No. 9 Softball Travels To No. 14 Oregon State And Oregon
March 28, 2001
ON TAP: The ninth-ranked Arizona State softball team (25-8, 0-0 Pac-10) will start conference play as they travel to 14th-ranked Oregon State (29 -10-1, 0-0 Pac-10) for a single game on Friday, March 30 at 2:00 p.m. PT. Due to construction of its new softball complex in Corvallis, the game against OSU will be played at Wallace Marine Sports Park in Salem. The Sun Devils will then travel to Eugene to face Oregon (21-16, 0-0 Pac-10) for two single games on Saturday, March 31 at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 1 at 1:00 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona State finished with a 5-1 record, making it to the quarterfinals of the KIA Klassic before being eliminated by Notre Dame in nine innings. ASU won its pool with victories over DePaul (3-0), Cal State Fullerton (6-3) and North Carolina (2-0). ASU then moved into the championship bracket and defeated Cal State Northridge, 5-3. ASU was then eliminated from the tournament with a nine inning 5-1 loss to Notre Dame. In the first game against DePaul, ASU jumped out to a 2-0 lead behind three singles and one error on DePaul. ASU would add one more run in the fifth inning on a two out, pinch-hit single by Kirsten Voak. Erica Beach limited DePaul to only four hits, two of which came in the first inning, and tossed her seventh shutout out of the year, walking only one batter. Against Fullerton, the Titans gained the early lead with one run in the first and second innings. However, ASU responded with three runs in the third inning off four consecutive hits, and would add one more run in the fifth inning with a two out single to right field by Beach. ASU would pad its lead in the seventh with two more runs, again all with two outs. Beach pitched an outstanding game in relief of Voak, who posted her eighth win of the year. Voak went four innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs with four strikeouts. Beach recorded her second save of the year as she no hit Fullerton for the remaining three innings, striking out three. Behind a combined pitching performance from All-American's Beach and Voak, ASU shutout its 14th opponent this year as they defeated North Carolina, 2-0. Beach, who has already tied her win total from last year (13), pitched the first four and a third innings. Voak then came for the final two and two-thirds innings to post her second save of the year, Voak no hit UNC with three strikeouts. Beach also led the team at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two doubles, a run scored and an RBI. Beach's RBI gave her 108 in her career, tying Alyssa Johnson for second all-time in ASU history. Behind a five-run fifth inning, ASU defeated CS Northridge, 5-3. Northridge gained the early lead by scoring once in the fourth inning and twice in the fifth inning to take a 3-0 advantage. However, as ASU has done in several games this season, they rallied for five runs in the bottom of the fifth to secure the win. In the final game against Notre Dame, both teams held each other scoreless for eight innings, but in the Notre Dame ninth, the Irish posted five runs on three hits. Arizona State got one run back in the bottom of the inning, but was unable to score again. ASU had its chance to score in the first inning, but was unable to move two runners around.
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. 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 762-593-1 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 411 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 13-4, including six shutouts and a 1.01 ERA with 87 strikeouts (two shy of her career high). She has thrown two one-hitters, had a scoreless streak of 27 innings and has tied her career-high in strikeouts (7) four different times. Beach posted a 2-0 record (both shutouts) with one save as Arizona State went 4-1, reaching the quarterfinals of the KIA Klassic Tournament. Beach, who has already tied her win total from last year (13), pitched 24 and two-thirds innings with a 0.84 ERA, allowing only three runs, two walks with 12 strikeouts. Against ninth-ranked Cal State Fullerton, Beach came in the fifth inning with the score 4-3 and no-hit Fullerton (3 K's) for the rest of the game to notch her second save of the year. Beach posted a 3-1 record at the NFCA Leadoff Classic and was named on the all-tournament team. Offensively, Beach is batting .341 with four doubles, a team-high 15 walks and four home runs (two over 250 ft.) and has tallied 21 RBIs. Beach also became ASU's all-time home run hitter as she belted her 17th career shot against Indian State. She is also tied for second all-time with 108 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.
VOAK'S RESUME: Two-time junior All-American pitcher Kirsten Voak is also picking up where she left off last season. Currently at 9-3 with a 0.85 earned-run average, Voak already has pitched a perfect game (fourth career no hitter), struck out 64 batters in 57 innings and has issued just seven walks. She is also holding opponents to a .117 overall batting average and 0.91 with two outs. 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 second all-time in career wins (63) and second all-time in career strikeouts (694). 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)
HOT BAT: Over the last 14 games, Phelan Wright has boosted her batting average 97 points to a team-second best .378. Overall this period Wright has batted .500 (21-42) with two doubles, one triple, one home run, three runs scored and 13 RBIs. Wright, who has played and started in 32 of 33 games, held the team's longest hitting streak at 13 games. Additionally, she batted .530 at the National Invitational Softball Tournament, earning all-tournament honors.
CAREER/ALL-TIME MILESTONES: Beach needs eight RBIs for the all-time record ... Beach needs two more strikeouts for a new career high (89) ... Voak needs 113 strikeouts for the all-time record and 19 more wins for the school record ... Beach needs four more wins to set a new career record (17) ... Hixon needs 13 more doubles for the all-time record ... Arizona State, as a program, needs four 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 .327 with 35 hits and a team-high six doubles. She also has three home runs and 27 RBIs, also a team-high. Brun has tallied 10 multiple hit games and seven multiple RBI games (team high). She also held the team's second longest hitting streak (12) and leads the team with 79 assists. In the ASU record book, she is already fourth all-time with 11 home runs and tied for fifth all-time with 24 doubles. As a freshman, Brun earned All-Pac-10 second team honors, 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.
FRESHMEN TRIO: Freshmen Kristin Farber, Phelan Wright and Kristen Swetel have all made immediate impacts this year. Combined the three are batting .373 (82-for-220) with 33 runs scored, six doubles, one triple, two home runs, 30 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Farber leads the team with a .385 average, while Wright is second at a .378 clip. Swetel is 3-1 with a 0.64 earned-run average.
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 first base respectively, each contribute in similar ways. Hixon, a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, is a three-year starter and has played in 155 career games ... she has produced 143 hits, five home runs, scored 75 runs and recorded 54 RBIs ... Hixon has also tallied 27 career doubles and stole 12 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 .329 batting average in 157 games ... she has produced 159 hits, scored 104 runs and recorded 50 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 17 doubles, three triples, stole 23 bases and has sacrificed 33 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 152-54 ... ASU pitchers are holding opponents to a .155 average ... ASU has walked 82 times ... 11 players have five or more RBIs this year with six players recording in double digits ... 14 of ASU's 25 wins have been shutouts ... Kristin Farber is batting .441 with runners on base ... Missy Hixon is batting .526 with runners in scoring position ... Phelan Wright has tallied 13 RBIs with two outs ... catcher Stacey Farnworth has thrown out four out of seven base runners attempting to steal and has picked off three runners ... seven different players have hit at least one home run ... six of ASU's eight losses have been by either one or two runs.
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, and nearly half of its non conference schedule (14) against top-25 competition. Within the toughest conference in the nation, the Pacific-10, ASU will face a nationally-ranked team almost every time out. Seven of the eight Pac-10 teams are ranked in the top-15, including the top three and four of the top five 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.