This Week in Pac-10 Softball

April 16, 2002

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The Wildcats will travel to Oklahoma City, Okla. (site of last year's national championship), this week for non-conference games against Big 12 foes Oklahoma State and No. 9 Oklahoma. ARIZONA went 2-0 against the Sooners last season, including a 5-4, eight-inning thriller at the NCAA Women's College World Series. . . STANFORD will take on UC Santa Barbara in a doubleheader down on 'The Farm' in other non-conference action. . . In Pac-10 play, Arizona and ARIZONA STATE travel to the Bay Area to take on CALIFORNIA and Stanford while OREGON and OREGON STATE make the trips to UCLA and WASHINGTON. . . The Fox Sports Net Game of the Week is Oregon State at Washington this Saturday, April 20. Check your local listings for times in your area. . . Seven teams continue to be ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll this week. Arizona takes over the top spot once again (after the Bruins held the No. 1 ranking for seven weeks), followed by No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 8 California, No. 10 Washington and No. 14 Oregon State.

THIS WEEK's SCHEDULE

Tue., Apr. 16ARIZONA vs. Oklahoma State, 7:30 p.m. (1)UC Santa Barbara @ STANFORD, 5-7 p.m. (DH)

Wed., Apr. 17ARIZONA vs. Oklahoma, 7:30 p.m. (1)

Fri., Apr. 19*ARIZONA @ STANFORD, 7 p.m.*ARIZONA STATE @ CALIFORNIA, 2 p.m.*OREGON @ WASHINGTON, 2 p.m.*OREGON STATE @ UCLA, 2 p.m. (FSN)

Sat., Apr. 20*ARIZONA @ CALIFORNIA, 2 p.m.*ARIZONA STATE @ STANFORD, 7 p.m.*OREGON @ UCLA, 2 p.m.*OREGON STATE @ WASHINGTON, 2 p.m.

Sun., Apr. 21*ARIZONA @ CALIFORNIA, 1 p.m.*ARIZONA STATE @ STANFORD, 1 p.m.*OREGON @ UCLA, 1 p.m.*OREGON STATE @ WASHINGTON, 1 p.m.

(1) - Oklahoma City, Okla.(FSN) - Fox Sports NetAll times local to site

LAST WEEK's RESULTS

Tue., Apr. 9Portland State @ OREGON STATE, ppd.%

Wed., Apr. 10CALIFORNIA 7, San Jose State 0OREGON @ Portland State, ppd.^

Fri., Apr. 12*ARIZONA 4, OREGON STATE 0*ARIZONA STATE 9, OREGON 1*CALIFORNIA 4, WASHINGTON 1*UCLA 3, STANFORD 2

Sat., Apr. 13*ARIZONA 2, OREGON 0*OREGON STATE 1, ARIZONA STATE 0*UCLA 3, CALIFORNIA 0*WASHINGTON 11, STANFORD 3

Sun., Apr. 14*ARIZONA 8, OREGON 1*ARIZONA STATE 6, OREGON STATE 0*UCLA 1, CALIFORNIA 0, 10 innings

Mon., Apr. 15*WASHINGTON 3, STANFORD 0

* - Pac-10 Conference Game^ - Game rescheduled for April 22% - Doubleheader rescheduled for April 29

PAC-10 PLAYER/PITCHER OF THE WEEK

WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - WASHINGTON catcher/designated player Kristen Rivera has been named Pac-10 Player of the Week, while UCLA's Keira Goerl was named Pitcher of the Week for April 8-15, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today.

Rivera, a freshman from Perris, Calif., helped the Huskies get back into the win column this weekend. Rivera hit .429 (3-for-7) with three runs scored, three home runs and eight RBI for a 1.714 slugging percentage. She hit two home runs in a game for the second time this season, belting a two-run homer and a three-run shot in the team's 11-3 victory over third-ranked Stanford last Saturday (Apr. 13). Her three-run home run yesterday (Apr. 15) was the only scoring in the Huskies 3-0 win over the Cardinal.

Goerl, a sophomore from Moreno Valley, Calif., posted a 2-0 record after pitching 12.0 innings last weekend, allowing just two hits and not surrendering a run. Against third-ranked Stanford (Apr. 12), Goerl entered the game with the Bruins down 2-1 in the third inning and proceeded to pitch five no-hit innings as UCLA came back to win, 3-2. The next day in UCLA's 3-0 victory over eighth-ranked California (Apr. 13), she pitched a two-hit shutout while striking out five.

It is the first weekly honor for Rivera and the 48th for Washington all-time. Goerl earns the fourth award of her career. UCLA has now received 65 honors all-time.

USA TODAY/NFCA TOP 25 POLL (Apr. 10)

1. ARIZONA (22) 2. UCLA (5) 3. STANFORD 4. Nebraska 5. LSU 6. ARIZONA STATE 7. CS Fullerton 8. CALIFORNIA 9. Oklahoma10. WASHINGTON11. Florida Atlantic12. Fresno State Michigan14. OREGON STATE15. Alabama16. DePaul17. Pacific18. Texas19. Louisiana-Lafayette20. Iowa21. Florida State22. Baylor23. Georgia24. Texas A&M25. Ohio State

AROUND THE PAC-10

ARIZONA: 38-5 (OVERALL) -- 7-1, 1st (PAC-10)
The Wildcats have hit 73 home runs in 43 games (a pace of 1.7 homers per game). . . As a team, Arizona has hit 12 grand slams. . . The team's slugging percentage sits at .570. . . The 'Cats will play four of their five games this week against teams currently ranked in the top nine. UofA is 48-4 (.923) versus ranked opponents in the last one-plus seasons. In that span, Arizona is 23-3 (.885) against teams ranked in the top 10. . . Sophomore Leneah Manuma leads the NCAA in home runs with 17. . . Sophomore Mackenzie Vandergeest has 370 putouts on the season (63 shy of the No. 10 spot in the UofA record books for putouts in a season). . . Last week, freshman Jackie Coburn had a .375 batting average (3-for-8) with one grand slam and five RBI. With that home run, Coburn now has three slams this season (tops on the team with Manuma and Vandergeest). . . Senior Jennie Finch finished last weekend against Oregon and Oregon State 2-0, posting shutouts in both games. She struck out a total of 20 batters during the week, including 12 against the Ducks (Apr. 13). Her record is 22-1 with an ERA of. 0.68. Finch has now won 62 of her last 63 decisions.

ARIZONA STATE: 35-10 (OVERALL) -- 5-3, T2nd (PAC-10)
Left-handers are hitting just .178 against ASU pitching, while right-handers hit .213. . . The Sun Devils have a 4.8 strikeout-to-walk ratio. . . Only nine bases have been stolen on ASU catchers this year. . . ASU has 419 assists in the field to lead the Pac-10. . . The Sun Devils have never had two players hit above .400 in the same season. Currently, sophomore Phelan Wright (.443) and junior Kara Brun (.419) are on track to become the first duo to accomplish that feat. . . Though Brun is hitting just .214 (3-for-14) against south paws, she bats .443 (54-for-122) versus right-handers. Brun needs five RBI to surpass senior Erica Beach's 2000 mark of 48 RBI (single-season ASU record). . . Senior Nichole Thompson hits .400 (30-for-75) with runners on base and .500 (5-for-10) with the bases juiced. . . Head coach Linda Wells is 12 wins shy of 800 in her career.

CALIFORNIA: 39-14 (OVERALL) -- 5-4, T4th (PAC-10)
Cal's next eight games will be at Levine-Fricke Field. . . The Bears are just one win away from matching their Conference win total in 2000 and 2001, with six. . . Cal has already matched last year's total of five triples. . . Opponents are hitting just .178 versus California pitching. . . Junior Veronica Nelson leads the team in hitting with a .349 batting average (38-for-109), nine home runs and a slugging percentage of .642. Nelson's 70 walks this season is just 24 away from breaking the national mark for base on balls in a season for the third consecutive year. Her 250 walks all-time is an NCAA record. . . Earlier in the season, senior Jocelyn Forest (1,097 K's) overtook Leslie Partch (982 K's) for second place all-time on the Cal career strikeouts list. Against Washington last Friday (Apr. 12), Forest matched Partch again for second place, this time for most wins all-time at Cal with 92. Former All-American and Olympian Michele Granger holds both records with 1,640 strikeouts and 119 wins, respectively. Junior Kristen Morely leads the Pac-10 with 18 sacrifice bunts. . . Senior Candace Harper leads the Conference with seven sacrifice flies.

OREGON: 18-18 (OVERALL) -- 0-9, 8th (PAC-10)
When the Ducks play at Washington this Friday, it will mark their first game out of the state of Oregon since March 10, when they played Notre Dame at the UNLV Invitational. . . UO has lost its last nine games against ranked opponents (all Pac-10 teams), after starting the year 2-0 (wins over No. 17 SW Texas State and No. 13 Alabama). . . This year's team ERA (2.60) is on track to be almost a full run better than last season's mark (3.29). . . Duck players have been hit by a pitch 23 times this season (tied for second in the Conference), after getting plunked a Pac-10-leading 36 times last year. . . Junior Lakeesha Eversley leads the Ducks with five stolen bases. . . Junior Andrea Vidlund has one-third of Oregon's home runs with seven. Vidlund continues to lead the Ducks with a .363 batting average, 37 hits, seven homers, 33 RBI, .608 slugging percentage and a .432 on-base percentage.

OREGON STATE: 32-13 (OVERALL) -- 5-4, T4th (PAC-10)
OSU has five wins against UCLA in their history. Before head coach Kirk Walker arrived, the Beavers were winless versus the Bruins. . . The Beavers are hitting .275 this season, 14 points higher than last year. Four players are currently hitting above .300 (Burnum-.351, Guthrie-.340, Chariton-.337, Prochaska-.325). Last season, Shawna Feldt was the lone OSU player to hit above .300 (.308). . . Oregon State has tallied 17 double plays, which ties the Beavers for the Conference lead with UCLA. . . Junior Clare Burnum's 14 doubles ties her for the Conference lead. Burnum is also the only OSU player to start all 45 games at the same position (third base). . . Senior Michelle Chariton and junior Brynnen Guthrie are each hitting .370 with 10 hits in Conference play. . . Junior Steph Adams has the only two home runs for the Beavers in the Pac-10 season.

STANFORD: 33-8 (OVERALL) -- 4-5, 6th (PAC-10)
Stanford has defeated Arizona twice in nine previous seasons. . . The Cardinal's current three-game losing streak is its longest of the season. . . One-third of Stanford's victories (11 of 33) in 2002 have been of the shutout variety. . . The Cardinal has been ahead going into the final inning in 32 of its 41 games played this season. . . Stanford has turned 13 double plays (third-most in the league). . . The Cardinal ranks second in the Pac-10 in doubles with 65. . . Senior Jessica Mendoza has started 40 of 41 games, and continues to lead the team with a .419 batting average. Mendoza also ranks second in the Conference with 20 steals. . . Senior Sarah Beeson leads the Cardinal with 34 RBI and ranks second on the team in the following categories: batting average (.415), hits (51), doubles (10), total bases (73) and on-base percentage (.500). . . Senior Robin Walker is hitting .417 (5-for-12) versus south paws. . . Head coach John Rittman needs seven more wins to reach 250 career victories.

UCLA: 37-6 (OVERALL) -- 5-3, T2nd (PAC-10)
The Bruins have posted exactly 400 hits and 600 total bases to-date. . . UCLA has the only players in the country hitting above .500 (senior Stacey Nuveman at .541, junior Natasha Watley at .510). Since the inception of Pac-10 softball in 1987, no team has had two players hit above .500 in the same season. In Nuveman's case, she is on track to break the single-season mark of .534 posted by Alison McCutcheon in 1997. . . Last week, Nuveman posted another week of impressive play, hitting .500 (3-for-6), including two home runs. She was walked five times and reached base eight of the 11 times she stepped to the plate. With two more homers, Nuveman now sits at 83 round-trippers for her career, leaving her two shy of the NCAA mark. . . Sophomore Keira Goerl's three Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week awards this season is the most by a UCLA pitcher since 1995, when B'Ann Burns tallied the hat trick. Only current assistant coach Lisa Fernandez has posted four Conference Pitcher of the Week honors in the same season in UCLA history.

WASHINGTON: 34-13 (OVERALL) -- 3-5, 7th (PAC-10)After getting off to a 1-5 Conference start to begin the Pac-10 season (its worst in that span since 1995), UW has come back to win its last two games. . . The UW pitching staff has thrown only six wild pitches in 306.2 innings of work. . . Washington has used all three of its pitchers in a game five times, while only 16 of the team's 47 games have featured only one Husky in the circle. . . Washington's 11-3 win over Stanford was the Cardinal's worse loss since April 29, 2001 vs. UCLA (L, 8-0) and the most runs scored against the Cardinal since 1999. . . Despite being kept off the basepaths against Arizona State last week, junior Jaime Clark has reached base at least once in 46 of 47 games this season. With her home run against Cal, Clark has been the spoiler in two no-hit bids by opposing pitchers in the seventh inning. Against UCLA, Clark's single broke up UCLA's Keira Goerl's no-hitter, while she did the same versus Cal's Jocelyn Forest last Friday. . . Sophomore Nicki Holt became the sixth different UW player to start in right field this season against Stanford yesterday (Apr. 15), making her first-ever start defensively, while also garnering her first career hit.

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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