#13 Louisville Softball 2014 Preview

Louisville Cardinals

Overall Rank: #13
Conference Rank: #1 AAC
#13 Louisville Softball 2014 Preview
Louisville Team Page


Louisville made its final season in the Big East a memorable one as it nearly won 50 games last season, but the Cardinals could not translate that success into NCAA regional success. Two losses to Alabama-Birmingham spoiled two wins over Fort Wayne and resulted in the season coming to a disappointing conclusion. More change is on the horizon for 2014 as Louisville switches from the Big East to the American Athletic Conference

2013: 48-13, 18-4
2013 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Sandy Pearsall

Field Players:
Katie Keller can anchor a solid second base for Louisville, but it is her batting average that impressed everyone. Keller hit .402 last year with 12 home runs and 54 runs batted in. She didn’t steal any bases, but given her homer pop, the Cardinals can build around that. Hannah Kiyohara (.342-2-27) is the lone starting outfielder of the six starters back. Catcher Maggie Ruckenbrod (.331-7-41) works well with the pitching staff and hits for average and power, and that will help Louisville do well in its new settings. Kayla Soles (.309-3-32) is also back, once again at third base, and Whitney Arion (.300-7-39) is at shortstop. Taner Fowler (.260-10-34) has the lowest batting average of any of the starters on the team, but double-digit homers can offset batting average. The Cardinals lose most of their speed but keep most of the power.

Another reason why the Cardinals are not going to lose too much ground this year has to do with returning pitchers Rachel Le Coq and Caralisa Cornell (see who to watch). These pitchers accounted for all of the victories Louisville posted a year ago and, provided no one gets hurt, they will be the 1-2 punch in 2014.

Who to Watch:
Le Coq and Cornell are going to be the big players to watch on the Louisville roster this year. Le Coq went 22-8 with a 2.12 earned run average and walked only 38 batters while she struck out 106. Cornell was a little wild in the circle (113 walks) but she struck out 209 on the way to a 25-5 record and a 2.45 ERA. Softball teams usually try to have one stud pitcher on staff to absorb plenty of strikeouts and wins, but having two big pitchers is great. If Le Coq is having a bad day then Cornell could always relieve and vice versa. There are a couple of other players on the roster that can pitch, but all eyes will be on these two.

Final Projection:
Enough home run power and pitching is back to help Louisville transition to its new surroundings with little difficulty. The Cardinals should contend right away for the American Athletic Conference championship. Its non-league schedule includes North Carolina, Cal State Fullerton, Ohio State and several other power programs, and how well Louisville fares here will determine how far the program goes. Another 45 wins should not be out of the question, and the team could do even more if it gets help from its newcomers.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Katie Keller, 2B, 189
Hits: Katie Keller, 2B, 76
Home Runs: Katie Keller, 2B, 12
RBIs: Katie Keller, 2B, 54
Runs: Katie Keller, 2B, 62
Stolen Bases: None

Wins: Caralisa Cornell, P, 25
Innings Pitched: Caralisa Cornell, P, 197.1
Strikeouts: Caralisa Cornell, P, 209
Saves: Rachel Le Coq, P, 3

Madness 2014 NPF Draft Rankings:
#3 Katie Keller

Madness 2014 Softball Recruit Rankings:
#22 Maryssa Becker


See All Softball Top 44 Previews