Softball Set to Open the 2021 Season at No. 8 Alabama on Sunday Friday, Feb 12 2021 

By Lori Harmon–

The University of Louisville softball team will open the 2021 season on Sunday when the Cardinals travel to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a 1 p.m. doubleheader against 8/8 Alabama. Louisville was originally slated to travel to Columbia, S.C. for their season-opening weekend, but persistent rain in the forecast led to the change in plans.

Sunday’s doubleheader will not be televised, but live stats will be available here.

About Louisville Softball
• This weekend will mark the first competition for UofL since March 8, 2020 when the Cardinals defeated Evansville 9-1 at Ulmer Stadium.
• Louisville posted a 10-13 overall record in 2020 while  in the midst of a challenging schedule that featured 10 games against teams in the top 25.  The season came to an end on the eve of the Cardinals conference opener against Boston College.
• The Cardinals return 14 letterwinners and welcome seven newcomers to the 2021 squad.
• Sophomore Cassady Greenwood paced the Cards offensively with a .386 batting average (17-for-44). her sister, redshirt junior Carmyn Greenwood stood second at .373.
• Redshirt sophomore Taylor Roby led the team with seven home runs and 16 RBIs. She also carried a 5-7 record in the circle with a team-best 2.00 ERA.
• Junior Maddy Newman led the Cards with 13 runs and is second on the team with eight stolen bases.
• Celene Funke finished the season on a 10-game hitting streak. The senior centerfielder also had a team-best 13 stolen bases and three triples.
• The Cards are 13-8 in season-opening games and have won their first game of the season in eight of the last nine years.

The Aprile Era
• Holly Aprile recently completed her second season as UofL’s head coach. With the 2020 campaign suspended prior to its midway point due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Aprile has compiled a 45-36 record and guided the Cardinals to an NCAA Regional Final appearance in 2019 during her time at the helm.
• Prior to her arrival at Louisville, Aprile, 2018 ACC Coach of the Year spent 10 seasons (2009-18) as Pittsburgh’s head coach and five years (2004-08) as an assistant. In 2018, she earned ACC Coach of the Year honors after leading the Panthers to the 2018 ACC Coastal Division title and a runner-up finish in the conference tournament.

Player Quick Hits
• Celene Funke registered three triples in 2020, extending her career total to 18 and placing her in second place on Louisville’s all-time list. She needs eight more to tie Audrey Rendon (2004-07) for first.
• Funke was 13-for-13 in stolen bases last season. She stands at No. 3 on Louisville’s all-time stolen base list – she needs six more to tie Sidney Melton (2015-19) for third. Audrey Rendon (2004-07) holds the record with 82.
• Taylor Roby led the team with seven home runs and 16 RBI in 2020. The home run tally marked a career high for Roby.
• Last season, third baseman Jenna Servi was the only freshman who has started every game. She stood fourth on the team with a .271 batting average.
• Carmyn Greenwood tallied a team-best nine multi-hit games this season, her sister, Cassady stood right behind her with eight.

Series Record: Alabama leads 6-0
Last Meeting: Feb. 22-23, 2020 – Alabama defeated Louisville 9-0 and 10-0 at the Easton Bash in Tuscaloosa.
Scouting the Crimson Tide: No. 8/8 Alabama softball was selected the preseason favorite to win the Southeastern Conference in the SEC Softball Preseason Coaches’ Poll.
• Last season, the Crimson Tide posted a 14-8 record before the 2020 campaign was halted due to the spread of COVID-19.
•Seventeen players return from last year’s squad, including all seven of the Tide’s 2020 seniors, as well Preseason All-SEC Team selections Montana Fouts, Alexis Mack and KB Sides.
• In 2019, Alabama reached the Women’s College World Series finished the season with a 60-10 record.

Cards in 2020
During the early season, the Cardinals experienced some growing pains in the midst of a challenging schedule that featured 10 games against teams in the top 25 in the most recent rankings including: No. 9/9 Oregon, No. 13/11 Oklahoma State, No. 10/13 Alabama, No. 18/17 Michigan, No. 21/18 Baylor, No. 21/22 Mississippi State and No. 23/24 Missouri.
• The team emerged from the month-long road swing with some impressive milestones, including a season-opening upset against No. 21/25 Ole Miss, a no-hitter from junior Chardonnay Harris against Wichita State and handing then-10th-ranked Oregon its first loss of the season.
• UofL opened play at Ulmer Stadium by hosting the Red & Black Challenge. After dropping their first game 2-1 in extra innings to Illinois, the Cards posted three straight wins against Northwestern, Illinois and Evansville to finish the weekend.

Cards picked to finish seventh in ACC
The University of Louisville softball team was picked to finish seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference released its preseason coaches poll.
2021 ACC Softball Preseason Coaches Poll
1) Florida State (141 pts, nine first-place votes)
2) Virginia Tech (136 pts, four first-place votes)
3) Notre Dame (114 pts)
4) Duke (99 pts)
5) North Carolina (96 pts)
6) Clemson (88 pts)
7) Louisville (81 pts)
8) NC State (78 pts)
9) Georgia Tech (61 pts)
10) Syracuse (39 pts)
11) Pitt (31 pts)
12) Virginia (28 pts)
13) Boston College (22 pts)

Tough road ahead
Louisville’s 2021 slate is highlighted by five team in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) and the Softball preseason coaches’ Top 25 polls including: No. 6/7 Florida, No. 8/8 Alabama, No. 12/12 Florida State, No. 13/13 Kentucky, No. 16/15 Virginia Tech,  and No. 25 Duke.
• Ulmer Stadium is set to host 20 games throughout the season, including two tournaments in March: the Cardinal Classic and the Red & Black Challenge.
• Fans will notice that this year’s schedule will include some changes compared to previous seasons.
• In response to the ongoing pandemic, the annual ACC/Big Ten challenge has been cancelled and the ACC has implemented four-game series to limit travel between conference opponents.
• The Cardinals will host the ACC Tournament from May 12-15, where the top 10 conference teams will be eligible to participate this year.

Home sweet home
Louisville has a 20-6 overall record at Ulmer Stadium in the last two seasons under head coach Holly Aprile.
• The Cardinals compiled a 4-1 record in the shortened 2020 season. Prior to that, Louisville registered a 16-5 record at Ulmer Stadium in 2020 with three wins over ranked opponents (No. 3/3 Florida State twice and No. 24/23 Kentucky).

Sister Act
• Louisville’s roster features two sets of sisters: the Schindlers and the Greenwoods.
• Senior outfielder Carmyn Greenwood transferred to Louisville from Auburn in the 2020 season, joining her sister, Cassady who is a junior catcher for the Cardinals.
• Senior pitcher Paige Schindler and outfielder Riley Schindler are among 21 sets of twins in NCAA Division I softball who play for the same team. Paige Schindler is sidelined this season due to injury.
• All four sisters saw action in the Feb. 8, 2020 game against Texas State. Carmyn Greenwood was in left field while sister Cassady was catching and Riley Schindler was playing right field while Paige was pitching.

Super Seniors
UofL has two “super seniors” on its roster in the form of graduate students Celene Funke and Jennifer Leonhardt, both of whom are utilizing an extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA following the COVID-19 shortened 2020 campaign.
• Funke (Carmel, Ind.) was leading the team in stolen bases (13-for-13) and triples (3) when her senior season came to an abrupt halt after 23 games. In 2019, she led the nation in triples and set a school record with 13 while registering a team-best 48 runs and standing second with a .324 batting average and 29 stolen bases. The speedy centerfielder currently stands second on Louisville’s career list for triples (18) and third on the all-time stolen base list with 62.
•  Funke is also the program’s first three-time CoSIDA Academic All-American (2018, 2019) and is pursuing her MBA after earning her undergraduate degree in finance in May 2019.
• Leonhardt returns to her hometown after completing her career at the University of Southern Indiana where she was a three-time NCAA Division II All-American.     The right-handed pitcher will play for the Cardinals while attending UofL’s School of Dentistry.
• Leonhardt led the USI to the 2018 NCAA Division II national title and earned Most Outstanding Player of the 2018 NCAA Division II Softball Championship Series honors.
As her senior campaign was cut short, Leonhardt carried a 7-3 record with a 1.63 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 68.2 innings of work. She also led the team with a .386 batting average.
• Leonhardt finished her career at USI as the program’s all-time leader in wins (83), strikeouts (787) and complete game shutouts (35) while standing second in saves (8) and innings pitched (730.2). At the plate, she registered a .327 career batting average with 87 RBIs and 74 runs.

Looking back to 2019
In it’s most recent complete season, 2019, the Cardinals posted a 35-23 overall record and a 12-12 mark in ACC play for a third place finish in the league’s Atlantic Division and fifth in the overall conference standings.
• Louisville earned an at-large bid to the Evanston Regional and opened NCAA postseason play with a 9-5 win over Southern Illinois and folowed with a 2-1 upset of host No 18-17 Northwestern to advance to the regional final for the fifth time in school history and the first since the 2012 Louisville Regional.

Cards excel in the classroom
The Cardinals turned in impressive academic results in the fall semester earning a team GPA of 3.351. It marks the program’s 31st straight semester with a collective GPA of 3.0 or higher – a streak dating back to the fall of 2005.
• The Cardinals also achieved some outstanding individual accomplishments as 19 out of 25 student-athletes will be named to the Athletic Director’s honor roll after posting a mark of 3.0 or better. Eleven players made the Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.5 or better.
•Senior Celene Funke and freshman Gabby Holloway earned Dean’s Scholar status after posting a perfect 4.0 GPA – Funke did so while pursuing her MBA.

Story and Photo Courtesy of GoCards


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Softball still getting warmed up in early season tournaments Monday, Mar 2 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

It was another tough weekend for the University of Louisville softball team (7-12) in Oklahoma Feb. 28- March 1.

Day 1

Their first game of the weekend was against the University of Illinois at Chicago (6-9) Feb. 28, ending in a five inning, 10-2 route.

The Cards kept things tied 1-1 through the top of the third inning, but the wheels fell off then. UIC scored three runs on the Cards in the top of the third and piled on seven more in the fourth and fifth inning.

Redshirt sophomore Taylor Roby was the starting pitcher for the Cards against UIC. She pitched three complete innings, giving up six hits, three runs and tallying two strikeouts.

Freshman Taja Felder and junior Paige Schindler came in after Roby and gave up a combined seven runs on six hits. Schindler struck out one UIC batter during her two innings in the circle.

On the offensive side, sophomore Cassady Greenwood was the only player to hit an RBI. She finished with two hits, along with three other Cardinals.

The Cards dropped their second game of the evening to No. 15 Oklahoma State University (13-5), 3-0.

Junior Chardonnay Harris got her eighth start of the season, but ended up with her sixth loss. She pitched all six innings against the Cowboys, giving up only five hits and three runs, along with striking out three batters.

All three of the Cowboys runs came in the third inning.

Seniors Celene Funke and Caitlin Ferguson were the only two Cards to connect at the plate and get on base with hits. Four runners were left on base against the Cowboys.

Day 2

With a new day ahead of them, the Cards turned things around on day two against No. 10 University of Oregon (17-2). The Cards bested the Ducks 4-3 with the help of a couple runs in the seventh inning.

Going into the top of the third inning tied at 0, Funke kicked off the scoring for the Cards with a two-run home run to right field, putting them up 2-0. Having herself a big day at the plate, Funke came back in seventh inning with another RBI triple to tie the game 3-3.

Junior Maddy Newman keep the offense going and got herself an RBI, knocking in Funke, which would also be the winning run.

Seven players finished with hits off the Ducks, but as a team, the Cards had 13 strikeouts in total.

Roby made her second start of the weekend, pitching four and two thirds innings. She struck out two batters, but gave up five hits and the only three runs for the Ducks.

Harris was back in the circle for the remainder of the game, picking up her third win on the season. In two and one thirds innings she tallied three strikeouts and only gave up two hits.

The Cards couldn’t keep their momentum from the first game, taking another loss to OSU, 1-2, in eight innings.

The Cowboys jumped out on top 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning with an RBI double off Roby. But the Cards answered back in the top of the sixth, tying things at 1-1.

Felder came in as a pinch hitter and doubled to right center, scoring U of L’s only run of the night. While the rest of the team had five hits, they left six runners stranded on base.

Roby pitched the entire game for the Cards and getting her sixth loss of the season. She struck out five batters on the night and only gave up three hits and two runs.

The Cowboys hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth to get the victory over the Cards.

Day 3

For their last game of the weekend, the Cards made a short trip to Tulsa, Okla., to take on the University of Tulsa (11-8) March 1. They ended their weekend with a 3-2 win over the Cane’s in eight innings.

Redshirt junior Carmyn Greenwood put the Cards up 1-0 in the top of the first with a solo home run to left field. Holding onto the lead until the fourth inning, Funke drove in another run with an RBI single to put U of L up 2-0.

It would stayed tied 2-2 at the end of the seventh, forcing the game to go into extra innings. But Roby came up big for the Cards with a solo home run in the eighth that would be the winning run.

In addition to hitting the winning home run, Roby picked up her fourth win of the season making her record 4-6. She was in the circle for three innings, only giving up three hits and one run.

Harris was the starter for the Cards, staying in the game through five innings. She struck out two batters and only gave up three hits and one run as well.

As a team, U of L finished the day with nine hits and only three strikeouts. They did leave eight runners on base, showing one of their weaknesses again.

Although coming away with a losing record on the weekend, 2-3, the Cards showed that when they can get their bats hot they’re a team to be reckoned with.

Their next matchup is their home opener against University of Illinois March 6 at 12:15 p.m., at Ulmer Stadium.

Photo Courtesy of University of Louisville Athletics

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Softball struggles in ACC/Big Ten Challenge over the weekend Monday, Mar 2 2020 

By Matthew Keck —

It was another long weekend for the University of Louisville softball team at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge Feb. 14-16. The Cards only came away with one win from their four games in Chapel Hill, N.C.

They kicked the weekend off against the University of Michigan Feb. 14, losing 6-2 to the Wolverines.

The Cards had trouble getting their bats going until the fifth inning, when redshirt sophomore Taylor Roby dropped a two-run bomb the put them on the board. But this would end up being the Cards only runs.

All together the Cardinals finished with 15 strikeouts, 8 runners left on base and only 6 hits total.

Junior Chardonnay Harris suffered her fourth loss of the season on the mound for the Cards. Through two and one thirds innings, she let up 5 hits and four earned runs without striking out a single batter.

In their second game of the day, the Cardinals faced off with the University of Wisconsin Badgers. They played a much closer game with the Badgers but ultimately came away with another loss.

Roby pitched the entire game for U of L, only giving up two runs and striking out six badgers.

Unfortunately Roby’s efforts on the mound couldn’t make up for the Cards lack of offense. They posted a dismal three hits the entire game and left five runners stranded on base.

In a quick turn around the next day, the Cards played the Badgers again Feb. 15, this time pulling out a 3-2 win.

They took the first lead of the game when tripled in the fourth inning, bringing home two runs to put the Cards ahead. Sophomore Cassady Greenwood sealed the deal for the Cards in the fourth with an RBI single to shortstop, knocking in their third run.

Roby was back on the mound again for the Cards, but this time victorious and getting her second win of the season. She finished with 5 strikeouts, along with only giving up six hits and one earned run to Badgers. ‘

To end the weekend the Cards had to take on Michigan again Feb. 16. With more offense to show for this game, it still wasn’t enough for the Cards to pull out a win, losing 8-4.

Roby hit her second home run of the weekend to put the Cards on top 3-1 in the third inning. And they were tied 4-4 heading in to the top of the sixth, but Michigan had a big inning, scoring four runs to grab the win.

It was yet another issue of leaving runners on base, with the Cards leaving nine runners stranded the entire game.

Harris and Roby shared time on the mound but struggled, giving up three earned runs each. Roby took her third loss on the mound this season for the Cards after this game.

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