No. 6 Softball Hosts Louisville Slugger Tournament
Feb. 13, 2001
ON TAP: The sixth-ranked Arizona State softball team (5-1) will host its second straight tournament in as many weeks. The Sun Devils will play host to the Louisville Slugger Classic, February 16-18 at Farrington Stadium. In addition to Arizona State, the five-team field will include teams from Brigham Young, Illinois State, 13th-ranked Iowa and Michigan State. Arizona State will face BYU on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and Michigan State at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, the Sun Devils will take on two Big Ten foes in Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. and 13th-ranked Iowa at 5:30 p.m. On Sunday, ASU will conclude the tournament with a pair of games against Illinois State at 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
ABOUT THE LOUISVILLE SLUGGER: The tournament has been a staple at Arizona State for many years, while the name Louisville Slugger is in its third year of existence. The tournament will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday and at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday. The tournament will be played in a round robin fashion, while the team earning the best record at the end of the tournament will claim the title. BYU enters the tournament with a 3-7 record, Illinois State comes to Tempe with a 3-2 mark, while Iowa and Michigan State will begin their seasons at the tournament.
FIESTA BOWL TOURNAMENT: Arizona State compiled a 5-1 mark and out scored their opponents 39-7 to open the 2001 season. To start the season, junior pitcher Kirsten Voak threw a perfect game as ASU defeated Utah State, 10-0 in five innings. Voak struck out nine on her way to her fourth career no hitter. Kristin Farber, Kara Brun and Missy Hixon supplied most of the offense as they each had two hits with Brun, Hixon and Erica Beach each knocking in two RBIs. Against 18th-ranked South Carolina, Beach allowed only one earned run as the Sun Devils won, 8-2. Nichole Thompson went 3-for-4 with two runs and an RBI, while Brun went 2-for-4 with a double, three RBIs and a run scored. ASU also collected five stolen bases in the game. Voak claimed her second win against Georgia as she limited the Bulldogs to two hits, striking out seven. Beach went 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Thompson and Brun had two hits apiece. Shiloh Talanoa went deep for her first career home run. Against 24th-ranked Texas, Beach shutout the Longhorns on three hits again tying her career high with seven strikeouts. ASU crushed three home runs in the game, one each by Hixon, Voak and Beach. Beach's was estimated at 250 feet. ASU suffered its first loss to eighth-ranked LSU, 4-2 in eight innings. Talanoa launched her second home run, but wasn't enough as Voak took the loss. The Sun Devils bounced back with a another shutout over 25th-ranked Utah, 4-0. Beach again tied her career high with seven strikeouts as she limited the Utes to three hits. Brun recorded two more hits and scored a run and Jennifer Forner scored a run and had an RBI.
A PERFECT START: Junior All-American pitcher Kirsten Voak claimed only Arizona State's second perfect game in school history as she blanked Utah State, 10-0 in five innings. Voak struckout nine batters with only two balls leaving the infield. For her effort, Voak was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 5-11). It was Voak's first perfect game and fourth career no hitter.
HEAD COACH LINDA WELLS: Arizona State's storied tradition of softball excellence continues to flourish under the tutelage of 12th-year head coach Linda Wells, one of the most prominent and successful coaches in NCAA history. Last year, Wells' achieved a coaching milestone that few can or will ever obtain, winning 700 career games. The Sun Devils earned Wells her 700th win with a 8-3 win over Cal State Fullerton (2/13/00). The team also tied school-records in the national polls reaching as high as No. 3 and for posting the most wins in a single season with 43. The 2000 team also advanced to the postseason for the fourth consecutive season, making it to the finals of the Region V Championship. Additionally, Wells team won the National Invitational Softball Tournament in San Jose, Calif. Wells also tutored six players on the Pac-10 All-Conference team, the most since the 1997 season. Wells has now coached 52 all- conference players during her tenure at Arizona State, averaging nearly five All-Pac-10 selections every season. Wells is currently the eighth-most successful active coach in NCAA Division I history with a 742-586-1 career record. She has led the Sun Devils to eight NCAA Regional appearances in 11 seasons, including her first trip to the College World Series in 1999. While at ASU, Wells has compiled 391 victories and has had five players earn a total of eight All-American awards.
LIFE'S A BEACH: Junior pitcher/designated player Erica Beach continues to have a stellar career as a Sun Devil. This year, Beach is 3-0 with a 0.33 ERA and 18 strikeouts. She has twice tied her career-high in strikeouts with seven and has posted two shutouts. Offensively, Beach is batting .438 with one double, a team-high six walks and one massive home run (250 ft.). Beach is currently tied for second all-time with 14 home runs and is tied for fourth all-time with 91 RBIs. After earning NFCA first-team All-American honors as a freshman, Beach claimed first-team All-Pacific Region honors and was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick as a sophomore. Last year in the circle, Beach posted a 13-9 record with eight shutouts, a 2.01 ERA and 78 strikeouts. Against Portland State, Beach set a new career-high in strikeouts with seven. At the plate, Beach batted .339 with eight home runs (tied single-season mark), including two grand slams and a team-high (single-season record) 48 RBIs. Beach was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week (3/17) after batting .500 with seven RBIs, helping ASU win the 2000 NIST.
VOAK'S RESUME: Two-time junior All-American pitcher/designated player Kirsten Voak is also looking to pick up where she left off last season. This year Voak already has pitched a perfect game and struck out 24 batters in 18 innings. After two ASU record-setting seasons (24 wins, 314 strikeouts/Fr.), (30 wins, 316 strikeouts/So.) Voak garnered her second NFCA All-American honor, was a first-team All-Pac-10 and second-team All-Pacific Region selection and was named the team's MVP and Pitcher of the Year. Last year Voak fired her first no-hitter of the season (third career) against Simon Fraser and struckout a season-high 15 against Oregon, which also tied her career-high. Additionally, Voak earned three Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors (2/22), (3/17), (4/3) and was named to the NFCA Leadoff Classic and NIST All-Tournament teams. She's currently fourth all-time in career wins (56) and second all-time in career strikeouts (654). Last season Voak averaged eight strikeouts per game and 8.2 for her career ... opponents batted .178 ... averaged only one walk per game ... batted .315 with seven doubles and three home runs ... recorded a .414 slugging percentage and a .434 on-base percentage ... led the team in walks with 33 ... had 13 multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games ... has tallied 15 career double-digit strikeout games.
Voak's Career Double-Digit Strikeout Games (15):
15 -- Oregon, 7 innings (4/2/00)
15 -- Central Michigan, 8.1 innings (5/20/99)
14 -- Utah, 7.1 innings (3/13/99)
13 -- Santa Clara, 7 innings (3/10/00)
13 -- Florida Atlantic, 7 innings (5/22/99)
12 -- UNLV, 7 innings (3/26/00)
12 -- Iowa, 7 innings (3/17/00)
12 -- Portland State, 7 innings (2/26/00)
12 -- Nebraska, 7 innings (2/13/99)
12 -- Oregon State, 6 innings (4/24/99)
12 -- Washington, 8 innings (4/10/99)
11 -- Utah, 7 innings (3/10/00)
11 -- Illinois State, 7 innings (2/20/00)
10 -- Oregon, 7 innings (4/25/99)
10 -- Utah, 7 innings (3/18/99)
CAREER/ALL-TIME MILESTONES: Head Coach Linda Wells needs eight wins to reach 750 in her career and nine more to reach 400 at ASU ... Erica Beach needs three more home runs to become ASU's all-time leader ... Beach needs 25 RBIs for the all-time record ... Voak needs 152 strikeouts for the all-time record and 27 more wins for the school record ... Missy Hixon needs 17 more doubles for the all-time record ... Arizona State, as a program, needs 24 more wins to reach 900 in its history.
BRUN'S A HIT: Sophomore shortstop Kara Brun, who made an immediate impact as a freshman, offensively and defensively, is picking up right up where she left off. Brun's currently batting .421 with a team-high eight hits, three doubles and seven RBIs. She is already 10th all-time in ASU history with 19 doubles. As a freshman, Brun earned All-Pac-10 second team accolades, was selected to the Region V All-Tournament team and was named the team's Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year. At the plate, Brun led the team in batting average (.352), hits (68), doubles (16), runs (44), total bases (108), and was second in RBIs (38). Brun also tied the single-season record in home runs (8). Brun posted 18 multi-hit games, eight multi-RBI games and held a team-high 16 game hitting streak. On the field, the strong-arm shortstop led the team in assists (133) and committed only five errors for a .978 fielding percentage.
NEW FACES: The Sun Devils added six new players to this year's team. Freshmen Kristin Farber (OF) and Phelan Wright (3B) both come to Tempe from Los Alamitos, California. Farber led Los Alamitos HS in batting average and stolen bases all four seasons. She was named the school's Female Athlete of the Year and was a three-time Long Beach Press Telegram first-team Dream Team choice. Wright was the 1999 MVP of the Sunset League and was an All-CIF and county selection. Freshman Kristen Swetel (P) from Dobson High School in Mesa, Arizona was the state Gatorade Player of the Year. Swetel was also a first-team all-area and East Valley selection. Junior Shiloh Talanoa is a transfer from El Camino JC where she earned second-team all-conference honors. Talanoa also hit the most home runs in the JC ranks. Transfer Nicole Cullen (Chandler, Ariz. CC) was a two-time MVP of her team and freshman Felicia Romero out of Gilbert (Ariz.) High School batted .370 and stole 20 bases her senior year.
DYNAMIC DUO: Juniors Missy Hixon and Nichole Thompson, who play second base and center field respectively, each contribute in similar ways. Hixon, a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, is a two-year starter and has played in 132 career games ... she has produced 124 hits, scored 63 runs and recorded 41 RBIs ... Hixon has also tallied 23 career doubles and stole 11 bases. Thompson earned All-Pac-10 honors her freshman year and was an All-Pacific Region choice as a sophomore ... Thompson holds a career .324 batting average in 124 games ... she has produced 122 hits, scored 84 runs and recorded 36 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 14 doubles and stole 16 bases.
DEVIL NOTES: ASU starts one senior, sometimes none at all ... eight players hold a cumulative grade-point average above 3.0 ... ASU has outscored its opponents 39-7 ... ASU pitchers are holding opponents to a .144 average ... ASU has walked 26 times compared to only three times for its opponents ... hit a school record 31 home runs (including four grand slams) last year by eight different players (all-time mark of 26 total HRs in '99) ... ASU's longest winning streak last year -- 9 games (3 times).
TOUGH SCHEDULE/TOUGHER CONFERENCE: As in any season, Arizona State will face many of the nation's top programs, including five of its first 10 games against top-25 competition. Within the toughest conference in the nation, the Pacific-10, ASU will face a nationally-ranked team every time out. For the second consecutive year, all eight Pac-10 teams are ranked in the top-20, including five of the top seven positions. Additionally for the second straight season, all eight teams made postseason appearances with four teams advancing to the College World Series.
MEDIA INFORMATION: All publicity for the ASU softball team are coordinated by Assistant Media Relations Director Will Phillips at (480) 965-1237. Any interviews with ASU softball players or coaches should be arranged through Phillips with at least 48 hours notice.
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