinal Couple YouTube: Link
Anchor (podcast host): Link
Apple Podcasts: Link
Google Podcasts: Link
Overcast (free account required): Link
Pocket Casts (free account and app required): Link
RadioPublic: Link
Spotify: Link

Until next time, Go Cards!