No. 9 Softball Travels To San Jose, Calif. For The National Invitational Softball Tournament
March 7, 2001
ON TAP: The ninth-ranked Arizona State softball team (17-5) will head to San Jose, California to participate in the National Invitational Softball Tournament, March 9-11.
ABOUT THE NIST: The 15th annual National Invitational Softball Tournament will be held at the Twin Creeks Sports Complex in Sunnyvale, Calif. Arizona State returns to the field to defend its championship after winning the NIST last year with a 6-2 victory over Nebraska. This year's field includes: ninth-ranked Arizona State, fourth-ranked California, UC Santa Barbara, 12th-ranked Iowa, Long Beach State, Miami (Ohio), 24th-ranked Oregon, Purdue, Sacramento State, San Jose State, Santa Clara, Southern Illinois and Virginia Tech. All 13 teams will participate in pool play on Friday before bracket play on Saturday and Sunday. Games begin at 10 a.m. each day. On Sunday, the championship game will be played at 12 p.m. The Sun Devils will compete in Pool A against Santa Clara, Purdue and Sacramento State. On Friday, ASU will play three games, beginning against Santa Clara at 10:00 a.m. followed by a 12:00 p.m. match up with Sacramento State. ASU will round out pool play with its third game against Purdue at 8:00 p.m. All times listed are Pacific, which is an hour behind Arizona's Mountain time.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona State shut out Indiana State in a doubleheader, 7-0/5-0. In the first game, junior Erica Beach became Arizona State's all-time home run leader as she belted her 17th career shot over the center field wall in the second inning. The Sun Devils jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning. Kara Brun nailed her third home run of the year, a two run shot over the center field wall. Phelan Wright then singled to center to bring in two more. After Beach's two run home run in the second, ASU tagged one more on in the fourth inning. Kristin Farber hit an infield single and then stole second. Brun then singled to right field to advance Farber to third. Beach then hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to bring in Farber. Beach (10-3) went the distance, limiting the Sycamores to only one hit. In the second game, ASU scored once in the second, twice in the third and once in the fifth and sixth innings. Wright slugged her first career home run in the second inning to put ASU up 1-0. Wright then did more damage to Indiana State in the third inning when she hit a two out, base loaded single to right field to drive in two more runs. In the fifth, Beach doubled to left center and then was replaced by pinch runner Alicia Flanagan. Missy Hixon singled to left to drive in Flanagan. ASU ended the scoring in the sixth when Nichole Thompson drove in Bonnie Brannen from second with a single to center field. Brun went 1-for-3 in the second game to extend her hitting streak to a team-high nine games. Three Sun Devils pitchers limited Indiana State to four hits. Kristen Swetel pitched the first inning and a third, while Beach pitched the next two-thirds of an inning. Kirsten Voak (4-1) then finished the last five innings, limiting ISU to two hits while striking out six.
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 754-590-1 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 403 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 10-3, including five shutouts and a 1.08 ERA with 69 strikeouts. She has thrown two on-hitters, had a scoreless streak of 27 innings and has tied her career-high in strikeouts (7) four different times. Beach posted a 3-1 record at the NFCA Leadoff Classic and was named on the all-tournament team. Offensively, Beach is batting .350 with two doubles, a team-high 12 walks and four home runs (two went over 250 ft.) and has tallied 18 RBIs. Beach also became ASU's all-time home run hitter as she hit her 17th career shot against Indian State. She is also third all-time with 105 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 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. Currently at 4-1 with a 0.75 earned-run average, Voak already has pitched a perfect game (fourth career no hitter), struck out 37 batters in 28 innings and has not issued a walk. She is also holding opponents to a .087 batting average. 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 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 third all-time in career wins (58) and second all-time in career strikeouts (667). She has also 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)
FRESHMEN TRIO: Freshmen Kristin Farber, Phelan Wright and Kristen Swetel have all made immediate impacts early on this year. Combined the three are batting .366 (53-for-145) with 27 runs scored, four doubles, two home runs, 21 RBIs and six stolen bases. Swetel is also 3-1 with a 0.52 earned-run average.
CAREER/ALL-TIME MILESTONES: Beach needs 11 RBIs for the all-time record ... Voak needs 140 strikeouts for the all-time record and 24 more wins for the school record ... Hixon needs 13 more doubles for the all-time record ... Arizona State, as a program, needs 12 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 where she left off. Brun's currently batting .378 with 28 hits and a team-high five doubles. She also has three home runs and 20 RBIs, also a team-high. Brun is tied for the team-high with nine multiple hit games and five multiple RBI games. She also currently holds a season-high nine game hitting streak. At shortstop, Brun has committed only one error for a .987 fielding percentage and leads the team with 48 assists. In the ASU record book, she is already fourth all-time with 11 home runs and eighth all-time with 21 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.
A PERFECT START: In Arizona State's first game of the year, 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.
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 three-year starter and has played in 152 career games ... she has produced 140 hits, five home runs, scored 73 runs and recorded 53 RBIs ... Hixon has also tallied 27 career doubles and stole 11 bases. Thompson, also a three-year starter, earned All-Pac-10 honors her freshman year and was an All-Pacific Region choice as a sophomore ... Thompson holds a career .327 batting average in 146 games ... she has produced 147 hits, scored 98 runs and recorded 44 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 17 doubles, three triples, stole 22 bases and has sacrificed 31 times.
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 113-35 ... ASU pitchers are holding opponents to a .154 average ... ASU has walked 59 times ... 11 players have three or more RBIs this year ... 11 of ASU's 17 wins have been shutouts ... Kristin Farber is batting .542 with runners on base and .538 with runners in scoring position ... Beach has tallied 11 RBIs with two outs ... catcher Stacey Farnworth has thrown out four out of seven base runners attempting to steal ... seven different players have hit at least one home run ... ASU has shut out its last four opponents and held them to eight hits.
TOUGH SCHEDULE/TOUGHER CONFERENCE: As in any season, Arizona State will face many of the nation's top programs, including seven of its first 14 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 nine 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.