This Week in Pac-10 Softball

May 23, 2007

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Three Pac-10 teams remain among the final 16 with the Super Regional round soon to trim the field by half down to the final eight. ARIZONA, ARIZONA STATE, and WASHINGTON all will enjoy the comforts of home for this weekend's Super Regionals. The format is a best of three game series with the winner advancing to Oklahoma City and the Women's College World Series ... the top-seeded Wildcats welcome Cal State Fullerton to Tucson where they will play Saturday and Sunday, with Saturday's game televised live on ESPN2 and Sunday's play shown on ESPNU ... No. 6-seed Washington hosts postseason play for the first time since 2000 as No. 11-seed Alabama travels to Seattle for a Friday-Saturday series ... also taking the field on Friday and Saturday are the No. 7-seed Sun Devils, who match up against the 10th-seeded LSU Tigers ... Arizona and Arizona State are seeking return trips to the WCWS where last year Arizona claimed its seventh national championship. Washington is two wins away from its first World Series trip since 2004 ... among the teams calling it a season last weekend, surprisingly, was 12th-seeded UCLA, which failed to turn a postseason berth into a WCWS appearance for the first time in all 24 postseason appearances. The Bruins had played in the World Series every year since 1998 ... OREGON was eliminated in heartbreaking fashion, losing the final game of the Columbia Regional in the bottom of the seventh inning to host-school South Carolina. OREGON STATE and STANFORD also finished as Regional runner-ups.

Best of three games

Fri., May 25

Seattle Super Regional
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 11 Alabama - 3:30 p.m.

Tucson Super Regional
No. 7 Arizona State vs. No. 10 LSU - 7 p.m.

Sat., May 26

Tucson Super Regional
No. 1 Arizona vs. Cal State Fullerton - 5 p.m. (ESPN2)

Seattle Super Regional
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 11 Alabama - 12 p.m.
No. 6 Washington vs. No. 11 Alabama - 2:30 p.m. (if necessary)

Tempe Super Regional
No. 7 Arizona State vs. No. 10 LSU - 4:30 p.m.
No. 7 Arizona State vs. No. 10 LSU - 7 p.m. (if necessary)

Sun., May 27

Tucson Super Regional
No. 1 Arizona vs. Cal State Fullerton - 12 p.m. (ESPNU)
No. 1 Arizona vs. Cal State Fullerton - 2:30 p.m. (if necessary) (ESPNU)


ARIZONA (15-5-1, 42-12-1): The top-seeded Wildcats swept their regional in Tucson last weekend, defeating Howard, Mississippi State, and Pacific by a combined 24-0 score ... Arizona will face unseeded Cal State Fullerton in the Super Regional on Saturday and Sunday. The Titans lost their opener at the Columbus Regional but then won four straight including wins over No. 16 seed Virginia Tech, and two on Sunday over host-school Ohio State for their first Regional tournament win since 1995 ... the Wildcats are 4-1 in Super Regional action. Last year they won games one and three vs. LSU, run-ruling the Tigers, 14-5 in the clincher ... Arizona is now 53-6 all-time in NCAA games at Hillenbrand Stadium ... junior Taryne Mowatt pitched 19 scoreless innings and three complete-game shutouts last weekend. She allowed five hits over 60 opponent at-bats for an .083 opponent batting average ... during the Regional, the Wildcats scored 24 runs in 17 innings and hit .363 as a team ... Pac-10 Champions for the 10th time in program history, the Wildcats are playing for its 19th Women's College World Series berth and third in a row ... the defending NCAA Champions earned the No. 1 overall seed thanks in large part to its No. 1 RPI and strength of schedule ... senior Kristie Fox currently owns a nine-game hitting streak ... senior Caitlin Lowe was finally caught on the base paths for the first time all season on Saturday. The NCAA's leader in steals per game had swiped 47 bases without being caught. Lowe stole two more Sunday to make it 49-of-50 successful attempts. Lowe, a four-time Pac-10 first teamer and 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, is second in steals in Pac-10 history with 156, trailing UCLA's Natasha Watley, who swiped 158 ... in other Lowe-related records, the senior is now sixth on the Pac-10 hits list with 341 and seventh in runs scored with 240 ... The Wildcats lead the Conference this season with a .400 batting average (30-for-75) with the bases loaded ... senior Chelsie Mesa's 22-game hitting streak from Feb. 10-Mar. 16 tied for the longest in the nation this year.

ARIZONA STATE (13-8, 52-15): The Sun Devils swept through the Provo Regional with a 3-0 record. After a difficult scrap with Southern Utah in game one which ASU took 2-1 in nine innings, the Sun Devils downed host BYU 7-1 on Friday and 6-3 on Saturday ... Arizona State hosts the No. 10 seed LSU Tigers on Friday and Saturday in this week's Super Regional round. The Tigers went 3-0 at the Palo Alto Regional, defeating Stanford in the final ... Arizona State went 2-0 in its only previous Super Regional, sweeping Florida State in Tempe last season to reach the Women's College World Series ... junior Katie Burkhart fanned 23 batters in last Thursday's extra-inning affair vs. SUU, tying her career-high and setting the benchmark for a Pac-10 pitcher this season ... Burkhart, the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, won each game for ASU, upping her record to 33-11 and tying the ASU single-season wins record which Erica Beach set in 2002. Burkhart also increased her school record for strikeouts in a season to 473, the fourth most in Conference history and 16th in NCAA history. Burkhart also is fifth on the Pac-10 career K's list with 1,113 ... junior slap-hitter Jackie Vasquez hit her first career home run in the final vs. BYU to provide ASU's final run ... ASU's 13 Pac-10 wins was its most since a 13-11 record in 1993. The runner-up finish is the best for the Sun Devils since 1991. Coupled with last year's 11-10 Conference record, the Sun Devils have now had consecutive winning seasons in the Pac-10 for the first time in program history. With one more win, ASU will tie last season's program record 53 victories ... Pac-10 Player of the Year Kaitlin Cochran is the nation's leading hitter, sporting a .497 batting average. She also ranks fourth nationally in slugging (.906) and 11th in runs per game (1.04 - 70 runs) ... junior second baseman Mindy Cowles recently became the new career home run leader at Arizona State, passing the old record of 40 held by Phelan Wright (2001-04). Cowles now has 42 for her career. She had four home runs over a three game span against the Oregon schools from May 4-6 ... Bianca Cruz's 36 two-out RBI are 13 more than the next best total in the Pac-10.

CALIFORNIA (7-14, 34-32): The Golden Bears' 22nd-consecutive postseason appearance was ended last week after they went 1-2 at the Tuscaloosa Regional. Cal defeated Florida State in the opener, 13-6, before losing twice on Saturday to Tennessee Tech and Alabama ... the 13 runs vs. Florida State was the most for Cal in almost two months, since they scored 18 vs. Liberty on Mar. 23. The offensive outburst was also the most ever scored by Cal in postseason play. Cal racked up 10 runs in the third inning, the most they scored in a single inning all season ... Cal boasted the fourth-best strength of schedule in the nation's No. 1-rated conference (RPI). With a squad that featured seven freshmen, the Bears also had eight wins against top 25 teams in 2007 ... despite an up and down 2007 campaign, head coach Diane Ninemire guided her program to a 20th consecutive winning season. Five players were named all-conference as well ... Cal set a school mark with its 49th home run of the season (courtesy of an Alex Sutton solo home run on May 19) -- the previous mark was 46 home runs set in 2004 ... Cal also established new single-season team records in runs scored (322) and RBI (278) ... after beginning Pac-10 play 2-11, Cal went 5-3 down the stretch to secure its NCAA bid ... senior Alex Sutton has been one of the best clutch hitters in the Conference this season. She is second with 23 two-out RBI, and batted .444 (20-for-45) with two outs, second in the league.

OREGON (7-14, 44-19): The Ducks endured a heartbreaking end to their season, losing twice to South Carolina on Sunday. After defeating Penn State and South Carolina in its first two games, Oregon needed just one win over the host Gamecocks, but South Carolina blanked the Ducks, 2-0, in game one to force the winner-take-all second game. In the decisive game, Oregon took a 3-0 lead into the sixth inning, but the Gamecocks tied it with three in the sixth and scored in the bottom of the seventh to end Oregon's season prematurely ... Oregon's 44 wins this season were second most in Oregon history. Oregon's single season record, 54 victories, was set in 1989 ... freshman Jennifer Salling put the finishing touches on one of the best rookie campaigns in the nation. She is among 10 finalists for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award, and is the only freshman among the nominees. Salling's .481 batting average is second in the nation and her 0.873 slugging percentage ranks sixth nationally. The freshman smashed Oregon's single season RBI record with 73 including five runs driven in during the Regional. The previous record was 47 by Katie Mackey in 1999. Her 46 walks is also a UO record, as is her batting average and slugging percentage ... senior Suzie Barnes broke two school records this season: runs with 64 (2nd in Pac-10), and stolen bases with 41 (2nd in Pac-10). She ranks 21st nationally in runs per game ... Oregon is far outpacing the rest of the Pac-10 in stolen bases with 126, blowing away the old team record of 85 from 1991. Arizona is second with 96 steals ... Oregon also set a team record with a .973 fielding percentage ... senior Ann Marie Topps established a new UO home run mark with her Pac-10-leading 19 long balls ... the Ducks put together an 18-game win streak from Feb. 9-Mar. 2.

OREGON STATE (10-11, 41-23): The Beavers earned their ninth consecutive postseason appearance but were eliminated by No. 9 seed Michigan on the final day of the Ann Arbor Regional. After dropping its first game to Louisville, Oregon State rebounded with wins over Eastern Michigan and a payback win over the Cardinals to reach Sunday's final ... Oregon State finished in sole possession of fifth place in the Pac-10, winning at least 10 Conference games for the third straight year ... senior Brianne McGowan picked up her 100th career win in OSU's victory over Louisville. McGowan finishes her illustrious career as OSU's all-time leader in wins, strikeouts (852), shutouts (36) and saves (13). The Reno, Nev., native also ranked second all-time in the Beaver record book for RBI (134) and home runs (35). Her team-leading 48 RBI on the year match the OSU single season record set by Shelly Prochaska in 2003 ... senior shortstop Mia Longfellow led the Beavers offense in her final few games, hitting .636 (7-for-11) during the Regional and scoring six times. Longfellow finishes her career as Oregon State's all-time leader in hits (242), singles (192), stolen bases (57), and at-bats (775). The Ramona, Calif., native also tied Adrienne Alo's (2003-06) all-time record with 141 runs scored ... junior Cambria Miranda leads the Pac-10 with six triples, and is sixth with 51 runs scored, as well as earning first team All-Conference for the second straight year ... OSU went a span of 32 games (Feb. 16-Apr. 6) without allowing more than four runs in a game.

STANFORD (7-13-1, 35-21-1): The Cardinal made their 10th consecutive postseason appearance, hosting a regional, but were eliminated on the final day by No. 10 seed LSU. The Cardinal dropped their opener, 2-0, to Fresno State, but fought back with a win over Cal State Northridge and then eliminated Fresno State to reach the match-up with the Tigers ... both wins came via Missy Penna shutouts. In Friday's two wins, Penna threw 14.0 innings, allowing no runs on just five hits and three walks while striking out 19. She also scored the only run in Stanford's 1-0 win over Fresno State ... Penna's 25 wins tied for fourth in the Pac-10 and her .193 opposing batting average also ranked fourth. Penna already stands third in Stanford history with 487 career strikeouts. She had 308 K's this season, third most in Stanford history ... freshman Alissa Haber was the offensive star for the Cardinal this season. Haber is 10th in the Pac-10 with a .365 batting average, and ninth with a .455 on-base percentage. Her numbers improved even more in Pac-10 play. Haber was sixth in the league with a .391 average and was also in the top-10 in slugging and on-base percentages, hits and doubles ... Haber is currently third in the Conference in average with runners on base. She is batting .463 (31-for-67) with runners on as opposed to .308 (34-for-111) with the bases empty ... Haber is also the only Conference player to record two different hitting streaks of greater than 10 games, recording separate 11-game streaks ... junior Michelle Smith led Stanford with eight home runs and 44 RBI. With 31 career home runs, Smith is just the fourth Cardinal to crack the 30+ plateau ... the young Cardinal will return most of its roster intact next season, losing seniors Lindsay Key and second team All-Conference left fielder Jackie Rinehart.

UCLA (12-9, 37-18): For the first time in 24 postseason appearances, UCLA--the winningest program in NCAA softball history--failed to reach the Women's College World Series, losing twice in the Los Angeles Regional last weekend. The Bruins opened with a 6-3 win over Loyola Marymount, but were dropped into the loser's bracket after a 3-1 defeat in eight innings to Hawai'i in the second game. UCLA then lost the loser-out game to LMU, 4-2, failing to reach the WCWS for the first time since 1998... UCLA is now 68-9 all-time in NCAA Regionals, and 154-36 overall in the NCAA Tournament ... freshman Megan Langenfeld set the stage for UCLA's future late in the season as she won six of UCLA's last seven games and was named USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Week for the week of May 7-14. Langenfeld finished third in the Conference with a 1.45 ERA ... several Bruin veterans had breakout offensive seasons. Junior Krista Colburn is seventh in the Conference in batting average (.382) and fourth in on-base percentage (.483). Colburn entered her junior campaign as just a .288 career hitter with a .345 OBP ... senior Lisa Dodd led the Bruins with a career-high 14 home runs. Dodd blossomed into one of the league's best hitters, vastly outpacing her career numbers from her first three seasons. Dodd batted .369 compared to a .236 career average, slugged .694 compared to .410, and had an OBP of .479 compared to her old career .305 OBP ... senior Jodie Legaspi finished sixth at UCLA in career RBI with 156, and sixth in home runs with 43 ... junior Anjelica Selden became UCLA's career strikeout leader on Apr. 29, surpassing the 1,095 strikeouts recorded by Keira Goerl from 2001-04. Selden now has 1,106 career K's, sixth most in Pac-10 history.

WASHINGTON (12-9, 38-17): The Huskies emerged victorious from the Lincoln Regional with a 3-1 record. Washington, the No. 6 seed, defeated Creighton and Georgia to reach the final day, then responded from a 2-1 nine-inning loss to the Bulldogs on Sunday with a dramatic walk-off 1-0 win in the third and final meeting with Georgia. Sophomore Danielle Lawrie held the Bulldogs in check in the decisive game, then led off the bottom of the seventh with a double. Pinch runner Alyson McWherter then scored on sophomore Alicia Matthews' game-winning single ... the Huskies have now won five straight Regionals, but will be seeking their first Super Regional win since the round was added in 2005 ... the Huskies will host No. 11-seed Alabama on Friday and Saturday in Seattle. This is the first time UW has hosted an NCAA tournament game since 2000 ... the Huskies are making their 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, tied with Oklahoma for the fourth-longest active streak. Washington has a 56-25 record in those games (42-9 Regionals/1-4 Super Regional/13-12 WCWS) and has advanced to the Women's College World Series seven times ... Washington finished the Pac-10 season in third place with a 12-9 record, marking its highest conference finish since 2002 (13-8, third) ... Lawrie threw all 27 innings for the Huskies at the Lincoln Regional, allowing 14 hits and two earned runs, while striking out 30. Lawrie had a 0.54 earned run average and held opponents to a .151 batting average ... Lawrie leads the Pac-10 with 11.71 strikeouts per game. Interestingly, despite trailing ASU's Katie Burkhart in total strikeouts by 70, Lawrie leads the league with 114 batters struck out looking ... senior Dena Tyson had a breakout final season for the Dawgs, finishing in the top-10 in six major offensive categories. Tyson's .827 slugging percentage ranked eighth nationally, and her 0.31 home runs per game average is 13th in the NCAA ... Tyson's 17 home runs this season are one more than her career total entering her senior season ... junior Ashley Charters muscled up in Pac-10 play, hitting six of her seven home runs against league competition and slugging .690 (6th in Pac-10) while still maintaining her speed game. Charters' 18 runs and 15 steals in Pac-10 games ranked third and second, respectively.

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