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University of Louisville, Adidas strike new deal

By Annie Moore

University of Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich together with Adidas executives announced on Thursday the University’s new contract with Adidas. The new deal extends the partnership between the two for another four years, through 2018-19.

The Portland, Or. based company will supply uniforms, footwear, and accessories for all 23 of Louisville’s athletic programs.

“It’s a very exciting day for us in the athletic department,” Jurich said. “The number one objective I had going into this, was how do we insure that our student-athletes have the premiere uniforms and apparel as we move forward, and this contract accomplishes all off those things.”

In addition to athletic outfitting, Adidas will provide ‘extensive investments in the the Cardinals’ athletic programs including advertising campaigns, equipment room expansion, digital/video technology, support for national champion spirit squads, a formalized sport administration internship program… and co-branding opportunities… including TaylorMade equipment within the UofL Golf Club.’ according to the press release issued from the athletic department on Thursday.

Louisville football head coach, Bobby Petrino was on hand as well, and excited about the new deal.

“This is a great thing for our players, to be able to have the top of the line uniforms, the materials that we’ll use, to keep them dryer, lighter, faster, and then the apparel,” Petrino said. “One of the things I’ve always felt is important is for your players to look good, feel good, you have a chance then to go out and play well.”

Petrino was reluctant to comment on whether the Cards would be unveiling on of its new five uniforms in the opening game against Miami on September 1, but instead said that it would be very fun to see what happens with the apparel down the road.

“I think you’re going to see  things on the cutting edge,” Petrino said. “New things that will be exciting for everybody, the players, the recruits and the fans. We’re going to be on the edge of the fence as far as the top of the line with the way you get to look, the way you get to dress and the attitude you play with.”

The deal will also benefit fans, with additions such as new spirit shirts for student season ticket holders and ACC inaugural year fan giveaways.

“It’s going to be fun now, get ready because it’s going to be fun,” Petrino said. “I can’t wait, to be honest with you.”

 

Photo by Austin Lassell

Jeff Gardner profile

By Lilly Trunnell

Senior Outfielder Jeff Gardner doesn’t remember one particular instance where baseball became part of his life. Baseball was easy for him to pick up, came naturally, and Gardner developed a passion for it young.

Of course, it’s easy to throw yourself into a sport with the support from family. Gardner called baseball a “family sport.” Growing up in Louisville he has the benefit of looking into the stands and seeing them all sitting there, cheering him on no matter what.

But Gardner hasn’t needed much cheering through hard times this season. As one of two senior captains he has led the top 10 ranked Cardinals to a 26-8 overall record. Gardner tops the Cardinals in hitting with a collective batting average of .367. His 40 runs batted in are nine more than the second most and he also has three home runs, including the walk off homer in the very first game of the season. Perhaps Gardner has an edge batting from the left, or maybe it’s the sheer passion he has for the game.

“I want to bring glory to Christ in all that I do,” Gardner said.

His faith is deep-rooted and seems to be working for him. Gardner goes beyond baseball. He has been known to say that he lives his life summed up by a quote from Jackie Robinson: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.” He strives to be the kind of person that his teammates can come to with anything, and provide positive support and motivation for the team.

Like most athletes, Gardner can pick out a coach from his past that impacted his ability. Interestingly enough the coach was not baseball. Mike Doig was Gardner’s high school basketball coach. Gardner credits him with making him the athlete he is today. Even though he says he “wasn’t very good” at basketball and knew baseball was where he was really going, Coach Doig infused in Gardner the desire to strive for excellence always.

Professionally, Ted Williams is an icon for Gardner, “Because he was the last guy to hit .400,” he says with a hint of admiration in his voice. Ever since he was a kid, Williams was the favorite player of young Gardner. The baseball great’s legacy and the motivation of his coach have led Gardner to the 2011 All-Big East Team, 2012 second Team All-Big East, a 2013 Team Captainship, being named Big East Player of the Week twice last season, 2013 First Team All-Big East, 2013 Louisville Regional All-Tournament Team, and a 2014 Team Captainship. Despite all these accolades, Gardner still sees a team achievement as his biggest success. He picks out the highlight of his career so far as the 2013 trip to Omaha for the College World Series.

“I would trade away all the other awards if I could just keep that,” Gardner said.

After losing seven classmates to the draft last season, Gardner had to take on a new role of responsibility this year.

“The seniors have seen it all,” he says. “Losing those guys impacted the chemistry at first, but we bond well now.” His sights are set forward. In his last season as a Cardinal, Gardner has one thing in mind. “Going back (to Omaha) would mean the world to me.” Beyond that, he hopes to continue his career by going professional after his graduation from U of L with a Justice Administration degree.

Jeff Gardner is having a season to watch and is leading the team both statistically and in leadership. He is certainly a player to watch in the remaining games this season and potential postseason play.

“I try to go out every day and praise Jesus in all that I do, and make a few friends along the way.”

 

Photo courtesy of cardinal authority.com

Asia Taylor reflects on her time on the court

By Asia Taylor
It was always a dream of mine to play college basketball. I honestly didn’t think it was a option for because of financial concerns until my sophomore year in high school. The recruiting process was very exciting for me I had a lot of scholarship offers I could have went to almost any school. There was just something special about Louisville that stood out and I’m glad I chose here.
It has been a rollercoaster 5 years for me. Last year The doctors found a tear in my left hip and I had to have a surgery in the offseason that set me back 9months causing me to miss all of last season. So for our great regular season, final four and championship run, I was on the sidelines as a cheerleader not a player. It was rough time for me to not be able to play but I used it as motivation for my work in this offseason. I have become a much Better player because of that year I sat out.
This year as a senior I am a starter, team captain and one of the leaders on this team. I come to play and practice everyday like it could be my last and I try my hardest to lead by example.
We have made history this year for this women’s program and I am so blessed to say that I was a effective part of it. Longest winning streak in school history, best record in school history, I’ve reached career highs in points, assists and rebounds, and we’ve made history in so many more categories I can’t remember. (Maybe you can find the rest) but overall this has been an amazing year for me and I’ve enjoyed every single second of it. The NCAA tournament has started back up for us this year and we are no longer going to be an underdog because of last years success. Getting A 3 seed instead of a 2 or 1 was our motivation to push harder to show that last year wasn’t just for show and that we are here to make another statement. Our motto for this whole year has been “Unfinished Business” because we want to get back to the National Championship game and Finish it off with a win this time! I just hope CardNation will Follow and support us on our journey.

Sweet 16 coverage, away and at home

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams are headed into Sweet 16 action this weekend! The University of Louisville now stands alone as the only school to have both men’s and women’s basketball go to back-to-back Sweet 16′s. And once again, the Louisville Cardinal is your home for up to the minute coverage of all of the hoops action. We will have a coverage team at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis covering the men’s team, as well as a team at the Yum! Center covering the women. Check out louisvillecardinal.com for previews and coverage of all of the games, as well as ‘The Louisville Cardinal Inc.” on Facebook. Also follow us on Twitter ‘@theCardSports’ and ‘@TheCardinalNews’ with the hashtag ‘#CardinalBoom2014′ for live play-by-plays and extended coverage. The Louisville Cardinal looks forward to being your home for all things Cardinal Hoops.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Cards defeat Manhattan in thriller

By Annie Moore

The Louisville Cardinals opened NCAA Tournament play on Thursday night, when it defeated the Manhattan Jaspers 71-64 in an instant classic. After trading shots for the majority of the game, Luke Hancock stepped up in the final minutes of regulation to lift the Cards over the Jaspers.

“I think we needed this,” said Louisville Head Coach Rick Pitino. “This was a great win for us, we can move on, and I think it will really help us. I’m glad we had a tight game that we had to fight back.”

Louisville got out to a slow start, shooting just 36% (12-of-33) from the field in the first half. Luke Hancock and Russ Smith each had eight points in the first half to lead the Cards. Montrezl Harrell had six points, and led the team in first-half rebounds with five, and blocks with two.

Smith had two steals on the night, which made him the all-time steals leader in University of Louisville history. The previous record was 245 steals, set by Peyton Siva.

While Louisville’s offense was sluggish in the first half, so was the Jaspers’. Each team made 12 shots, with Manhattan attempting 27. As is the case so many times, free throws were the difference, the Cards were 10-12 from the line, whereas Manhattan was just 2-2.

Headed into the second half, the Cards came out flat. Manhattan scored a quick four points to cut Louisville’s lead to just two points. It took Louisville four minutes to score a point in the second half.

The Jaspers tied it up 35-35 with 17:15 left in the game, and took its first lead with 16:22 left. A dunk from Montrezl Harrell with 16:04 left tied the score back up at 37-37.

The teams traded points in a second half that proved to be a battle to the very end. The second half saw constant lead changes, as the Cards piled up fouls and struggled to connect from outside the three-point arc.  The Cards were 4-13 on the night, whereas the Jaspers were 3-5.

But Hancock never said die. The senior scored eight points in the final two minutes of regulation to put Louisville on top when the final buzzer sounded.

Next up for Louisville, the Billikens of St. Louis University.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Cardinal baseball defeats Eastern Illinois

By Annie Moore

After dropping the final game of the Western Michigan series this past weekend, Louisville got back on a

winning track, defeating Eastern Illinois 6-0 on Tuesday. Freshman RHP Jake Sparger got the win. Sparger

threw six and two-thirds innings with four runs, zero hits and three K’s.

 

Senior right-fielder Cole Sturgeon got the Cards first hit of the day, doubling to right field in the bottom of

the first. Junior second-baseman Grant Kay was walked to put runners on first and second, and senior left-
fielder Jeff Gardner singled to left field to plate Sturgeon and bat in the first run of the day.

 

The second inning brought more offense, starting with junior center fielder Mike White. White led off with

a single through the right side, and then stole second. Senior catcher Shane Crain was the next man up, and

singled to left field to put runners on the corners. Junior shortstop Sutton Whiting shot a triple down the

first base line and out to right field to score, White and Crain put the Cards up 3-0. Sturgeon was up again,

and grounded out to second. Whiting scored and added another run to the Card’s tally.

 

Louisville added two more runs. One in the fourth from Kay, who hit a double to bring home Crain, and

another in the seventh, when Kay scored off a sacrifice fly from freshman Nick Solak.

The Cards were set to play Morehead State on Wednesday, but the game was called due to in climate

weather. Louisville will have to wait to carry on its winning ways against Toledo and Indiana this weekend.

 

Stay tuned to the Louisville Cardinal for coverage of this weekend’s games.

Photo by Annie Moore

Looking ahead: Five games in seven days for Cardinal Baseball

By Annie Moore

Coming off of a successful weekend at home, the Louisville baseball team

is headed into a daunting week. Five games in seven days. Four teams will

come to town in what head coach Dan McDonnell says would be “A tough

stretch for anyone in college baseball.”

 

First coming to town is Eastern Illinois University on Tuesday. The

Panthers are 1-6 on the season, including a dropped four-game series

against No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette. Each of Eastern Illinois’ first seven

games has been against ranked opponents, with its only win of the season

in the first game of the Louisiana-Lafayette series. The Panthers come to

town, in a game that should get the Cardinals back on a winning streak.

 

Next up, Morehead State University comes to Jim Patterson Stadium on

Wednesday. The Eagles have played eight games this season, with a

split record of 4-4. MSU began the season with three consecutive losses,

but has won four of its last five games. Look for junior Brandon Rawe,

who is leading the team in batting average this season. The outfielder is

batting .346 in the first eight games of the season.

 

Headed in to weekend play, the University of Toledo Rockets come to

town for two games, on Friday and Sunday, with No. 11 Indiana University

sandwiched in the middle for a Saturday headliner game.

 

Toledo has a 2-3 record on the season, and has not faced a ranked

opponent. But catcher Tyler Baar has come out swinging early in the

season. The junior leads the team in runs scored and is hitting .250, with

an on-base percentage of .412. Toledo specializes in scoring later in

games, scoring 17 of its 21 runs this season in or after the fifth inning.

The game against Louisville will be Toledo’s second of the day, so fatigue

could be a factor.

 

Finally, the Indiana Hoosiers are coming to town for Louisville’s first game

of the season against a ranked opponent. But, Indiana isn’t exactly coming

in hot, the Hoosiers have lost five of the last six games. The season has

started a dismal 2-5 and Indiana is looking for a quality win to get back on

pace. It will take on Toledo on Friday morning, before facing the Cardinals.

 

The early games should be wins for Louisville, defeating Eastern Illinois

and Morehead State will build confidence going into the weekend. But the

biggest challenge for coach McDonnell and the rest of the team will be

figuring out a pitching rotation that will carry the Cards through the long

five-day stretch.

 

My prediction: The Cards win four of five, dropping one game against

Toledo to advance to 9-3 on the season.

Louisville defeats EKU in home opener

By Annie Moore

The Cardinal baseball team opened play at Jim Patterson Stadium with a 13-1 victory over the Eastern Kentucky University Colonels. Homeruns from senior catcher Shane Crain and junior shortstop Zach Lucas highlighted a stellar offensive outing for the No. 7 Louisville team. Lucas had a career-high four rbis, leading the team. The Cards had 12 hits in the game, while the Colonels had just four.

EKU struck first in the top of the first inning. With runners on second and third, the Colonels’ designated hitter Bryan Soloman grounded out to short,allowing Nowlin to score from third to put EKU up 1-0 early. But it was all Louisville from there.

In the bottom of the second, sophomore first baseman Danny Rosenbaum singled to center on the first pitch he saw. Lucas followed that with a single to left to put runners on first and second. Junior centerfielder Mike White hit a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, and the Colonel’s starting pitcher, Matt Lynch walked Crain to load the bases. Senior third baseman Alex Chittenden hit a 2 RBI single to left field, scoring Rosenbaum and Lucas. Just like that, the Cards were up 2-1.

Later, in the bottom of the third, there were runners on first and second, when senior left fielder Jeff Gardner came up to the plate. Gardner knocked an RBI single to left to add to Louisville’s lead. EKU Head Coach Jason Stein took a trip to the mound and replaced Lynch with  RHP Brian Mroz. But, Mroz too would struggle against the high-powered Cardinal offense.

The first batter Mroz saw was Rosenbaum, who walked, and then Lucas who hit a sac-fly to score junior second baseman Grant Kay. Then White hit an RBI double to score Gardner. But the final blow of the inning would come from Crain. Crain launched a three-run homer over the left field wall, for just the second homerun of his career. After the first homer, the Cards were safely ahead 8-1. The six-run third inning was the highest-scoring frame of the season for Louisville.

In the bottom of the sixth, following RBI’s from Kay and freshman Nick Solak, Lucas launched the second three-run homer of the game, to put Louisville on top 13-1, where it would stay for the final three frames.

“We put together big innings,” said Louisville Head Coach Dan McDonnell, “We hit those homeruns,[and had] a lot of good at-bats. A pretty complete game today I thought, we made a lot of great plays out in the field. From pitching, to defense, to offense, this was a pretty complete game.”

Louisville continues play at Jim Patterson Stadium Friday to kick off a three-game series against Western Michigan.

Photo by Austin Lassell

Feature: Opening Day Magic

By Lilly Trunnell

On a sunny Friday evening in Charleston, South Carolina, the Louisville Cardinals opened their 2014 baseball season against West Virginia at the Hollywood Suites Tournament hosted by The Citadel. The first game went into ten regulation innings and ended with a Cardinals win in the most exiting way.

 

With one out and no one on base, Senior LF Jeff Gardner whacked one down the right field line and out of the park against West Virginia RHP Corey Walter, giving the Cardinals their first walk-off on a home run since 2010. The final score came in at 7-6, with the Cardinals coming back from a once 5-1 deficit.

 

The magnificence of the win did not come without a trade off. Junior SS Sutton Whiting left the game in the ninth inning after being hit in the face by the pitch. He was taken to a local hospital and shown to have a fractured nose. As of the next day, he had returned to the team but not to the lineup. There is not yet a timeline for his return.

 

The loss of Whiting in the lineup is the loss of one of four Cardinal captains. However, Gardner quickly made up for the loss. As another captain, he proved to the team, the fans, and the critics that the loss of one does not mean the downfall of many. Though Louisville struggled through the first several innings, the comeback is an example of things we may be looking at later in the season.

 

The starter for the game was junior LHP Joe Filomeno. Filomeno lasted four innings, allowing seven hits and five runs, four of which were earned. In the fifth, freshman RHP Jake Sparger replaced the struggling Filomeno on the mound. He came in with a 5-1 deficit, and managed to stem the flow to three hits and one run over the next five innings. Junior standout RHP Nick Burdi came in to pitch a hitless, scoreless tenth, giving way to Gardner’s walk-off home run in the bottom of the inning. Burdi is the pitcher of record with a win.

 

The Cardinals committed three errors within their first ten innings of play on the season. The three errors resulted in one unearned run. Though the Cardinals mark this one in the books as a win, errors should be watched carefully over the next few weeks to determine if they become game-changing elements.

 

In the line-up, seniors Gardner and RF Cole Sturgeon both proved to be bright spots, with two hits each in five at bats and each scoring two runs. Gardner had two RBI’s in addition, including his game-winning solo homer. The Cardinals left a total of five runners on base.

 

With a mix of young and old players and many new faces, Louisville will be looking for leadership from older, experienced players like Gardner and Sturgeon to lead the Cardinals to victory this season.

 

Now that their first game is out of the way, the Cardinals play twice more in South Carolina before returning to Jim Patterson Stadium for their first game in Louisville against EKU on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 P.M.

 

Photo by Austin Lassell

Louisville defeats Temple 60-50

After suffering just their second loss of the season Sunday against UConn, fourth ranked Louisville (24-2) defeated Temple 60-50 on Wednesday night at the KFC YUM! Center.

Shoni Schimmel led Cardinal scorers with 21 points and added six rebounds.

Louisville stretched the lead to 13 early in the second half, but Temple remained close due to the Cardinals shooting 12 of 26 from the free throw line.

“I’ve never seen Asia Taylor going 2 for 8 from the free throw line before. Shoni goes 6 for 10, its focus and concentration, so it’s an area we are going to have to continue to get back in,” Walz said.

Despite struggling from the line, Taylor finished with her fourth double-double of the season with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Antonita Slaughter shot 3 of 5 from three, finishing with 12 points.

“Coming out and hitting my first one gave me a lot of confidence. Knowing that my teammates have confidence in me, when I make that first one the hole gets a lot bigger. So, I just knocked them down, that’s what I do,” Slaughter said.

Sara Hammond added seven points and nine rebounds.

Even though Louisville struggled offensively, the defense held Temple to 37.9 percent from the field while the Owls committed 17 turnovers.

“Defense definitely gets us going on offense so that’s our main focus- rebounding and defending. Coach Walz always tells us go out there defend and rebound and the offense is going to come to us,” Schimmel said. “It’s just something to learn from and I think we picked it up better in the second half. We defended a lot better than we did and it helped us get better offense.”

Bria Smith was held out of her third consecutive game because of knee trouble, but looks to return Sunday when Louisville plays at Memphis.