This Week in Pac-10 Softball
April 2, 2002
The two most successful NCAA Tournament teams in softball history square off Saturday (Apr. 6) and Sunday (Apr. 7) as UCLA travels to Tucson to battle ARIZONA. The games will mark the first meeting between the two teams since the 2001 National Title Game, when the 'Cats won 1-0. The two schools own a combined 14 national championships (UCLA-8, Arizona-6). Of UCLA's six losses last year, three came against Arizona. Wildcat senior Jennie Finch led the way for UofA last season, posting a 3-0 record (three shutouts) versus the Bruins. . . In other Pac-10 action, OREGON STATE plays at OREGON today (makeup game from Mar. 16) before the two schools host the Bay Area teams this weekend. WASHINGTON will also make the trip down to Arizona for one game against UofA and two versus ARIZONA STATE. . . Seven teams continue to be ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll this week. UCLA takes the top spot once again (garnering 26-of-27 first-place votes), followed by No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 STANFORD, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 8 CALIFORNIA, No. 12 Washington and No. 14 Oregon State.
THIS WEEK's SCHEDULE
Tue., Apr. 2*OREGON STATE @ OREGON, 2 p.m.Fresno State @ STANFORD, 5-7 p.m. (DH)Portland State @ WASHINGTON, 2-4 p.m. (DH)
Fri., Apr. 5*WASHINGTON @ ARIZONA, 7 p.m.*UCLA @ ARIZONA STATE, 7 p.m.*CALIFORNIA @ OREGON STATE, 2 p.m.*STANFORD @ OREGON, 2 p.m.
Sat., Apr. 6*UCLA @ ARIZONA, 1 p.m. (FSN)*WASHINGTON @ ARIZONA STATE, 7 p.m.*CALIFORNIA @ OREGON, 2 p.m.*STANFORD @ OREGON STATE, 2 p.m.
Sun., Apr. 7*UCLA @ ARIZONA, 1 p.m.*WASHINGTON @ ARIZONA STATE, 1 p.m.*CALIFORNIA @ OREGON, 1 p.m.*STANFORD @ OREGON STATE, 1 p.m.
LAST WEEK's RESULTS
Tue., Mar. 26OREGON 1, UNLV 0 (GM 1)OREGON 5, UNLV 0 (GM 2)WASHINGTON 9, Pacific 5 (GM 1)WASHINGTON 9, Pacific 7 (GM 2)
Wed., Mar. 27OREGON STATE 1, UNLV 0
Fri., Mar. 29*ARIZONA 2, ARIZONA STATE 0*CALIFORNIA 3, STANFORD 2*OREGON STATE 2, OREGON 0*UCLA 2, WASHINGTON 0
Sat., Mar. 30*ARIZONA 10, ARIZONA STATE 1*STANFORD 6, CALIFORNIA 0 (GM 1)*CALIFORNIA 7, STANFORD 6 (GM 2)*OREGON STATE 3, OREGON 2*WASHINGTON 9, UCLA 6
* Pac-10 Conference Game
PAC-10 PLAYER/PITCHER OF THE WEEK
WASHINGTON shortstop Jaime Clark has been named Pac-10 Player of the Week while OREGON STATE's Kristen Hunter was named Pitcher of the Week for March 25-31.
Clark, a junior from Tustin, Calif., led the Huskies to a 3-1 mark last week, including a pair of wins over 18th-ranked Pacific and an upset of top-ranked UCLA. Clark hit .467 (7-for-15) with four runs scored, three home runs, 12 RBI and a 1.133 slugging percentage. She extended her current hitting streak to 14 games (career-best and team season-high) and has now reached base in 49 consecutive games, dating back to last season.
Hunter, a junior from Portland, Ore., went 2-0 (including a complete game shutout versus Oregon) with a save in her three appearances this past week. In that span, Hunter struck out 15 batters in 15 innings of work. She gave up just two runs and 11 hits to help the Beavers improve to 29-9 on the year with a 2-0 Conference mark.
It is the fourth weekly honor for Clark and the 47th for Washington all-time. Hunter earns the first award of her career. Oregon State has now received 19 honors all-time.
USA TODAY/NFCA TOP 25 POLL (Mar. 27)
1. UCLA (26) 2. ARIZONA (1) 3. STANFORD 4. Nebraska 5. LSU 6. ARIZONA STATE 7. CS Fullerton 8. CALIFORNIA 9. Oklahoma10. Florida Atlantic11. Fresno State12. WASHINGTON13. Michigan14. OREGON STATE15. Alabama16. DePaul17. Louisiana-Lafayette18. Pacific19. Iowa20. Florida State21. Georgia22. Texas A&M23. Texas24. Minnesota25. Ohio State
AROUND THE PAC-10
ARIZONA: 33-4 (OVERALL) -- 2-0 (PAC-10)
In the last one-plus seasons, Arizona is 45-3 (.938) versus ranked opponents. . . The Wildcats lead the Pac-10 with 67 home runs. Washington is second with 35. . . Sophomore Leneah Manuma has 36 career home runs, which is seventh on the all-time UA charts (in one-plus seasons). She also has 17 home runs this season (13th all-time in a single season), just two off her pace set last year, when she hit 19 long balls as a freshman. . . Sophomore Mackenzie Vandergeest has thrown out 18-of-24 runners (75 percent), which leads the Pac-10. . . Manuma and Vandergeest lead the 'Cats in grand slams with three apiece. . . Senior Jennie Finch extended her winning streak to 59 games with a complete game shutout of sixth-ranked Arizona State last Friday (Mar. 29). Her 104 wins makes her second all-time in school history behind current UA assistant coach and former Honda Award winner Nancy Evans, who posted 124 victories in her career.
ARIZONA STATE: 30-9 (OVERALL) -- 0-2 (PAC-10)
The Sun Devils have played the No. 2 team in the country in each of their last four home Conference games, dating back to last season. . . Through 39 games last year, Arizona State also had a 30-9 record (Apr. 8, 2001). The opposition has attempted to steal on ASU catchers a league-low 13 times. . . Senior Erica Beach leads the Pac-10 with 28 appearances. . . Senior Kirsten Voak ranks fifth in the Conference with a 1.01 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .161 against her. . . Junior Kara Brun is batting .434 (46-of-106) versus righthanded pitching. . . Sophomore Phelan Wright is batting .483 with runners on base. . . Junior catcher Adriana Garcia has picked off two runners from behind the plate (tied for second in the Pac-10).
CALIFORNIA: 35-11 (OVERALL) -- 2-1 (PAC-10)
The Bears are 12-3 (.800) in their last 15 games. . . As a team, California has walked 194 times to lead the Pac-10. Last year, the Bears walked 225 times. . . Cal is 16-of-18 (89 percent) in stolen bases. . . Junior Courtney Scott continues to improve and has become one of Cal's better players this season. On offense, she leads the team with a .367 batting average and is tied in RBI with 32. On defense, she has only committed one error in 390 chances while also throwing out 10-of-18 (56 percent) baserunners. . . Junior Veronica Nelson is hitting .478 with three home runs and 12 RBI in her last 12 games. Through the first 46 games, Nelson has walked 65 times (leads the Conference). . . Freshman Jessica Pamanian is batting .545 (6-for-11) with the bases juiced.
OREGON: 18-11 (OVERALL) -- 0-2 (PAC-10)
The Ducks are batting .367 with the bases loaded. . . Through 29 games, Oregon's batting average of .286 this season is nine points higher than last year in that same span. The Ducks are on pace to break last season's numbers in home runs, RBI, total bases, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. . . Senior Connie McMurren threw the 12th no-hitter in Oregon history versus UNLV (Mar. 26). The no-no was the first of McMurren's career and the first thrown in Duck history since Bethany Smith accomplished the feat against Simon Fraser in 1998. . . Sophomore Jenn Poore has picked off two runners from behind the plate. . . Junior Andrea Vidlund is batting .400, but perhaps even more impressive is the fact that she is hitting .444 (16-of-36) with runners in scoring position.
OREGON STATE: 29-9 (OVERALL) -- 2-0 (PAC-10)
Oregon is OSU's longest running opponent at 138 games - the Beavers are 66-71-1, and 18-12-1 under the guidance of head coach Kirk Walker. The Beavers own a 10-game winning streak versus the Ducks, dating back to May 15, 1999. . . OSU has a 10-game win streak at home, including seven-straight victories against Pac-10 opponents. . . The Beaver staff has a 316-55 strikeout-to-walk ratio. . . Stanford is the only Pac-10 school that Oregon State has a winning overall record against (19-17). . . Sophomore pitcher Monica Hoffman has not allowed an earned run in 26 consecutive innings. As a team, the Beavers are 10-0 when Hoffman starts on the mound. Junior Clare Burnum has a seven-game hitting streak. . . Oregon State stole 9-of-10 bases last week. Four different players had at least one steal with Burnum leading the way with four swipes. . . Freshman Kelly Petersen leads the team with 14 two-out RBI.
STANFORD: 28-5 (OVERALL) -- 1-2 (PAC-10)
The largest crowd (962) in Stanford softball history witnessed a doubleheader between the Cardinal and Bears last Saturday (Mar. 30). . . The Cardinal had not allowed more than five runs all season until las weekend's 7-6 defeat to California (a span of 32 games). . . Stanford has outhit its foes by a .296 - .198 clip. . . The Cardinal has outscored its opposition 45-5 in the first inning. . . In the three-game series with Cal last week, senior Jessica Mendoza was 6-for-7 with five runs scored, two home runs and four RBI. Overall, Mendoza is hitting .444 (44-for-99) with 39 runs scored, 10 home runs and 29 RBI (all but the RBI are team-highs). She also has nine doubles, 89 total bases and 16 stolen bases. . . Sophomore Jessica Allister has thrown out 12-of-23 runners (52 percent). . . Junior Maureen LeCocq is 10-2 with a 1.97 ERA in 88.2 innings pitched and eight complete games. LeCocq is one complete game away from matching last year's mark of nine.
UCLA: 33-4 (OVERALL) -- 1-1 (PAC-10)
The Bruins are 10-4 against ranked opponents this season. . . UCLA is hitting .442 versus southpaws and .357 against righthanders. . . The Bruins hit .349 with runners in scoring position and .391 with the bases loaded. . . Senior Stacey Nuveman hit .545 (6-for-11) last week versus 10th-ranked Fresno State and 12th-ranked Washington. She added two runs scored, one home run, four RBI and four walks. Nuveman was also perfect defensively on 31 chances. Nuveman continues to lead the Conference with a .557 batting average, 1.000 slugging percentage and .667 on-base percentage. . . Sophomore Keira Goerl tossed two one-hit shutouts last week (No. 10 Fresno State and No. 12 Washington). In her game against the Huskies (Mar. 29), Goerl took a no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh inning. . . Junior Natasha Watley is batting .444 (4-for-9) with the bases loaded. Her .537 batting average ranks second in the Conference.
WASHINGTON: 30-9 (OVERALL) -- 1-1 (PAC-10)
The UW win against UCLA (Mar. 30) is its first over the nation's top-ranked team since the Huskies also downed the Bruins 1-0, back on May 15, 1999. . . The victory is Washington's first over UCLA since 2000. . . The nine runs ties for the most scored by the Huskies in the UW-UCLA series, while the team's combined 15 runs are the second-most in the 40-game series. . . Washington has scored nine runs in four of their last six games. . . Junior Jaime Clark leads the Conference in total bases with 106. Her 14 home runs and 56 RBI rank second in the Pac-10. In a doubleheader versus 19th-ranked Pacific last week, Clark posted two home runs and nine RBI. In game one, she hit her second grand slam of the season (third of her career). . . Sophomore Amanda Oleson ranks second in the Conference in stolen bases (16). She is also hitting .302 on the year. . . In ERA, sophomore Tia Bollinger (1.27) and freshman Ashley Boek (1.28) rank ninth and 10th in the Conference, respectively.
The Pac-10 continued to excel and prove that it is still the nation's premiere softball Conference in 2001. Seven teams went to the NCAA Regionals while four Conference squads advanced all the way to the Women's College World Series (ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, STANFORD and UCLA). For the eighth time in Conference history, two Pac-10 teams met in the National Championship Game with Arizona defeating UCLA in a 1-0 thriller. The Conference has now claimed 14 titles in the 20 years the event has been in existence, including 11 of the last 14 years.
Overall, the Pac-10 finished strong, as Conference teams finished 1-2-3 in the final USA Today/NFCA Poll, including five teams in the top nine and seven teams in the top 20 (1. Arizona, 2. UCLA, 3. Stanford, 6. California, 9. ARIZONA STATE, 13. WASHINGTON and 20. OREGON STATE). Additionally, 17 student-athletes were named Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Americans, of which 10 were named to the first team.
Arizona concluded the regular season by winning its sixth Pac-10 crown in school history and eventually finished the year with a 65-4 overall record and its first national title since 1997. UCLA closed its season in second place in both the Pac-10 and nation as the Bruins felt the heartbreak of losing in the NCAA title game for the second consecutive year. The Bruins were impressive, nevertheless, posting a 35-game winning streak to begin the season. Stanford posted its best record in school history (54-16-1) while making its first trip to Oklahoma City. Washington put up an impressive 40-23 mark during the year and finished tied for third in the Conference with the Cardinal. The Huskies were led by freshman pitcher Tia Bollinger, who was honored at the end of the year as the team MVP. Oregon State also put together one of its best seasons in history as the Beavers finished at 10-10 (.500) in Conference play, only the second time an OSU squad has finished at .500 or better in the Pac-10. Arizona State went to its 14th NCAA Regional in 2001. Junior Erica Beach and freshman Phelan Wright were instrumental in the Sun Devils winning two games in one of the tougher NCAA Regionals last season (Baton Rouge, La.). For the second straight year, California proved that seventh in the Pac-10 is still good enough to get you to the WCWS. The Bears knocked off NCAA Regional host Florida State en route to the 'Big Dance.' Unfortunately for Oregon, its run of three consecutive NCAA tournaments came to an end. The Ducks, however, found a gem in transfer Alyssa Laux, who will return as the biggest UO offensive threat in 2002.
The 2001 campaign was a definitive year for Pac-10 softball. There were 14 no-hitters thrown from 10 different pitchers (seven of which were perfect games). Last year also marked the first time in NCAA softball history that three teams from the same Conference had posted an undefeated record through its first 30+ games of the season (UCLA, 35-0, CAL, 32-0, ARIZ, 31-0). Arizona hit an NCAA record 126 home runs, averaging nearly two homers per contest (1.83). California's Veronica Nelson broke her own single season NCAA walk record set the previous year with 93 free passes. Nelson's teammate, pitcher Jocleyn Forest, also set a milestone by throwing 88 consecutive scoreless innings during the season, a mark that ranks sixth all-time in NCAA history.
On the awards front, UCLA's Stacey Nuveman won Conference Player of the Year honors after taking a year off to play with Team USA in the 2000 Olympics. Nuveman was also named NFCA Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year. Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year went to Arizona's Jennie Finch. Finch went 32-0 on the season, breaking former UCLA star Lisa Fernandez's mark (29-0) of most wins without a loss in a season. Finch also went on to garner the Honda Award, which goes to the nations' most outstanding softball player. Rounding out the honors, Washington's Tia Bollinger won Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. Bollinger posted UW season records for wins (36), innings pitched (287.0) and games started (39).
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