The University Louisville softball team will play host to in-state rival No. 11 Kentucky on Wednesday at 6 p.m. at Ulmer Stadium.
- The Cardinals bring a 32-10 overall record into the midweek game. With a 13-5 record in conference play, the Cards now stand second in the league behind Florida State (16-1).
- Junior Maryssa Becker leads the team with a .425 batting average, 13 doubles and 53 RBIs. Freshman Megan Hensley is batting .372 with a team-high 13 home runs and stands second on the team with 50 RBIs. Sophomore Sidney Melton rounds out the top three hitters with a .342 average and a team-best 40 runs and 15 stolen bases.
- Becker (19-6) leads the pitching staff with a 1.73 ERA and 141 strikeouts in 162 innings. Hensley (13-4) carries a 2.33 ERA with 72 Ks in 108.1 innings of work.
- Becker has reached via a hit or walk in 40 of Louisville’s 42 games this season.
- Louisville has outscored opponents 272-109.
- The Cardinals are receiving votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.
- Head coach Sandy Pearsall is in her 17th season at the helm. Since starting the program in 2000, she has led the Cardinals to six conference championships and 12 NCAA appearances. Pearsall has a 651-325 overall record at UofL and a 901-659 tally in her 30th season as a head coach.
Louisville vs. Kentucky
Series Record: Louisville leads 19-17
Last Meeting: April 21, 2015 – Louisville won 8-0 in six innings at Ulmer Stadium – prior to that, Kentucky had won the last four games in the series. In the teams’ first 2015 meeting, the Wildcats won 4-0 at John Cropp Stadium.
- The teams were slated to play earlier this season on April 6 in Lexington, but inclement weather forced the game to be cancelled.
Scouting the Wildcats: Kentucky enters the game with a 39-11 overall record and ranked No. 11 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 poll. Last weekend, the Wildcats upset No. 4 Alabama 3-2 in game one of an SEC series, but fell 7-1 and 3-2 in the next two games.
- The Wildcats are led offensively by Sylver Samuel who is batting .370 and has 19 stolen bases. Abbey Cheek carries a .329 batting average with a team-best nine home runs and 48 RBIs.
- The bulk of UK’s pitching duties are split between Kelsey Nunley and Meagan Prince. Nunley (18-5) carries a 1.31 ERA with six shutouts and 163 strikeouts in 138.2 innings of work while Prince (17-4) has a 1.87 ERA with 105 strikeouts and five shutouts in 131.1 innings.
Tough Road Ahead
The remainder of Louisville’s regular season schedule features three teams in the top 25 including a pair of three-game ACC series on the road. The Cards will open the stretch against No. 11/11 Kentucky in their home finale at Ulmer Stadium. The following weekend will bring a road trip to South Bend, Ind. to face No. 18/19 Notre Dame. The Cards will wrap up the regular season on the road against No. 6/7 Florida State.
Last weekend, the Cards took two of three games against Syracuse to move to 13-5 in ACC play and now stand second in the league.
Louisville 4 – Syracuse 0
In game one, junior Maryssa Becker tossed a complete game shutout and freshman Megan Hensley drove in two runs as the Cardinals won the series opener 4-0. Becker struck out three and scattered five hits en route to her sixth shutout of the season. After allowing a hit in the fourth, she went on to retire the next nine batters before allowing a two-out single in the seventh. Hensley and McNary each had two hits in the game.
Syracuse 4 – Louisville 0
In game two, Syracuse’s AnnaMarie Gatti held the Cards to two hits – both by Pufahl – and handed Louisville’s its fourth shutout of the season as the Orange took game two by a score of 4-0. The loss also snapped Louisville’s six-game win streak. Megan Hensley took the loss, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and striking out four in seven innings.
Louisville 6 – Syracuse 2
Senior Brittany Sims went 2 for 3 with three RBIs to help lead the University of Louisville softball team to a 6-2 series-clinching win over Syracuse. Maryssa Becker picked up the win after allowing two runs, one earned, on seven hits and striking out one in a complete game effort. Smith finished the game with a double and two RBIs.
Pearsall Notches 900th Career Win
On April 23 the Cardinals defeated Syracuse 4-0 in the first game of a doubleheader at Ulmer Stadium. With the win, head coach Sandy Pearsall registered her 900th career victory and 650th win at Louisville. Since starting the program in 2000, she has led the Cardinals to six conference championships and 12 NCAA appearances.
Hensley Named to Schutt Sports/NFCA Top 25 Freshmen List
Megan Hensley has been selected as one of the Top 25 Finalists for the 2016 Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division I National Freshman of the Year.
- Hensley (Ashland, Ky.) is in the midst of a record-setting rookie season at Louisville. She has started every game while splitting time between pitcher, the outfield and designated player. Her team-best 13 home runs are the most by a freshman in program history and place her third on Louisville’s single season list.
- She is the second Louisville player to be named to the Top 25 list following junior Maryssa Becker who earned the honor in 2014 when the award was initially established.
Two of Louisville’s top offensive threats also double as the Cards Nos. 1 and 2 pitchers. Junior Maryssa Becker (who also plays first base) leads the team with a .425 batting average and 53 RBIs – she also has thrown a team-high 162.0 innings and has 141 Ks while carrying a 1.73 ERA.
- Freshman Megan Hensley stands second on the team with a .372 batting average and leads Louisville with 13 home runs while splitting time in the outfield, at designated player and in the circle. The rookie carries a 13-4 record and a 2.33 ERA in 108.1 innings of work.
- They are tied for the team lead with 13 multi-hit games and 15 multi-RBI games apiece.
- The two combine for 20 of Louisville’s 32 home runs and 103 of its 250 RBIs – both are ranked in the top 20in the nation in RBIs (Becker stands at No. 8 while Hensley is No. 19).