No. 18 Softball Heads To Prestigious NFCA Lead-Off Classic

Feb. 19, 2003

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CORVALLIS, Ore. -

No. 18 SOFTBALL HEADS TO PRESTIGIOUS NFCA LEAD-OFF CLASSIC; BEAVERS FACE A TRIO OF RANKED TEAMS IN OPENING ROUND OF ACTION

NFCA LEAD-OFF CLASSIC - COLUMBUS, GA
Friday, Feb. 21: No. 18 OSU vs. No. 25 Massachusetts - 9 a.m.
Friday, Feb. 21: No. 18 OSU vs. No. 11 Florida State - 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 22: No. 18 OSU vs. No. 20 Pacific - 7 a.m.
Saturday, Feb. 22: No. 18 OSU vs. Bracket play begins - TBA
Sunday, Feb. 23: No. 18 OSU vs. Bracket play continues - TBA
-all times Pacific-

NFCA LEAD -OFF CLASSIC: Oregon State is making its fourth consecutive trip to the NFCA Lead-Off Classic. OSU finished the 2002 tourney with a 4-2 record, posting victories against No. 19 Notre Dame ( 4-0), No. 6 Washington (3-0), Southern Mississippi (2-0) and Penn State (5-3). The Beavers dropped a contest to Texas A&M (7-6) in the tournament opener and were topped by No. 10 Michigan (3-2) on the final day.

TOURNEY FIELD: The eighth annual Lead-Off Classic features 24 of the nation's top collegiate softball teams, including six squads that reached the 2002 Women's College World Series. Off the 24 teams in the field, 19 competed in postseason play last year and 17 teams finished 2002 ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25.

SCOUTING NO. 25 MASSACHUSETTS: No. 25 Massachusetts enters the week with a 2-3 record on the season and is coming off a 5-2 win against No. 13 Arizona State. UMass has faced four top-25 opponents in its first seven games of the year, with losses coming against No. 14 Stanford, No. 10 Cal State Fullerton, and No. 4 Nebraska. Pitcher Kaila Holtz has a 1-2 record and a 2.13 ERA in 23 innings pitched. Holtz also boasts a .308 batting average. Aisha Franke leads the squad with a .444 batting average while Brandi Cross posts a .353 mark from the plate and four RBI.

OSU AND MASSACHUSETTS SERIES NOTES: Friday's meeting between Oregon State and Massachusetts is the first for both squads in program history.

SCOUTING NO. 11 FLORIDA STATE: No. 11 Florida State enters the week with a 9-3 record and is riding a five-game winning streak. Pitcher Jess van der Lind leads the team from the plate and the circle. Van der Lind boasts a .621 batting average with 18 hits to go along with a 1.96 ERA and 42 strikeouts in 35.2 innings of work. Five players on the squad are hitting above .300. Fellow hurler Casey Hunter holds a 6-2 record with a team-leading 1.06 ERA in 46 innings. As a team FSU is batting .299 compared to its opponents' .193 clip from the plate.

OSU AND FLORIDA STATE SERIES NOTES: The meeting between Oregon State and Florida State at the NFCA Lead-Off Classic marks the first for both schools in program history.

SCOUTING NO. 20 PACIFIC: No. 20 Pacific enters the week with a 6-2 record and is coming off of a double-header sweep of St. Mary's. Kristen Allen leads the team with a .478 batting average, including four doubles and five RBI. Natalie King has a 2-1 record for the Tigers from the circle, boasting a 1.24 ERA. Fellow pitcher Cathie Hacker is a perfect 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA in four appearances.

OSU AND PACIFIC SERIES NOTES: Oregon State boasts a 3-4 all-time record against Pacific and is an even 3-3 against the Tigers with Kirk Walker at the helm. The teams last met on Mar. 1, 2002 at the CSUF Worth Tournament. The Beavers earned a 5-4 victory against the No. 12 Tigers and Monica Hoffman struckout eight batters en route to her fourth win of the season. Alana Mendoza finished a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and scored a pair of runs, while Cara Maxey and Jessica King each went 2-for-3.

A LOOK BACK AT HAWAII: Oregon State opened the UNLV Classic with a 2-1 loss to Hawaii on Feb. 14. Hawaii scored both of its runs in the first inning and the Beavers struggled to put things together offensively. OSU got on the board in sixth inning when freshman Adrienne Alo's single plated Shelly Prochaska. Alo finished the day 2-for-2 from the plate while Prochaska went 2-for-3 with a double. Beaver ace Monica Hoffman suffered her first loss on the year (8-1).

A LOOK BACK AT No. 4 NEBRASKA: In a rematch of last season's NCAA Regional Tournament semifinal contest, Oregon State dropped a 6-2 outing against No. 4 Nebraska on Feb. 14. With the score tied at 2-2 heading into the fourth, Nebraska's Lisa Wangler belted a 3-run homer to give the Huskers the lead for good. Nebraska finished with 11 hits in the contest compared to OSU's six. Senior Clare Burnum hit her second home run of the season with a solo shot in the third. Brynnen Guthrie led the Beavers with a 2-for-4 effort from the plate, including a double. Peaches James picked up the victory for Nebraska to improve to 4-0 on the season while Monica Hoffman suffered the loss to fall to 8-2.

A LOOK BACK AT No. 20 SOUTH CAROLINA: Oregon State dropped its third straight contest with a 4-3 loss to No. 20 South Carolina on Feb. 15. The Beavers committed three errors in the opening inning that led to a pair of Gamecock runs. OSU had four errors in the contest. Senior Steph Adams blasted a 3-run homer with two outs in the top of the seventh to pull OSU within one run but it was too little too late. Monica Hoffman picked up the loss in the circle despite striking out five and allowing just four hits.

A LOOK BACK AT UC RIVERSIDE: Oregon State rallied back in the nightcap on Feb. 15 to record a 6-1 victory against UC Riverside. Shelly Prochaska and Steph Adams each homered in the third inning, with Prochaska hitting a solo shot and Adams connecting on a 2-run blast. Adams finished the contest 2-for-3 from the plate with a home run, triple, and four RBI while Prochaska went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Freshman hurler Amy Klever improved to 2-0 on the season, allowing just five hits in the complete game victory.

A LOOK BACK AT CAL POLY: Oregon State knocked off Cal Poly for the second time this season with a 7-2 decision on Feb. 16 in the final game of the UNLV Classic. The Beavers pounded 12 hits in the contest with sophomore Kelly Petersen finishing a perfect 3-for-3 from the plate with four RBI. Freshman Lisa Allen also went 3-for-3 on the day with three runs scored and belted her first career home run with a solo shot to center field in the fourth inning. Monica Hoffman was credited with her ninth win of the season and Amy Klever earned her first career save after throwing three innings in relief.

TOURNEY TALK: Senior Steph Adams had a breakout tournament at the UNLV Classic last week. Adams belted a pair of home runs to up her career total to 19 (second in the OSU career record book). The North Medford High grad also tallied seven RBI and posted a .917 slugging percentage over the tourney's five games. Senior Brynnen Guthrie continued her solid hitting in Las Vegas, finishing with a .353 batting average on six hits, including a pair of doubles. Fellow senior Shelly Prochaska also hit .353 over the weekend, belting six hits, three RBI and scoring a team-leading four runs. Prochaska's home run against UC Riverside on Feb. 15 was her fourth of the season. Freshman Amy Klever posted her second win from the mound in a complete game victory against UC Riverside on Feb. 15 and earned her first career save in three innings of work against Cal Poly on Feb. 16.

SUPER START: Oregon State opened the 2003 season with its hottest start in school history, rattling off eight consecutive wins before falling at the hands of Wisconsin (3-1) on Feb. 9 at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament. The previous best start in school history was held by the 1998 squad, who reeled off six straight wins before falling to UC Santa Barbara, 8-6, on Feb. 14 in the Hawaii Tournament.

SCORING RUNDOWN: Through 15 games of action, Oregon State has outscored its opponents by a 75-30 margin. The Beavers are averaging five runs per game and have scored five or more runs in eight of their 15 contests on the year. OSU has won six games by five runs or more, including a 7-2 victory over Cal Poly on Feb. 16.

HOMER HAPPY: Through the first 15 games of 2003, Oregon State has smashed 19 home runs - the Beavers totaled 17 home runs after 65 games played in 2002. Seven different Beavers have gone deep on the season with senior Cara Maxey and Shelly Prochaska's four homers leading the squad. Maxey belted a pair of home runs and tallied six RBI against Iowa State on Feb. 7, making her just the second player in OSU history to hit two home runs in a single game. Fellow senior Shelly Prochaska joined Maxey in the record book when she belted a pair of home runs just two games later against UNLV on Feb. 8. Freshman Adrienne Alo has three home runs this season. Steph Adams and Clare Burnum each have recorded two home runs thus far. Adams recently joined the Beaver long ball club, pounding one against South Carolina and UC Riverside on Feb. 15. Kelly Petersen, Brynnen Guthrie, Vanessa Iapala and Lisa Allen have all posted one home run so far this season.

LOOKING LONG: Oregon State has tallied at least two home runs in five of its first 15 games of the season. The Beavers pounded four home runs in a 9-2 victory against UNLV on Feb. 8.

BIG YEAR: Senior Cara Maxey has been a cog in the lineup for the Beavers on the season. The career .186 hitter currently ranks fourth on the team with a .341 batting average. Maxey's four home runs on the year give her nine career homers which rank in sixth place on the OSU all-time list. Maxey and fellow senior Shelly Prochaska are tied for the team lead in home runs with four each on the year. Maxey is a perfect 8-for-8 on stolen base attempts and ranks second on the squad in runs scored with nine.

GOOD AVERAGE: Oregon State has five different players hitting above .300 on the season. Two of the five players are true freshmen - Vanessa Iapala (.344) and Lisa Allen (.333). Seniors Brynnen Guthrie and Shelly Prochaska are leading the squad from the plate with .420 and .400 averages, respectively.

HIT AND RUN: Oregon State boasts 10 players that have scored at least three runs on the season. Second baseman Brynnen Guthrie leads the squad in batting with a .420 mark from the plate and has scored a team-high 12 runs.

STEALING THE SHOW: Senior Cara Maxey is a perfect 8-for-8 on stolen bases this season. Eight different Oregon State players have tallied at least one steal on the year and as a team, the Beavers are 24-for-30 on stolen base attempts. OSU tallied 41 steals in 59 attempts after 65 games in 2002.

MOVING ON UP: Oregon State's softball program moved up five spots in the Feb. 19 USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll to enter the weekend with a No. 18 ranking. All eight Pacific-10 Conference teams appear in the poll with UCLA and Arizona remaining the top two spots, respectively. California and Washington rank No. 5 and No. 6, respectively while Stanford falls at No. 12 and Arizona State at No. 14. Oregon State holds down No. 18 in the poll while Oregon garners its first appearance of the season in a tie for 25th.

PROCHASKA POWER: Senior catcher Shelly Prochaska went a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate with two home runs and four RBI against UNLV on Feb. 8. Prochaska is one of just five Oregon State players to finish a game a perfect 4-for-4 from the plate - a feat she has accomplished a school-record three times in her career. Prochaska currently ranks second on the squad in batting with a .400 average and leads the team in RBI with 15. Prochaska has advanced runners 18 times in 33 chances.

THE ACE: Senior Monica Hoffman boasts a 9-3 record on the season, just five games away from matching the 14 wins she posted from the circle in 2002. Hoffman has 63 strikeouts on the year and is currently in third place all-time at OSU with 360 career K's. Hoffman has faced 249 batters thus far, allowing only 49 hits and 21 runs in 72.1 innings pitched. Hoffman ranks sixth all-time in career victories at OSU with 36.

FOLLOW THE LEADER: Senior Brynnen Guthrie leads the Beavers in multiple statistical categories on the year. Guthrie currently leads the team in batting average (.420), at bats (50), runs scored (12) and hits (21). The steadfast second baseman is also moving teammates around the bases with her consistent hitting, advancing runners 10 times in 25 at bats (.400). Guthrie is also second on the team in total bases with 31 and is tied for the team lead five doubles.

PLAYING BIG: Freshman pitcher Amy Klever recorded the first victory in her career with a 9-2 win against UNLV on Feb. 8. Klever had six strikeouts in five innings of work against the Rebels. Her second win came in the form of a 6-1 complete game victory over UC Riverside, in which Klever allowed five hits in seven innings of work. Klever leads the Beavers with a 1.20 ERA and has 18 K's in 23.1 innings pitched. The Rex Putnam High grad earned her first save in three innings of relief against Cal Poly on Feb. 16.

FAB FROSH: Freshmen Vanessa Iapala, Adrienne Alo and Lisa Allen have made an immediate impact for the Beavers. Iapala belted a grand slam home run in her first collegiate at bat at the Southern Utah Tournament against BYU on Jan. 31 and currently boasts a .318 batting average. The San Diego, CA product leads the Beavers with five doubles and ranks second on the team with 11 RBI. Alo is batting .295 in 15 starts on the year. The speedy outfielder is tied for second on the team in home runs with three and has six runs scored. Allen is 8-for-21 from the plate for a .381 average and is batting a team-leading .545 (6-for-11) with runners on base. Allen belted her first career home run in a 3-for-3 performance against Cal Poly on Feb. 19.

FOUR MORE: Oregon State's softball program has made four consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament appearances, recorded four straight 40-plus win seasons and has been ranked in the final Top 25 poll four years in a row.

THE NUMBERS BREAKDOWN: Oregon State returns nine players from last season's squad that finished with a 40-25 overall record and made its fourth consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament appearance. Five seniors, who have contributed in three postseason appearances, dot the roster; Steph Adams, Clare Burnum, Brynnen Guthrie, Cara Maxey, and Shelly Prochaska. Seven newcomers join the mix for 2003.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Oregon State will spend its first six weeks of the season at tournaments across the country. The Beavers don't open play in the friendly confines of the OSU Softball Complex until March 15, when they host rival University of Oregon.

BATTLING THE TOP 25: Oregon State played 26 games against teams that were ranked in the Top 25 during the 2002 season and garnered victories in eight contests. Thirty-four percent of OSU's opponents (12-of-35) were nationally ranked a year ago. The Beavers held a Top 25 ranking throughout the season. OSU is currently 0-2 in games against Top 25 squads.

PAC-10 POWER: Seven of the eight Pacific-10 Conference squads finished the 2002 season ranked in the final May 6 USA Today/NFCA Poll, a listing follows: 1. California, 2. Arizona , 3. Arizona State, 5. UCLA, 14. Washington 24, Oregon State. For the second consecutive year, the Pac-10 had a pair of teams compete in the Women's College World Series (California and Arizona). California won its first softball national championship in 2002.

PAC-10 COACHES POLL: In a poll voted on by the Pac-10 coaches, Oregon State has been tabbed to finish seventh in the conference. Last year's regular season champion, UCLA, has been picked to finish first.

IN THE DUGOUT: Fifth-year assistant Jenny Condon was promoted to associate head coach during the summer of 2002. Condon helped lead the Beavers to their first NCAA Regional Tournament appearance in 1999. After a one-year stint at UNLV during the 2000 season, Condon rejoined the Beaver staff. Crissy Buck ,a former player for the 1999 NCAA Champion UCLA Bruins, joins the Beavers for her first season as assistant coach. A four-year letterwinner, Buck graduated from UCLA in 2002. Traci Feldt is also a new edition to the coaching staff and joins the team as a student assistant coach for the 2003 season. Feldt has called pitches for three Oregon State no-hitters - the most of any Beaver catcher.

THE WORD ON WALKER: Head coach Kirk Walker is in his ninth season at the helm for the Beavers. Walker, a graduate of UCLA, has turned around Oregon State's softball program to make it a contender on a national scale. Walker has led the Beavers to four consecutive NCAA Regional Tournament appearances. The winningest coach in program history, Walker, has an overall coaching record of 266-237-3 and a 59-138 mark in the Pacific-10 Conference. Walker has been selected as one of just 12 coaches named to the USA Softball National Team Coaches Pool, and has a chance to coach in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. Prior to his arrival at Oregon State, Walker spent 11 seasons at national powerhouse UCLA as a manager and assistant coach. During his time in Westwood, the Bruins won six NCAA titles and made 10 appearances in the College World Series.

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