No. 6 Softball's Road To The College World Series Begins In Michigan
May 13, 2002
2002 NCAA SOFTBALL REGION 6 TOURNAMENT:At Ann Arbor, MI - May 16-19
(All times local - EDT)
Game 1 - #1 UW vs. #6 Oakland - 11:30 a.m.
Game 2 - #2 Michigan vs. #5 Canisius - 2 p.m.
Game 3 - #3 Ohio St. vs. #4 C. Mich. - 4:30 p.m.
Game 4 - Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 - 7 p.m.
May 17-20 - TBA
Thurs. 1, 2, 3, 4
Fri. 5, 6, 7 (2/4:30/7 p.m.)
Sat. 8, 9, 10 (2/4:30/7 p.m.)
Sun. 11, 12 (If Necessary) (1/3:30 p.m.)
Michigan Here We Come: For the second straight year, the No. 6 Washington softball team (44-16) will hit the road for NCAA regional action. The Huskies will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., and the University of Michigan's Alumni Field for the six-team tournament.
The Huskies are seeded first in their region and will face sixth-seeded Oakland, at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 16.
The UW, which is making its ninth straight trip to the NCAAs, earned an at-large bid to the 48-team tournament and is seeded sixth overall.
We're No. 1 ... At Regionals: For the sixth time in program history, the UW has earned a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Regionals.
The Huskies had their streak of five consecutive No. 1 seeds stopped in 2001 when they were a second seed at the regional in Norman, Okla., behind then defending NCAA champion Oklahoma.
Washington earned a top seed at regionals played in Seattle in 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000, while the team traveled to Norman, Okla. for the first time in 1997, also as a No. 1 seed. The Huskies were seeded second in their first two NCAA appearances in 1994 and 1995.
The UW has advanced to the College World Series all five times its has earned a No. 1 seeding in the NCAA Regionals.
First Time For Everything: In 2002, Washington has not faced any of its five potential regional opponents. The Huskies have never played two of the teams - Oakland and Central Michigan - in the 10-year history of the program.
The UW owns winning records over the other three schools, holding a 4-3 advantage over Michigan, a 6-1 lead against Ohio State and a 1-0 record versus Canisius. The Huskies have not played either the Wolverines or Buckeyes since 1999, while the only meeting with the Golden Griffins was in 1998.
UW NCAA Regional Quick Facts: This is Washington's ninth consecutive trip to the NCAAs in the 10-year history of the program. The team has won five regional titles (1996-2000) to advance to the College World Series ... The Huskies have earned a No. 1 seed five other times, all of which led to a trip to the CWS ... The UW is 23-6 all-time in NCAA regional action, including a 9-6 mark on the road ... Washington has played 17 of this year's 48 NCAA tournament teams, logging 36 of its 60 games against regional participants.
The Pac-10 Still Packs Them In: Despite the fact that no conference team is playing host to a regional, the Pac-10 is still well represented, as seven of its eight squads earned bids to the 48-team tournament. UCLA, which claimed the tournament's top seed, and Arizona each earned one of the eight No. 1 seeds along with the UW. Other Pac-10 schools making the tournament include Arizona State (No. 2 seed, region 3), California (No. 3 seed, region 4), Oregon State (No. 2 seed, region 7) and Stanford (No. 2 seed, region 4).
NCAA Tournament Field Notables: None of the tournament's No. 1 seeds are playing host to a regional ... the highest seeded schools to play host are No. 2 Oklahoma and Michigan ... four No. 3 seeds and two No. 4 seeds are host sites ... all eight regionals include teams which are members of the same conference as another team in its regional.
On The Air Waves: KKNW-1150 AM, which carried eight regular season Husky softball games, is planning to air all of the team's postseason (NCAA Regional and College World Series) games 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. Each game will include a 15-minute pre- and post-game show, featuring interviews with UW players and coaches.
The Oakland Golden Grizzlies (25-36-1, 12-8 Mid-Con.): One of just three teams with a losing record in this year's NCAA tournament field, Oakland earned an automatic berth by winning the Mid-Continent Conference.
Under head coach Steve Ogg, the Golden Grizzlies are making their third NCAA appearance. Ericka Burns, who is batting a team-best .361 with 31 runs scored, eight home runs and 22 RBI, has led Oakland offensively season. Four pitchers have seen starting time, led by left-handed pitcher Nicole Marzano, who is 9-11 overall with a 1.71 ERA.
The Michigan Wolverines (45-9, 15-3 Big Ten): The Big Ten Tournament and regular season champion Wolverines bring a 12-game win streak to this weekend's regionals. Michigan, under head coach Carol Hutchins, advanced to its fifth College World Series a year ago and is playing host to its eighth regional tournament in the last 10 years.
Third baseman Stefanie Volpe (.424) is one of six Wolverines hitting over the .300 mark, while Big Ten Pitcher of the Year Marissa Young (25-7, 0.91 ERA) and freshman Nicole Motycka (20-2, 1.43) have split the starting duties with 27 and 26 games apiece.
Washington has a slight 4-3 advantage in the all-time series, including a two-game sweep in the two schools' last meeting in 1999.
The Ohio State Buckeyes (53-12, 16-4 Big Ten): Ohio State, which finished second in the Big Ten, is making its first NCAA appearance since 1990. The Buckeyes, who trail in the all-time series with the UW (1-6), are 3-3 in their last six games.
Under head coach Linda Kalafatis, Big Ten Player of the Year, outfielder Anna Smith is hitting an unbelievable .513 with 66 runs scored, 101 hits and 39 stolen bases. Three pitchers have seen starting time, including Wendy Allen, who is 18-5 with a 0.88 ERA, and Katie Chain, who is 19-5 with a 1.61 ERA and 197 strikeouts.
The Central Michigan Chippewas (38-14, 23-1 Mid-American): The Mid-American Conference champion Chippewas have won 19 of their last 20 games, winning eight of the last nine via shutouts.
Central Michigan, which is coached by Margo Jonker, has a pair of players, Becky Mason (.373) and Michelle Brander (.359) hitting above the .350 mark, while Jennifer Skuta has a team-best seven home runs and 38 RBI. Pitchers Amber Puchalski (20-5, 1.44) and Jenni Rasmussen (13-5, 1.54) have started 44 of the Chippewas' 52 games.
The Canisius Golden Griffins (33-14, 13-3 Metro Atlantic): The Huskies and Golden Griffins, earning their sixth NCAA tournament berth, could face off for the second time since Washington defeated Canisius, 7-5, at the Kia Klassic in Fullerton, Calif., in 1998.
The Golden Griffins, under head coach Mike Rappl, won the Metro Atlantic Conference with a 13-3 record. Freshman outfielder Rebecca Murphy (.387, 10 2B) and Jamie Gorczynski (.381, 31 R) are both threats on offense, while pitchers Veroniza Maher (15-5, 1.06 ERA) and Genevieve Garcia (13-8, 1.56) have thrown most of the innings.
What A Weekend: If last weekend was any indication, Washington seems to peaking at the right time, ending its 2002 regular season on a high note with a weekend sweep of No. 4 Arizona State and No. 2 Arizona.
On Friday, the Huskies erased a two-run deficit with a four-run, fourth inning to down the Sun Devils, 5-2. Three of the runs in the fourth came in on a Jaime Clark (Tustin, Calif.) double, while freshman pitcher Ashley Boek (Redding, Calif.) did not allow a base runner in three innings of relief work.
A day later, the UW shocked Arizona, sending the Wildcats home following a doubleheader sweep. Washington freshman pitchers Leslie Scott (Edmond, Okla.), making her first career Pac-10 start, and Boek both had solid outings, while freshman Kathy Fiske (Temecula, Calif.) and sophomore Amanda Oleson (Agoura Hills, Calif.) came through with key hits.
Washington moved to a perfect 6-0 in its last six games against Arizona in Seattle (1999-2002).
Third X 2: Recovering from a 1-4 start, the Huskies placed third for the second consecutive year in the powerful Pac-10, tallying a 13-8 record. The UW finished a game in front of California (12-9), which also swept its games last weekend.
The third place is Washington's ninth straight, top-four finish in conference play after beginning with a seventh in 1993. UCLA claimed the 2002 Pac-10 title with an 18-3 record, while the Huskies had been picked to finish fourth behind Arizona, UCLA and Stanford in the preseason conference coaches poll.
Home Sweet Home: With its sweep of the Arizona schools, the UW finished its 2002 home season with a 12-2 record. In the program's 10 seasons, the Huskies have posted an incredible .777 winning percentage at home (146-42) and a 136-30 (.819) record at Husky Softball Stadium, after playing its inaugural season in 1993 in Bellevue, Wash.
Earlier this year, Washington extended its record of wins over non-conference opponents at home to an unbelievable 64-0. The streak, which spans 10 seasons, also includes a 14-0 record in NCAA Regional action.
Pac-10 Honors: Five members of the 2002 Washington softball team received recognition from the Pacific-10 Conference, including two first-team all-conference honorees, Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen announced Monday afternoon.
Sophomore Rita Roach (Norwalk, Calif.) was the team's lone selection on the second team, and sophomore pitcher Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, Calif.), the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year in 2001, and senior outfielder Becky Simpson (Tumwater, Wash.) were both honorable mention selections.
Save Us - Its A Record: With saves in each of the team's three games last weekend, the Washington pitching staff set a new school and Pac-10 record for saves in a season with 12. Sophomore Tia Bollinger earned two of those three save to move her season total to seven, also a UW and conference record.
The Huskies beat the previous team record of 10, set by three teams with the latest being Stanford in 2000. Bollinger, meanwhile, passed former UW All-American Jamie Graves on both lists. Graves, who had six saves as a freshman in 1997, still owns the career record with 10 from 1997-2000.
A year ago, the Husky pitching staff had just one save by Shannon Walsh on February 21, at Tennessee-Chattanooga.
Lil' B Times Three: With her seventh triple of the season in the team's 3-2 win over Arizona last Sunday, UW senior Becky Simpson broke the school's single-season record for most triples. Simpson passed former All-American Michelle Church, who hit six in 1994.
Simpson and sophomore Amanda Oleson both tripled last week to raise the team season total to 20 - another Washington single-season record. The previous high was held by the 1994 squad which belted 18 three-baggers.
Beating Them On The Basepaths: For the fifth time in program history, the 2002 Huskies have reached the century mark in stolen bases. The team's 102 stolen bases are 25 more than last year's squad, which finished with a program-low 75.
The 1997 team set the bar for stolen bases with 194, while the Huskies have now reached the century mark six times in the program's 10-year history. The 102 stolen bases, which includes a school record-tying seven against Utah (March 14), are the fourth most in school history.
Junior Jaime Clark (23) and sophomore Rita Roach (22) both broke the 20-stolen base barrier earlier this season, more than doubling their totals from a year ago. The last time the UW had a pair with 20 or more stolen bases was in 1999, when Becky Newbry (25) and Rosie Leutzinger (28) combined for 53 of the team's season total of 110.
In the Yard: UW sophomore pitcher Tia Bollinger gave up her first and only home run of season at Oregon on May 4, breaking a streak of 169 consecutive innings. Bollinger's streak dates back to last season's NCAA regional loss to Oklahoma on May 19, the same game in which she surrendered her last triple.
Washington is the only Pac-10 team to not have allowed a triple in 2002, while the Huskies are second in least home runs allowed with 21.
Going Yard: Despite being shutout last weekend, Washington has belted 49 home runs this season, beating last year's total of 45 for second-most in school history. The 49 home runs trail only the 2000 squad, which hit 84 en route to a No. 1 national ranking and a Pac-10 title.
In 2002, eight different Huskies have hit at least one home run, led by freshman Kristen Rivera, who has 16, and junior Jaime Clark, who took back the team lead with her 16th and 17th in the two-game series at Oregon, May 4-5.
44 for 44: Jaime Clark smashed the UW school record for career home runs earlier this season. The junior hit the record-breaking 44th (also her jersey number, incidentally), home run on March 1, in a 4-0 win over UNLV.
Clark broke the previous record set by All-American Jen Cline, who hit 43 over her four-year career from 1993-96. The 5-11 shortstop, who has a team-best 17 home runs in 2002, now has 54 for her career.
Home Run, Home Run, Home Run: Although separated by a day, UW freshman Kristen Rivera's three home runs against Stanford, April 13 and 15, all came in consecutive plate appearances over the two-game span. Rivera's feat is rivaled only by former standout Christie Rosenblad. Rosenblad hit four home runs in consecutive plate appearances in a span of two games on February 10, 2001.
Double Dipping: Kristen Rivera's two home runs against Stanford on April 13, marked the fourth time this season that a Washington player has hit two, four-baggers in one game. Rivera also hit two home runs in a 5-2 victory over Santa Clara (March 24), while junior Jaime Clark went yard twice in wins versus Boston University (Feb. 23) and UC Santa Barbara (March 3).
In the program's 10-year history, nine different players have hit two home runs in a game 18 times, led by Clark, who has done so a school record five times.
Joining The Club: With her walk-off grand slam versus Boston University, Husky Jaime Clark became just the fourth player in program history to hit more than one grand slam in their career. Clark, who had a grand slam last year in a 7-1 win over Arizona State, became the second Husky this season to accomplish the feat. Freshman Kathy Fiske's (Temecula, Calif.) two career home runs in 2002 have both been grand slams.
Streaking Away: Three Washington players enjoyed double-digit hitting streaks earlier this season. Leftfielder Becky Simpson was the first to do so, opening her senior campaign with a career-best 12-game hitting streak, third longest in the Pac-10. Simpson hit .525 during that span (21-for-40) with 15 runs scored, five extra-base hits and six RBI.
Jaime Clark's and Rita Roach's streaks both started on March 2, in day two of the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah. Roach matched her previous career long from a year ago, with a 11-game streak, helping the team to a 10-1 record with a .444 batting average. Clark, meanwhile, posted the second-longest hitting streak in school history at 18 games, ending with a 0-for-3 outing at Arizona State on April 7.
Streaking To An End: After failing to reach base at Arizona St. on April 7, Jaime Clark's impressive on-base streak ended at 53 games. During that span, which began May 4, 2001, Clark reached base via a hit, walk or hit by pitch at least once. The All-American also had at least one hit in 45 games, while getting on base via a walk or hit by pitch in eight others.
Clark enters this week's NCAA regionals having reached base at least once in 58 of the 60 games, including at least one hit in 48 games. The junior has gone with out a hit in back-to-back games only twice so far this season.
Loading Up On RBI: So far this season, three Washington players have tallied five or more RBI in a game seven times. Jaime Clark leads the way with four such performances, including a team and career-best six RBI versus Boston University. Clark also had five RBI in wins over Hofstra (2/15), UCSB (3/3) and Pacific (3/26).
Clark is joined by a pair of freshmen in Kathy Fiske and Kristen Rivera. Fiske logged her first five RBI effort in a win over Tenn.-Chattanooga, following that up on March 24 in the team's blowout of Santa Clara.
Rivera has the most recent five-RBI performance on April 13 against then No. 3 Stanford. The catcher hit a two and three-run home run in the upset.
The Century Club: Shortstop Jaime Clark joined an elite club in 2002, as one of just four Husky players to ever record 100 total bases or more in a season three times in their career.
Clark, who ranks second in Pac-10 this season with 148, had a team-high 130 total bases a year ago, after leading the nation as a freshman with a school record 176.
The junior joins greats Sara Pickering (1995-97), Jen Cline (1994-96) and Michelle Church (1994-96), who each reached the century mark in their final three seasons at the UW.
The Magic 100: With its No. 6 national ranking in the last regular season poll, the Washington softball team has now been ranked in the top 25 in each of the last 110 poll datings. The Huskies' streak began with the team's No. 15 preseason ranking in 1994 and also includes smaller streaks of 66 straight top-6 rankings (2/28/96 - preseason 2001 poll) and 68 consecutive poll datings in the top 10 (preseason 1996 - 2/28/01).
Overall, the Huskies have remained in the top 15 in each of the last 93 poll datings, a streak that began with the preseason poll in 1996.
Runners Are DOA: You would think that by now, opposing teams would know not to test the arm of Rita Roach, especially when it comes to plays at the plate. The centerfielder threw out her fifth runner of the year at home plate versus Stanford on April 26, as Cardinal Sarah Beeson tried to score from second on a two-out single in a scoreless game in the bottom of the sixth.
In 2002, the Huskies have thrown out 11 runners trying to score on a non-force out at the plate.
Revolving Right Field:Six different Huskies have seen starting time out in right field so far this season. Sophomore Megan Owen (Spokane, Wash.) leads the contingent with 26 starts, followed by Courtney Jeffries (Eugene, Ore.) who has been the starting right fielder 15 times.
Sophomore Shawna Norris (Littleton, Colo.) and junior Traci Tawney (Fall City, Wash.) are next in line with nine and six starts each, while two other players, including sophomore Nicki Holt (Camarillo, Calif.), have made the starting line-up in right field twice.
Betting On Boek: Washington freshman Ashley Boek made her presence felt in just her second career start, pitching a five-inning no-hitter versus San Jose State on February 3. Boek walked two batters, while another reached base on an error, for the program's 20th no-hitter and its first since 2000.
The right-hander became just the second UW freshman to toss a no-hitter, joining former All-American Eve Gaw, who threw two no-hitters in 1995 versus Simon Fraser and Pacific Lutheran.
K x 10: Washington pitchers Ashley Boek and Tia Bollinger recorded back-to-back 10-strikeout performances in the team's sweep over Portland State (April 2). Boek's 10 K's beat her previous career high of eight, while it was the second highest total for Bollinger.
On March 1, Bollinger fanned a career-best 12 batters in a 4-0 win over UNLV. The sophomore right-hander became the first Husky pitcher to reach double-digits in strikeouts since Jennifer Spediacci struck out 13 in an NCAA Regional victory over Western Illinois on May 19, 2000.
In 2002, the UW pitching staff has combined to reach double-digits in strikeouts 10 times, including a three-game streak versus Florida Atlantic (13), Florida State (10) and Louisville (11).
Pitcher, Pitcher, Pitcher: While depth in the pitching position was a concern a year ago, it has not been the case this year.
Each UW pitcher has appeared in at least 31 games, with Bollinger and Boek splitting the starting duties almost evenly with 28 and 25 games apiece. Scott, meanwhile, is ranked first in the Pac-10 in number of games in relief with 24.
All three UW pitchers have appeared in a game seven times, including two shutouts, and just 20 of the team's 60 games in 2002 have featured only one Husky in the circle. A year ago, 59 percent (37 of 63) of the team's games were solo efforts.
Dawg Bites:Washington's game with Long Beach St. on February 1, is the earliest season-opener in program history ... UW's 18-player roster includes 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 ... Washington opened its season with a program-best 10 straight wins, defeating three ranked opponents in the process ... the UW reached the 40-win mark for the ninth time in school history ... two Huskies, Amanda Oleson and Becky Simpson, both recorded 4-for-4 performances at the plate this season. Oleson's four hits versus Florida on February 17, came almost exactly a year to the day that she pulled off the same feat in 2001 versus Hofstra on Feb. 18 ... freshman Steph Nicholson (Tucson, Ariz.) has matched the team single-season record for most fielding double plays (non-first baseman) with 13 ... UW head coach Teresa Wilson coached her 1,000th career game versus Texas Tech on March 15 - a 10-3 Husky win.
A Perfect 10: UW's Jaime Clark is among 10 finalists for the inaugural USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) announced May 3.
The ASA originally announced a list of 25 finalists back on April 5, before reducing the list to 10. The award, which is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country, will be handed out on June 7, after the field is once again reduced to three finalists on May 31.
Best Of The Best: Four Washington softball players, current junior Jaime Clark and freshman Kristen Rivera, and former standouts Kim DePaul (1997-2000) and Sara Pickering (1994-1997), are among 62 athletes invited to the USA Softball world championship team camp, May 30-June 3 at the Arco Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The four will compete for spots on teams that will represent the U.S. in international competition this summer.
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.
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 UW to a 483-180 record, accruing an incredible .729 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 687-341 (.668) also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota.