This Week in Pac-10 Softball (7/11/01)
July 11, 2001
The Conference continued its dominance throughout 2001. Seven teams went to the NCAA Regionals while four (ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, STANFORD and UCLA) advanced to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla. ARIZONA and UCLA met for the fifth time in the National Championship Game (eighth time two Pac-10 teams have faced off in the final contest) with the Wildcats squeaking out a 1-0 victory over the Bruins and taking home their sixth NCAA title in school history (first since 1997). . . UCLA's Stacey Nuveman was named Conference Player of the Year for the second time in her career (1999 and 2001). . . ARIZONA's Jennie Finch garnered Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year honors while also winning the prestigious Honda Award, which goes to the National Player of the Year. . . WASHINGTON's Tia Bollinger became the second consecutive Husky to win Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. . . ARIZONA head coach Mike Candrea and STANFORD's John Rittman were named Co-Coaches of the Year, the third consecutive season and fifth all-time that two coaches shared the honor. . . The Conference had 17 players earn All-America honors, including ten players receiving first-team recognition. . . There were 14 no-hitters thrown by Pac-10 pitchers this season. Seven of which, were perfect games. . . ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA and UCLA had 30+ game-winning streaks to start the season. It was the first time in NCAA history that three teams from the same Conference had posted an undefeated record through their first 30+ games of the year. . . The Wildcats also posted an NCAA record 126 home runs, averaging nearly two homers per game (1.83). . . 21 Conference teams either won or went undefeated in the 26 preseason tournaments they competed in. . . Seven teams are ranked in the final 2001 USA Today/NFCA Poll. ARIZONA finishes the season as the top-ranked team in the country, followed by No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 STANFORD, No. 6 CALIFORNIA, No. 9 ARIZONA STATE, No. 13 WASHINGTON and No. 20 OREGON STATE.
2001 NCAA WCWS RESULTS
Thurs., May 24#1 ARIZONA 3, #8 CALIFORNIA 2#6 STANFORD 2, #3 LSU 1 (8 innings)#2 UCLA 2, #7 Iowa 0
Fri., May 25#1 ARIZONA 5, #5 Oklahoma 4 (8 innings)#2 UCLA 5, #6 STANFORD 0
Sat., May 26#8 CALIFORNIA 5, #4 Michigan 2#6 STANFORD 1, #8 CALIFORNIA 0
Sun., May 27#1 ARIZONA 1, #6 STANFORD 0#2 UCLA 6, #3 LSU 0
Mon., May 28 (National Championship Game)#1 ARIZONA 1, #2 UCLA 0
2001 PAC-10 HIGHLIGHTS
The 2001 Wildcat squad will undoubtedly go down as one of the best in NCAA history, as they closed out the season with their first National Championship since 1997. . . Arizona's 65 wins is third all-time in school history. . . The 'Cats set a team record with 42 shutouts and a Pac-10 record with 632 strikeouts this season. . . Arizona currently owns a 48-game home winning streak that will continue into next year. . . Junior Jennie Finch went 32-0 this year, breaking former UCLA star Lisa Fernandez's mark (29-0) of most wins without a loss in a season. Her winning streak has now reached 40 games heading into next year. . . Senior Lauren Bauer scored a Conference-leading 81 runs. She also finished second in the Pac-10 with a .426 batting average, which vaulted her to First-Team All-America status. . . Freshman Mackenzie Vandergeest set the new Wildcat freshman home run record with 20. Her last home run of the season tied the 'Cats WCWS game against the defending National Champion Oklahoma Sooners in the seventh inning, a game in which Arizona eventually won.
Arizona State Sun Devils
ASU went to its 14th NCAA Regional this season. . . The Sun Devils finished the year with a .285 team batting average and 1.62 team ERA. . . ASU finished tied for first in the Pac-10 in saves with seven. . . Arizona State turned 20 double plays. . . The Sun Devils posted five triples this season after not hitting any in 2000. . . After going 5-7 on the road last season, Arizona State turned it around and went 9-4 away from home this year. . . Freshman Phelan Wright finished sixth in the Pac-10 with a .399 batting average. Wright's average was the highest posted by a freshman in the Conference since Stanford's Jessica Mendoza hit .415 in 1999. . . Junior Missy Hixon led the Sun Devils with nine sacrifice bunts (tied for sixth in the Pac-10). . . Junior Kirsten Voak finished 15 games this season (second in the Pac-10). . . Junior Erica Beach finished fourth in the Pac-10 in innings pitched, going 223.0 innings. She went 17-11 with a 1.35 ERA in 46 appearances to lead ASU.
California Golden Bears
In 2001, the Bears made their 17th NCAA Regional and sixth College World Series appearances all-time. . . Cal's 54 wins this season, marks the most victories in school history. . . The Bears' 32-0 start was second-best in the Conference, behind UCLA starting 35-0. The 32-game winning streak is the longest in school history. . . California was in the top 10 of the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll every week this season. . . Sophomore Veronica Nelson is quickly becoming one of the most prolific hitters in Cal history. She broke her own Cal season home run record by slugging 19 homers this year, topping the previous mark she set last season with 14. In addition to her power, Nelson proved that she has a good eye as well, walking an NCAA record 93 times this season, breaking her record mark of 87 last year. . . Junior Jocelyn Forest led the Conference in strikeouts with 364. She also posted an 88 consecutive scoreless innings streak during the season, which ranks sixth in NCAA history.
The Ducks did not make the NCAA Tournament field for the first time in four years. . . Duck batters were hit 36 times (currently, the most in the Pac-10). . . UO finished with a .417 batting average against lefthanded pitching. . . Sophomore transfer Lisa Wangler was voted as the team's MVP and Rookie of the Year. She was also named Honorable Mention All-Conference. Wangler, who transferred from Mesa Community College, set a new Oregon record for hits in a season (87) and led the Ducks with a .367 batting average while scoring 37 runs. She also led the team in stolen bases (16) and total bases (93). Additionally, Wangler had some success in the circle, pitching four shutouts during the year. Freshman pitcher Anissa Meashintubby was recognized as the team's Most Inspirational Player. She led all Oregon pitchers with a 3.75 ERA.
Oregon State Beavers
OSU went to its third consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament and posted its third straight 40-win season in 2001. . . The Beavers finished with the second most victories in school history with 44 and the second most wins ever recorded in Pac-10 action with 10. . . Oregon State pinch-hitters hit .319 (15-for-47) on the year. . . Righthanded batters hit just .189 against Beaver pitching. . . Head Coach Kirk Walker won the 200th game of his career with a victory over Sacramento State (Mar. 27). . . Senior Shawna Feldt and sophomore Shelly Prochaska earned NCAA All-Regional honors for their efforts during the NCAA Tournament. . . Feldt, along with junior Crystal Draper were named Second-Team All-Conference. . . Draper's perfect game on March 24, was just the second ever for a Beaver pitcher, and the first since 1984.
The Cardinal posted its best softball season in 2001, winning 54 games and making its first trip to the WCWS. . . Stanford also hosted regionals for the first time in school history this season. . . The Cardinal posted career-highs in shutouts with 33. . . They outscored opponents 293-111. . . Stanford's 44 home runs this year is a new school record. . . The Cardinal went 36-2 against unranked opponents. . . Stanford's 100 single season doubles rank first in school history and eighth in Pac-10 history. . . Junior Jessica Mendoza finished the season ranked in the top 10 in the Conference in batting average (T4th, .405), runs scored (3rd, 70), doubles (2nd, 20), total bases (4th, 151), slugging percentage (5th, .737), hits (5th, 83), triples (T2nd, three), walks (T6th, 32), on-base percentage (3rd, .504), home runs (T7th, 14) and stolen bases (3rd, 31). . . Sophomore Dana Sorensen broke school records for ERA (0.64), victories (27) and strikeouts (295) in a season.
For the second consecutive season, UCLA finished as the runner-up in the WCWS. . . Of the Bruins six losses, three came at the hands of Arizona. . . UCLA had a WCWS-leading .253 batting average and 0.25 ERA. . . Junior Amanda Freed went 2-1 with a 0.37 in the WCWS and led the team with a .500 batting average (5-for-10). Freed's 38 consecutive scoreless innings streak was snapped when Arizona's Lindsey Collins hit a solo home run in the championship game. It was the only run UCLA gave up in the WCWS. Freed also finished the 2001 campaign with the top ERA in the country at 0.46. . . Junior Stacey Nuveman led the Pac-10 in batting average (.440), slugging percentage (.873) and on-base percentage (.615). . . Natasha Watley's 32-game hitting streak earlier in the year was the best in the Conference this season. Watley finished 2001 with a .409 batting average, which ranked third in the Pac-10 and 19th nationally. . . The Bruins received a lot of offensive production from sophomore Tairia Mims, who posted 153 total bases, including 17 home runs and 18 doubles. . . Freshman Claire Sua stepped up as well, hitting .380 during the year.
The Huskies made their eighth NCAA Regional. . . With its three NCAA Tournament victories, UW has now won 35 games in the postseason all-time. . . Washington hit .319 (170-for-533) with runners in scoring position and .387 (24-for-62) with the bases loaded this season. . . Freshman Tia Bollinger, who finished the 2001 campaign with a 36-8 overall record, was named team MVP. Bollinger was one of three Huskies to earn Third-Team All-American honors, tallying UW season records for wins (36), innings pitched (287.0) and games started (39). Bollinger also garnered First-Team All-Conference honors. . . Senior Kelly Hauxhurst posted a .386 batting average this year, ranking her 42nd in the country. . . Sophomore Jaime Clark ranked nationally in slugging percentage (19th, .734), home runs (T26th, 0.23) and RBI (30th, 0.84).
EIGHT THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN 2002
ARIZONA 's Jennie Finch will take a 40-game winning streak into the 2002 season (10 shy of the NCAA record).
ARIZONA STATE's Kirsten Voak needs just 16 strikeouts to become ASU's all-time leader in K's.
CALIFORNIA's Veronica Nelson needs just 32 walks to become the all-time Pac-10 walk leader.
OREGON's Connie McMurren needs 30 appearances to become the school's all-time leader in games pitched.
OREGON STATE's Crystal Draper will try and become the first Beaver pitcher to strike out 200+ batters in a season twice in her career.
STANFORD's Jessica Mendoza will try and become the first Cardinal to hit over .400 in each of her four seasons.
UCLA's Stacey Nuveman needs 16 home runs to become the all-time Pac-10 home run leader.
WASHINGTON's Jaime Clark needs just 5 home runs to become the all-time home run leader at UW.