#7 Softball Hosts Oregon Schools in Final Week of Regular Season

May 10, 2006

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Leading Off:

The #7 Sun Devils (43-12, 7-9 Pac-10) wrapped up last weekend with a 1-3 record as they fell at #3 Arizona Wednesday before coming home to beat #9 Stanford before suffering two losses to the #5 Cal Golden Bears. ASU remains in 5th place in the Pac-10 standings behind UCLA, Arizona, OregonState and California. The Sun Devils traveled to Arizona last Wednesday, but were shut out by the `Cats as ASU suffered a 10-0 loss to their in-state rival, with Alicia Hallowell pitching a two-hitter to the Devils. The Devils returned to Tempe to blank #9 Stanford 6-0 on Friday only to fall twice to the #5 Cal Bears, with the Bears pitching staff only allowing seven hits to the Sun Devils and one run, which came from Pac-10 home run leader, Mindy Cowles who put a solo shot over the left field wall in Saturday's 4-1 loss.


Katie Burkhart grabbed her 22nd win of the season as she garnered a 1.72 ERA in 20.1 innings of work while allowing only five earned runs. She struck out 32 while allowing only a .228 opposing batting average.


Over the weekend, the Sun Devils compiled a .183 average, while scoring seven runs on 17 hits with a slugging percentage of .226 and an on-base percentage of .269. The team was led at the plate by Jessica Mapes who batted .375 with three hits, and on the mound by Katie Burkhart who threw for 20.1 innings, allowing five earned runs while striking out 32 and compiling a 1.72 ERA.


The Sun Devils currently lead the Pac-10 in RBI (245) and stolen bases (82).


On Deck:

The #7 Sun Devils will host #6 OregonState (37-10, 9-7 Pac-10) and Oregon (24-24, 4-12 Pac-10) in the final week of regular-season play with a double-header against the Beavers on Thursday to make-up for a rained out game in Oregon earlier this season. The first game of the series will kick-off at 4:30 p.m. followed by the second at 7 p.m. The Sun Devils will take on the Oregon Ducks Friday and Saturday with a continuation of their rained out game, which has the Devils leading 2-1 in the fifth inning, taking place at 5:30 on Friday followed by another game at 7 p.m. The Sun Devils will wrap their season up on Saturday against the Ducks as they honor the senior class of 2006 before a 1 p.m. start time.


In the Beaver Den:

The #6 Oregon State Beavers are currently holding a 37-10 overall record and rank 3rd in the Pac-10 with a 9-7 conference record. Last weekend the Beavers went 0-2 as they dropped consecutive 1-0 losses to #17 Washington and #1 UCLA before having their Sunday game at UCLA rained out.


Sophomore, Cambria Miranda leads the Pac in conference play in home runs with seven and is ranked 18th nationally in home runs per game with a .30 average and 13th in runs per game with a .98 average.  Also ranked nationally is OSU hurler, Brianne McGowan, who is 23rd in victories with 23.  The Beavers are 30th in batting average (.300), 27th in ERA (1.77), 12th in fielding percentage (.974), 29th in scoring (5.09), 14th in win-loss percentage (.787), 10th in home runs per game (1.04), 15th in slugging percentage (.476) and 28th in double plays turned (.38).


Duck Hunting:

The Oregon Ducks are currently and even 24-24 on the season with a 4-12 conference record after a weekend that saw the Ducks go 1-2 over the weekend with a 7-0 loss to #1 UCLA and a 6-3 loss to #17 Washington before upsetting the Huskies on Sunday in 11 innings with a 2-1 win.


The Ducks are nationally ranked 13th in triples per game with a .31 average and 3rd in double plays per game with a .50 average.  The lead the Pac-10 in triples with 15 on the season and in conference play lead the Pac in doubles (19), triples (3) and fielding double plays (12).


The Ducks are led at the plate by Suzie Barnes with a .313 batting average with 42 hits, four for doubles, five for triples while scoring 23 runs and driving in 10 more. Leading in the circle for the Ducks is Amy Harris with a 1.96 ERA, nine wins and 99 strikeouts on the season.   


We've Met Before:

The Sun Devils currently hold the all-time series lead over both OregonState and Oregon. In their last meeting on April 1, the Sun Devils beat the Beavers 3-2 in 8 innings to snap OSU's 28-game winning streak. The Devils now lead the series 57-24. While all games against the Ducks were halted due to rain in April, the Sun Devils still hold a 35-33 record over Oregon.





Playing With Fire:

ASU leads the Pac-10 Conference in two offensive categories: RBIs (245) and stolen bases (82) after 13 weeks of play.


In conference play, ASU leads the Pac-10 in opposing batting average (.198), hits allowed (88), and doubles allowed (6).


Beginner's Luck?:

Freshman Kaitlin Cochran in her first season of collegiate softball, 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 69-153 (.451) at the plate with 12 home runs (two in one game against OregonState and two off of UCLA's Anjelica Selden), four triples, seven doubles, 40 runs scored and 52 RBIs. Cochran's 52 RBIs have tied her for the ASU single-season record for RBIs which Kara Brun set in 2002. Cochran's prowess at the plate is becoming well-known as she has been intentionally walked eight times this season.


After 13 weeks of play, Cochran continues to lead the Pac-10 overall in batting average (.451), slugging percentage (.784), on-base percentage (.556), RBIs (52) and total bases (120).


Big Power, Small Package:

Standing at only 5-4, sophomore shortstop, Mindy Cowles has been another asset for ASU this year as she leads the Pac-10 overall with 15 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.


A Thief on the Basepaths:

Junior outfielder, Michelle Smith is 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, set by Kristin Farber in 2004. She also had a career game against Stanford where she hit two triples in back-to-back at-bats, bringing in all three runs for the Sun Devils in their 3-1 win against the Cardinal.


A Menace on the Mound:

The Sun Devil pitching staff is also coming up huge for ASU this year as they are 1st in wins (42), 2nd in the Pac-10 in ERA (1.20) and batters struck out (531), 3rd in opposing batting average (.177) and 4th in hits allowed (244) and runs allowed (95).


 Senior, Ashley Werschky is currently in first place in ERA in the Pac-10 with a .57 average and fourth place with a .150 opponent batting average, with her fellow Devils Katie Burkhart and Desiree Serrano also on the lists in sixth and ninth place with 1.16 and 1.46 ERAs and a #5 ranking for Burkhart with a .155 opposing batting average 4th for batters struck out (312).


Burk Alert:

Sophomore pitcher, Katie Burkhart has already been honored twice this season as the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week in consecutive weeks for her efforts against Arizona where she struck out 22 `Cats in her 10 inning complete-game win which ties her for sixth in NCAA history for strikeouts in a game, only one week after she threw 23 strikeouts against Washington, tying her for fifth as well. She has already surpassed her freshman total of 220 strikeouts which she posted for the entire 2005 season and currently has 312 strikeouts, only 4 strikeouts shy of tying the all-time single season record of 316 held by former All-American pitcher and current pitching coach, Kirsten Voak in 2000. Burkhart was also honored this season as the NFCA National Player of the Week. 


National-Born Leaders:

In overall NCAA standings, the Sun Devils are 11th in ERA (1.20), 16th in won-loss percentage (.782), 15th in home runs per-game (.98) and 21st in stolen bases per-game (1.49). Sun Devil individuals are showing up on the national radar as well with Kaitlin Cochran in 8th for batting average (.451), 26th in RBI per-game (.95) and 15th in slugging percentage (.784). Mindy Cowles is 24th in home runs per-game (.28) and 22nd in walks (.65). For the pitchers, Katie Burkhart and Desiree Serrano are ranked, respectively 26th and 42nd in ERA (1.16 & 1.46), 9th and 27th in strikeouts per seven innings (11.0 & 9.3) and Burkhart alone ranked 29th in victories with 22. Michelle Smith also made the list ranked 10th in stolen bases (.56).


The Votes Are In:

After starting off the season un-ranked, the Sun 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 (USA Softball-ESPN/NFCA) 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 and retaining those positions for a week before jumping to #9 in both polls for two weeks before moving into the #8/9 spots then and grabbing a #9/10 ranking before moving to a #8/10 ranking followed with a #7/10 ranking and a #6/10 ranking last week before settling in at #7/9 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 54 home runs in 55 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 245 RBI, which is more than last year's season total of 158 and only 14 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 82-98 in stolen base attempts, where last season they only stole 34 bases all season, and they are rapidly approaching the all-time stolen base record of 107 set by the 1997 team.  Last season's Sun Devils plated 177 runs total on the season, while currently they have 261 runs on the season, 33 shy of ASU's all-time season record by the 1996 team. ASU has also connected for 388 hits with a slugging percentage of .420 while posting a 4.18 ERA on their opposing pitchers.  On defense, ASU has held its opponents to only 95 runs off of 244 hits and a .177 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 (53) have come in the third inning against opponents.


Weekend Warriors:

This weekend is jam-packed with events for the ASU Softball Team as they host five games followed with their team banquet on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort and their Selection Show Party on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. at Jilly's in Chandler.  For more information or directions to both, please see the ASU Softball home page or contact Kerry Howe at (480) 254-8345.


USA Softball National Collegiate Player-of-the-Year Finalists:

ASU's Katie Burkhart and Kaitlin Cochran were both named to the USA Softball POY list of 25 finalists, with Burkhart remaining on the pre-season list and Cochran being added to the 25 finalists. USA Softball cut its initial list of 50 candidates in half, and will narrow the list down to three finalists before the Women's College World Series.


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 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 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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