This Week in Pac-10 Softball
May 22, 2002
For the fourth consecutive season, the Pac-10 has sent at least four teams to the NCAA Women's College World Series. This season, ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE, CALIFORNIA and UCLA will all compete in Oklahoma City. The four teams combined have plenty of WCWS experience (41 appearances, 123-53 (.699) all-time record). . . UCLA will be making its fourth consecutive appearance in the WCWS (NCAA record 19th overall, 70-18 all-time record), while Arizona makes its 15th straight trip (15th overall, 44-17 all-time record). California makes its fourth consecutive appearance in the WCWS (seventh overall, 7-12 all-time record) and Arizona State returns to Oklahoma for the first time since 1999 (fourth overall, 2-6 all-time record). . . The Pac-10 has produced an NCAA record 14 national championships with Arizona winning the title last year. The Bruins have eight championships while the Wildcats have six of their own. Either UCLA or Arizona has won 11 of the last 14 titles. . . The Conference has sent a team to the WCWS championship game a remarkable 18 of 20 years. In eight of those years, two squads have represented the Pac-10 in the final game ('91, '92, '93, '95, '96, '97, '99 and '01). Every WCWS game will be televised on ESPN or ESPN2. . . Seven teams are ranked in the final regular season USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll. . . UCLA owns the top spot, followed by No. 2 Arizona, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 5 California, No. 6 Washington, No. 8 Stanford and No. 15 Oregon State.
NCAA COLLEGE WORLD SERIESMay 23-27, Double Elimination Play
Thurs., May 23(1) #1 UCLA vs. #8 Florida State, 10 a.m.@(2) #4 CALIFORNIA vs. #5 Oklahoma, 12:30 p.m.%(3) #3 ARIZONA STATE vs. #6 Michigan, 6 p.m.@(4) #2 ARIZONA vs. #7 Nebraska, 8:30 p.m.@
Fri., May 24(5) Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4 p.m.@(6) Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 6:30 p.m.%
Sat., May 25(7) Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1 p.m.%(8) Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 3:30 p.m.%(9) Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 6, 6:30 p.m.@(10) Winner Game 8 vs. Loser Game 6, 9 p.m.@
Sun., May 26(11) Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 9, 12 noon@(12) Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 10, 2:30 p.m.@(13) Repeat of Game 11 (if necessary), 5 p.m.@(14) Repeat of Game 14 (if necessary), 7:30 p.m.@
Mon., May 27 (Championship)(15) Winner Game 11/13 (if necessary) vs. Winner Game 12/14 (if necessary), 12:15 p.m.%
(#) Game No.% Shown live on ESPN@ Shown live on ESPN2
LAST WEEK's RESULTS
Thur., May 16#1 UCLA 3, #6 Liberty 0 (1)#1 ARIZONA 4, #6 Boston U. 1 (2)#2 ARIZONA STATE 4, #5 Mississippi State 1 (3)#2 STANFORD 7, #5 Pacific 0 (4)#3 CALIFORNIA 2, #4 Fresno State 1, 10 innings (4)#1 WASHINGTON 8, #6 Oakland 0 (5)#2 OREGON STATE 1, #5 Wisconsin 0 (6)
Fri., May 17#1 UCLA 10, #4 Eastern Kentucky 0 (1)#1 ARIZONA 4, #5 Penn State 3 (2)#3 CALIFORNIA 1, #2 STANFORD 0 (4)#1 WASHINGTON 4, #4 Central Michigan 1 (5)#2 OREGON STATE 2, #3 Notre Dame 0 (6)
Sat., May 18#1 UCLA 2, #2 Georgia 1, 8 innings (1)#1 ARIZONA 2, #2 DePaul 0, 11 innings (2)#2 ARIZONA STATE 1, #4 Massachusetts 0 (3)#2 ARIZONA STATE 3, #1 LSU 2, 8 innings (3)#3 CALIFORNIA 4, #1 CS Fullerton 2 (4)#1 CS Fullerton 4, #2 STANFORD 1, STAN elim. (4)#2 Michigan 6, #1 WASHINGTON 5 (5)#3 Ohio State 2, #1 WASHINGTON 1, WASH elim. (5)#1 Nebraska 7, #2 OREGON STATE (6)#3 Notre Dame 2, #2 OREGON STATE 0, OSU elim. (6)
Sun., May 19#3 South Carolina 2, #1 UCLA 1 (1)#1 UCLA 1, #3 South Carolina 0 (1)#2 DePaul 6, #1 ARIZONA 0 (2)#1 ARIZONA 8, #2 DePaul 0 (2)#2 ARIZONA STATE 4, #1 LSU 1 (3)#3 CALIFORNIA 1, #1 CS Fullerton 0 (4)
(1) Region 1 - Columbia, S.C.(2) Region 2 - Minneapolis, Minn.(3) Region 3 - Lafayette, La.(4) Region 4 - Fresno, Calif.(5) Region 6 - Ann Arbor, Mich.(6) Region 7 - Iowa City, Iowa
USA TODAY/NFCA TOP 25 POLL (May 8)
1. UCLA (23) 2. ARIZONA (4) 3. LSU 4. ARIZONA STATE 5. CALIFORNIA 6. WASHINGTON 7. Nebraska 8. STANFORD 9. CS Fullerton10. Texas11. Michigan12. Florida Atlantic13. Oklahoma14. Fresno State15. OREGON STATE16. DePaul17. Pacific18. Alabama19. Louisiana-Lafayette20. Ohio State21. Florida State22. Iowa23. Texas A&M24. Baylor25. Georgia
QUICK RECAP OF LAST WEEK's NCAA REGIONALS
For the fourth consecutive season, the Pac-10 sent at least seven teams to the NCAA Regionals. For the first time in NCAA history, however, a Conference team did not host a regional. After the second day of regional play, the Pac-10 was a combined 12-1. ARIZONA (Minneapolis, Minn.), ARIZONA STATE (Lafayette, La.), CALIFORNIA (Fresno, Calif.) and UCLA (Columbia, S.C.) won their regions and posted a combined 16-2 record, while outscoring opponents 55-20. OREGON STATE (Iowa City, Iowa) and WASHINGTON (Ann Arbor, Mich.) came out victorious in their first two games of regionals, before dropping the next two. Both teams lost one game to the eventual regional champion. STANFORD (Fresno, Calif.) won its first contest, before falling to fifth-ranked California and ninth-ranked CS Fullerton. Individually, the Pac-10 had 24 players earn all-regional honors (more than any Conference), three of which were named Most Outstanding Player (more than any Conference).
ARIZONA - UofA's string of 15 consecutive trips to the WCWS is the longest active streak in NCAA Division I. . . Arizona has been ranked no lower than No. 3 in the polls this season. . . UofA has hit 13 grand slams and posted 33 multi-home run games this year . . . The Wildcats have six players with World Series experience. Senior Jennie Finch, junior Lisha Ribellia, sophomores Jenny Gladding, Leneah Manuma, and Mackenzie Vandergeest, and redshirt freshman Candace Abrams have been to the WCWSs. . . Finch has thrown five World Series games, compiling a 4-1 record with a 2.17 ERA and 33 strikeouts in 32 innings. . . Jennie Finch and Jenny Gladding have combined for 27 shutouts this season, with Finch leading the way with 19 and both combining on one. . . Arizona pitchers have won 30 or more games 12 times in school history. Finch has done it twice (2001, 32-0; 2002, 31-5). . . The 'Cats had five players named to the NCAA All-Region 2 Team. Finch, senior Meaghan Finnerty, freshman Courtney Fossatti, Gladding and Vandergeest all made the squad. . . Fossatti has the team's longest current hitting streak at eight games.
ARIZONA STATE - ASU's 44 wins this year is a new school record for most victories in a single season. . . Arizona State led all tournament teams in batting average (.357), hits (41), doubles (5), ERA (0.48) and double plays turned (4) during regional action. . . Senior Erica Beach was named NCAA Region 3 Most Outstanding Player as she went 4-0 in the regional with an 0.48 ERA, allowing only two earned runs in 29 innings. In the regional championship game against third-ranked LSU, Beach proceeded to allow just three hits and one run, while striking out three Tigers. In that game, Beach earned her 31st victory of the season, setting a new Sun Devil record for most wins in a single season. . . Sophomore Kristin Farber was the leading hitter in the regional, hitting .667 (8-for-12), while junior Jennifer Forner was second at .545 (6-for-11). . . Beach, Forner, Farber and sophomore Phelan Wright were named to the All-Regional Team. . . Wright leads the team with a .420 batting average, 73 hits, 16 doubles, .649 slugging percentage and .472 on-base percentage.
CALIFORNIA - Cal was the only WCWS team to defeat four ranked opponents on its way to Oklahoma City. The Bears defeated 14th-ranked Fresno State, eighth-ranked Stanford and ninth-ranked CS Fullerton (twice) to win the regional. . . California is three wins shy of breaking the school record for victories in a single season (55). . . The Bears need five walks to break the the NCAA record of 287 set by Arizona in 1995. . . Cal leads the Pac-10 with a .976 fielding percentage. . . Junior Veronica Nelson broke the NCAA-single season walk record for the third consecutive year with her 94th base on ball versus Stanford (May 17). Nelson currently has 99 walks, adding to her NCAA career walk record, which stands at 279 heading into the WCWS. . . Senior Jocelyn Forest was named the NCAA Region 4 Most Outstanding Player after throwing four complete games and going 4-0 in the regional. Nelson and senior Candace Harper joined Forest on the All-Regional Team.
UCLA - The Bruins tied the longest Pac-10 win streak of the season with 20 consecutive victories before falling to South Carolina 2-1 last Sunday (May 19). . . UCLA is a perfect 19-for-19 when it comes to regional championships. The lone year the Bruins did not win a regional and head to the WCWS, was back in 1998 when UCLA did not even qualify for the NCAA Tournament. . . The Bruins lead the Conference with a .341 batting average and an 0.66 ERA. . . UCLA is batting .343 with the bases loaded (35-for-102) and .328 (212-for-646) with runners in scoring position. . . The Bruins have a 4.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio, which is tops in the Pac-10. . . Opponents hit just .130 versus Bruin pitching. . . UCLA's four errors in the game against Georgia last Saturday (May 18) was the most for the Bruins since a a 9-6 loss at Washington (Mar. 30). Defensively, UCLA has made 15 errors in its last eight games. . . Senior Stacey Nuveman's .533 batting average leads the nation and is just one point behind the Pac-10 single season mark of .534 set by Arizona's Alison McCutcheon in 1997. . . Nuveman owns the NCAA home run record with 89 in her career. She has 19 round-tripers this year (tied for second in the nation). . . Senior Amanda Freed became the winningest pitcher all-time in UCLA history with a 3-0 victory over Liberty last Thursday (May 16). The win was the 97th in Freed's career.
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).