This Week in Pac-10 Softball

April 9, 2002

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The Pac-10 season is beginning to heat up. CALIFORNIA and STANFORD continue road trips as they travel to Los Angeles and The Great Northwest to battle UCLA and WASHINGTON, respectively. Other Conference action this week includes the Arizona schools facing OREGON and OREGON STATE. It will mark the fifth consecutive week that neither the Ducks nor Beavers have left the state of Oregon to play a game. . . California will size up with San Jose State and both Oregon and Oregon State will take on Portland State for the only non-conference games this week. . . Early on, just two games separate first from sixth in the league. . . The Amateur Softball Association announced that 13 Pac-10 players (25 total) were named finalists for its player of the year award. . . Oregon State's Monica Hoffman threw the 15th no-hitter of the season by a Pac-10 pitcher last week (Apr. 2), passing last year's mark of 14 no-no's. . . Seven teams continue to be ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll this week. UCLA takes the top spot once again, followed by No. 2 ARIZONA, No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 California, No. 8 ARIZONA STATE, No. 10 Washington and No. 14 Oregon State.

THIS WEEK's SCHEDULE

Tue., Apr. 9Portland State @ OREGON STATE, 2-4 p.m. (DH)

Wed., Apr. 10San Jose State @ CALIFORNIA, 2 p.m.OREGON @ Portland State, 4-6 p.m. (DH)

Fri., Apr. 12*ARIZONA @ OREGON STATE, 2 p.m.*ARIZONA STATE @ OREGON, 2 p.m.*CALIFORNIA @ WASHINGTON, 2 p.m.*STANFORD @ UCLA, 2 p.m.

Sat., Apr. 13*ARIZONA @ OREGON, 2 p.m.*ARIZONA STATE @ OREGON STATE, 2 p.m.*CALIFORNIA @ UCLA, 2 p.m.*STANFORD @ WASHINGTON, 2 p.m.

Sun., Apr. 14*ARIZONA @ OREGON, 1 p.m.*ARIZONA STATE @ OREGON STATE, 1 p.m.*CALIFORNIA @ UCLA, 1 p.m.*STANFORD @ WASHINGTON, 1 p.m.

LAST WEEK's RESULTS

Tue., Apr. 2*OREGON STATE 1, OREGON 0STANFORD 5, Fresno State 0 (GM 1)STANFORD 1, Fresno State 0 (GM 2)WASHINGTON 6, Portland State 2 (GM 1)WASHINGTON 9, Portland State 1 (GM 2)

Fri., Apr. 5*ARIZONA 1, WASHINGTON 0*ARIZONA STATE 3, UCLA 0*OREGON STATE 3, CALIFORNIA 2*STANFORD 4, OREGON 3

Sat., Apr. 6*ARIZONA 3, UCLA 2*ARIZONA STATE 3, WASHINGTON 2*CALIFORNIA 3, OREGON 2*STANFORD 7, OREGON STATE 0

Sun., Apr. 7*UCLA 6, ARIZONA 5*ARIZONA STATE 6, WASHINGTON 1*CALIFORNIA 7, OREGON 0*STANFORD 7, OREGON STATE 2

* Pac-10 Conference Game

PAC-10 PLAYER/PITCHER OF THE WEEK

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - ARIZONA STATE pitcher Erica Beach has been named Pac-10 Player of the Week while STANFORD's Maureen LeCocq was named Pitcher of the Week for April 1-7.

Beach, a senior from Scottsdale, Ariz., was ASU's main contributor at the plate and in the circle this past week as the Sun Devils defeated top-ranked UCLA once and 10th-ranked Washington twice. Offensively, Beach went 4-for-5 with three runs scored, two home runs, three RBI and four walks. She was also tough in the circle going 2-0 in 12.2 innings, allowing just three runs with nine strikeouts. Her performance in the two games versus Washington summed up the weekend for Beach. In game one, she hit a game-winning two-run homer to propel the Sun Devils to a 3-2 victory. Then in game two, she won her career-high 20th contest of the season, not allowing a run and limiting the Huskies to just two hits on the afternoon.

LeCocq, a junior from Woodland Hills, Calif., recorded three victories in five games last week. LeCocq blanked 12th-ranked Fresno State 1-0 in game two of a doubleheader (Apr. 2), scattering seven hits and fanning two batters. Against Oregon (Apr. 5), she pitched two innings in relief for an added win, then combined on a 7-0 shutout of 14th-ranked Oregon State (Apr. 6), working the first 5.2 innings. Overall, she gave up just one run in 14.2 innings pitched, while striking out five batters.

It is the sixth weekly honor for Beach and the 36th for Arizona State all-time. LeCocq earns the second award of her career. Stanford has now received 18 honors all-time.

USA TODAY/NFCATOP 25 POLL (Apr. 3)

1. UCLA (16) 2. ARIZONA (11) 3. STANFORD 4. Nebraska 5. LSU 6. CALIFORNIA 7. CS Fullerton 8. ARIZONA STATE 9. Oklahoma10. WASHINGTON11. FLORIDA Atlantic12. Fresno State13. Michigan14. OREGON STATE15. Alabama16. DePaul17. Louisiana-Lafayette18. Pacific19. Iowa20. Texas21. Florida State Texas A&M23. Georgia24. Baylor25. Mnnesota

USA SOFTBALL COLLEGIATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Pac-10 boasts 13-of-25 finalists for inaugural honor

The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) announced on April 5, its 25 finalists for the inaugural USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

The list of 25 will be reduced to 10 players May 3, and three finalists will be announced May 31. The winner, who will be presented with a trophy during the ASA National Council Meeting in Reno, Nev., in November, will be announced June 7. The Pac-10 players include:

Sarah Beeson, STAN, Kara Brun, ASU, Jaime Clark, WASH, Jennie Finch, ARIZ, Jocelyn Forest, CAL, Amanda Freed, UCLA, Keira Goerl, UCLA, Lovieanne Jung, ARIZ, Leneah Manuma, ARIZ, Jessica Mendoza, STAN, Stacey Nuveman, UCLA, Natasha Watley, UCLA, Phelan Wright, ASU.

AROUND THE PAC-10

ARIZONA: 35-5 (OVERALL) -- 4-1 (PAC-10)
The Wildcats' streak of 70 consecutive home victories was broken on April 7, when UofA dropped a 6-5 decision to UCLA (first loss since April 9, 2000). The loss also broke senior Jennie Finch's 60-game winning streak (first loss since April 21, 2000). . . Arizona has committed just 19 errors compared to 48 by opponents. The 'Cats .981 fielding percentage ranks second in the Conference. . . UofA has 260 RBI to its opponents 48. . . Arizona has scored 213 of its 273 runs in the first four innings. . . The 'Cats continue to rank first in the Pac-10 in several statistical categories, including runs scored (273), home runs (70), RBI (260), total bases (579) and getting hit by a pitch (31). . . Junior Lovieanne Jung currently has a 10-game hitting streak, which ties sophomore Leneah Manuma for the longest hit streak of the season. Jung leads the team in batting average (.431), at-bats (116), runs scored (47), hits (60), doubles (8) and walks (30). Last week, Jung hit game-winning home runs versus 10th-ranked Washington and top-ranked UCLA. . . Current UofA assistant coach Nancy Evans had her jersey retired on April 7 (just the fourth Wildcat player to be given that honor).

ARIZONA STATE: 33-9 (OVERALL) -- 3-2 (PAC-10)
With the weekend sweep of No. 1 UCLA and No. 10 Washington, it marks the second straight season in which the Sun Devils have swept the Bruins and Huskies on a particular weekend. Last year, ASU accomplished the feat on the road. . . As a team, Arizona State ranks third in the Pac-10 in batting average (.315), ERA (1.37) and fielding percentage (.971). . . With senior Erica Beach's second Pac-10 Player/Pitcher of the Week award, the Sun Devils have now garnered four honors this season (second to UCLA's five awards). Beach's six POW's ties her for 12th all-time in the Conference with B'Ann Burns (UCLA), Jennie Finch (ARIZ), Amanda Freed (UCLA), Eve Gaw (WASH) and Alison McCuthcheon (ARIZ). . . Senior Kirsten Voak owns five of the six Sun Devil saves this season, both of which are leading the Conference. . . Voak has finished 11 games and has appeared in relief 12 times this year for ASU. . . Sophomore Phelan Wright is now batting .460 on the year (third in the Pac-10) with 83 total bases (eighth in the Pac-10).

CALIFORNIA: 37-12 (OVERALL) -- 4-2 (PAC-10)
The Bears continue to lead the league in fielding percentage at .982. . . The Bears also lead the Conference with 375 hits, 65 sacrifice bunts and 18 sacrifice flies. . . By throwing out two runners this weekend, junior Courtney Scott has now thrown out 13-of-28 (.464) runners that have tried to steal on her. . . Scott leads the Pac-10 with 368 put outs and 410 fielding chances. . . Last week, Scott went 4-for-8 (.500) with three RBI, a double and two walks. She also added a .625 slugging percentage and a .600 on-base percentage. In the last 10 games, Scott is batting .515 (17-for-33) with a home run and two doubles. Overall, she leads the team in batting (.374) and RBI (35). . . Junior Veronica Nelson is batting .359 with runners on base. . . Opposing batters are hitting just .151 versus senior Jocelyn Forest. Her ERA stands at 1.06 (second on the team), and she has fanned 238 batters (leads the Pac-10). With a 28 strikeout lead over Arizona's Jennie Finch, Forest will try and become the first Bear to lead the Conference in K's in back-to-back seasons since Michele Granger accomplished the feat from 1990-93. . . Freshman Kaleo Eldredge ranks third in the Pac-10 in hits with 58.

OREGON: 18-15 (OVERALL) -- 0-6 (PAC-10)
The Ducks only bat .260 with the bases empty. Oregon, however, bats .289 with runners on base and .367 with the bases loaded. . . UO's current six-game losing streak is the longest since the Ducks dropped nine in a row in April of last year. . . In Oregon's 3-2 loss versus California, junior Alyssa Laux hit her first home run of the season. . . Junior Andrea Vidlund leads the Ducks offensively, hitting .375 while three other players are hitting over .300. Vidlund also has a team-high seven home runs and 32 RBI. . . Sophomore Anissa Meashintubby has a team-low 1.91 ERA. Meashintubby is 7-3 on the year and averages 5.92 K's per game. . . Lefthanded hitters bat just .167 (8-for-48) against senior Connie McMurren. . . Junior Lynsey Haij ranks second on the team with a .405 on-base percentage. . . Senior Kristi Hall leads the team with seven doubles.

OREGON STATE: 31-11 (OVERALL) -- 4-2 (PAC-10)
OSU had its 10-game home winning streak broken against No. 3 Stanford last Saturday (Apr. 6). The Cardinal became just the third team to beat the Beavers in the OSU Softball Complex and the first to win twice after sweeping the weekend series. . . Junior Jessica King is batting .562 (9-for-16) when leading off the inning. Fellow junior Brynnen Guthrie is hitting .412 (14-for-34) as the leadoff batter. . . Last week, Guthrie led the Beavers with a .462 (6-for-13) batting average over four games. She also added a run scored and an RBI. Guthrie totaled seven bases (led the team) and recorded a .538 slugging percentage. Defensively, she had 11 put outs and seven assists at second base. . . Sophomore Monica Hoffman became the first OSU pitcher to throw three no-hitters in a single season when she pitched a no-hitter against Oregon on April 2. Hoffman also had her consecutive scoreless innings streak broken at 40.2 when Stanford rallied for the win in the seventh inning of last Sunday's game (Apr. 7).

STANFORD: 33-5 (OVERALL) -- 4-2 (PAC-10)
The Cardinal ranks third in the Pac-10 with 33 home runs. . . Stanford pitching has only allowed eight home runs (0.21 pg) this season. Last year, the Cardinal gave up 19 homers (0.27 pg). . . Senior Robin Walker is leading the Pac-10 with 14 doubles so far this year, twice as many as last season's total of seven. . . Senior Jessica Mendoza has an 11-game hitting streak, the longest this year for a Cardinal player. Mendoza also leads the team with 15 multi-hit games and 10 multi-RBI games. . . Junior outfielder Cassi Brangham has not committed an error in 38 games this year. . . Stanford is 23-3 when junior Tori Nyberg starts. Nyberg has not thrown a wild pitch in 144.2 innings of work this season. . . With two Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week awards in her career, junior Maureen LeCocq ranks third in Stanford history behind Becky Blevins' four POW's and Dana Sorensen's three pitching honors. . . Freshman Elizabeth Bendig is hitting .040 (1-for-25) with the bases empty and .360 (9-for-25) with runners on base.

UCLA: 35-5 (OVERALL) -- 2-3 (PAC-10)
The Bruins' win at Arizona (Apr. 7) snapped a three-game losing streak, UCLA's longest since losing two at UofA and one against Washington in May, 2000. . . Sophomore outfielder Stephanie Ramos had a first-inning grand slam off of Arizona pitcher Jenny Gladding (Apr. 7). It was the first grand slam by a Bruin this year. . . Senior Stacey Nuveman's two home runs at Arizona (Apr. 7) were both off of 2001 Honda Award Winner Jennie Finch. Both homers hit the Hillenbrand Stadium scoreboard in right center field, and both pitches were curve balls. Nuveman now has 81 career home runs, needing four to tie and five to break the NCAA career home run record held by Arizona's Leah Braatz and Laura Espinoza. . . Nuveman is also four hits shy of becoming the first Bruin in history to record 300 hits. . . With an eight-K performance at Arizona last Saturday (Apr. 6), senior Amanda Freed became the fourth pitcher in Bruin history to record 700 career strikeouts. She currently has 705 career K's.

WASHINGTON: 32-12 (OVERALL) -- 1-4 (PAC-10)
UW's three losses on the Arizona road swing was the most since 1997 when the Huskies lost 3-of-4. It was the first time Washington had been swept on the Arizona trip, since the Huskies inaugural year in 1993. . . The Huskies rank fourth in the Conference with .301 batting average and 1.41 ERA. . . UW pitchers have struck out 101 batters looking (leads the Pac-10). . . With an 0-for-3 effort against Arizona State (Apr. 7), senior Jaime Clark had two streaks broken. Clark's 18-game hitting streak ended (the second longest in school history behind Rosie Leutzinger's 21-game hitting streak in 2000). Clark's consecutive games on-base streak also came to an end at 53 games. . . Clark is batting .439 with runners on base. . . Clark continues to lead the Pac-10 in total bases with 113, while her freshman teammate Kristen Rivera ranks seventh with 87 total bases. . . Sophomore Rita Roach is 18-of-19 (.947) in stolen bases. Her 18 steals rank second in the league. Roach has also added two triples this season (tied for seventh in the Conference).

2001 YEAR-IN-REVIEW

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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