No. 8 Softball Hosts No. 4 California And No. 3 Stanford
April 18, 2001
ON TAP: After 19 straight road games, including its first eight Pac-10 Conference games, the eighth-ranked Arizona State softball team (30-11, 5-3 Pac-10) returns home to begin a seven-game home stand all within a 10 day period. The Sun Devils will start with a single game against fourth-ranked California (44-6, 3-5 Pac-10) on Friday, April 20 at 7:00 p.m. The third-ranked Stanford Cardinal (40-5-1, 7-2 Pac-10) will then come calling for single games on Saturday, April 21 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, April 22 at 1:00 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: ASU suffered a pair of extra innings losses to second-ranked Arizona in Tucson. In the first game, in which the game lasted 11 innings, Erica Beach started the game, but got into early trouble by walking the first two batters. After getting one out, Kirsten Voak relieved Beach. Voak then got the next two batters to pop up to the infield to end the threat. Beach re-entered in the second inning and continued the no-hitter through five and a third innings. In the sixth inning with two outs, Missy Hixon broke up Arizona pitcher Jenny Finch's no hitter by hitting the ball into right field. In the bottom of the inning, Voak again replaced Beach. After one out, UA's Nicole Giordano singled to left to also break up ASU's no hitter, however, Voak retired the next two batters. In the top of the seventh, Kara Brun launched a shot to deep left field, as the UA outfielder caught the ball up against the 200-foot fence. The Sun Devils had another golden chance to score in the ninth inning as they loaded the bases. With two outs Brun walked. Then Phelan Wright singled to center field and advanced to second as Brun advanced to third. Beach was then intentionally walked to load the bases, but the next ASU batter struck out swinging. The Wildcats returned the favor as they also loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but Voak struck out Mackenzie Vandergeest to stave off the threat once again. However, in the bottom of the 11th, Finch hit a three-run home run over the center field fence to win the game for the Wildcats. In the second game, which lasted nine innings, a two-run home run by Brun in the first inning off UA starter Becky Lemke and a two-run homer by UA in the bottom of the sixth were the only run-scoring hits until the seventh frame. Hixon's high fly to right field bounced off the glove of the Arizona right fielder and over the fence for a home run in the top of the seventh which gave ASU a short-lived 3-2 lead. But, Arizona scored an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings and a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth sealed the win for Arizona. ASU started Voak, subbed Beach for her in the sixth, returned with Voak in the top of the seventh and brought Beach back after Giordano's double.
TV TIME: Arizona State will have two games televised live locally by Cox Communications (Channel 9). The first game will be against Arizona on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. The other contest will be against UCLA on Saturday, May 12 also at 7:00 p.m.
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 767-596-1 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 416 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 14-6, including six shutouts and a 1.15 ERA with a career-high 98 strikeouts. 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. Against UCLA and Washington, Beach batted .700 (7-for-10) with two doubles, two home runs, two runs scored, two walks and seven RBIs. Beach also picked up her 14th win in the circle as ASU defeated UW, 5-1, earning her Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. Beach posted a 2-0 record (both shutouts) with one save as ASU went 4-1, reaching the quarterfinals of the KIA Klassic Tournament. 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 also posted a 3-1 record at the NFCA Leadoff Classic and was named on the all-tournament team. Offensively, Beach is batting .349 with six doubles, a team-high seven home runs (three over 250 ft.), 20 walks and has tallied 31 RBIs. Beach also continues to set ASU's all-time home run mark as she belted her 20th career shot against Washington. She also set the school's all-time RBI mark, currently at 118. 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 12-4 with a 1.10 earned-run average, Voak has pitched a perfect game (fourth career no hitter), struck out 103 batters in 89 innings, issued just 16 walks and posted a Pac-10 leading three saves. She is also holding opponents to a .136 overall batting average, an 1.08 average with two outs and is averaging 8.2 strikeouts/game. Against UCLA and Washington, Voak picked up two of ASU's three wins. Against top-ranked UCLA, Voak pitched five and a third innings, allowing only two hits, one run, while striking out seven. She pitched the complete game against UW, limiting the Huskies to three hits, one run, while striking out a season-high 12 batters. Voak struckout seven of 11 UW batters, four batters struckout two or more times and she retired the last 15 batters in a row. Overall on the weekend, Voak went 2-0, pitched 12 and two-thirds' innings, allowed only five hits, two runs, two walks, while fanning 20 batters. For her efforts, she claimed her second Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor this year and her eighth all-time (fifth all-time in the Pac-10). 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 choice and was named the team's MVP and Pitcher of the Year. Last year Voak earned three Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors and was named to the NFCA Leadoff Classic and NIST All-Tournament teams. She's currently second all-time in career wins (66) and second all-time in career strikeouts (733). She has also tallied 16 career double-digit strikeout games.
Voak's Career Double-Digit Strikeout Games (16):
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 -- Washington, 7 innings (4/8/01)
12 -- UNLV, 7 innings (3/26/00)
12 -- Iowa, 7 innings (3/17/00)
12 -- Portland State, 7 innings (2/26/00)
12 -- Oregon State, 6 innings (4/24/99)
12 -- Nebraska, 7 innings (2/13/99)
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)
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 .331 with 45 hits, a team-high seven doubles and 29 runs scored. She also has four home runs and 33 RBIs, also a team-high. Brun has tallied 13 multiple hit games and nine multiple RBI games, both team highs. She also held the team's second longest hitting streak (12) and leads the team with 91 assists. In the ASU record book, she is already fourth all-time with 12 home runs and is sixth 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 .354 (104-for-294) with 44 runs scored, seven doubles, one triple, three home runs, 41 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Wright leads the team with a .400 average, while Swetel is also 4-1 with a 0.71 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.
HOT BAT: Over the last 22 games, freshman Phelan Wright has boosted her batting average to a team-best .400, good for 34th in the country. Over this period Wright has batted .507 (34-67) with three doubles, one triple, one home run, 10 runs scored, 12 walks and 17 RBIs. Wright, who has played and started in all 40 games, also held the team's longest hitting streak at 13 games and has produced a team-high 14 RBIs with two outs. Additionally, she batted .530 at the National Invitational Softball Tournament, earning all-tournament honors.
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 163 career games ... she has produced 152 hits, six home runs, scored 79 runs and recorded 55 RBIs ... Hixon has also tallied 29 career doubles and stole 14 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 .336 batting average in 165 games ... she has produced 172 hits, scored 110 runs and recorded 51 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 18 doubles, three triples, stole 23 bases and has sacrificed 36 times ... she averages just one strikeout every 21 at bats.
PAC-10 HONORS: Freshman pitcher/designated player Kristen Swetel claimed Pac-10 Player of the Week honors (4/1) for her pitching and hitting against Oregon State and Oregon. Swetel secured the win against Oregon State, pitching her way to her fourth win as well as hitting the game-winning RBI. She also had the game-winning hit, a three-run home run against Oregon to secure the win. Overall, Swetel went 1-0, pitched 6.1 innings, allowed one run, while going 4-for-5 at the plate with five RBIs and two game-winners.
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 186-71 ... ASU is 10th in the nation with a .302 batting average and 15th in ERA at 1.07 ... ASU pitchers are holding opponents to a .166 average ... ASU has walked 110 times ... 11 players have five or more RBIs this year with nine players recording in double digits ... 14 of ASU's 30 wins have been shutouts ... Nichole Thompson is batting .486 with runners in scoring position ... seven different players have hit at least one home run ... seven of ASU's 11 losses have been by either one or two runs ... ASU has claimed four Pac-10 honors this year, including three straight ... ASU's last home game was March 6th ... ASU has played 20 games against top-25 teams, including 15 in this week's top-25 ... ASU is 6-3 on the road this year, compaired to a 5-7 mark last year ... in 10 chances opponents have not scored with the bases loaded.