Two Sun Devils Are Honored as #8 Softball Sets to Host #2 UCLA and #14 Washington

April 5, 2006

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Leading Off:

The #8 Devils added another big win to their record over the weekend as they topped the #6 Oregon State Beavers 3-2 in eight innings in Corvallis, Oregon last Saturday, snapping the Beavers' 28-game winning-streak, which included a win in their Pac-10 opener on Friday over #2 Arizona. The rest of the weekend in Oregon was rained out for ASU, as their game against Oregon was halted in the fifth inning with the Sun Devils up 2-1, and their game against OregonState completely postponed on Sunday. Both games will be played when the Oregon schools travel to Tempe May 11-13. The Sun Devils are currently tied for the Pac-10 lead with #2 UCLA and #7 California.


Two Sun Devils were honored this week for their accomplishments as Mindy Cowles was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after tying two NCAA records Wednesday against UTEP where she had three home runs and ten RBI against the Miners, which places her tied for second in both categories. Her fellow Devil, Katie Burkhart was also honored for her efforts as she was named the Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week as she picked up wins against UTEP and Oregon State, striking out 21 of the 50 batters she faced in 15 innings of work, including a two-hit win over Oregon State, who had not been kept to only two hits since their first two losses of the season back in February.


The Sun Devils also posted a new ASU record over the weekend as they broke the all-time season record for home runs of 45 with Kaitlin Cochran's two long balls against OregonState, giving them 46 home runs thus far with the majority of their conference play left ahead of them.


On Deck:

The #8 Sun Devils will set to play two Pac-10 foes this weekend as they host the #2 UCLA Bruins (30-3, 2-1 Pac-10) on Friday night at 7 p.m. and the #14 Washington Huskies (26-10, 1-2 Pac-10) on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be played at ASU's Farrington Stadium.


Bear Tracks:

The #2 UCLA Bruins are currently 30-3 on the season and are coming off of a 2-1 Pac-10 opening weekend, where they beat #9 Stanford and #7 California once each and fell once to the Bears in a tough 10-3 loss. Sophomore pitcher, Anjelica Selden, currently leads the Pac-10 in ERA with a 0.48 and opposing batting average .110, and is ranked second in batters struck out and wins with 218 and 17. The Bruins lead the Pac-10 in conference play in slugging percentage, (.513) triples, (1) home runs, (4) total bases, (40) and are tied for first with Stanford in stolen bases (2).


Hunting the Huskies:

Last weekend saw the #14 Washington Huskies lose one apiece to #7 Cal and #9 Stanford and take one from the #9 Cardinal last Sunday, to bring their Pac-10 record to 1-2. The Huskies are currently tied for second in doubles in the Pac-10 with 52, and lead conference play with 8. Sophomore shortstop, Ashley Charters also leads the Huskies and is tied for first in the Pac-10 with four doubles on the season. Washington's roster also boasts freshman ace, Danielle Lawrie, who was named this week's Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week after striking out 24 last weekend en-route to becoming the fastest UW pitcher to reach the 200 K mark. She is currently third in the Pac-10 in strikeouts and in saves, and leads the Pac-10 in conference play with a perfect .00 ERA. Washington also leads the Pac in conference play in ERA with a .70 and in batters struck out with 34.


We've Met Before:

The Bruins lead the all-time series history against ASU, with their last meeting on May 8, 2005 ending in an 8-0 loss.  The Huskies also hold the lead on ASU with an 8-0 win over ASU in their last meeting May 6 of last year.



Playing With Fire:

ASU leads the Pac-10 Conference in six offensive categories: runs scored (232), runs batted in (216), home runs (46), walks (158), stolen bases (76) and total bases (499) after eight weeks of play.


In conference play, ASU leads the Pac-10 in opposing batting average, with the Sun Devil hurlers only allowing a .074 opponent batting average and allowing only two hits and two runs thus far.


Freshman Kaitlin Cochran in her first season of collegiate softball, has exploded onto the scene to claim the first Pac-10 Player of the Week award of the season. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native thus far has batted 56-111 (.505) at the plate with ten home runs (two against OregonState), four triples, four doubles, 34 runs scored and 48 RBI. Cochran's 45 RBI have put her on a record-shattering pace, as the ASU season record for RBI is 52, only four shy of the title.


After eight weeks of play, Cochran continues to lead the Pac-10 overall in batting average (.505), slugging percentage (.883), hits (56) and RBI (48).


Sophomore shortstop, Mindy Cowles is another huge asset for ASU this year as she leads the Pac-10 overall with 13 home runs, three of which she hit in one game against UTEP on March 29, also batting in ten RBI in that game, tying her for second place in NCAA records for home runs and RBI in a game. Cowles was awarded Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of April 4, joining Kaitlin Cochran, who won the award earlier this year.


Their fellow Devils are no slackers either as teammate Michelle Smith is first in the Pac-10 scoring 37 runs. Smith is also leading the Pac-10 in stolen bases with 30 on the season and is only three stolen bags from tying the ASU single-season record of 33.


The Sun Devil pitching squad is also coming up huge for ASU this year as Ashley Werschky is currently tied for second place in ERA in the Pac-10 with a .57 average and fifth place with an .150 opponent batting average, with her fellow Devils Desiree Serrano and Katie Burkhart also on the lists in sixth and seventh place with a .96 and 1.01 ERA with Burkhart ranked fourth with an 1.37 opponent batting average.


Katie Burkhart also tied for the #6 spot for batters struck out with 186, with teammate Desiree Serrano in the #7 spot with 159. Katie Burkhart was also honored this week as the Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week for her efforts as she picked up wins against UTEP and Oregon State, striking out 21 of the 50 batters she faced in 15 innings of work, including a two-hit win over Oregon State, who had not been kept to only two hits since their first two losses of the season back in February.



The Votes Are In:

After starting off the season un-ranked, the Devils have not-so-quietly exploded into the top 25, with a #22 ranking after their first week of play and jumping rapidly into the #16/15 (NFCA/ USA Softball-ESPN) positions after just two weeks of play followed by a #13/12 ranking with yet another jump up four weeks ago to the #11/10 spots in the USA Today-ESPN/NFCA ranking last week and retaining those positions for a week before jumping to #9 in both polls for two weeks and finally moving into the #8/9 spots this week.


Statistics 101:

The 2006 squad has already begun to show their prowess in breaking records as they have as a team has hit 46 home runs in 40 games, already superseding their total of 34 from last year's entire season, as well as breaking the all-time ASU season record of 45, set by the 2003 Sun Devil squad.  The Sun Devils have also batted in 216 RBI, which is more than last year's season total of 158 and only 43 RBI from breaking ASU's all-time team RBI per season of 259 set in 1996. ASU has already shown their speed and confidence on the base-paths as well, going 76-87 in stolen base attempts, where last season they only stole 34 bases all season.  Last season's Sun Devils plated 177 runs total on the season, while currently they have 232 runs on the season, 62 shy of ASU's all-time season record by the 1996 team. ASU has also connected for 315 hits with a slugging percentage of .476 while posting a 6.87 ERA on their opposing pitchers.  The Sun Devil defense has also held its opponents to only 51 runs off of 158 hits and a .164 batting average.


A Threat in the Third:

The Sun Devils have found their groove in the middle of games as the majority of their runs scored (43) have come in the third inning against opponents.


It's Getting Drafty in Here...

ASU's own senior pitcher, Desiree Serrano was drafted into the National Professional Fastpitch League in February by ASU's own in-state team, the Arizona Heat. The Heat also drafted Arizona pitcher Alicia Hollowell and Stanford shortstop, Lauren Lappin. 


Tough Schedule/Tougher Conference:

The Sun Devils as always find themselves competing against some of the best softball teams in the world, in arguably the hardest softball conference in the world in the Pac-10. Currently, seven of the eight teams of the Pac-10 are ranked in the top 25, including the number 2, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 seeds.  Since the Women's College World Series began in 1981, 17 of 24 National Champions have been Pac-10 teams, in 10 of those championship games, both teams were Pac-10 teams.

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