No. 9 Softball Host No. 12 Washington And No. 2 UCLA
May 9, 2001
ON TAP: The ninth-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (34-17, 9-9 Pac-10) will close out the regular and Pac-10 season as they play host to 12th-ranked Washington (36-19, 10-8 Pac-10) on Friday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m. The Sun Devils will then face second-ranked UCLA (53-4, 14-4 Pac-10) in a doubleheader on Saturday, May 12 at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. The first game of the UCLA doubleheader will be televised locally by Cox Communications, channel 9, with George Allen and Doug Gerlach on the call.
LIFE'S A BEACH: Junior pitcher/designated player Erica Beach continues to have a stellar career as a Sun Devil. This year Beach is 16-8 (tying her career-high in wins), including six shutouts and a 1.31 ERA with a career-high 118 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 again earned Pac-10 honors, this time Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week acclaim by posting two of ASU's three wins as they swept the Bay Area road trip. Beach recorded a win against third-ranked Stanford, throwing seven innings with two earned runs and three strikeouts. The following day she picked up the win against fifth-ranked California. Beach came in with the score tied and pitched two and two-thirds innings, allowing only one hit with two strikeouts as ASU won in nine innings. Overall, Beach pitched 16 innings, allowed three earned runs with five strikeouts ... 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 .314 with a team high seven home runs (three over 250 ft.). She also has seven doubles, 22 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 holds the school's all-time RBI mark, currently at 119.
FRESHMEN TRIO: Freshmen Kristin Farber, Phelan Wright and Kristen Swetel have all made contributions this year. Combined the three are batting .348 with 51 runs scored, eight doubles, two triple, four home runs, 45 RBIs, 17 stolen bases and 28 walks. Wright leads the team with a .408 average and a .517 slugging percentage, while Farber is second at .344, as well as leading the team in stolen bases (16). Swetel holds a 4-2 record with a 1.50 earned-run average and has slugged two home runs.
LAST TIME OUT: ASU swept the Bay Area swing, defeating third-ranked Stanford, 4-3, in eight innings and fifth-ranked California, 3-2, in nine innings and 5-1. Behind a three-run eighth inning rally, ASU pulled out a 4-3, eight inning win over the Cardinal. Erica Beach pitched seven innings, allowing six hits, two earned runs with three strikeouts. Kirsten Voak pitched the eighth inning for her Pac-10 leading fourth save, allowing two hits with two strikeouts. The Cardinal posted the first run of the game in the first inning, but ASU tied the game in the third inning. Kristin Farber got on base with an infield single and then stole second. Missy Hixon singled to left field, advancing Farber to third. Nichole Thompson then hit a sacrifice fly to left field, driving in Farber. In the eighth inning, the Sun Devils collected three runs on three Stanford errors. Farber, for the third consecutive time got on base with an infield single. Hixon then put down a sacrifice bunt, but Sarah Beeson picked up the ball and over threw first as Hixon went to second and Farber to third. But on the continuation of the same play, Stanford's throw over to third to get Farber was called interference on the third baseman, allowing Farber to go home. Hixon then advance to third on a pass ball. Thompson followed with a fielder's choice to shortstop, scoring Hixon as she slid underneath the Cardinal catcher. Kara Brun put down another sacrifice bunt to move Thompson to second. Phelan Wright then stepped to the plate a drilled a ball to center field, advancing Thompson to third and then to home as the Stanford centerfielder bobbled the ball. However, the Cardinal would not go down easy as they recorded two runs in the bottom of the eighth before Voak struck out the next two batters and enduced a fly ball to end the game. A ninth inning illegal pitch by California's Nicole DiSalvio, bringing in Voak from third base is how ASU won the first game. Voak started the ninth inning frame by doubling to left field. Kristen Swetel then grounded out to second base, advancing Voak to third base. Erin Wardein then stepped to the plate and attempted to call time out, but was not awarded the call as DiSalvio did not complete her motion and was called for an illegal pitch, advancing Voak home. Beach, who came in to relive Voak in the sixth inning, retired Cal in the bottom of the ninth to seal ASU's second extra inning win in as many days. ASU got on the board first in the fourth inning with two runs. With two outs, Brun earned a walk. Wright then took a Jocelyn Forest pitch over the left field fence for her second home run of the year. Cal got one run back in their sixth inning and then tied the game with one more in the seventh to send the game into extra innings where the game ended in the ninth on the illegal pitch. Voak started the game, going six and a third innings, allowing two runs with nine strikeouts. Beach pitched the final two and two-thirds, limiting Cal to one hit with two strikeouts. In the second game, Thompson's RBI single in the seventh broke a 1-1 tie, which was followed by a Brun three-run home to seal the weekend sweep over Cal, 5-1. Cal got on the board in the first inning, but ASU came back and tied the game in the sixth inning. Hixon singled to left and then Thompson reached on an error. Brun then singled to left to load the bases. Wright followed with a deep drive to left field to drive in Hixon. ASU then unloaded four runs in the seventh. Swetel opened the frame with a single to right. Jennifer Forner sacrificed Swetel to second and was followed by a Farber bunt single to advance Swetel to third. Thompson then fought the ball off into right field, breaking the tie by scoring Swetel. Brun then stepped to the plate and crushed the ball over the left field fence to secure the win. Beach started the game and pitched the first five and a third before giving way to Voak who pitched to two batters. Beach reentered in the seventh and closed the game out. Cal's Nicole DiSalvio had a no hitter through five innings before Hixon laced a single to left in the top of the sixth.
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 173 career games ... she has produced 163 hits, six home runs, scored 82 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 .330 batting average in 175 games ... she has produced 178 hits (sixth all-time), scored 112 runs and recorded 55 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 19 doubles, three triples, stole 24 bases and has sacrificed 38 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.
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 771-602-1 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 420 victories and has had five players earn a total of eight All-American awards.
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 54 hits, a team-high nine doubles and 31 runs scored. She also has five home runs and 37 RBIs, also a team-high. In addition, Brun has tallied a team-best 16 multiple hit games and a team-high 10 multiple RBI games. She also held the team's second longest hitting streak (12) and leads the team with 113 assists. In the ASU record book, she is already fourth all-time with 13 home runs and is sixth all-time with 25 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.
VOAK'S RESUME: Two-time junior All-American pitcher Kirsten Voak is also having another good season. Currently at 14-7 with a 1.50 earned-run average, Voak has pitched a perfect game (fourth career no hitter), struck out 144 batters in 121 innings and has posted a Pac-10-best four saves (12th in the country). She is also holding opponents to a .160 overall batting average, an a 1.20 average with two outs and is averaging 8.3 strikeouts/game. Voak's currently second all-time in career wins (68) and second all-time in career strikeouts (774) (6th all-time Pac-10). She has also tallied 17 career double-digit strikeout games. 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.
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)
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.
FRESHMAN SENSATION: Over the last 31 games, freshman Phelan Wright has boosted her batting average to a team-best .408, good for fifth in the Pac-10 and 22nd in the country. Over this period Wright has batted .495 (49-99) with four doubles, two triple, two home runs, 11 runs scored, 15 walks and 21 RBIs. Wright was a main contributor in each of Arizona State's three wins against Stanford and California, earning NFCA National Player of the Week honors and Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. Against Stanford, she went 2-for-4 with a double to help propel ASU to the extra inning win. The next day against Cal, Wright went 2-for-3 with a home run, a run scored and two RBIs. The home run put ASU ahead in the game 2-0 and a single later help to win that game in extra innings. In the second game against Cal, ASU was down 1-0 when she hit a sacrifice fly to deep left field to bring in the tying run and to keep the game going into the seventh when the Sun Devils won. Wright was also walked twice in the game. Overall, Wright went 4-for-8 (.500) with a double, a home run, a run scored, three RBIs and three walks. In the field, Wright was perfect on the weekend with 12 successful chances. In 18 games this year, Wright is currently batting an amazing .456 in the pitching rich Pac-10 Conference and leads the ASU team with a .408 overall average with 60 hits and a .517 slugging percentage. Wright, who has played and started in 50 games, also held the team's longest hitting streak at 13 games (third longest in the Pac-10) and has produced a team-high 16 RBIs with two outs. She is also tied for the team-high in multi hit games (16) and is third in multi RBI games (6). Additionally, she batted .530 at the National Invitational Softball Tournament, earning all-tournament honors.
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.
DEVIL NOTES: ASU starts one senior, sometimes none at all ... eight players hold a cumulative grade-point average above 3.0 ... ASU pitchers are holding opponents to a .182 average ... ASU is ranked 18th in the nation with a .293 team batting 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 34 wins have been shutouts ... Nichole Thompson is batting .476 with runners in scoring position ... seven different players have hit at least two home runs ... 10 of ASU's 17 losses have been by either one or two runs ... ASU has claimed six Pac-10 honors (Pitcher/Player) this year, including three straight and has swept the honors twice ... ASU has also claimed two NFCA National Player of the Week honors ... ASU has played 29 games against top-25 teams, including 15 in this week's top-25 ... ASU is 9-3 on the road this year, compared to a 5-7 mark last year.
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) and will be televised by FOX Sports Arizona.
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 played against nationally ranked teams (29). 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 four of the top six positions. Additionally for the second straight season (last year), all eight teams made postseason appearances with four teams advancing to the College World Series. Pac-10 teams have won 10 of the past 13 College World Series titles.
CAREER/ALL-TIME MILESTONES: Hixon needs 11 more doubles for the all-time record (40) ... Voak needs 33 strikeouts for the all-time record (807) and 14 more wins for the school record (82) ... Beach needs one more win to set a new career record (17) ... Beach needs two more home runs to reset her single-season record (9) ... Linda Wells needs 29 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.