No. 8 Softball Hosts Annual 17-Team Fiesta Bowl Tournament
Feb. 5, 2002
ON TAP: The eighth-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils (0-0) will begin the 2002 season, hosting their annual 17-team Fiesta Bowl Tournament, Friday, February 8 through Sunday, February 10. The Sun Devils will open their 36th year of competition against Utah State on Friday at 3:30 p.m. followed by a 5:30 p.m. game against Texas A&M. Friday and Sunday's competition will be played at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix, while Saturday's games will be played on its home field, Farrington Stadium. On Saturday, ASU will face Texas Tech at 3:30 p.m. and 16th-ranked Fresno State at 5:30 p.m. ASU will end the tournament on Sunday will games against Kansas at 10:00 a.m. and New Mexico State at 12:00 p.m.
A QUICK LOOK AT THE FIESTA BOWL: This year's tournament will feature 17 teams from nine different conferences from across the country. Considered one of the top tournaments in the nation, eight of the 17 teams are ranked in the top-25, including four of the top-10. As in the previous past two tournaments, two sites will be utilized (Rose Mofford Sports Complex/Phoenix & Farrington Stadium/Tempe) to accommodate the 47 total games. The tournament will feature a round-robin format will no bracket or pool play. There will also be no winner/champion crowned.
LIFE'S A BEACH: Senior pitcher/designated player Erica Beach continues to have a stellar career as a Sun Devil. Beach currently holds Arizona State's all-time record for home runs (20) and RBIs (121), and is seventh all-time in wins (46) and strikeouts (300). Last year Beach set a new career high with 17 wins and 134 strikeouts, including six shutouts and a 1.35 ERA. She fired two one-hitters, had a scoreless streak of 27 innings and tied her career-high in strikeouts (7) in a single game 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 to the all-tournament team.
OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION: Sophomore Phelan Wright will look to pick up where she left off after a stellar freshman year. Wright was named the team's Offensive Player of the Year after leading the Sun Devils in batting average (.399/average was the highest posted by a freshman in the Pac-10 since 1999), hits (67) triples (2) and slugging percentage (.530). She also earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors. Over the last 33 games in 2001, she batted .495 with five doubles, two triple, three home runs, 12 runs scored, 15 walks and 22 RBIs. She was a main contributor in each of Arizona State's three wins against nationally-ranked Stanford and California, earning NFCA National Player of the Week honors and Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. In 21 Pac-10 games she batted an amazing .418 in the pitching rich conference and posted the team's longest hitting streak at 13 games (fifth longest in the Pac-10). Wright produced a team-high 18 RBIs with two outs and finished tied for second on the team with 17 multi-hit games and third in multi-RBI games (6). Additionally, she batted .530 at the National Invitational Softball Tournament, earning all-tournament honors and led the team in postseason batting average at a .455 clip, earning Region III All-Tournament team honors.
DYNAMIC DUO: Seniors Missy Hixon and Nichole Thompson, who play second base and centerfield respectively, each contribute to the success of the team in similar ways. Hixon, a three-time All-Pac-10 selection, is a three-year starter and has played in 180 career games ... she has produced 168 hits, six home runs, scored 85 runs and recorded 58 RBIs ... Hixon has also tallied 29 career doubles (third all-time) and stole 14 bases ... in 586 career at bats, Hixon has struck out only 28 times (1:21 at bats). Thompson, also a three-year starter, is a two-time All-Pac-10 selection and an All-Pacific Region choice as a sophomore ... Thompson holds a career .326 batting average in 182 games ... she has produced 183 hits (sixth all-time), scored 114 runs and recorded 55 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 19 doubles, three triples, stole 25 bases and has sacrificed 41 times ... in 561 career at bats, she has struck out only 26 times (1:22 at bats) ... both players were members of the USA National Softball (Blue) team.
HEAD COACH LINDA WELLS: Entering her 13th season at ASU and 28th of her career, Sun Devil Coach Linda Wells is one of the most prominent and successful coaches in NCAA history. Wells, who is currently the seventh-most successful active coach in NCAA Division I history with 773 victories, has led the Sun Devils to nine (five consecutive 1997-01) NCAA Regional appearances in 12 seasons, including her first trip to the College World Series in 1999. While at Arizona State, Wells has compiled a record of 422-313 and has had five players earn a total of eight All-American awards. Wells' achieved a coaching milestone that few can or will ever obtain, winning 700 career games and will soon reach 800 this year. 2001 featured another one of Wells' teams finishing in the top-10 (No. 9), as well as playing one of the toughest - if not the strongest schedules - in the country (35 teams in the top-25). Wells also produced six Pac-10 Pitcher/Player of the Week honors, two NFCA National Player of the Week honors, two Academic All-Pacific Region choices, seven All-Pac-10 honorees and five Academic All-Pac-10 selections. Additionally, Wells was one of 12 coaches selected to form the USA Softball Women's National Team Coaches pool for the 2004 Olympic Games. She also had five current players earn invitations to participate in the USA Softball Women's National Team Camp. With the addition of seven All-Pac-10 selections in 2001 (the most since the 1990 season), Wells has now coached 59 all conference players during her tenure at Arizona State, averaging five All-Pac-10 selections every season. Wells has coached 28 .300 hitters at ASU in her 12 seasons, averaging a combined .330 - not an easy accomplishment in the pitching-rich Pac-10 where games are traditionally low scoring.
TOUGH SCHEDULE/TOUGHER CONFERENCE: As in any season, Arizona State will face many of the nation's top programs and traditionally holds a high RPI. Last year, ASU led the Pac-10 in most games played against nationally ranked teams (35). 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-18, including six of the top nine positions. Additionally, seven of the eight teams made postseason appearances with four teams advancing to the College World Series. Pac-10 teams have won 11 of the past 14 College World Series titles.
CAREER/ALL-TIME MILESTONES: Hixon needs 11 more doubles for the all-time record (40) ... Voak needs 16 strikeouts for the all-time record (807) and 13 more wins for the school record (82) ... Brun is 14 doubles shy of the all-time mark ... Linda Wells needs 27 more wins for 800 career.
BRUN'S A HIT: Junior shortstop Kara Brun has made an immediate impact the past two seasons, offensively and defensively. As a sophomore, Brun earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors, as well as the team's Defensive Player of the Year award, currently carries a career .332 batting average (sixth all-time). She is third all-time in Arizona State history in home runs (14), fifth all-time in doubles (26) and tenth all-time in RBIs (80). Last year Brun had a 12 game hitting streak, second longest on the team and eighth longest in the Pac-10. She batted .311 with 59 hits, a team-high 34 runs and also posted team-highs in RBIs (42) and doubles (10). Brun finished second on the team in homeruns (6), had a .458 slugging percentage and recorded a team second-best 15 RBIs with two outs. Defensively, she turned 14 double plays, good for fourth in the Pac-10 and led the team with 129 assists. 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.
SPEED TO BURN: Sophomore Kristin Farber will certainly be seeking to keep her pace up from last year when she was named the team's Freshman of the Year. Farber earned second-team All-Pacific Region accolades and was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 after finishing fifth in the Pac-10 with 16 stolen bases. The 16 swipes were also a team-high and tied for ninth all-time in a single season at ASU. Farber played and started in all 58 games and batted .320, good for third on the team. She posted 56 hits, scored 26 runs, batted .378 with runners in scoring position and had 13 multi-hit games, fourth highest on the team.
VOAK'S RESUME: Two-time senior All-American pitcher Kirsten Voak will look to end her outstanding career as one of the most prolific pitchers in Arizona State history. Voak is currently second all-time in Arizona State history with 69 career wins and 791 career strikeouts (fifth all-time in the Pac-10). As a junior she was named the team's Pitcher of the Year and pitched her first career perfect game against Utah State, tossing her fourth career no hitter. Voak earned Pac-10 honorable mention status and was a two-time Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week, giving her eight in her career (fifth all-time in the Pac-10). She finished 14th in the country and second in the Pac-10 with four saves after posting a 15-9 record in 141 innings. Voak also recorded two shutouts (23 career) with 161 strikeouts, held opponents to a .185 batting average, while averaging eight strikeouts a game. She has tallied 17 career double-digit strikeout games. 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)
FIVE SUN DEVILS TO OLYMPIC CAMP: The Amateur Softball Association selected five current Arizona State players to participate in the USA Softball Women's National Team Camp this past summer at the ARCO Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California. Senior Kirsten Voak (member of the 2001 ASA/USA National Softball (Red) team ... as a pitcher, she helped the team win the U.S. Cup), senior Missy Hixon (member of the 2001 ASA/USA National Softball (Blue) team ... won the Pan Am qualifier in Maracay, Venezuela ... played in seven games with five starts ... batted .286 with two runs and two sacrifice hits ... posted a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, making six assists), senior Nichole Thompson (member of the 2001 ASA/USA National Softball (Blue) team ... won the Pan Am qualifier in Maracay, Venezuela ... started and played in all eight games ... led the team in sac bunts (3), fourth in hits (9) and sixth in batting average (.391)), junior Kara Brun and sophomore Kristin Farber. Additionally, of the 20 schools listed with players competing, Arizona State had the third most representing one school. USA Softball then selected two 16-player teams to represent the U.S. in international competitions at the U.S. Cup in Honolulu, the Canada Cup in Vancouver and the Pan Am Qualifier in Maracay.
IVIE JOINS THE STAFF: Tamara Ivie begins her first season as an assistant coach on Linda Well's staff. Prior to her appointment at Arizona State, Ivie was an assistant coach at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut, California. From 2000 to 2001, Ivie was the second assistant coach at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Ivie also coached the 1997-98 seasons as the second assistant at Eastern Michigan University. On the professional level, Ivie spent the 1999 season playing on the WPSL's Virginia Roadsters. Additionally, Ivie played one season with the Ladies Professional Baseball League (Buffalo NightHawks). Before that, she played three years of professional baseball with the Colorado Silver Bullets. As a standout college player, Ivie played four years of softball at Cal State Northridge. While at Northridge, she earned All-American honors and was a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection. During her four years, Northridge was a top-20 program while the 1994 team appeared in the finals of the College World Series. Ivie earned her bachelor's in kinesiology in 2000 and plans on getting her master's in physical education and sports counseling from Arizona State.
BEHIND THE PLATE: In addition to senior Bonnie Brannen, the Sun Devils will also have the services of Adriana Garcia. Garcia was named the 2001 NFCA/NJCAA Division I Diamond Sports National Catcher of the Year and was a 2001 first-team All-American. The two-time all-region and all-conference selection, Garcia played the past two years at Arizona Western College in Yuma, Arizona where she batted .448 with six home runs and 68 RBIs. Garcia recorded a fielding percentage of .991, while throwing out 29 base runners attempting to steal.
2001 YEAR IN REVIEW: Finished the year with a 36-22 record and a No. 9 national ranking...recorded a 9-12 Pac-10 Conference record for a sixth place finish...advanced to NCAA Regional play for the fifth straight season, playing at the Region III Tournament in Baton Rouge, Louisiana...recorded a 2-2 record in postseason action, falling to Louisiana-Lafayette in the semifinals...earned the school's 900th win in school history (907)...recorded the nation's seventh largest attendance average (600)...ASU led the conference in most games played against top-25 teams with 35...finished tied for first in the Pac-10 with seven saves ...the Sun Devils claimed six Pac-10 (Pitcher/Player) of the Week honors, the most in the Pac-10 and had two NFCA National Player of the Week Honors (Beach/Wright)...ASU swept the UCLA/Washington road trip for the first time in school history...won its own Louisville Slugger Tournament with a 4-0 victory over Illinois State...head coach Linda Wells was selected as one of 12 coaches to form the USA Softball Women's National Team Coaches pool for the 2004 Olympic Games...Wells is the seventh most successful active coach in NCAA Division I history with 773 wins...junior pitcher/designated player Erica Beach set a new career high with 17 wins and 134 strikeouts...she set the school record for most career home runs (20) and runs batted in (121)...Beach was named the NFCA National Player of the Week (4/11), the Pac-10 Player of the Week (4/9) and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week (5/14)...she also earned first-team Verizon Academic All-American honors, first-team Pac-10 Academic honors, second-team All-Pacific Region acclaim, second-team All-Pac-10 accolades and was named the team's MVP and co-Scholar-Athlete...junior pitcher Kirsten Voak pitched a perfect game against Utah State in the first game of the season...Voak earned two Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors (2/12 and 4/9)...she was a Pac-10 honorable mention choice and the team's Pitcher of the Year...freshman Phelan Wright led the team in batting average at .399, finishing sixth in the Pac-10 (Wright's average was the highest posted by a freshman in the Pac-10 since 1999)... earned NFCA National Player of the Week honors (5/9) and Pac-10 Player of the Week accolades...she was named to the NIST All-Tournament team and the Region III All-Tournament team...Wright was named second-team All-Pac-10 and claimed the team's Offensive Player of the Year award...freshman pitcher/designated player Kristen Swetel earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors (4/1) and Region III All-Tournament team acclaim...sophomore shortstop Kara Brun was a first-team Academic All-Pac-10 choice, a Verizon Academic All-Region selection and a second-team All-Pac-10 choice...she was also named the team's co-Defensive Player of the Year and co-Scholar-Athlete...freshman Kristin Farber earned second-team All-Pacific-Region acclaim and Pac-10 honorable mention accolades...junior Nichole Thompson was a second-team All-Pac-10 choice and the team's co-Defensive Player of the Year...junior second baseman Missy Hixon earned Pac-10 honorable mention accolades...five ASU players (third most in the Pac-10) were selected to participate in the USA Softball Women's National Team Camp (Brun, Farber, Hixon, Thompson, Voak)...Hixon, Thompson and Voak were then selected to continue to train with the national team through the 2001 summer...Bonnie Brannen and Jennifer Forner were selected to the Pac-10 Academic second team, while Alicia Flanagan earned academic honorable mention status.
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.