This Week in Pac-10 Softball

April 24, 2002

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The CALIFORNIA and WASHINGTON sweeps of the Arizona and Oregon schools last weekend, respectively, have tightened things up in the quest for first place in the Pac-10. Only two games separate first from fifth in the league. . . In Pac-10 play this week, the marquee games will take place in Northern California as UCLA and WASHINGTON visit the Bay Area schools. Before the trip, however, the Bruins and Huskies will meet for the final time in Los Angeles. ARIZONA and ARIZONA STATE will play host to OREGON and OREGON STATE in other Conference action this weekend. . . There are four non-conference match ups early in the week as the Oregon schools battle Portland State while Cal travels to Saint Mary's and STANFORD hosts Sacramento State on 'The Farm.' The Fox Sports Net Game of the Week is Oregon at Arizona State this Saturday, April 27. 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 has the top spot once again, followed by No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 Arizona State, No. 8 California, No. 9 Washington and No. 14 Oregon State.

THIS WEEK's SCHEDULE

Tue., Apr. 23OREGON STATE @ Portland State, 4-6 p.m. (DH)

Wed., Apr. 24CALIFORNIA @ Saint Mary's, 2-4 p.m. (DH)Portland State @ OREGON, 2-4 p.m. (DH)Sacramento State @ STANFORD, 5-7 p.m. (DH)*WASHINGTON @ UCLA, 2 p.m.

Fri., Apr. 26*OREGON @ ARIZONA, 7 p.m.*OREGON STATE @ ARIZONA STATE, 7 p.m.*UCLA @ CALIFORNIA, 2 p.m.*WASHINGTON @ STANFORD, 7 p.m.

Sat., Apr. 20*OREGON STATE @ ARIZONA, 7 p.m.*OREGON @ ARIZONA STATE, 1 p.m. (FSN)*WASHINGTON @ CALIFORNIA, 2 p.m.*UCLA @ STANFORD, 7 p.m.

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

(FSN) - Fox Sports NetAll times local to site

LAST WEEK's RESULTS

Tue., Apr. 16ARIZONA 4, Oklahoma State 2 (1)STANFORD 7, UC Santa Barbara 2 (GM 1)STANFORD 8, UC Santa Barbara 3 (GM 2)

Wed., Apr. 17ARIZONA 1, Oklahoma 0, 9 innings (1)

Fri., Apr. 19*ARIZONA 2, STANFORD 1*CALIFORNIA 3, ARIZONA STATE 2*WASHINGTON 6, OREGON 0*UCLA 7, OREGON STATE 0

Sat., Apr. 20*CALIFORNIA 5, ARIZONA 2*ARIZONA STATE 4, STANFORD 0*UCLA 7, OREGON 0*WASHINGTON 3, OREGON STATE 1

Sun., Apr. 21*CALIFORNIA 2, ARIZONA 1*ARIZONA STATE 1, STANFORD 0*UCLA 3, OREGON 1*WASHINGTON 1, OREGON STATE 0

Mon., Apr. 22OREGON 6, Portland State 0 (GM 1)Portland State 2, OREGON 0 (GM 2)

(1) - Oklahoma City, Okla.* - Pac-10 Conference Game

PAC-10 PLAYER/PITCHER OF THE WEEK

CALIFORNIA catcher Courtney Scott has been named Pac-10 Player of the Week, while her teammate Jocelyn Forest was named Pitcher of the Week for April 16-21, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced.

Scott, a junior from Clovis, Calif., hit .333 (3-for-9) in a weekend sweep of the Arizona schools. More importantly, Scott scored two runs and tallied two clutch RBI. On Saturday (Apr. 20), against top-ranked Arizona, Scott broke a 2-2 tie by doubling in the game-winning run. The following day versus the Wildcats, she singled in the first of two runs for the Bears.

Forest, a senior from Santa Maria, Calif., was virtually unhittable in winning her only start of the week. Against Arizona on Sunday (Apr. 21), Forest threw a complete game one-hitter, while striking out 15 Wildcats (15th double-digit strikeout game). After forcing the game's lead off hitter to ground out to second, Forest proceeded to strike out eight consecutive batters.

It is the first weekly honor for Scott while Forest garners the third award of her career. California has now received 49 honors all-time.

USA TODAY/NFCA TOP 25 POLL (Apr. 17)

1. ARIZONA (26) 2. UCLA (1) 3. STANFORD 4. Nebraska 5. LSU 6. ARIZONA STATE 7. CS Fullerton 8. CALIFORNIA 9. WASHINGTON10. Florida Atlantic11. Oklahoma12. Michigan13. Fresno State14. OREGON STATE15. Alabama16. Texas17. DePaul18. Pacific19. Louisiana-Lafayette20. Florida State21. Iowa22. Ohio State23. Baylor24. Texas A&M25. Georgia

AROUND THE PAC-10

ARIZONA: 41-7 (OVERALL) -- 8-3, T1st (PAC-10)
UofA's two losses to Cal this past weekend marked the first time the Wildcats had lost consecutive games in a season since April 16 (Washington) and April 21, 2000 (Arizona State). . . Arizona pinch hitters are batting .300 (9-for-30). . . The 'Cats have a .397 batting average (29-of-73) with the bases loaded (leads the Conference). . . Senior Jennie Finch tallied a school record 19 strikeouts in last Wednesday's game (Apr. 17) against 11th-ranked Oklahoma. In that game, she broke Becky Lemke's career strikeouts record of 916. Finch now has 921 K's for her career. With a 2-1 mark this past week, Finch ups her record to 24-2 (tied for first in the Pac-10) on the season. Her ERA stands at 0.84 (third in the Pac-10) and she has struck out 259 batters (second in the Pac-10) in 176.0 innings of work (fourth in the Pac-10). Offensively, Finch has also been a main contributor, hitting .346 on the year with 13 home runs (tied for fifth in the Pac-10) and 47 RBI (fifth in the Pac-10). . . Opponents are a mere 5-of-15 in stolen bases when sophomore Jenny Gladding is in the circle.

ARIZONA STATE: 37-11 (OVERALL) -- 7-4, 4th (PAC-10)
After this weekend's games, the Sun Devils are now second in the Conference in hitting (.310 batting average) and tied for second in pitching (1.25 ERA). . . The Sun Devils have struck out 95 batters looking this season. . . ASU has picked off four runners. . . Sophomore Kristin Farber is batting .338 (22-for-65) with runners on base. . . Sophomore Phelan Wright is one of five players tied for the Conference lead with 14 doubles. Wright is also batting .443 (third in Pac-10) with 58 hits (seventh in Pac-10), a slugging percentage of .687 (seventh in Pac-10) and an on-base percentage of .493 (eighth in Pac-10). . . Senior Erica Beach posted two combined shutout wins against Stanford last weekend. Beach picked up her first win when she blanked the Cardinal, 4-0 (Apr. 20). She went five innings, allowing only two hits with five strikeouts. The following day against the Cardinal, Beach threw six innings, again limiting Stanford to only two hits with two more strikeouts as ASU won, 1-0. On the season, Beach has a 24-8 record with a 1.04 ERA and 148 strikeouts. She is now tied for second all-time in single season wins at ASU.

CALIFORNIA: 42-14 (OVERALL) -- 8-4, 3rd (PAC-10)
The Bears are 30-0 in their history versus Saint Mary's. . . California leads the Conference in fielding percentage once again with a mark of .981. . . The Bears have yet to post a passed ball this year (only team in the Pac-10). . . Last weekend's sweep of the Arizona schools was the first time Cal had accomplished the feat since the inception of Pac-10 softball in 1987. . . The Bears defeat of Arizona's Jennie Finch (Apr. 20) was just the second loss in her last 66 decisions. That win also broke a 10-game losing streak to the Wildcats, which dated back to May 1, 2000. . . Last week, the Bear's came up with some timely hitting. In the Arizona victory on Saturday, freshman Jessica Pamanian hit a two-run homer. Later on, junior Courtney Scott belted a double down the left field line to bring in the eventual game-winning run. Scott followed up that performance by knocking in another run the next day versus Arizona. . . Junior Kristen Morley went 2-for-4 last weekend with runners on base while freshman Kaleo Eldredge went 1-for-2 and Scott went 3-for-6 with runners on. . . Freshman Kelly Anderson has finished seven games for the Bears (tied for seventh in the Pac-10).

OREGON: 19-22 (OVERALL) -- 0-12, 8th (PAC-10)
As a team, UO is batting .314 (11-for-35) with the bases loaded. . . The Ducks have 43 doubles (eight shy of last year's total of 51). . . Oregon snapped a 12-game losing streak with a game one 6-0 victory over Portland State yesterday (Apr. 22). Sophomore Anissa Meashintubby went the distance striking out eight and walking two. She ran her record to 8-4 with a 2.13 ERA. Offensively, the Ducks were led by Lynsey Haij, who went 3-for-3 and scored two runs. Junior Alyssa Laux added a 2-for-4 effort while juniors Andrea Vidlund and Lakeesha Eversley each added a hit.

OREGON STATE: 32-16 (OVERALL) -- 5-7, 6th (PAC-10)
OSU's current four game losing streak is its longest of the season. The Beavers have dropped seven of their past eight games, but all have been against teams ranked in the top 10 nationally. . . Oregon State enters the week with a 32-16 overall record, four batters hitting over .300 and a combined ERA of 1.63. Last season after 48 games, the Beavers had a 32-15-1 overall record, no players hitting above .300 and a combined ERA of 1.41. . . Senior Crystal Draper passed Bruin great DeeDee Weiman (1990-94) on the Pac-10 career strikeouts list this past Saturday (Apr. 20) with a four K performance versus Washington. Her career total now sits at 749 strikeouts. . . Junior Shelly Prochaska has started 46 games this season as OSU's clean-up hitter. She is currently fourth on the squad with a .307 batting average, up 29 points from her career mark of .278. . . Senior Michelle Chariton and junior Jessica King have done well patrolling the Beaver outfield as they are two of just eight players in the Conference without an error this season. . . Freshman Kelly Petersen has started in all 47 games she has played in at shortstop.

STANFORD: 35-11 (OVERALL) -- 4-8, 7th (PAC-10)
The Cardinal is 15-3 when playing at night (two of those three losses came last weekend). . . Stanford has outscored opponents 52-16 in the first inning. . . The Cardinal has been shut out in three of its last six games. . . After starting the year 4-2 in the Conference, Stanford has dropped its last six games in Pac-10 play. . . As a team, the Cardinal has only allowed two triples and 13 home runs this season - both of which are the second fewest in the league. . . Junior Tori Nyberg picked up her 20th win last Tuesday against UC Santa Barbara in the Cardinal's 7-2 win (Apr. 16). The victory set a season high for Nyberg and brought her win total to 32. Additionally, she has not thrown a wild pitch in 177.2 innings of work this season. . . Nyberg and fellow junior Maureen LeCocq have been effective in different ways this year. Nyberg has recorded 508 outs (24 ground-ball, 110 fly-ball, 157 strikeout), while LeCocq has registered 346 outs (151 ground-ball, 149 fly-ball, 46 strikeout). . . Sophomore Jessica Allister is the only regular to be hitting better in the Conference rather than overall (.286 in Pac-10, .269 overall).

UCLA: 40-6 (OVERALL) -- 8-3, T1st (PAC-10)
After losing three consecutive Conference games, the Bruins have rallied to win their last seven contests. . . UCLA continues to lead the Pac-10 in hitting (.350 batting average) and pitching (0.66 ERA). . . With her home run last Friday (Apr. 19) against Oregon, senior Stacey Nuveman now has 84 career homers placing her third in the NCAA all-time and first among non-Arizona players. She is just one home run shy of the NCAA record set by Arizona's Leah Braatz and Laura Espinoza. . . Last week, in the sweep of the Oregon schools, Nuveman hit .571 (4-for-7), collecting three runs scored, five RBI and three walks. She had a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .700 on-base percentage, while posting a 1.000 fielding percentage on 26 chances (24 putouts, two assists). . . Sophomore Keira Goerl was also instrumental last weekend, posting a 2-0 record with an 0.00 ERA, 18 strikeouts and two walks. Opposing batters hit just .091 versus Goerl last week. . . Junior Natasha Watley is hitting .479 (35-for-73) with runners on base.

WASHINGTON: 37-13 (OVERALL) -- 6-5, 5th (PAC-10)
Three Washington pitchers combined for a shutout for the second time this season in the team's 1-0 win over Oregon State (Apr. 21). . . UW pitchers have combined for three shutouts in the last four games, after having no shutouts in the team's previous seven conference games ... Washington is scheduled to play four conference games for the second straight week. . . Only 17 of the team's 50 games (34 percent) this season have featured one Husky pitcher, as opposed to last season when 59 percent (37 of 63) featured one UW pitcher. . . Washington has two UW players, junior Jaime Clark and sophomore Rita Roach, with 20 stolen bases or more - the first time the UW has had a pair with 20 or more since Becky Newbry (25) and Rosie Leutzinger (28) in 1999. . . Freshman Kristen Rivera has had the game-winning RBI in the Huskies last four games. Her last five hits have been home runs and Rivera is tied for the team lead with 15 long balls. Even more impressive is that Rivera has hit 12 of those 15 homers in the last 20 games.

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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