No. 11/12 Softball Set for BIG EAST Championship :: Cards will play Syracuse Thursday at 4 p.m. No. 11/12 Softball Set for BIG EAST Championship

May 8, 2013

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The No. 11/12 University of Louisville softball team will travel to Tampa, Fla. for the 2013 BIG EAST Championship May 9-11. The Cardinals earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament and will face sixth-seeded Syracuse in the quarterfinals Thursday at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will move on to play the winner of second-seeded USF and the No. 7 seed Providence Friday at 6:30 p.m. The final of the championship will take place Saturday at 4 p.m. and will be televised live on ESPN2.

About Louisville
U of L (45-10) is No. 11 in the USA Today/NFCA coaches' poll and No. 12 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate poll. The Cardinals earned the No. 3 seed in the tournament after entering the final weekend of play in a tie for first with Notre Dame, but lost two of a three-game series to fall into third place behind the Fighting Irish and USF.

Louisville is led offensively by junior second baseman Katie Keller who is hitting .420 on the season with 12 home runs, 58 runs and 54 RBIs. Senior first baseman Alicja Wolny follows at .417 with 10 homers and 51 RBIs. Senior Jordan Trimble is hitting .387 with 16 doubles, 47 runs and 24 RBIs on the season.

Caralisa Connell (25-4) carries a 2.27 ERA with 198 strikeouts and is holding opponents to a .200 batting average in 188.0 innings. Rachel LeCoq (20-6) holds a 1.69 ERA with 93 Ks in 166.0 innings of work.

Cards vs. Syracuse
Series Record: U of L leads 12-8
Last Meeting: March 29-30 at Ulmer Stadium. The teams split their conference-opening doubleheader with Louisville winning the first game 8-1 and Syracuse taking the second 4-2. The Cards won the deciding game 9-0.
Louisville 8 - Syracuse 1
Junior Caralisa Connell registered a season-high 11 strikeouts, including seven-straight to finish the game, and junior Katie Keller was 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs to lead the Cards to an 8-1 win over Syracuse in both teams' BIG EAST opener.
Syracuse 4 - Louisville 2
In game two, senior Alicja Wolny went 3 for 3 with two RBIs but the Cards could not overcome a 4-0 lead built by Syracuse.
Louisville 9 -Syracuse 0
Junior Taner Fowler had two home runs and five RBIs while junior Caralisa Connell tossed a one-hit shutout as the No. 11 University of Louisville softball team defeated Syracuse 9-0 in five innings to clinch its BIG EAST opening series Saturday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium.
Scouting the Orange: Sixth-seeded Syracuse enters the tournament with a 23-28 overall record and a 10-12 mark in BIG EAST play. The Orange are coming off of two wins in a three-game series against Providence. After losing 5-1 in game one, Syracuse rebounded to beat the Friars 11-7 in game two of the doubleheader. The Orange cliched the series with a 9-4 victory on Sunday.

Jasmine Watson leads the team with a .295 batting average, 11 home runs and 11 doubles with 34 RBIs. Corinne Ozanne has a .293 batting average with 10 homers and a team-best 40 RBIs. Stacy Kuwik (17-13) carries a 3.54 ERA with 73 strikeouts and five shutouts in 196.0 innings. Lindsay Taylor (4-12) has a 2.56 ERA with 84 Ks in 104.0 innings of work.

In the BIG EAST Tournament: The teams have met three times with Syracuse holding a 2-1 edge - defeating the Cards in the finals in 2010 and 2011 at Ulmer Stadium.

Quick hits
• The April 28, 10-1 win over Georgetown marked head coach Sandy Pearsall's 800th career victory. She is in her 26th season with an overall record of 801-605 and a 551-271 (.672) record in her 14th season at U of L.
• The Cardinals recently snapped a season-high 15-game win streak with a 2-1 loss to No. 19/19 Kentucky on April 24.
• On March 18, the Cards fell 6-2 to Iowa, snapping an 11 game win streak. It was also the first regular season home loss since April 13, 2011 when they fell 5-1 to Connecticut.
• The Cardinals are batting .340 as a team with eight players hitting over .300 on the season, and three players with 40 or more RBIs.
• Every hitter in the current starting lineup has recorded at least two home runs.
• Louisville has scored 370 runs on the season, surpassing the program record 320 set in the 2009 season.
• The Cards have been among in the top 25 in the coaches' polls for the past 29 ranking periods, dating back to the beginning of the 2012 season.
• U of L has five wins over top 25 teams: then-No. 11/11 LSU, No. 14/14 Michigan, No. 24/24 North Carolina, No. 1/1 Oklahoma and No. 20/21 Kentucky. The March 23 win over top-ranked Oklahoma marked the first win over a No. 1 team in program history.

On Deck
The Cardinals will await their fate in the 2013 NCAA tournament. Louisville has been to nine straight regionals dating back to the 2004 season.

Senior Moments
The Cardinals honor seniors Chelsea Leonard, Jennifer Esteban, Katelyn Mann, Chrisanna Roberts, Jordan Trimble and Alicja Wolny. As a class, they have won 177 games and helped the Cardinals to a BIG EAST regular season and tournament title and two runner-up finishes and three NCAA appearances - including an overall No. 15 seed in 2012. They have helped the team set records for wins in a season (55 in 2012), appeared as high as No. 7 in the nation rankings (2012 and 2013), and registered the program's first win over a top-ranked team when they beat No. 1 Oklahoma in Norman earlier this season .

Cards reach 40-win mark
On April 20, Louisville defeated Villanova 1-0 for its 40th win of the season marking the eighth time the Cards have reached the 40-win mark.

On April 6, the Cards defeated St. John's 6-4 to reach their 30th win of the season marking the tenth straight year they have registered at least 30 wins - dating back to 2004. Coincidentally, Louisville has played in the NCAA tournament in each of those seasons.

The Cardinals have posted 40 or more victories eight times since 2000, the program's inaugural season. In 2012, Louisville eclipsed the 50-win milestone with a 55-5 record.

Up Last
The Cardinals lost two of three games in the final weekend of the regular season at Notre Dame. The teams entered the weekend tied for first place in BIG EAST standings. The Fighting Irish took the first game 5-4, but the Cards knotted the series with a 15-1 victory in the second game. Notre Dame clinched the regular season title with a 3-1 decision in the rubber game.

Cards Run Past School Record
On April 20, Louisville defeated Villanova 5-4 and in doing so, set a new school record for runs in a season, surpassing previous mark of 320 set in 2009. Louisville now has 370 on the season.

Wolny Hitting the (Record) Books
When all is said and done, senior Alicja Wolny will leave her mark in the school record books. She is ranked in the top five in career hits, doubles, home runs, RBI and walks and is in the top 10 in games played and started. Below is a list of where she stands among the program's career leaders.
Doubles - 2nd (67)
RBI - 3rd (161)
Home runs - 5th (28)
Walks - 4th (99)
Games started - T7th (226)
Games played - 9th (226)
For the complete top 10 career standings, see page 13 in the game notes.

Keller driving them home
Katie Keller's solo home run in the 3-1 loss to Notre Dame on May 5 gave her 54 RBIs on the season and set a new school record. Melissa Roth (2009) and Courtney Moore (2005) held the previous mark of 53.

Louisville No. 11/12 in coaches' polls
• Cards in ESPN.com/USA Softball rankings
U of L is No. 12 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll which was released on May 7. The Cardinals dropped three spots after losing two games two Notre Dame last weekend. On April 23, they were tied for 7th, matching the highest ranking in program history. The Cards made their 2013 debut at No. 18 and spent four weeks in the top 10.

Louisville recorded program-best No. 7 ranking for the first time on May 15, 2012. They were ranked in the top 10 for the final five weeks of the season. Louisville spent 15 weeks in USA Softball top 25 after debuting at No 23 on Feb. 14. • Cards in USA Today/NFCA rankings
Louisville also weighed in at No. 11 in the most recent USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll on May 7. After a pair of losses to Notre Dame, the Cards dropped two spots two weeks after tying their program high at No. 8 in the NFCA Softball poll on April 23.

Louisville opened the 2013 season at No. 18. The Cards' spent three weeks in the top 10. Prior to that, they spent five straight weeks at No. 11.

Cards in the May 6 National Rankings
The Cardinals enter the week among the nation's leaders in several categories, including batting average (6th), Win/Loss percentage (9th), Doubles per game (2nd), Slugging Percentage (8th) and scoring (9th).

Katie Keller is ranked 22nd in runs per game with 58 runs in 55 games and 26th with 18 doubles in 55 games. Caralisa Connell is 15th with 25 victories in the circle while Rachel LeCoq is 11th with nine shutouts. Alicja Wolny is 21st in sacrifice flies.

Louisville No. 14 in RPI
The NCAA released its seventh RPI report of the 2013 season on May 6 and Louisville appeared at No. 14 - up two spots from last week. The Cardinals spent the first three ranking periods at No. 10. Five of Louisville's 2013 opponents are in the top 10 including No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 3 Texas, No. 5 LSU, No. 7 Michigan and No. 8 Kentucky. Louisville ranks the highest of all BIG EAST teams with Notre Dame next in line at No. 42. USF stands in at No. 43 and DePaul follows closely at No. 44.

Pearsall Reaches 800 career wins
On April 28, 2013, the Cardinals defeated Georgetown10-1 to mark head coach Sandy Pearsall's 800th career victory. She is in her 26th season with an overall record of 801-605 and a 551-271 record in her 14th season at U of L.

During her career she has been a head coach at Pacific, San Francisco, Florida A&M - where she started the softball program, Colorado State, Miami (Ohio) and has been the only coach in Louisville softball history. She has led her teams to six conference championships and has been named Coach of the Year five times in four different conferences.

Keller Among Nation's Top 25 Players
Junior second baseman Katie Keller has been selected as one of the Top 25 Finalists for the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year as announced by the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America and USA Softball on April 10.

Keller (Livermore, Calif.) becomes the second Louisville player to be named a Top 25 Finalist, following Melissa Roth in 2010.

The Player of the Year will be announced at the opening of the 2013 NCAA Women's College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City. This award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize the outstanding athletic achievement by female players across the country. The list will be narrowed to the Top 10 Finalists on May 8, prior to the start of post-season play. The Top 3 Finalists will be announced May 22, while the winner of the 2013 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be revealed on May 28 prior to the start of the NCAA WCWS in Oklahoma City.

This year's Top 25 is comprised of 11 seniors, eight juniors, four sophomores and two freshman. The student-athletes selected represent 17 NCAA Division I universities and five athletic conferences. Alabama leads the way among universities with four athlete representatives, followed by Oklahoma and Tennessee with three apiece, Texas with two and Arizona State, Arkansas, California, Florida, Louisville, LSU, Michigan, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State, South Florida and Washington each have one member among the Top 25 Finalists.

Home Sweet Home
The Cards were 23-3 at Ulmer Stadium in 2013 - the 6-2 loss to Iowa on March 18, 2013 snapped a 26 game regular season win streak dating back to April when they fell 5-1 to Connecticut. Louisville was tough at home during the 2012 regular season posting a perfect 25-0 record at Ulmer Stadium and a 27-2 record after the NCAA regional. In 2011, the Cards were an impressive 18-3 at Ulmer Stadium.

Bombs Away - Cards set new school record for single season home runs
Louisville has 60 home runs on the season with 10 players - everyone in the current starting lineup - connecting on at least two homers. Junior Katie Keller leads the team with 12 and senior Alicja Wolny is right behind her with 10 and Taner Fowler follows closely with nine. Junior Maggie Ruckenbrod and sophomore Whitney Arion have seven apiece. Senior Jordan Trimble has a career-best five. Sophomore Kayla Soles, senior Katelyn Mann each have three. Hannah Kiyohara and freshman Jasmine Smithson-Willett have two.
Katie Keller's home run in the 15-1 win over Notre Dame on May 4 gave the Cardinals 58 home runs on the season, setting a new school record. The previous mark was 57 - set in 2005.

Heavy hitters
Senior Alicja Wolny and juniors Katie Keller and Taner Fowler are all in the top 10 on the school's list for career home runs. Wolny stands at fifth with 28. Keller and Fowler are tied for seventh with 25 each. Courtney Moore (2004-07) holds the record with 42.

Ruckenbrod on Patrol
Junior catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod has thrown out 15 of 24 base stealers and has picked off 10 runners this season. She owns the school record for pickoffs in a game (three), season (11 in 2011) and career (26).

Esteban and Wolny Join 200 Club
Senior Jennifer Esteban registered her 200th career hit on March 9, 2013 in the 12-0 win over Austin Peay. The following day fellow senior Alicja Wolny reached the milestone with a home run in her only official plate appearance (she was walked three times) in the 9-3 win over Illinois State. There are only 10 players in program history who accumulated 200 or more hits. Wolny is third on the all-time list with 237 while Esteban is No. 10 with 205. Audrey Rendon (2004-07) holds the all-time record with 283.

Wolny Doubling Up
Alicja Wolny is currently second on the career doubles list with 67. Two-time All-America selection Melissa Roth (2007-10) holds the all-time record with 68.

Missing Jenn
Senior left fielder Jennifer Esteban suffered a leg injury in the first game of the Syracuse doubleheader on March 29 and has been sidelined since that time. Up until that point, the four-year starter and two-time All-BIG EAST Conference selection had scored 18 runs and was a perfect 7 for 7 in stolen bases. She currently stands at fifth on the school's all-time list for runs scored (138), 10th in career hits (205) and second in stolen bases (60).

Keller running toward the record
Katie Keller has scored 58 runs so far this season and is currently third on the single season list. She is within striking distance of breaking the record for single runs (64) set by Melissa Roth in 2009.

Bruggeman Posts 700th Career Win
On March 20, 2013, the Cards defeated Indiana 4-1 at Ulmer Stadium. The win marked Associate Head Coach Carol Bruggeman's 700th career victory. Prior to becoming Louisville's first Associate Head Coach in 2006, Bruggeman built the Purdue softball program and spent 12 seasons as the head coach, producing a 378-302 mark with the Boilermakers.

Trimble registers second career grand slam
Senior Jordan Trimble doesn't hit a lot of home runs, she has five this season and 14 in her career, but she makes them count when bases are loaded. In 2012, she hit her first career grand slam in the 9-0 win over USF and she notched her second one in this year's 15-0 win over St. John's.

Trimble is the only player on the current roster with a grand slam and one of only three players in program history to have more than one - Chelsea Bemis (2008-11) has two while Lacy Wood (2003-06) owns the school record with four.

Keller Sweeps National Player of the Week Awards
Katie Keller was named the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Player of the Week and becomes the first player in program history to earn USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week honors. Both awards were announced on March 5.

Keller helped lead the Cardinals to a 4-1 performance in the 2013 Citrus Classic. The second baseman batted .667 (8 for 12) with three doubles, seven runs and two RBIs. As the Cards' leadoff hitter in four of five games on the weekend, she also drew seven walks for an on-base percentage of .800 and registered a .917 slugging percentage. Keller had at least one hit and one walk in every game and scored at least one run in four of the Cards' five games on the weekend. Against No. 11 LSU, she went 2 for 2 with two runs and two walks. She was also 2 for 2 in wins over Temple and Georgia Tech.
• This marks the third time a Louisville player has earned NFCA Player of the Week honors. Tori Collins selected on April 17, 2012 and Chelsea Bemis became the first to earn the honor on April 27, 2010. It is the first time the Cardinals have had a player selected USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week since the award's inception in 2006.

Wolny and Keller Earn Honors at U of L's All-Sports Banquet
Alicja Wolny was named Co-Female Senior Athlete of the Year while Katie Keller was tabbed Co-Junior Athlete of the Year at the annual All-Sports Banquet held on April 22.

Wolny, a four-year starter has consistently been among Louisville's leaders offensively and is a three-time All-BIG EAST selection a 2012 All Great Lakes Region First Team pick. She currently stands at No. 2 on the school's career doubles list and is in the top five in career hits, home run, RBIs and walks.

Keller, a two-time All BIG EAST selection has led the Cards offensively throughout the season and was named Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Player of the Week on March 5 and became the first player in program history to earn USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week honors. Twice this season she has tied a school record with 7 RBIs in a game.

Cards Picked to Finish Third in BIG EAST Preseason Coaches' Poll
The University of Louisville softball team was picked to finish third in the 2013 BIG EAST Softball preseason poll which is decided by the league's 13 head coaches. USF was the preseason favorite with Notre Dame narrowly edging the Cards for second place.

U of L, the reigning BIG EAST Champion received four first-place votes and 128 points. The Cardinals claimed the BIG EAST regular-season and championship titles in 2012. They finished with a 55-5 overall mark and a 20-2 conference record. The 2012 BIG EAST Coaching Staff of the Year loses two All-BIG EAST First Team selections from a year ago but returns seven all-conference selections. Catcher/utility Taner Fowler and first baseman Alicja Wolny were first-team selections last season while second baseman Katie Keller and pitcher Caralisa Connell were named to the second team. Three third-team selections, including the BIG EAST Championship Most Outstanding Player, outfielder Jordan Trimble, return for 2013. Joining Trimble are outfielder Jennifer Esteban and shortstop Whitney Arion.