Huskies Return To Las Vegas For Five Games

March 2, 2005

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UP NEXT: The No. 14/14 (ESPN.com/USA Today) Washington softball team (10-5) travels returns to Las Vegas for the second time in a month to compete in the Las Vegas Classic, Mar. 4-6. UW will open play against Drake on Friday night at 6:15 pm, before facing Illinois-Chicago (9:30 am) and No. 12/11 Oklahoma (11:45 am) on Saturday and No. 25/RV Long Beach State (11:15 am) and host UNLV (3:35 pm) on Sunday.

A LOOK AT THE OPPOSITION:

Drake (8-1)
Series vs. UW:
First meeting
Last meeting: N/A
Notes: Drake has won both tournaments it has played in this season with its only loss coming to Northern Illinois in its season-opener. The Bulldogs have three players hitting .400 or better, including Shanna Cook (.444), Katie Wappier (.440) and Lindsay Larry (.433). Cook leads the team with 13 RBIs and four of her 12 hits have been for extra-bases. Jessica Hicks headlines the pitching staff with a 5-0 record and 1.06 earned run average. She has 33 strikeouts in 39.2 innings and has thrown one shutout. Friday's game between Washington and Drake will be the first in school history.

Illinois-Chicago (7-5)
Series vs. UW:
Huskies lead 5-0
Last meeting: UW won 6-0 (Mar. 4, 2000)
Notes: Illinois-Chicago went 3-2 last week at the San Diego Tournament with a split against UC Riverside, wins over San Diego and St. John's and a loss to Nevada. The Flames are led by Cameron Astiazaran with a team-high .462 averaging, including 10 extra-base hits and seven RBIs. Astiazaran has already earned Horizon League Player of the Week honors twice this season for her bat. UIC will look to freshman hurler Mercedes Lovato to remain undefeated with a 5-0 record and 2.21 earned run average. UW may also go up against Brittany McIntyre who leads the team in starts but has a 2-5 record and 5.25 ERA.

No. 11/12 Oklahoma (15-4)
Series vs. UW:
Tied at 5-5
Last meeting: Oklahoma won 6-2 at the College World Series (May 27, 2004)
Notes: The Sooners have won 13 games in a row and won the NFCA Leadoff Classic title last week. The team is led by Kami Keiter who earned Big XII Pitcher of the Week honors after extending her scoreless inning streak to 35 innings. She is 6-1 on the season and boasts a 0.50 earned run average. Kristin Vesely is leading the offense with a .523 clip, including eight extra-base hits and 12 RBIs.

No. 25/RV Long Beach State (9-6)
Series vs. UW:
Huskies lead 6-1
Last meeting: The Huskies faced the 49ers twice last season, winning 3-0 and 7-0
Notes: LBSU entered the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 poll this week after defeating No. 3 Texas and No. 16 Texas A&M last week at the Palm Springs Classic. The 49ers are led by pitcher Meredith Cervenka, the Big West Pitcher of the Week honoree this week, with a 5-2 record. Kristen Miller leads the offense with a .360 average, while Lauren Johnson leads the team with three home runs and 14 RBIs. Three of Long Beach State's losses have been to teams ranked No. 20 or higher.

UNLV (10-8)
Series vs. UW: Huskies lead 4-2
Last meeting: Washington won 4-0 (March 1, 2002)
Notes: The Running Rebels are coming off a 2-3 performance at the Palm Springs Classic. The team is led by freshman and two-time MVC Player of the Week Marissa Nichols. Nichols leads the team with a .455 average, 16 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Pitcher Jacque Kerrigan has started 13 games for the Running Rebels and has a 8-7 record. Former Husky All-American Sara Pickering is an assistant coach at UNLV.

WASHINGTON IN THE POLLS: The Huskies are ranked 14th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball top 25 poll and USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 poll. The Huskies have been ranked in the NFCA poll for each of the last 144 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 127 poll datings, a streak that began with the preseason poll in 1996.

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