#20 Louisville Softball Preview

Louisville Cardinals

Overall Rank: #20
Conference Rank: #2 Big East
Louisville College Softball Top 44 Team Preview
Louisville Team Page


Since adding softball in 2000, the Cardinals had a program best season in 2012 with a 55-5 record and won the Big East regular season and conference titles (20-2) under Coach Sandy Pearsall. “The 2013 schedule will be challenging but at the same time it will be a great opportunity to play several quality programs,” said Pearsall. “Our team is coming off a very successful year and we return the majority of our starting lineup. They have worked hard in the offseason and are eager to get started and continue that success.” In 26 years Pearsall has compiled a 756-595 (.560 winning percentage) overall record and is 506-261 (.660) in 13 years at Louisville. The team finished last season ranked 18th in final College Sports Madness Top 25 ranking. The Cardinals open their season February 8 in the Sportco Kick-off Classic in Las Vegas.

2012: 55-5, 20-2
2012 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Sandy Pearsall

Field Players:
The Cardinals return 12 letter winners and eight starters:  Alicja Wolney (1B, 10 homers, 43 RBI, .387), Taner Fowler (DP/UT, .366), Jennifer Esteban (OF,. 335), Jordan Trimble (UT/P, .313),  Whitney Arion (SS, .289),  Katie Keller (2B, .277), Katelyn Mann (3B, .273), Maggie Ruckenbrod (C, .264) and Kayla Soles (INF, .232). Wolny, Keller, Orion, Connell, Esteban and Trimble were all named All-Conference in 2012. Fowler was named All-American in 2012 and is a third team preseason College Sports Madness All-American. Esteban led the team in stolen bases with 16 in 20 attempts.

Louisville lost two pitchers including ace Tori Collins (25-2, 1.37 ERA, 186 strikeouts in 179.1 innings pitched) and Chelsea Leonard (11-2, 1.30 ERA with 108 strikeouts in 91.1 innings pitched). The only returning pitcher is Caralisa Connell (19-1 with 1.55 ERA) who was an All-Conference selection. With only one returning hurler, the team lacks depth  with freshman Jasmine Smithson-Willett, Trimble and Rachel LeCog being counted on to pitch. How fast they develop will have an impact on the season’s won-loss record.

Who to Watch:
Fowler earned All-American honors last season and will be counted on to lead this veteran team along with Wolney.

Final Projection:
Louisville had their best season in the program’s history in 2012 and would certainly like to continue with another impressive season. With only one veteran hurler returning, how the young pitchers develop will play a huge role in the team’s success.  The Cardinals batted .309 last season with while holding the opposition to a .188 average.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Jennifer Esteban, OF, 203
Hits: Jennifer Esteban, OF, 68
Home Runs: Taner Fowler, DP/UT, 12
RBIs: Taner Fowler, DP/UT, 52
Runs: Jennifer Esteban, OF, 43
Stolen Bases: Jennifer Esteban, OF, 16

Wins: Caralisa Connell, P, 19
Innings Pitched: Caralisa Connell, P, 131.1
Strikeouts: Caralisa Connell, P, 99
Saves:  Caralisa Connell, P, 2

Madness 2013 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#68 Jasmine Smithson-Willett


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