Softball Returns To California For Seven-Day Trip

March 16, 2005

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UP NEXT: The No. 14/14 (USA Today/ESPN.com) Washington softball team (14-7) returns to California this week to compete in the Kia Klassic in Fullerton. The Huskies will face Nebraska, DePaul and Penn State in pool play before championship action opens on Saturday. Washington is coming off a double header sweep of Portland State last weekend, 14-4 and 9-0 in five innings.

A LOOK AT THE OPPOSITION:

No. 18/19 NEBRASKA (17-5)
Series vs. UW: Huskies lead 4-2
Last meeting: UW has won the last four in a row including a 3-0 victory on March 4, 2001 at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah.
Notes: Nebraska won all five of its games last week to capture the Shocker Invitational title. Four Huskers are hitting .400 or better, including Anne Staffan (.539, 41-for-76), Lizzy Rock (.477, 31-for-65), Sheena Lawrick (.468, 29-for-62) and Jessica Yoachim (.400, 26-for-65). Lawrick leads the team with 29 RBIs, including five home runs, while Katie Linke has hit four home runs. Jordan Keen headlines the Nebraska pitching staff with a 7-1 record and 1.53 ERA. Ashley DeBuhr has a 8-4 record and 1.67 earned run average for the Huskers. Former Husky All-American Jen Cline is an assistant coach for Nebraska and was teammates with current UW coaches Heather Tarr and Eve Gaw.

DEPAUL (6-8)
Series vs. UW:
Huskies lead 7-1
Last meeting: UW has won three in a row, including all three meetings in 2000. The Huskies won 6-0 and 2-1 games on March 18 and 21 at the NFCA Classic in Columbus, Ga., and a 3-2 game on May 25 at the Women's College World Series.
Notes: DePaul rebounded from a five game skid that included just one run scored to wins its final two games at the NFCA Classic in Columbus, Ga. The Blue Demons defeated San Diego State, 4-3, and Florida Atlantic, 2-0. Dana Kenney leads the offense with a .382 (13-for-34) average, while Saskia Roberson is hitting at a .310 clip (13-for-42), including three home runs. Megan Huitink (2-6) and Tracie Adix (4-2) headline the DePaul pitching staff with 2.27 and 3.07 ERAs, respectively. Former Husky pitcher Leslie Scott is in her senior year with the Blue Demons. Scott has made one appearance, giving up four hits and two runs in two innings of work.

PENN STATE (10-7)
Series vs. UW:
Penn State leads 1-0
Last meeting: Penn State won a 4-3 game on Feb. 22, 2002 at the NFCA Classic in Columbus, Ga.
Notes: Penn State went 4-2 last week at the Speedline Invitational. Ashley Esparza leads the Nittany Lion offense with a .400 average (20-for-50), while Hollee Haines and Jenn Reynolds are batting .392 and .391, respectively. Missy Beseres leads the pitching staff with a 5-4 record, including three shutouts. Reynolds boasts a team-low 1.46 earned run average and has a 2-2 record.

WASHINGTON IN THE POLLS: The Huskies are ranked 14th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball and USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 polls. The Huskies have been ranked in the NFCA poll for each of the last 146 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 129 poll datings, a streak that began with the preseason poll in 1996.

TWO GAMES TO BE TELEVISED BY FSN: Two Washington softball games will air on FSN this season. The April 15 game vs. Arizona at noon will air tape delayed, while the April 16 match-up vs. Arizona State will air live at 1 pm.

MINOR ENTERS HOME RUN TOP 10 LIST: Junior Aimee Minor has belted six home runs this season to bring her career total to 15. She ranks 10th on the UW all-time career list and trails Michelle Church who holds the No. 9 spot with 20 home runs. Minor has hit two home runs in the same game twice this season. She hit two homers vs. Ohio State on Feb. 26 at the Palm Springs Classic and two against Portland Sate in the first game of a double header on March 12.

RIVERA APPROACHES CAREER HOME RUN AND WALKS RECORDS: Senior Kristen Rivera has hit 10 home runs and has drawn 24 walks (12 intentional) this season to bring her career totals to 68 home runs and 136 walks. She ranks No. 2 all-time on the UW home run list behind Jaime Clark (73) and ranks third all-time on the walk list behind Kim DePaul (139) and Jennifer Cline (176).

STEALING EVERYTHING BUT THE KITCHEN SINK: The Huskies have stolen 39 bases in 45 attempts this season to rank second in the Pac-10. The 39 swipes matches the 2004 team's season total over 59 games. Freshman Ashley Charters leads the team with 16 steals in 19 attempts. Kristen Rivera is 5-for-5 on the season and Dominique Lastrapes is 4-for-4.

UW USES THE LONG BALL: Washington has smacked 30 home runs this season and have given up just six. The Huskies have hit at least one home run in 17 of 21 games this season and at least two home runs in a game seven times. Washington has hit four home runs in a game twice the season, including in a 17-7 romp of Illinois (Feb. 12) and a 14-4 win over Portland State (Mar. 12). UW has hit-back-to-back home runs five times this season. Sarah Hyatt and Aimee Minor have gone back-to-back twice, while Hyatt has also gone back-to-back with Jacki Hansen and Kristen Rivera. Rivera has also gone back-to-back with Kathy Fiske.

NOBLE TOSSES NO-HITTER: Freshman Caitlin Noble became just the third freshman in Husky history to throw a no-hitter when she held Kansas hitless on Feb. 26 en route to the 4-0 win. UW has had 23 no-hitters in its history.

BOEK THROWS THIRD NO-HITTER: Senior Ashley Boek threw her third career no-hitter with a 18-0 win over Willamette on Feb. 19. Boek also had no-hitters against San Jose State in 2002 and Morehead State in 2003.

UW SCORES BIG: Washington has scored double-figure runs five times 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 Huskies also defeated Portland State 14-4 on Mar. 12. 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.

UW FALLS ON SHORT SIDE OF ONE-RUN GAMES: Four of Washington's seven losses this season have come by one run. The Huskies are 1-4 in one-run ball games, losing to Hawaii 7-6, UCF 1-0, Tennessee 2-1 and Northwestern 3-2. Three of those loses came way of home runs. Washington's only one-run victory was a 1-0 win over Oklahoma State at the Palm Springs Classic. UW won that game with a home run by Dominique Lastrapes.

EXTRA-INNINGS MEAN EXTRA RUNS: The Huskies have played two extra-inning games this season and have won both. UW is out scoring its opponents 6-0 during the international tiebreaker and junior Aimee Minor has hit a home run in both eighth innings. She hit a leadoff two-run shot against UC Santa Barbara en route a 4-2 win and belted a three-run home run vs. Long Beach en route to the 5-1 win.

SCORE EARLY, SCORE OFTEN: Washington is out scoring its opponents 141-59 this season and is doing most of its damage early on. The Huskies are out scoring their opponents 47-7 in the first inning and 24-9 in the second inning. Washington's problem innings are the third and sixth. UW is being out scored 15-13 in the third inning and is even with its opponents 12-12 in the sixth.

BOEK CRACKS TOP FIVE: Ashley Boek has cracked into the UW career top five list in numerous categories this season. Boek ranks fifth in wins (75), appearances (136) and starts (115). She has 701 career strikeouts and is 48 K's away from the No. 2 spot on the Husky charts held by Tia Bollinger (735).

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 59 extra-base hits this season and have given up just 19. Washington has hit 27 doubles, two triples and 30 home runs compared to its opponent's 12 doubles, triple and six home runs. Eight different Huskies have hit home runs this season, including Kristen Rivera (10), Sarah Hyatt (6), Aimee Minor (6), Kathy Fiske (3), Callie Bergan (1), Ashley Charters (1), Jacki Hansen (1) and Dominique Lastrapes (1).

FANNING THE COMPETITION: Freshman Caitlin Noble has struck out 110 batters in 62 innings, averaging 12.42 K's per game. Noble has struck out at least 10 batters seven times. Ashley Boek is averaging 8.44 strikeouts per game has struck out 10 or more batters twice this season.

IN GRAND FASHION: Seniors Callie Bergan and Kristen Rivera have hit grand slams this season. 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. Rivera hit her second career grand slam against Portland State on Mar. 12. Her first grand slam came last year vs. Arizona State on April 3.

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 either the USA Today/ NFCA Top 25 poll or ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll. Washington has already faced six ranked opponents, defeating No. 13 Oregon, No. 22 Illinois and No. 25 Long Beach State. UW's ranked loses were to No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 13 Tennessee and No. 16 Texas A&M. Washington will also take on six ranked teams during the Pac-10 season, including No. 1/1 Arizona, No. 2/2 California, No. 3/3 Stanford, No. 4/7 UCLA, No. 17/17 Oregon State and No. 21/22 Arizona State. The Huskies are also slated to face No. 18/19 Nebraska. Washington is 3-3 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.

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