No. 11 Softball Heads To The Bay Area To Face No. 3 Stanford & No. 5 California
May 2, 2001
ON TAP: The 11th-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (31-17, 6-9 Pac-10) will head out on the road for the last time in Pac-10 play as they travel to the Bay Area to face third-ranked Stanford (44-9-1, 9-6 Pac-10) on Friday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m. ASU will then cross over and play fifth-ranked California (48-10, 5-9 Pac-10) on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: ASU posted a 1-2 record last weekend, defeating Oregon, 6-0, but falling to 14th-ranked Oregon State, 2-0 and 4-3. Against Oregon, ASU banged out 14 hits as Kirsten Voak went the distance, limiting Oregon to five hits with 10 strikeouts. ASU posted its first three runs in the second inning. Missy Hixon singled to left field. Voak then doubled to right center to drive in Hixon for the first run. Shiloh Talanoa then stepped to plate and crushed her fourth home run of the year, a two-run shot over the 210-foot fence, estimated at least 250 feet. In the fifth inning, ASU would tag on three more runs. Beach started the inning with a single to center field, followed by a Hixon infield hit. Beach and Hixon then moved up to third and second respectively after Oregon fired a wild pitch. Voak followed that with another infield single to first base to score Beach. Nichole Thompson also singled back wide of the pitcher to score Voak from third. Kara Brun then walked in the final run. Every starter except one had at least one hit. In the first game against OSU, five straight hits to left field in the first inning scored both runs for the Beavers. After left fielder Jennifer Forner made a diving catch in foul ground for the first out, OSU reeled off five consecutive singles off starter Beach. However, Beach kept the Beavers in check the rest of the game and would not give up another hit until the seventh inning. In the fourth inning, ASU had its chance to score. Back to back singles from Brun and Phelan Wright were not enough as the next three batters failed to get another hit. Despite out hitting Oregon State 10-6 and stranding 10 runners in the second game, ASU could not over come a three-run fourth inning by the Beavers. OSU got on the board first in the third inning by a leadoff solo home run. The Beavers would put three more runs, all unearned, up in the fourth inning. ASU would get one run back in the fourth. Beach stared with a single to right field followed by a Voak walk. Kristin Farber followed with a fielder's choice to move pinch runner Alicia Flangan to third. Forner then lifted her ball to center field, driving in Flanagan for the first run. ASU would cut into the OSU lead even more in the fifth. With one out, Brun ripped a double to left and was replaced by Felicia Romero as a pinch runner. Erin Wardein, making her first start at first base since the first game of the year due to a wrist injury, singled to right field, advancing Romero to third. Wright continued her hot bat with a single to center field to plate Romero. After a balk was called, moving runners up to second and third, Beach singled to left field to score one more run. But ASU could not get another runner across as OSU retired the next two batters. Voak took the loss, allowing six hits, four runs, only one earned with five strikeouts.
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 768-602-1 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 417 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 14-8, including six shutouts and a 1.31 ERA with a career-high 113 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 .341 with a team high seven home runs (three over 250 ft.). She also has seven doubles, 21 walks and has tallied 32 RBIs. Beach 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 119. 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 13-7 with a 1.48 earned-run average, Voak has pitched a perfect game (fourth career no hitter), struck out 132 batters in 113 innings and has posted a Pac-10 second-best three saves. She is also holding opponents to a .153 overall batting average, an 1.27 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 (67) and second all-time in career strikeouts (762) (6th all-time Pac-10). She has also tallied 17 career double-digit strikeout games.
Voak's Career Double-Digit Strikeout Games (17):
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 (4/27/01)
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 .321 with 51 hits, a team-high eight doubles and 29 runs scored. She also has four home runs and 34 RBIs, also a team-high. In addition, Brun has tallied a team-best 15 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 108 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 .345 (120-for-348) with 46 runs scored, seven doubles, two triple, three home runs, 42 RBIs, 14 stolen bases and 24 walks. Wright leads the team with a .403 average, while Farber is fourth at .333, as well as leading the team in stolen bases (13) and Swetel is 4-2 with a 1.50 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 29 games, freshman Phelan Wright has boosted her batting average to a team-best .403, good for 10th in the Pac-10 and 26th in the country. Over this period Wright has batted .495 (45-91) with three doubles, two triple, one home run, 10 runs scored, 12 walks and 18 RBIs. Wright, who has played and started in 47 games, also held the team's longest hitting streak at 13 games (third longest in the Pac-10) and has produced a team-high 14 RBIs with two outs. She is also third on the team in multi hit games (14) and multi RBI games (5). In the Pac-10, Wright is batting a team-high .449 with 22 hits and seven walks. 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/centerfield respectively, each contribute in similar ways. Hixon, a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, is a three-year starter and has played in 170 career games ... she has produced 160 hits, six home runs, scored 80 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 .332 batting average in 172 games ... she has produced 177 hits (sixth all-time), scored 110 runs and recorded 52 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 19 doubles, three triples, stole 24 bases and has sacrificed 37 times ... she averages just one strikeout every 22 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 199-99 ... ASU pitchers are holding opponents to a .178 average ... Stacey Farnworth has picked off four runners, good for second in the Pac-10 ... 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 ... 15 of ASU's 31 wins have been shutouts ... Nichole Thompson is batting .487 with runners in scoring position ... seven different players have hit at least one home run ... 10 of ASU's 17 losses have been by either one or two runs ... ASU has claimed four Pac-10 honors this year, including three straight ... ASU has played 26 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.
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.
FIVE SUN DEVILS TO OLYMPIC CAMP: The Amateur Softball Association announced that 57 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 57 players are five current Arizona State Sun Devils. Junior Kirsten Voak, junior Missy Hixon, junior Nichole Thompson, sophomore Kara Brun and freshman Kristin Farber. Additionally, of the 20 schools listed with players competing, Arizona State has the third most representing one school. 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.
TV TIME: Arizona State will have one more game televised live locally by Cox Communications (Channel 9). The next broadcast will be against UCLA on Saturday, May 12 at 7:00 p.m.
REGIONAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The NCAA Regional announcement of the 48-team field will be made on Sunday, May 13 at 5:30 p.m. (Arizona time).
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 (26). 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-14, including the top three and four of the top five 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 45 strikeouts for the all-time record (807) and 15 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 32 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.