No. 8 Softball Faces No. 2 Arizona On Wednesday Night.
April 23, 2001
ON TAP: Eighth-ranked Arizona State (30-14, 5-6 Pac-10) will look to snap a season-long five game losing streak as they host second-ranked Arizona (46-4, 8-2 Pac-10) for a single game on Wednesday, April 25 at 7:00 p.m. The game will be televised locally by Cox Communications (cable channel 9) with George Allen and Doug Gerlach calling the game from Farrington Stadium.
LAST TIME OUT: ASU suffered three losses over the weekend, one to fourth-ranked California (4-2) and a doubleheader to third-ranked Stanford (6-0/7-2) Against California, a eighth inning two run home run by California's Veronica Nelson, sealed the win for Cal, as well as handing ASU it's third straight extra inning defeat. Cal opened the scoring with two unearned runs in the second inning. ASU then tied the game with two unearned runs of their own in the fourth inning. With one out Shiloh Talanoa singled to center field to advance Erica Beach to second base. Jennifer Forner then reached on an error by the Cal shortstop, scoring the first run. Missy Hixon then singled to center field to drive in the second run. The game would remain scoreless until the eighth inning when Nelson hit her home run. Beach started the game, going four innings with four hits and two unearned runs. Kirsten Voak replaced Beach in the fifth and also pitched four innings, allowing only two hits. Hixon led all Sun Devils with a 3-for-4 night with one RBI. ASU left seven runners on base, while Cal stranded six. In the first game against Stanford, the Cardinal jumped out to 1-0 lead off a Jessica Mendoza solo home run to left field. Stanford would add one more run in the fourth off of another solo home run by Jessica Allister and two more Allister RBIs in the fifth. Stanford ended the game with two more runs in the seventh. The Sun Devils had runners on second base two different times, but was unable to plate any runners. Phelan Wright led ASU with a 2-for-3 game. Freshman Kristen Swetel started the game, allowing nine hits with six runs. Voak came in for two batters in the fifth inning, recording two strikeouts. In the second game, the Cardinal again gained the early lead off of another home run, a two-run shot by Kira Ching. ASU finally broke through in the fourth inning with two runs to tie the game. ASU loaded the bases with no outs, but after two fielder's choice that cut the runners down at home for two outs, Hixon singled to center field to drive in Voak and Stacey Farnworth. However, the lead was short lived as Stanford hit another solo home run in the fifth inning to take a 3-2 lead. Stanford would tag three more runs on the board in the sixth and put one more run up in the seventh to end the game. Voak started the game for ASU, allowing four hits, six runs with six strike outs in five inning of work. Beach pitched the last two, allowing one hit and one run.
TV TIME: Arizona State will have two games televised live locally by Cox Communications (Channel 9). The first game will be this week 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 767-599-1 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 102 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 .347 with a team-high seven doubles and seven home runs (three over 250 ft.), 21 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 last year.
VOAK'S RESUME: Two-time junior All-American pitcher Kirsten Voak is also having another good season. Currently at 12-6 with a 1.56 earned-run average, Voak has pitched a perfect game (fourth career no hitter), struck out 113 batters in 98 innings and has posted a Pac-10 second-best three saves. She is also holding opponents to a .140 overall batting average, an 1.06 average with two outs and is averaging 8.0 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 (743) (7th all-time Pac-10). 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 .313 with 46 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 a team second-best 13 multiple hit games and a team-high nine multiple RBI games. She also held the team's second longest hitting streak (12) and leads the team with 100 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 contributions this year. Combined the three are batting .346 (110-for-318) with 45 runs scored, seven doubles, one triple, three home runs, 41 RBIs, 12 stolen bases and 24 walks. Wright leads the team with a .392 average, while Farber leads the team in stolen bases (11) and Swetel is 4-2 with a 1.53 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 25 games, freshman Phelan Wright has boosted her batting average to a team-best .392, good for 10th in the Pac-10 and 34th in the country. Over this period Wright has batted .494 (38-77) 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 166 career games ... she has produced 156 hits, six home runs, scored 79 runs and recorded 58 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 .331 batting average in 168 games ... she has produced 173 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 25 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 190-88 ... ASU pitchers are holding opponents to a .172 average ... ASU has walked 114 times ... ASU leads the Pac-10 in least amount of strikeouts ... 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 .459 with runners in scoring position ... seven different players have hit at least one home run ... eight of ASU's 14 losses have been by either one or two runs ... ASU has claimed four Pac-10 honors this year, including three straight ... ASU has played 23 games against top-25 teams, including 15 in this week's top-25 ... ASU is 6-3 on the road this year, compared to a 5-7 mark last year ... in 13 chances opponents have not scored with the bases loaded.
WELLS AND THE OLYMPICS: ASU Head Coach Linda Wells was selected as one of 12 coaches to form the USA Softball Women's National Team Coaches Pool through the 2004 Olympic Games, the Amateur Softball Association of America (ASA) announced. The selections represent some of the brightest minds in softball today. Wells has considerable coaching experience in international competition, assisting the USA Softball team to a gold medal at the 1985 South Pacific Classic in Melbourne, Australia, and the 1987 Pan American Games gold medal team. Wells and the other 11 coaches will participate in the USA Softball Women's National Team Camp, May 30-June 3 in Chula Vista, California. They will also be eligible for selection to such important coaching assignments as the 2001 U.S. Cup in Hawaii, 2001 Canada Cup in Vancouver, the 2002 ISF Women's World Championship in Canada, the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo and the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.
FOUR SUN DEVILS TO OLYMPIC CAMP: The Amateur Softball Association announced that 51 of the nation's finest women's fast pitch softball players have been selected to participate in the USA Softball Women's National Team Camp, May 30-June 3 at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. Included in the 51 players are four current Arizona State Sun Devils. Junior Kirsten Voak, junior Missy Hixon, junior Nichole Thompson and sophomore Kara Brun. USA Softball will select two 16-player teams to represent the U.S. in international competitions such as the U.S. Cup in Honolulu, the Canada Cup in Vancouver and the Pan Am Qualifier in Maracay, Venezuela during the 2001 season. Selections for the 2001 USA Softball Women's National Teams will be made following the USA Softball Women's National Team Camp. The two teams will then participate in the USA Softball Shoot-out, a four-city West Coast tour that will stop in Portland (June 8), Spokane (June 10), Sacramento (June 14) and Los Angeles (June 17) prior to leaving for the U.S. Cup in Hawaii.
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. Arizona State leads the Pac-10 in most games against nationally ranked teams (23). 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-16, including the top four and five of the top eight positions. Additionally for the second straight season (last year), all eight teams made postseason appearances with four teams advancing to the College World Series.
CAREER/ALL-TIME MILESTONES: Missy Hixon needs 11 more doubles for the all-time record (40) ... Voak needs 64 strikeouts for the all-time record (807) and 16 more wins for the school record (82) ... Beach needs three more wins to set a new career record (17) ... Beach needs two more home runs to reset her single-season record (9) ... Linda Wells needs 33 more wins for 800 career.
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.