No. 6 Softball Seeks Third NFCA Leadoff Classic Title

Feb. 20, 2002

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SEATTLE -

Last Week:
2/14 at Florida (DH) L, 4-9, W, 8-2
2/15 vs. TN-Chattanooga$ W, 6-1
2/15 vs. Hofstra$ W, 6-0
2/16 at Florida$ L, 2-3
2/16 vs. TN-Chattanooga$ W, 9-1 (5)
2/17 at Florida$ L, 5-6

This Week:
2/22 vs. Penn State% 9 a.m.
2/22 vs. # 13 Fresno State% 11:30 a.m.
2/23 vs. Boston University% 7 a.m.
2/23 Bracket Play% 2/4:30 p.m.
2/24 Bracket Play% 5/7/9 a.m.

On The Road Again: After just three days at home, the #6 Washington softball team heads back to the East Coast, traveling to Columbus, Ga., for the Seventh Annual NFCA Leadoff Classic, February 22-24.

The Huskies are making their seventh straight trip to the Leadoff Classic and are the only school to have won the tournament twice.

There's History: In seven years at the NFCA tournament, the Huskies have compiled a 28-6 record, finishing third or better every year but last season, when the team went 3-2 overall to place fifth.

The 1996 squad won the inaugural tournament, outscoring its opponents 34-4 and finishing with a 6-0 record. The 2000 team also had a perfect 6-0 record, including a 1-0 win over then eighth-ranked Fresno State in the title game.

We'll Take A Walk: If there was any doubt about just how potent the three-four combination of junior Jaime Clark (Tustin, Calif.) and freshman Kristen Rivera (Perris, Calif.) is, just ask Florida head coach Karen Johns, who elected to walk the twosome a combined eight times, including five times in the Huskies' 6-5 loss in the tournament championship.

Clark and Rivera are hitting a combined .376 with 35 RBI, six home runs and 23 runs scored.

J.C. Strikes Again: Opposing teams might want to think twice about trying to intentionally walk UW All-American Jaime Clark. For the second time in her career, the team's starting shortstop took advantage of a pitch by Hofstra's Sara DeAngelis that came too close to the plate, while the Pride was trying to intentionally walk her. On a 3-0 count, Clark slapped the outside pitch over the right field fence for a three-run home run, giving the Huskies a 4-0 lead.

A year ago, Nebraska pitcher Peaches James, who had just entered the game in relief, made a similar mistake. With the score knotted at 0-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Clark sent James' first pitch deep to center field for a three-run home run.

We'll Take An Extra Base Or Two: Just 17 games into its 2002 campaign, the Washington softball team has already combined for 46 extra-base hits, including 25 doubles, nine triples and 12 home runs.

Nine players have accounted for the 25 doubles, led by junior Jaime Clark, who has six to her credit. Six players also have hit triples this season, including senior Becky Simpson (Tumwater, Wash.), who has four to already tie her for sixth-most in the program's season record books. Clark and Kristen Rivera, meanwhile, both have a team-best three home runs in 2002.

Streaking To End: Washington's Becky Simpson opened up her senior campaign with a career-best 12-game hitting streak, before going hitless (0-for-4) in the team's opening game of the Florida tournament versus Tennessee-Chattanooga. The outfielder, however, quickly rebounded with two hits in the team's next game with Hofstra. For the season, Simpson has at least one hit in 15 of the team's 17 games and ranks second overall in batting average with a .431 mark.

A year ago, three different Huskies combined for four double-digit hitting streaks. Current sophomore Amanda Oleson (Agoura Hills, Calif.) had the longest with a 15-game streak, while Rita Roach (Norwalk, Calif.) tallied at least one hit in 11 straight games from February 17-March 2. Then senior Kelly Hauxhurst accounted for the other two with streaks of 13 and 10 games, respectively.

Kathy's Killin' Them: UW freshman Kathy Fiske (Temecula, Calif.) became just the third Husky in program history to hit more than one grand slam in their career. Both of Fiske's two career home runs have been grand slams, as the third baseman tagged her first in the team's 10-0 romp over Cal State Northridge. Fiske struck again last weekend versus

Tennessee-Chattanooga, giving the Huskies a 5-0 lead with a four-run blast in the first inning.

Four for Amanda: For the second time in her career, Washington sophomore Amanda Oleson collected four hits in a game, going 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles, a triple and a single in the team's 6-5 loss to Florida in the tournament championship. Oleson had found herself in a bit of a slump in the team's four previous tournament games, batting a combined 2-for-13 (.154) with two runs scored and a pair of walks.

Oleson's four hits versus the Gators on February 17, came exactly a year to the day that the Huskies' starting first baseman pulled off a similar feat a year ago. Oleson also had a four-hit performance (4-for-5) last year in the team's 8-4 win over Hofstra on Sunday, Feb. 18.

A Plethora Of Pitching: After having only two pitchers earn wins a year ago, the Huskies are deep in the circle this season with sophomore Tia Bollinger and freshmen Leslie Scott (Edmond, Okla.) and Ashley Boek (Redding, Calif.). Bollinger (5-2) and Boek (5-0) both have five wins to their credit this season, while Scott is 4-1 with a team-best 0.53 earned-run average.

UW head coach Teresa Wilson has also used two pitchers in 11 of the team's 17 games so far this season, with Boek pitching four complete games and Bollinger completing two games. In 2001, Bollinger and Shannon Walsh pitched 37 complete games or nearly 60 percent of the team's 63 total outings.

Wilson Nears 1,000: In her 16th season as a head coach, UW's Teresa Wilson enters this weekend's tournament, just 15 games away from coaching her 1,000th career game. Wilson, whose head coaching career also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota, is currently on pace to coach her 1,000th game at the Kia Klassic versus Louisiana-Lafayette (March 15), but will ultimately depend on the team's performance at the NFCA Leadoff Classic, Feb. 22-24. The Huskies are scheduled to play three pool play games in Columbus, followed by bracket play the last two days of the tournament.

Fast Facts - NFCA Leadoff Classic: This year's NFCA Leadoff Classic field includes 14 teams ranked in the top 25 poll, while three others are receiving votes ... the tournament includes six, four-team pools ... following pool play, the top team from each pool, along with two at-large teams, will advance to the Gold Championship Bracket ... the remaining four second-place teams along with four at-large teams will be placed in the Silver Championship Bracket and the remaining eight teams will be assigned to the Bronze Championship Bracket ... all brackets will be single elimination/consolation ... each team will play a minimum of five games (three pool, two bracket) regardless of pool or bracket assignments ... all three bracket champions return from last year's rain-shortened tournament, including Stanford (Gold), Fresno State (Silver) and Arizona State (Bronze).

Scouting the Penn State Nittany Lions (2-3): Washington and Penn State face each other for the first time in the opening pool game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic.

The Nittany Lions, under head coach Robin Petrini, return four starters from last year's team, which earned their second straight trip to the NCAA tournament. Junior outfielder Megan Humphrey (.351, 33 RBI) and third baseman Erin Norton (.311, 25 RBI) both hit over the .300 mark a year ago, while junior Jackie Dabrowski is hitting a team-best .273 in 2002.

In the circle, four Penn State pitchers have seen playing time, including returnee Marisa Hanson, who enters this weekend with a 1-1 record and a 1.40 earned-run average.

The Nittany Lions started their 2002 campaign in Tallahassee, Fla., last weekend, defeating St. John's and Syracuse, but falling to Maryland, Georgia and Florida State.

Scouting the Fresno State Bulldogs (6-3): The 13th-ranked Fresno State Bulldogs enter this weekend's tournament with a 6-3 record, having already faced four ranked teams in 2002.

The Bulldogs, under head coach Margie Wright, are led by a pair of seniors in third baseman Lindsay Fossatti (.462 avg. in 2002) and lead-off hitter Tiffany Whipple, who hit .333 with 40 runs scored in 2001. All four of the Fresno pitchers return from a year ago, including red-shirt freshman Jamie Southern who already owns a 6-0 record with no earned runs in 47.1 innings pitched.

The Fresno St.-UW rivalry took a year off in 2001, with the Huskies winning the last two meetings (1-0, 7-0) in 2000. The all-time series is tied at six wins apiece.

Scouting the Boston Terriers (1-4): One of two first-time opponents for the Huskies, Boston University returns five starters from its 2001 squad, which finished with a 34-17 record, including a notable 4-2 win over Stanford.

Under the direction of head coach Amy Hayes, the Terriers are 2-3 so far this season, losing to Minnesota (2-0), North Carolina (3-2 (8)), UNC-Greensboro (5-2) and UNC-Wilmington (1-0), while defeating Temple 4-3 in 10 innings at North Carolina's Triangle Classic.

BU pitchers Robyn Horrick and Tiffany Finateri combined to start in 37 games a year ago, as Horrick finished with a 16-9 record with 146 strikeouts in a little over 170 innings pitched. Fellow returnees junior Kristin Kenesek (.315) and sophomore Nichole Kurker (.313) both hit over the .300 mark in 2001.

Friend Or Foe: UW sophomore pitcher Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, Calif.) will face former summer ball teammate Penn State's Erin Norton. Norton and Bollinger helped the Southern California Athletics Gold to the ASA national title in 1999 ... Nittany Lion Scarlet Neal played with the same Orange County Batbusters team as UW junior Jaime Clark and sophomore Rita Roach, which finished second at nationals in 1998 ... Clark and Fresno State's Lindsay Fossatti both starred at Foothill High School ... UW sophomore Nicki Holt (Camarillo, Calif.) and Boston freshman Jennifer Shields helped the Batbusters finish third at the 2000 ASA nationals.

Other Husky Items: With a No. 6 national ranking in the first regular season NFCA poll, the Huskies achieved their highest ranking since the 2001 preseason poll in which they were ranked fourth ... UW junior Jaime Clark is just four home runs away from breaking Jennifer Cline's school record of 43 ... Washington's game with Oregon State on April 20, has been moved to a 1 p.m. start to accommodate a live broadcast by Fox Sports Net ... Clark and freshman Kathy Fiske both had a career-high five RBI in a game last weekend.

Huskies On The Airwaves: The Washington softball team will have eight games broadcast live on KKNW 1150-AM in 2002. Mike Brown will handle play-by-play duties for the fifth-straight season, while John Cowley will provide color commentary.

UW is one of the few softball programs in the nation with regular-season games broadcast by a local radio station. This year's schedule begins April 5, as all three of the Huskies' games in Arizona will be broadcast from both the University of Arizona (April 5) and Arizona State (April 6-7). Three more UW road games also will be broadcast at Stanford (April 26) and California (April 27-28), while the Huskies two-game series with Oregon State (April 20-21) in Seattle are also on-tap.

Each game's broadcast will begin and end with a 15-minute pre- and post-game show, featuring interviews with UW players and coaches.

Celebrating 10 Years Of Husky Softball: The 2002 season marks the start of the 10th year of Husky Softball. The program, which played its inaugural season in 1993, celebrated its 10-year anniversary with an alumnae game on September 29, 2001.

Some of the biggest names in Washington softball history returned to Seattle for the game, which ended in a 1-1 tie. Over 25 alumnae and 14 of the program's 15 All-Americans took part in the festivities.

Pac-10 Power: For the second consecutive year, the University of Washington softball team has been picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 in a poll of conference coaches announced January 15.

The Huskies received 28 points overall to place behind Arizona (46), UCLA (46) and Stanford (37). Arizona and UCLA, who both advanced to the NCAA final in 2001, tied with 46 points, splitting the eight first-place votes for the second straight year. Behind Washington was California (21), Oregon State (21), Arizona State (18) and Oregon (7).

Over the past three seasons, the Huskies have been picked by the conference coaches to finish second (2000), third (1999) and fourth (2001). Washington won the Pac-10 title for the second time in school history in 2000, while it ended up in third place in both 1999 and 2001.

Young And The Restless: With 10 freshmen on its 19-player roster a year ago, the Huskies remain a young squad in 2002. This year's team includes six freshmen, nine sophomores, three juniors and just one senior - outfielder Becky Simpson.

The last time the UW had just one senior on its roster was in 1999, when three-time All-American Becky Newbry helped lead the Huskies to the NCAA title game.

Far And Wide: The 2002 schedule will take the Huskies to six different states beginning with California, Florida, Georgia and Utah in just the first month of the season. The UW will later take trips to Arizona and finally Oregon for Pac-10 play with the University of Oregon and Oregon State.

Coming Home: After playing their first 22 games away from Husky Stadium in 2001, Washington's road home will be slightly longer in 2002. The Huskies are scheduled to play at least their first 27 games away from home, before returning to Seattle to face non-conference foe Simon Fraser on Saturday, March 9. The pair of games against the Clan are the earliest home games in program history, with the previous coming last season versus Texas on March 10.

First Pitch Luncheon: Washington will play host to its third annual 'First Pitch' luncheon, Wednesday, March 6, in the Don James Center at Husky Stadium. The luncheon, which honors the UW softball and baseball teams, is slated to begin at noon.

Special guests include former UW standouts Angie (Marzetta) Arlati and Mike Blowers. For more information, call (206) 543-2210. Reservations are due by March 1.

Head Coach Teresa Wilson: Teresa Wilson wasted no time in building a perennial contender for the NCAA Championship at the University of Washington. In nine years, Wilson has led the Huskies to five trips to the College World Series, including appearances in the championship game in 1996 and 1999. UW has earned eight straight berths in the NCAA tournament, a No. 1 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA poll, and two Pac-10 titles.

As the only head coach in Husky history, Wilson has led the Huskies to a 453-167 record, accruing an incredible .731 winning percentage. All totaled, Wilson's players have earned 22 All-America certificates, 64 mentions on all-Pac-10 squads, and 48 all-conference academic honors.

A fierce competitor, Wilson, a native of Pickering, Mo., was an All-American pitcher at the University of Missouri from 1980-83. Her 15-year career coaching record of 657-328 (.667) also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota.

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