Softball Plays Three Games In California This Week

March 23, 2004

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THIS WEEKEND: The ninth-ranked Washington softball team (22-6) has three games on tap this week before kicking off the Pacific-10 schedule April 3-5 against the Arizona schools. The Huskies will play at Cal State Northridge on Wed., Mar. 24 (2 p.m.) and at Cal State Fullerton against Northwestern (4 p.m.) and the Titans (6 p.m.) on Fri., Mar. 26.

SCOUTING CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: Cal State Northridge (18-6) is riding a three-game winning streak after beating Michigan State and North Texas twice. Christine Bedwell, who is hitting .360, leads the team with 27 hits and 21 RBIs. She has 12 extra-base hits, including five doubles, two triples and two home runs for a .680 slugging percentage. Sondra Milchiker is hitting .293 and has tallied 10 extra-base hits with a team-leading seven doubles and five home runs. The CSUN pitching staff is led by Kia Fennell with an 8-5 record, 1.93 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 87 innings. Fennell has thrown three shutouts this season and is hitting .389 with seven runs batted in. Washington trails Cal State Northridge in the all-time series 4-5 but has won four of the last five match-ups. The last game between these team was in 2002 when UW defeated the Matadors 10-0. Kathy Fiske hit a grand slam in that victory.

SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN: Northwestern (14-5) was 3-1 over the weekend at the Hawaii Invitational defeating Utah, Hawaii and Nittaidi- a Japanese University, before falling to No. 3 California 4-2. The Wildcats have a pair of solid pitchers in Courtney Foster and Eileen Canney. Foster is 7-4 with a team-low 1.40 ERA and 99 strikeouts in 70 innings pitched. Canney is 7-1 on the season with a 2.74 ERA, five shutouts and 63 strikeouts in 58.2 innings of work. NU has two players hitting above .300, including Erin Mobley and Garland Cooper. Mobley is hitting .424 (25-for-59) with 10 RBIs. Cooper is hitting .353 (18-for-51) with six doubles, four home runs and a team-best 13 runs batted in. Washington leads Northwestern in the all-time series 6-2, including a 2-1 record last season.

SCOUTING CAL STATE FULLERTON: Cal State Fullerton (8-19) went 1-4 last week at the Kia Klassic, defeating No. 13 Pacific (5-4 in eight innings) and losing to the US Olympic Team, No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette, DePaul and No. 4 Florida State. The Titans are hitting .226 as a team are have been out scored by their opponents 138-72. Julie Watson is CSUF's only player hitting above .300 with a .426 (40-for-94) clip. Lindsay Bashor leads the team with five home runs and Candice Baker leads the squad with 15 RBIs. Cal State Fullerton's pitching staff has a combined 4.01 ERA and is led by Brooke Weekley with a 5-8 record and 3.50 earned run average. Washington leads CSUF in the all-time series 11-5 including a 5-4 victory last season.

MINOR NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Aimee Minor was named Pac-10 Player of the Week on March 23 after leading Washington to the Kia Klassic Championship. Minor had a .533 (8-for-15) batting average and seven RBIs in five games. She boasted a 1.133 slugging percentage, including a double, triple and two home runs. Against Texas A&M on March 18, Minor had two hits and helped the Huskies get off to a fast start as she singled and scored a run in the first inning. The run proved to be all the Huskies would need, as they beat the Aggies 5-0. Minor saved her best game of the weekend for the championship game against No. 1 Arizona. Minor led Washington to a 7-6 upset of the top-ranked Wildcats as she was 3-for-3, including a double and two home runs. She knocked in six of the Huskies seven runs, as Washington ended Arizona's 34-game win streak.

HUSKIES WIN KIA KLASSIC: Washington won the Kia Klassic in Fullerton, Calif., March 18-21, defeating top-ranked and previously unbeaten Arizona 7-6 in the championship game. The Huskies swept through pool play, defeating No. 13 Pacific, Texas A&M and Princeton to receive a first round bye in the championship bracket. UW defeated seventh-ranked Oklahoma 1-0 in eight innings in the second round and advanced to the championship game when Florida State forfeited. In the championship, Aimee Minor went 3-for-3, including a double and a pair of two-run home runs with six RBIs to life Washington to victory and hand Arizona its first loss of the season. Ashley Boek finished the tournament 4-0 with a save and a 0.68 ERA. She struck out 33 batters in 31 innings and held her opponents to a .183 batting average. Dena Tyson also had a solid weekend for the Huskies, driving in three winning runs.

IN THE CLUTCH: Sophomore Dena Tyson had the game-winning hit in three games at the Kia Klassic last weekend. She has driven in eight game-winners this season- more than double of any other Husky.

BOEK BLANKS THE COMPETITION: With eight shutouts this season, junior ace Ashley Boek has already surpassed her season total from last season. Boek has blanked her opponents eight times in 19 appearances this season and leads the team with a 13-3 record, 1.11 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 113.1 innings. Boek has given up just nine extra-base hits in 470 batters faced.

TAKING IT FOR THE TEAM: Senior Rita Roach has tallied nine sacrifice hits this season to lead the team. Last season, Roach tied the Husky single-season record with 15 sacrifices.

HYATT HITS 'EM IN: Sophomore Sarah Hyatt ranks second on the team with 27 RBIs and has had five multi-RBI games this season. Hyatt logged seven RBIs against Texas on Feb. 13 and five against Santa Clara on March 12.

HITTING IT DEEP: With a three-run shot against Arizona State on March 13, Kristen Rivera collected her 50th career home run. Her career total now stands at 51, which ranks second on the UW career-chart. She trails three-time All-American Jaime Clark who hit 73 home runs from 2000-03. Rivera leads the team with 10 home runs this season, including a solo home run against San Diego State in her first at-bat of the year. Last season, Rivera set the UW season record with 25 home runs, which tied for the national lead.

STREAKING START: Freshman Dominique Lastrapes made her collegiate debut with an 11 game hitting streak. She has notched a base hit in 25 of 28 games this season and has picked up 12 multi-hit games, including three games in which she recorded three hits. The school record is a 21 game hitting streak set by Rosie Leutzinger in 2000.

HYATT HIGHLIGHTS WIN OVER TEXAS: Sophomore Sarah Hyatt stole the show in the 14-4 mercy-rule victory over 10th-ranked Texas on Feb. 14. Hyatt hit two home runs in the game, including a game-ending grand slam. She picked up seven RBIs to fall one short of the school record. Hyatt is just the eighth player to hit a grand slam at Washington.

HUSKIES OPEN STRONG: Washington had a 10-1 record after the first two weeks of the season to tie for the second-best start in the program's history. Last season, UW set the school record with a 19-0-1 start and the 2002 squad posted a 10-1 start to the season.

MERCY-MERCY ME: The Huskies have invoked the mercy-rule six times this season. UW forced game-ending scores against San Diego State (8-0 in five innings), Texas (14-4 in six), Syracuse (11-1 in five), Dayton (10-2 in five), Santa Clara (11-0 in five) and Wisconsin (11-0 in five).

RECORDS WATCH: Ashley Boek struck out 33 batters over the weekend at the Kia Klassic to move into the No. 5 spot on the Husky all-time career charts ... her career total stands at 460 and surpasses Eve Gaw's 431 K's ... Kristen Rivera has drawn 25 walks (six intentional) through the first 28 games of the season and is on pace to break her season high ... Rivera drew 29 walks in each of her first two seasons at UW ... Sarah Hyatt belted her 11th and 12th career home runs over the week and needs just one more dinger to break into the UW top 10 list.

NIST RECAP: The Huskies finished second at the National Invitational Softball Tournament in Sunnyvale, Calif., March 12-14, falling to third-ranked California 5-4 in the championship game. Washington defeated Iowa in the tournament opener before posting three consecutive shutouts against Santa Clara (11-0), Wisconsin (11-0) and No. 20 Arizona State (5-0). Junior hurler Ashley Boek pitched all five games for the Huskies, striking out 37 batters in 30 innings and allowing just four earned runs for a 0.93 ERA. Kristen Rivera led UW with a .545 (6-for-11) average, while driving in 10 runs. Sarah Hyatt tallied seven hits over the weekend with 11 RBIs and a .417 average. Dominique Lastrapes hit .462 with six hits and seven runs scored. She drove in three runs in the loss to Cal.

HUSKIES TOP CANADIAN NATIONAL TEAM: Washington defeated the Canadian National Team 7-6 in eight innings on March 4 in an exhibition game. The Huskies collected 14 hits in the opener and overcame a three-run deficit to hand Team Canada its first loss of the season. The Huskies scored the game-winner in the bottom of the eighth on two hits. With Rita Roach starting the inning on second base, Team Canada intentionally walked Kristen Rivera. Callie Bergan followed with a single to the short stop and senior Amanda Oleson delivered the game-winner with a single into centerfield. Game two of the double header was halted due to darkness after two innings with the score knotted at 3-3.

NFCA LEADOFF CLASSIC RECAP: The Huskies went 2-3 at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga., Feb. 27-29. UW opened the tournament with wins over Texas and Army, before dropping three straight games to No. 11 Florida State, No. 12 LSU and Central Michigan. Kristen Rivera led the Huskies with a .364 average (4-for-11), including three home runs and eight runs batted in. Tia Bollinger tied her career-best strikeout performance against Central Michigan fanning 12. LSU and Florida State advanced to the tournament finals with LSU claiming the 4-3 victory.

CAMPBELL/CARTIER CLASSIC RECAP: Washington went 1-1 at the Campbell/Cartier Classic Feb. 20-22, dropping a 1-0 game to Long Beach State and defeating San Diego State 7-0. The Huskies had three games rained out on Saturday and Sunday, including match-ups against Fresno State, Auburn and Hawaii. Kristen Rivera led the Huskies with an .800 average (4-for-5) and a 1.400 slugging percentage. She notched five RBIs against SDSU, including a three-run home run. Tia Bollinger threw a one-hitter against the Aztecs, not allowing a base runner until the seventh inning.

FIESTA BOWL RECAP: Washington went 6-0 at the Fiesta Bowl Classic Feb 13-15, out scoring its opponents 50-11. The Huskies defeated Syracuse 11-1, No. 10 Texas 14-4, Texas Tech 6-0, No. 18 Texas A&M 4-2, Dayton 10-2 and Massachusetts 5-2. UW had seven players hit .400 or better, led by freshman Dominique Lastrapes with a .565 average. Highlights of the weekend included a two home run, seven RBI night for Sarah Hyatt vs. Texas, Kristen Rivera's 4-for-4 performance vs. UMass and Lastrapes's extension of her 11-game hitting streak.

USA SOFTBALL REPRESENTATIVES: Junior catcher Kristen Rivera is one of 14 players named to the 2004 Women's National Elite team by USA Softball. The team was chosen from the USA player pool and will represent the U.S. in the 2004 Canada Cup, U.S. Champions Cup and other events to be scheduled. Former Husky standout and three-time All-American Jaime Clark was one of three alternates to join the 15-member USA National Team roster that will compete at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

NFCA NAMES TOP ALL-TIME TOP 50 TEAMS: The National Fastpitch Coaches' Association released its all-time top 50 poll with Washington ranking No. 3. The poll was complied using weekly rankings from the 1995 season to the 2003 final poll. Joining the Huskies in the top 10 are five other Pac-10 teams, including No. 1 Arizona, No. 2 UCLA, No. 7 California, No. 8 Arizona State and No. 10 Stanford.

HEAD COACHES: Former Washington assistant coaches Scott Centala and Steve Dailey take over the reigns as co-head coaches for the 2004 season. Centala enters his eighth season on the UW coaching staff and has helped develop Washington's program into one of the nation's elite teams. Since joining the program in the 1997 as a defensive specialist, the Huskies boast a 370-124-1 record with an incredible .748 winning percentage. All totaled, Husky players have earned 20 All-America certificates, 45 selections to All-Pac-10 squads and 31 All-Conference academic honors during Centala's tenure.

Dailey begins his second season with the Huskies as the offensive coach. Last season, Dailey helped cultivate Washington's offense into one of the most powerful line-ups in the country. The Huskies pounded 75 home runs, including 25 by Kristen Rivera to set the UW record and tie for the national lead. Washington out scored its opponents by nearly double (313-161) and invoked the mercy-rule 11 times, including three times at the regional tournament to set a Washington postseason record. Dailey also helped the Huskies become more selective at the plate, increasing their number of walks and decreasing their number of strikeouts.

UW ON TV: Fox Sports Net has picked up Washington's April 17th game against Oregon State to air live at 2 p.m. The game will be played in Seattle.

TWO NAMED TO WATCH LIST FOR USA SOFTBALL COLLEGIATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AWARD: All-Americans Tia Bollinger and Kristen Rivera were among 40 college players named to an initial watch list for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. The award, which is considered the Heisman Trophy in women's collegiate softball and is the only national player of the year award, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country. Last season, Bollinger and Rivera were named to the top 40 list, with Rivera being named a top 10 finalist.

NATIONAL RANKING: The Washington softball team ranked ninth in the last USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 poll on Mar. 17. The Huskies have been ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 poll in each of the last 131 poll datings. Washington's 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 69 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 114 poll datings, a streak that began with the preseason poll in 1996. Washington is also ranked No. 8 in the Mar. 23 ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate top 25 poll.

ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The 14-player Washington roster includes 10 returning letterwinners and nine returning starters. The 2004 team is comprised of four seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen. Ten players hail from California, three from Washington and one from Oregon.

2003 SEASON RECAP: Washington sprinted out to its best start in the program's history and was the last undefeated team in the country with a 19-0-1 mark last year. The Huskies peaked in May, splitting their final Pac-10 games against top-ranked Arizona in Tucson to earn the No. 1 seed at the regional tournament in Lincoln, Neb. Washington powered its way through its regional competition, sweeping the field 4-0 and out scoring its opponents 35-1, including three mercy-rule victories, to advance to its sixth Women's College World Series. The Huskies opened the series with a 3-1 win over Oklahoma before dropping a pair of one-run heartbreakers to Arizona and UCLA to finish the season tied for fifth place. Kristen Rivera was a first team All-America selection and Tia Bollinger was named to the second team.

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