Katie Keller leads nationally-ranked softball

Junior second baseman ranks among the nation's best hitters. No.11 Louisville hosts No.20 Kentucky on Wednesday evening at Ulmer Stadium.

Ranked 11th in the nation, the University of Louisville softball program is in the process of having one of the best seasons in the program's history and it's lead by junior Katie Keller's play at second base and her ability to put the ball in play at the plate.

The product of Livermore, California, who was a second team All-Big East selection as a sophomore, entered the week 7th in the nation with a .473 batting average. While her hitting leads the team, Keller understands that the success is a team effort.

"I think the season is going very well," Keller told Cardinal Authority. "We have an all-around group, who all- together, works really hard. It's not really just one person doing everything. Everyone is contributing and we are being successful right now."

Louisville enters Wednesday's contest against No.20 Kentucky with a 28-6 record, highlighted by wins over multiple ranked teams. On March 23, the team traveled to Norman, Oklahoma to face the nation's top-ranked Sooners and left with a 7-1 upset victory.

"That was a huge accomplishment," Keller said of the win. "That just gives more confidence than ever. We didn't back down to them one minute. That was a great win for us."

Keller was a first team All-Conference choice as a freshman, but her hit production dropped in 2012, which forced her to refocus. Unlike last year, Keller doesn't dwell on missed opportunities at the plate.

"Honestly, it's just getting over if you don't get a hit, it's on to the next one," she explained. "I have a rule that once I'm in the dugout I have to let it go and that's made me more successful than ever this year. It's more of trying to get base hits and not trying to hit the ball to hard."

She credits much of her success to Cardinals head coach Sandy Pearsall.

"She's a great motivator," she said. "She's helped me a lot with my hitting ability and basically the mental side of it. I've never had a coach like her that's motivated me so much to want to do well. She motivates our team to want to succeed at our highest potential."

Reaching that potential includes tournament resume building opportunities against ranked opponents and on Wednesday nationally-ranked Kentucky visits Ulmer Stadium.

"Our rivalry is always a huge game," said Keller. "Kentucky is a great team and we're going to have to have our A game. Kentucky is going to hit the ball like they do, so our defense has to be there and our hitting has got to be on. It should be a great game."

"I hope to see a huge crowd out there, because that's what fires up the players even more, especially for Kentucky."

With just over a month remaining in the regular season, Louisville is positioning itself for a lengthy post season run.

"We are so excited," Keller said. "I feel that with this team we are going to get to the Super Regionals and hopefully past that as well."

Fans are encouraged to wear red and "Pack the Park." There are a limited number of reserved ticket available for $5, while berm seating is free. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.


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