Softball To Compete In Palm Springs Classic
Feb. 23, 2005
UP NEXT: The No. 12/12 (ESPN.com/USA Today) Washington softball team (7-3) travels to Cathedral City, Calif., this week to participate in the Palm Spring Classic. The tournament includes 24 teams and is hosted by Oregon State. Games will take place at the Big League Dreams Sports Park in Cathedral City near Palm Springs. The Huskies have five games on tap, including match-ups against Northwestern, No. 16/19 Texas A&M, Ohio State, Kansas and Oklahoma State. The tournament will run Feb. 25-27 with UW opening on Friday against Northwestern at 3:30 p.m. The Wildcats received votes in both polls this week. The Huskies are coming off a double header sweep of Willamette, 8-0 and 18-0, last week.
SCOUTING NORTHWESTERN: Northwestern (7-3) is coming off a third place finish at the Florida Atlantic Worth Invitational two weeks ago. The Wildcats have won three games in a row, including a pair of wins over Boston College and a win over FAU. The team is led by Garland Cooper with a .440 average (11-for-25) and Stephanie Churchwell with a .412 clip (14-for-34). Sophomore Eileen Canney headlines the pitching staff with a 4-2 record, 0.99 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 35.1 innings. Former Husky All-American Jaime Clark is a volunteer assistant coach with the Wildcats. Washington leads Northwestern 7-2 in the all-time series, including a 7-6 victory last season.
SCOUTING TEXAS A&M: No. 16/19 Texas A&M (11-1) is off to its fastest start since the 1991 season. The Aggies won their first nine games of the season and boast a .395 team batting average and 0.99 staff ERA. Four players are hitting .400 or better, including Megan Gibson (.531) and Jana James (.513). Gibson has hit seven home runs and has a team-best 1.281 slugging percentage. Amanda Scarborough leads the pitching staff with a 6-0 record and 0.40 ERA. Washington leads TAMU 4-0 in the all-time series, including 4-2 and 5-0 wins last season.
SCOUTING OHIO STATE: Ohio State (4-1) opened its season last week with a third place finish at the Florida Atlantic University Doubletree Classic. The Buckeyes are hitting .352 as a team and are led by Jamee Juarez both in the circle and at the plate. Juarez earned Big Ten co-player of the Week Tuesday after hitting .700 (7-for-10) and going 2-1 on the rubber with a 0.78 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 18 innings. Washington leads Ohio State 7-2 in the all-time series, including a 2-1 victory in 2003.
SCOUTING KANSAS: Kansas (4-5) went 3-1 at the Hilton Classic, notching wins over Arkansas, UMKC and Utah Valley State and falling to Purdue, 2-1. The Jayhawks are led by Nettie Fierros with a .429 average (9-for-21), including four doubles and a home run. Christina Ross headlines the pitching staff with a 2-1 record and 1.27 ERA. Washington leads Kansas 3-0 in the all-time series, including a 8-0 victory in 2001.
SCOUTING OKLAHOMA STATE: Oklahoma State (8-4) has won five in row, including a 3-2 victory over Oregon and a 15-0 win over Panhandle State on Tuesday. The Cowgirls are led by pitcher Marjorie Johnson (4-2) who has struckout 69 batters in 38.1 innings and holds her opponents to a .185 batting average. Shanel Scott leads OSU's offense with a .432 clip (16-for-37), while former Husky Stephanie Nicholson is hitting .389 (14-for-36) with four doubles and three home runs. Oklahoma State is hitting .330 as a team. Washington leads OSU 10-2 in the all-time series, including 5-4 and 3-2 wins in 2003.
WASHINGTON IN THE POLLS: The Huskies are ranked 12th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 poll and the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 poll. The Huskies have been ranked in the NFCA poll for each of the last 143 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 126 poll datings, a streak that began with the preseason poll in 1996.
UW SCORES BIG: Washington has scored double-figure runs in four of its 10 games this season. The Huskies scored 18 runs against Willamette on Feb. 19 and 17 runs against No. 22 Illinois on Feb. 12. UW opened the season with a 12-0 win over Jacksonville (Feb. 5) and an 11-0 win over IPFW (Feb. 4). The UW record for runs scored in a game is 28, set in a 28-0 victory over Stanford on April 23, 1993.
NOBLE SETS STRIKEOUT RECORD: Freshman Caitlin Noble struck out 16 batters against Willamette in six innings on Feb. 19 to set a UW record for most strikeouts in a regulation game. The previous record of 15 strikeouts in seven innings was set by current Husky pitching coach Eve Gaw. Gaw fanned 15 against Western Washington on April 9, 1995. The most strikeouts in Washington history is 18, set by Jennifer Spediacci in a nine inning game against Oregon State on May 13, 2000.
FIRST INNING RALLIES: Washington is out scoring its opponents 83-19 overall and 40-1 in the first inning. UW has a 5-1 record when it scores in the first inning.
BOEK CRACKS TOP FIVE: With five appearances and four wins at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic in Las, Vegas, Feb. 11-13, senior Ashley Boek cracked into the UW career top five list. Boek now ranks fifth with 71 wins and 127 appearances, surpassing current pitching coach Eve Gaw's 69 wins and 125 appearances.
FISKE OUT 4-6 WEEKS: Senior third baseman Kathy Fiske suffered a broken left hand on Feb. 5 vs. Tennessee after being hit by a pitch. She broke the fifth metacarpal bone in two places and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. At the time, Fiske led the team with a .450 average and 10 RBIs.
BANG FOR YOUR BUCK: The Huskies have pounded 34 extra-base hits this season and have given up just seven. Washington has hit 20 doubles and 14 home runs compared to its opponent's two doubles, triple and four home runs.
RIVERA CHASES HOME RUN RECORD: Senior Kristen Rivera has hit five home runs this season to bring her career total to 63. She ranks second on the UW all-time career list, trailing Jaime Clark who hit 73 home runs from 2000-03.
FANNING THE COMPETITION: Freshman Caitlin Noble has struck out 60 batters in 31.1 innings, averaging 1.92 K's per frame. Noble has struck out at least eight batters in each appearance this season and has struck out at least 11 batters four other times.
BACK-TO-BACK: Sarah Hyatt and Jacki Hansen hit back-to-back home runs in the 11-0 victory over IPFW on Feb. 4. The home run marked the first collegiate extra-base hit for Hansen. Kristen Rivera and Kathy Fiske hit back-to-back home runs in the 17-7 win over Illinois on Feb. 11.
BERGAN HITS GRAND SLAM: Senior Callie Bergan hit her first career grand slam vs. Jacksonville in the season-opener in Honolulu on Feb. 3. The hit marked the first home run of her career and only her second-ever extra-base hit. Her five RBI's also marked a career game-high. She had just eight in her first three years at Washington.
HUSKIES WIN HAWAII PARADISE CLASSIC: Washington opened the 2005 season with a 3-1 record at the Hawaii Paradise Classic to earn the tournament title. The Huskies tied with Hawaii and Oregon in the team standings but won the tournament title with the tie breaker (least runs scored against: seven). UW defeated Jacksonville (12-0), IPFW (11-0) and No. 13 Oregon (6-0), before falling to host UH (7-6). Senior Kristen Rivera earned MVP honors as she hit .667 (6-for-9) with seven RBIs, six runs scored and two home runs. She was the Offensive MVP of the same tournament in 2003. Three other UW players earned all-tournament honors, including pitcher Ashley Boek, third baseman Kathy Fiske and outfielder Jacki Hansen. Washington out hit its opponents .340 to .233 and out scored its opponents 35-7.
CHALLENGING SCHEDULE: Washington's schedule includes 11 teams currently ranked in the USA Today/ NFCA Top 25 poll and three other teams who have received votes. Washington has already faced three ranked opponents, defeating No. 13 Oregon (now ranked 18th), 6-0 and No. 22 Illinois (now receiving votes), 17-7. The Huskies lost to No. 13 Tennessee (now ranked fifth), 2-1. Washington will also take on six ranked teams during the Pac-10 season, including No. 1 California, No. 2 Arizona, No. 3 UCLA, No. 4 Stanford, No. 18 Oregon and No. 22 Oregon State. The Huskies are also slated to face Northwestern and Arizona State- each received votes in the lastest poll. Washington is 2-1 against ranked teams this season.
COLLEGIATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST: The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, and USA Softball announced its initial watch list for the fourth annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Two Huskies were named on the list, including sophomore second baseman Dominique Lastrapes and senior catcher Kristen Rivera. Both players earned All-America honors last season. 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.
UW PICKED SIXTH: Washington was selected to finish sixth in the league by the Conference softball coaches. Head Coach Heather Tarr, who enters her first season at the helm of the UW program, returns seven starters for the 2005 campaign, including All-American catcher and 2004 Pac-10 Player of the Year Kristen Rivera and All-American second baseman Dominique Lastrapes. Tarr, a former player at Washington, aims to guide the Huskies to their 12th postseason appearance and eighth Women's College World Series. California was picked to win the Pac-10 Conference after receiving 44 points, including three first place votes. Arizona, the 2004 Pac-10 Champion, was picked to finish second with 43 points, while 2004 National Champion UCLA was tabbed third with 42 points.
ROSTER BREAKDOWN: The 17-player Washington roster includes 10 returning letterwinners and seven returning starters. The 2005 team is comprised of five seniors, four juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen. Eight players hail from Washington, eight from California and one from Oregon.
HEAD COACH Heather Tarr: Heather Tarr, a former Washington softball player, embarks on her first season as its head coach after a six-year stint at Pacific as an assistant coach and most recently as the associate head coach. At Pacific, the Tigers posted a 232-124 (.652) overall record and 90-44 (.672) mark in the Big West Conference. In 2001, she and Pacific head coach Brian Kolze were named the 2001 NFCA West Region Coaching Staff of the Year after guiding the Tigers to within one win of the Women's College World Series and a No. 18 final national ranking. Tarr joined Pacific prior to the 1999 season after an outstanding career as a Husky. As a four-year letterwinner, Tarr helped lead UW to a second place finish at the Women's College World Series in 1996 and a third place finish in 1997. She has a 7-3 career record at Washington.
RIVERA DRAFTED BY THE NPF'S TEXAS THUNDER: Washington senior Kristen Rivera has been drafted by the Texas Thunder in the first round of the 2005 Senior College Player Selections. Rivera was one of 21 athletes selected by six National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) teams over four rounds. Due to NCAA regulations, an active college senior-athlete may not sign with her respective franchise until their 2005 college season is finished. Senior selection rights expire July 15, 2005. The NPF consists of six team including the Akron Racers, Arizona Heat, Chicago Bandits, New England Riptide, NY/NJ Juggernaut and Texas Thunder. The California Sunbirds will remain a part of the league but is suspending play for 2005 while working this year to restructure with plans to field a team again in 2006 along with additional teams in other potential markets. Last year, the Texas Thunder won the inaugural NPF regular season with a 41-17 record.
HUSKIES ON THE AIRWAVES: KKNW AM-1150, through rights-holder Pioneer Radio & Sports, will carry 10 Husky softball games, plus any postseason play during the 2005 season. Longtime baseball play-by-play man Mike Brown returns for his eighth season behind the microphone, while John Cowley will deliver color commentary for his fifth season with the Dawgs. All games will air live on KKNW, and are also available over the internet at ww.gohuskies.com or www.newschannel1150.com. Here is the complete UW softball radio broadcast schedule (broadcasts begin 15 minutes prior to first pitch; schedule is subject to change):
2006 SIGNEES: The Washington softball team has received National Letters of Intent from five high school seniors and one junior college transfer who will join the Huskies for the 2006 season. The six players that signed letters did so during the early signing period, which runs Nov. 10-17. The late signing period begins April 13, 2005. The newcomers include infielder/pitcher Brooke Woodward (Vancouver, Wash), pitcher Danielle Lawrie (Langley, British Columbia), catcher Ashlyn Watson (Garden Grove, Calif.), utility Alicia Matthews (Olympia, Wash), outfielder Marnie Koziol (Renton, Wash.) and infielder Destri Keo (Woodinville, Wash).
TWO FORMER UW PLAYERS TO COMPETE AT SEATTLE SPORTS SUMMIT: After a three-day tryout camp in Chula Vista, CA, former Washington players Jaime Clark and Jenny Topping have been selected by USA Softball to the 18-member roster to compete at the 2005 Pacific Rim Sports Summit in Seattle in June. Clark, a 2003 graduate from Washington, had a spectacular collegiate career that included two appearances in the Women's College World Series (2000, 2003) and three Pac-10 all-conference awards. She finished her career with three school records, including career home runs (73), career runs scored (223) and career runs batted in (243). She was an alternate on the 2004 USA Women's Softball Team that won the Olympic gold medal in Athens last summer. Topping played one season at UW (2000) and earned All-America honors before transferring to Cal State Fullerton. During her freshman campaign, Topping led the nation in home runs (24), RBIs (90) and slugging percentage (.960). She was the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year and set Washington records for walks (56) and on-base percentage (.565). Topping was a member of the 2004 Olympic team.