Seventh Seeded Softball Sets Sights on Provo, Utah For NCAA First Round Regional
May 16, 2007
This Week The Sun Devil Softball squad will open up 2007 NCAA Postseason play this week as the tournament's seven seed and will head to Provo, Utah to take on BYU, Cal Poly and Southern Utah on Brigham Young's home turf. The regional starts on Thursday with ASU taking the
The Sun Devil Softball squad will open up 2007 NCAA Postseason
play this week as the tournament's seven seed and will head
to Provo, Utah to take on BYU, Cal Poly and Southern Utah on Brigham
Young's home turf. The regional starts on Thursday with ASU taking
thefield for Game One against Southern Utah at noon mountain time.
Game times after will be determined by the outcome of the games.
Against the hosting BYU Cougars, who went 41-18 on the season
and won the Mountain West Conference title with a 16-4 conference
record, the Sun Devils are 4-0 all-time against sincefi rst locking horns
in 1974. The last time ASU played was earlier this season when BYU
traveled to Tempe to play in the Diamond Devil Invitational. ASU topped
the Cougars 8-1 with Burkhart on the mound. Before that, their last
match-up with the Cougars was in 2001 when ASU just barely edged
BYU 2-1 in eight innings.
The Cal Poly Mustangs possess a rare thing over the Sun Devils:
afl awless record. The Mustangs hold a 2-0 record over ASU with
theirfirst (and only) meetings coming in 1980 with two 1-0 Cal Poly wins
over the Sun Devils in their only match-ups.
Against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds the Sun Devils hold a
perfect 16-0 all-time series against the `birds since theirfi rst match-up
in 1977. The last time the Sun Devils saw SUU was in 2006 where ASU
played a doubleheader against the Thunderbirds in Cedar City, Utah before
facing them again in a tournament in Vegas. ASU took all three
games 3-1, 9-1 and 2-0.
If the Sun Devils were to advance past the Provo Regional as
the No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament they would automatically return
home as the host of their bracket's Super Regional. Possible opponents
include Stanford, Fresno State, Cal State Fullerton or the tournament's
10th seed, LSU. Games would be played on May 18 & 19 at
Top of the Pac!
This season, the 2007 Sun Devils have done something spectacular
in Pac-10 play. For only the second time in ASU history has ASU
claimed back-to-back winning Pac-10 season records.
Last year the team wrapped up the season at 11-10, theirfi rst
winning record since 1991. This season they have bested that as they
claimed a 13-8 record. The last time ASU had back-to-back winning Pac-
10 records was in their inaugural years in the conference in 1987 and
1988. Theyfinished 7-4 and 6-4 in those seasons for the only times ASU
has claimed the honor.
This year ASU placed six on the Pac-10 All-Conference team,
including Katie Burkhart as the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year and Kaitlin
Cochran and the Pac-10 Player of the Year.
Non-Stop Until they reach the top
In thefi rst polls of 2006, the Sun Devils were ranked fi fth
in in both the NFCA and USA Softball polls. The Sun Devils
have already enjoyed a new record in the rankings section
for this year as they attained their highest ranking ever with
a #2 ranking coming in Week 2 and continuing until Week 5.
The ranking also marked thefi rst time the Sun Devils have
ever surpassed the Arizona Wildcats in ranking and only the
second time they have passed UCLA (Last was in 2002.)
Rankings By Weeks: (NFCA/USA Softball)
Week 1 - 5/5
Week 2 - 2/2
Week 3 - 2/3
Week 4 - 2/4
Week 5 - 3/6
Week 6 - 3/6
Week 7 - 6/8
Week 8 - 7/9
Week 9 - 7/9
Week 10 - 8/10
Week 11 - 7/9
Week 12 - 7/7
Week 13 - 9/9
Week 14 - 9/9
Week 15 - 9/?Where they Stack up
As always, the Sun Devils will play one of the toughest schedules
in the country, with the always powerful Pac-10 Conference
schedule. Currently, the Pac-10 has seven of the eight teams
ranked in the top 25, with two in the Top-10 alone.
Leaders of the Pac
At the end of regular season play, the Sun Devils have found
themselves at the top of the Pac-10. Not only do they lead
the Pac-10 in wins, the Sun Devils are also dotting their
names in both team and individual standings.
The Pac-10 isn't the only place that the Sun Devils' stats are appearing.
They are also among the top perfomers in the nation. According
to NCAA stats:
- Rankedfi rst in batting average nationally (.500)
- Ranked seventh in slugging percentage nationally (.882)
- Ranked 12th in Runs Per Game (1.07)
- Ranked 12th in RBIs Per Game (1.08)
- Rankedfi fth in ERA (0.90)
- Ranked sixth in strikeouts per seven innings (11.4)
- Tied for seventh in wins (28)
- Ranked 12th in Home Runs Per Game (1.23)
- Ranked 13th in Runs Per Game (5.84)
- Ranked 19th in ERA (1.71)
Sophomore First-Team All-American, Kaitlin Cochran has kicked
off her sophomore season the same way she did her freshman:
phenomenally. Some of her stats include:
Current: 88 (A new ASU Single-Season Record)
Career: 171 -4 shy of 13th place in ASU Career History
2006: 83 total - 3 shy of ASU Single-Season Record
Current: 16 - 4th all-time in ASU Single-Season History
Career: 24 - 1 short of 10th place in ASU Career History
Current: 2- (Tied for 2nd in Pac-10)
Career: 6 - 5 short of 7th place in ASU Career History
Current: 18 (First in the Pac-10 - New ASU single-season record)
Career: 36 (Second in ASU Career Records)
2006: 17 (Was a new ASU Single-Season record)
This season alone, Kaitlin has had 19 two-hit games and nine
three hit games, as well as 16 games with two or more RBIs. Her
teammate, Bianca Cruz actually has 16 games as well with two
or more RBIs. Kaitlin's longest hitting streak in the 2006 season
was 17 games, she hasn't matched it yet as her longest thus far in
2007 has been 11 games.
Team With a Dream:
While the 2007 Sun Devil Softball team is chasing the currently elusive NCAA title, they have other goals in
mind. In the 2006 season they broke almost every offensive record in ASU history, and they're looking to break
them yet again. Some of the records they are currently chasing and have already broken are:
ASU Season Record: 307 - Set in 2006
Current total: 368 - New single-season record!
ASU Season Record: 82 - Set in 1999
Current total: 67
ASU Season Record: 66 - Set in 2006
Current: 79 - New single-season record!
ASU Season Record: 285 - Set in 2006
Current: 350 - New single-season Record!
ASU Season Record: 228 - Set in 2006
Current: 258 - New single-season record!
Record: 53 - Set in 2006
Record: 24 - Set in 2006
Record: 666 - Set in 2006
Runs on First and Third?
This year the Sun Devil offense has had an affi nity for starting off ahead. The majority of their 368 runs scored
on the season have come in thefi rst and third inning, with a total of 75 runs scored in the fi rst and 64 in the
third. They've also found themselves in trouble in thefirst though as opposing teams have scored most of their
150 runs in thefirst inning with 30 runs scored and 26 runs scored in the third.
Big Power, Little Package
Junior secondbaseman Mindy Cowles has once again proved why she is such a threat at the plate. Standing
only 5'4 Mindy set the ASU single-season home run record of 17 (tied with Kaitlin Cochran last year) and
this season has 15 home runs, which gives her a current total of 42, making her the all-time career leader
in home runs. She was also named Pac-10 Player of the Week on May 8th for her efforts against the Oregon
Beat em' to the Scoreboard
So far this season, when ASU scores in thefi rst inning, they've gone on to win 27 of the 29 games in which
they have. And for games that ASU drawsfi rst blood? They hold a 34-2 record.
Don't Call It A Comeback...
The Sun Devils have also proven that they aren't down and out when behind, as they hold an 15-13 record
for when the opposing team scoresfi rst and a winning record when trailing after one or two innings. Same
goes for when the are in a deadlock with their opponents, holding an edge in the record when tied in the
first through fourth inning.
Home Sweeeeeet Home
The Sun Devils have found their home at Farrington Stadium to be a welcome one. They currently hold a
28-3 overall record at home, as well as an 8-2 Pac-10 record.
Sun Devils to watch
The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, has selected
its `Top 25 List' for the 6th Annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award,
which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in women's collegiate softball, is designed to recognize
outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.
When the ASA cut the list of 25 to 10fi nalists for USA Softball National Player of the Year on May 9, two of
Burkhart has also claimed Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors three times already this season, thefi rst week
of the season and Cochran has claimed the award twice this season as well.
Burkhart was also named the USA Softball National Player of the Week this week on April 17 and the Louisville
Slugger/NFCA Co-National Player of the Week on April 18 for her efforts in the circle last weekend
against Cal and Stanford, pitching 16.2 scoreless (and nearlyfl awless with only two hits) innings.
At the Helm:
Head Coach Clint Myers enters his second season as the leader of Sun Devil Softball after a 2006 campaign
that saw the Sun Devils set offensive records in: wins with 53 (former record was 46 set in 2002),
runs with 307 (former record was 294 in 1996), home runs 66 (former record was 45 set in 2003), RBIs
with 285 (former record was 259 in 1996), walks with 228 (former record was 180 in 2000) and strikeouts
pitched with 666 (former record was 415 in 2004 and 1999). The 2006 team also recorded an 11-10 record
in conference play, theirfi rst winning record in Pac-10 play since 1991, placing them fourth in the Pac-
10 afterfi nishing last the year before and being picked to finish last in the coaches pre-season poll.