Bruin Softball Ready For Road Trip
April 19, 2001
The Bruins are inching back into the Pac-10 race, as UCLA holds a 5-3 conference record after last weekend's sweep of No. 13 Washington. That record puts UCLA in third place, 1 1/2 games behind 7-2 Stanford in the Pac-10 standings. Next up for UCLA is this weekend's road trip to Corvallis and Eugene, OR, to face Oregon State and Oregon, respectively. UCLA holds an all-time series advantage against both schools with a 57-4 record against the Beavers (including a 3-2 win at the Hedrick's Hallowell Chevrolet Classic in March), and a 45-7 record against the Ducks. UCLA has won five straight against OSU and four straight against Oregon.
Bruin Sweep of Huskies Includes 14-Inning Marathon
Friday afternoon at Easton Stadium started out as a regular matchup between two Pac-10 schools. Four hours and eight minutes later, the Bruins emerged with a 5-4 win over Washington after playing 14 innings. That matches the longest game the Bruins have played since the late 1970s. Freshman pitcher Keira Goerl pitched all 14 innings for the Bruins, tossing over 200 pitches in the game while recording 14 strikeouts and just three walks.
Offensively, third baseman Tairia Mims opened the scoring with a three-run home run in the third inning, her team-leading 12th homer of the year. Washington took the lead, 4-3, in the top of the fourth before UCLA manufactured the tying run in the bottom of the fourth when second baseman Crissy Buck led off with a single, was replaced by pinch-runner Amanda Simpson, and Simpson scored from third base on a single by Natasha Watley. No ball was hit to the outfield by either team between the last out of the fifth inning and the first out of the 13th. UCLA put away the win in the 14th inning when Mims led off with a double down the right field line, catcher Stacey Nuveman was intentionally walked, and Courtney Dale singled to load the bases. Freshman first baseman Claire Sua came through with a ground ball single through the left side of the infield to score pinch runner Stephanie Swenson and end the marathon game.
Saturday's contest was not nearly as suspenseful. Nuveman's first at-bat of the game resulted in a three-run home run, and she would provide her fourth RBI of the day in her next at-bat, scoring Watley from second base on a long double to right center. Amanda Freed struck out 10 and walked three in the two-hit shutout victory.
Natasha Watley Named Pac-10 and NFCA Player of the Week
UCLA sophomore shortstop Natasha Watley was named the Pac-10 and NFCA/Louisville Slugger Player of the Week for April 9-15 for her performance in the Bruins sweep of Washington. Watley extended her consecutive games hitting streak to 24 over the weekend, as she went 5-for-10 (.500) with three runs scored, a double, one RBI and one stolen base. That swipe was her Pac-10 leading 36th of the year, and extends the UCLA single-season record. She also posted a .600 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage while hitting second in the lineup. Defensively, she was perfect on eight chances with five putouts and three assists. It is the second Pac-10 Player of the Week honor of Watley's career and her first NFCA weekly award.
Bruin Softball Holds NCAA's Top Win
UCLA's 3-0 win over No. 2 Arizona on April 8 gave the Bruins the 16th 40-win season in program history. Last year, UCLA did record win No. 40 until its 52nd contest, an 8-0 win over Canisius in the Bruins NCAA Regional opener. This is the 16th 40-win season in UCLA history. UCLA's 40-3 record converts to a winning percentage of .930, which is the best winning percentage in the nation through games of April 15. As a team, the Bruins rank second in batting average (.353), third in fielding percentage (.977), second in runs per game (6.76) and eighth in ERA (0.83).
Individually, six Bruins rank in the current NCAA Statistical Leaders: batting average (15. Sua, .428, 17. Nuveman, .424, 28. Watley, .406, 32. Mims, .401, t50. Ramos, .389), RBI (3. Mims, 1.27/gm, 5. Nuveman, 1.18/gm), home runs (11, Mims, 0.29/gm, t16. Nuveman, 0.27/gm), stolen bases (4. Watley, 0.80/gm) and ERA (t5. Freed, 0.51).
She's Baaack!: Nuveman Moves Up NCAA Career Lists
With 11 home runs this season, Bruin slugger Stacey Nuveman currently has 63 career home runs, giving her fourth place on the NCAA's all-time list. Nuveman now has the best career home run total of any non-Arizona player. Jenny Dalton is next on the list with 76 career home runs (see page 5 of notes).
Through 45 games, Nuveman has walked 48 times (13 intentional walks), equivalent to 29% of her total plate appearances and a 1.06 per-game average that contributes to an impressive .587 on-base percentage. Nuveman is third among active players on the NCAA's career walks list, and has become the second Bruin in history to record more than 200 career RBI, with 216 . She is the active leader on the NCAA career list in that category.
Nuveman returns to the Bruins in 2001 after missing the 2000 collegiate season in order to play for the U.S. Olympic Team. Despite the fact that she is in her fifth year as a Bruin, Nuveman has remaining collegiate eligibility for the 2001 and 2002 seasons, and is considered an athletic junior in 2001.
Four Bruin starters currently own season batting averages of .400 or above: Nuveman (.424), freshman Claire Sua (.428) and sophomores Natasha Watley (.406) and Tairia Mims (.401). The Bruins have scored 304 runs while allowing just 49. The Bruins are hitting .353 as a team, and UCLA's offensive power is evident in the team pitching stats, as UCLA has a team ERA of 0.83 while the Bruins have hit their opponents into a 5.85 team ERA.
Freed Continues Domination in the Circle
Junior P/OF Amanda Freed spent her summer as a traveling alternate with the U.S. Olympic Team, and has returned to the Bruins as the same dominant pitcher who tossed UCLA to last year's NCAA Championship Game. Freed leads the Bruins with 123.0 innings in the circle and an 17-3 record with one save. She has struck out 128 and walked 18, good for a impressive K:BB ratio of 7:1. The Bruins have allowed just nine earned runs with Freed in the circle for a 0.51 ERA. Offensively, Freed is hitting .323 with two home runs, eight doubles and three triples with 24 RBI. She has stolen 15 bases on 16 tries.
Head Coach Sue Enquist
The 2001 season marks Sue Enquist's 13th campaign as head coach of the Bruin softball program. It is her 22nd year as part of UCLA's softball coaching staff and her 26th year of involvement with the program as either a coach or player. Enquist has a 621-118-1 (.840) coaching record and 1,048 wins in her Bruin softball career as a player, assistant coach and head coach, combined. As a player from 1975-78, Enquist became UCLA's first All-American while establishing the Bruin career batting average record of .401. She is still the only UCLA player to complete her career with a batting average over .400.
Elementary, My Dear Watley!
Even the masterful detective Sherlock Holmes wouldn't be able to stop Bruin sophomore All-American shortstop Natasha Watley, who became the most prolific base stealer in UCLA history after just one season. Watley's record-setting freshman campaign included team highs of a .426 batting average and stealing 32 bases on 37 attempts. In addition to setting a new Bruin single-season record for stolen bases and taking over the UCLA career lead in that category, Watley set an NCAA Division I postseason record with four steals against Canisius in UCLA's postseason opener on May 18, 2000.
Watley has already improved on that freshman campaign, swiping 36 bases on 40 tries for 68 career steals. Through 26 games, she had already improved on her freshman year total of 11 RBI and is closing in on her 2000 total for runs scored. Watley currently has 30 RBI and 54 runs scored, compared to 48 runs last year, and is riding a 24-game hit streak.
Forget Waldo, Where's Tairia?
Sophomore Tairia Mims is on the field and producing impressive offensive numbers from the No. 3 spot in the lineup, but you never know where you'll find her on the field defensively.
Mims has started all 45 games for UCLA: 13 games in right field, four games at first base, 18 at third base and 10 games behind the plate. UCLA's starting first baseman a year ago, Mims was a catcher and third baseman in high school and ASA ball. Since coming to UCLA, she has learned first base and right field, making her one of Sue Enquist's most versatile athletes defensively.
Mims was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Feb. 12-18 after hitting six home runs with 19 RBI during that stretch. For the 2001 season, Mims currently has a .401 average with 13 doubles, three triples, 13 home runs, 57 RBI, 39 runs scored and 13 walks, for a .470 on-base percentage and a .796 slugging percentage. In comparison, she totalled nine home runs, 32 RBI and eight doubles last year as a freshman.
Claire Sua has started all of UCLA's 43 games and leads the Bruins with a .428 batting average. She has six home runs -- including two grand slams -- 39 RBI and 18 runs scored. Sua entered the lineup as the designated player in UCLA's first five games (at the Early Bird Classic) before making her defensive debut at first base in the doubleheader at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 7.
Pitcher Keira Goerl has pitched in 18 of UCLA's games and has a 1.07 ERA with 90 strikeouts in 111 innings pitched. Goerl pitched a five-inning perfect game against UC Riverside on March 6, and all 14 innings on April 13 against Washington. Batters are hitting .166 against Goerl, and she is 16-0 on the 2001 season. She is second on the team in innings pitched to Amanda Freed (123 IP).
Freshman outfielder Stephanie Ramos started UCLA's first 29 games before breaking a the fourth metacarpal bone in her left hand. She was hitting .405 with seven doubles, 12 RBI and 22 runs scored, and had 18 putouts and an assist when the injury occurred. She returned to the Bruin starting lineup on April 6 against Arizona State.
Six of Marcel Torres' nine game starts have come in Pac-10 play, with two more in the April 4 doubleheader at Cal State Northridge. Torres earned a single in her first collegiate at-bat, entering the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning in the first game of the Cal State Fullerton doubleheader. Torres hit her first career home run on Feb. 16 against Portland State, and is hitting .417 with 20 games played, one double and two home runs.
Baserunning specialists Amanda Simpson and Julie Hoshizaki both see regular game action, with Simpson stealing two bases with 14 runs scored. She has appeared as a pinch runner in 41 of UCLA's 45 games. Hoshizaki has pinch-run in 30 games with 11 runs scored.
Junior pitcher Amanda Freed was diagnosed with an injury in her right forearm on April 16. She will be out of the lineup for this weekend's games in Oregon. Sophomore Toria Auelua tore her right meniscus while warming up Courtney Dale in game one of UCLA's doubleheader at Southwest Texas State on Feb. 26 and underwent surgery on Feb 28. She returned to the lineup as a pinch-hitter in both games against Washington. Outfielder Stephanie Ramos broke the fourth metacarpal bone in her left hand on March 8. She has returned to the lineup as a defensive player. Junior Casey Hiraiwa tore a tendon in her left hand during UCLA's Alumnae game on March 24, and had surgery on April 6. No timetable has been set for her return.