Women's College World Series Awaits Three Pac-10 Softball Teams
May 30, 2007
WORLD SERIES ARRIVES FOR WILDCATS, HUSKIES, AND SUN DEVILS
The 2007 Women's College World Series has finally arrived with eight teams converging on Hall of Fame Stadium at Oklahoma City, Okla. this week to crown this season's NCAA Champion. No. 1 ARIZONA, No. 6 WASHINGTON, and No. 7 ARIZONA STATE all reached the World Series with sweeps in last weekend's Super Regional round ... the tournament kicks off on Thursday, May 31 with all eight teams in action. The format is double-elimination, with the two teams left standing in each half of the bracket playing a best-of-three game Championship Series from June 4-6 ... the Pac-10's three WCWS competitors is the most of any Conference, followed by the Big 12 with two (No. 4 Texas A&M and No. 8 Baylor), and the Big 10 (No. 2 Northwestern), SEC (No. 5 Tennessee), and Big East (No. 14 DePaul) with one each ... this is the ninth straight year that the WCWS has featured at least three Pac-10 teams, but it will be the first World Series ever to not include a team from the state of California ... the Wildcats, making their 19th World Series appearance in the past 20 years, begin defense of their 2006 title with Baylor in Thursday's final game. Arizona is seeking its eighth title ... the Huskies are making their eighth WCWS appearance and first since 2004, and open with Depaul in Thursday's first game at 10 a.m. PT. Washington is seeking its first title after runner-up finishes in 1996 and 1999 ... the Sun Devils face 2006 runner-up Northwestern in their first game at 12 noon PT on Thursday. ASU tied for fifth in last year's WCWS, and this is the first time the program has made consecutive World Series appearances ... among the field, only Arizona and Texas A&M have won the World Series before ... the Pac-10 has captured 19 of 25 NCAA softball titles.
WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES SCHEDULE
Thu., May 31
Game 1: No. 6 Washington vs. No. 14 DePaul, 10 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 2: No. 2 Northwestern vs. No. 7 Arizona State, 12 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 3: No. 4 Texas A&M vs. No. 5 Tennessee, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 4: No. 1 ARIZONA vs. No. 8 Baylor, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Fri., June 1
Game 5: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 6: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 p.m. (ESPN2)
Sat., June 2
Game 7: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 9 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 8: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 9: Loser Game 5 vs. Winner Game 7, 4 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 10: Loser Game 6 vs. Winner Game 8, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Sun., June 3
Game 11: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 9, 10 a.m. (ESPN)
Game 12: Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 10, 12 p.m. (ESPN)
Game 13: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 9, 4 p.m. (ESPN2) (necessary if Game 9 winner wins Game 11)
Game 14: Winner Game 6 vs. Winner Game 10, 6 p.m. (ESPN2) (necessary if Game 10 winner wins Game 12)
Game 1: June 4, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 2: June 5, 5 p.m. (ESPN2)
Game 3: June 6, 5 p.m. (ESPN2) (if necessary)
all times pacific daylight time
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
May 26-27 at Tucson, Ariz.
No. 1 seed Arizona vs. Cal State Fullerton
Game 1: Arizona 11, Cal State Fullerton 6
Game 2: Arizona 2, Cal State Fullerton 1
May 25-26 at Waco, Texas
No. 8 seed Baylor vs. No. 9 seed Michigan
Game 1: Baylor 9, Michigan 0 (5 inn.)
Game 2: Michigan 3, Baylor 0
Game 3: Baylor 4, Michigan 3
May 25-26 at Knoxville, Tenn.
No. 5 seed Tennessee vs. Hawai'i
Game 1: Tennessee 9, Hawai'i 0 (5 inn.)
Game 2: Hawai'i 9, Tennessee 6
Game 3: Tennessee 7, Hawai'i 1
May 25-26 at College Station, Texas
No. 13 seed Florida vs. No. 4 seed Texas A&M
Game 1: Texas A&M 2, Florida 0
Game 2: Florida 3, Texas A&M 2
Game 3: Texas A&M 2, Florida 0
May 26-27 at Norman, Okla.
No. 3 seed Oklahoma vs. No. 14 seed DePaul
Game 1: DePaul 3, Oklahoma 0
Game 2: DePaul 7, Oklahoma 2
May 25-26 at Seattle, Wash.
No. 11 seed Alabama vs. No. 6 seed Washington
Game 1: Washington 4, Alabama 3
Game 2: Washington 7, Alabama 5
May 25-26 at Tempe, Ariz.
No. 7 seed Arizona State vs. No. 10 LSU
Game 1: Arizona State 1, LSU 0 (10 inn.)
Game 2: Arizona State 7, LSU 4
May 25-26 at Evanston, Ill.
South Carolina vs. No. 2 seed Northwestern
Game 1: Northwestern 6, South Carolina 1
Game 2: Northwestern 3, South Carolina 0
ARIZONA (15-5-1, 44-12-1): The top-seeded Wildcats swept Cal State Fullerton in Super Regional play in Tucson last weekend, advancing to the program's 19th Women's College World Series in the past 20 years and third in a row. Arizona's 19 WCWS appearances is second all-time behind UCLA's 22 ... Arizona holds a 51-23 record at the WCWS, and has won seven national championships including the 2006 title ... in the 2006 WCWS, the Wildcats defeated Oregon State and Texas in their first two games before falling to Tennessee. Arizona came back to eliminate Tennessee in the next game, then swept Northwestern, two games to none, in the Championship Series ... the Wildcats had a shocking start to the Super Regional, falling behind the Titans, 5-0, after the first inning, but went on to outscore them 11-1 the rest of the way to take game one, 11-6. Callista Balko and Laine Roth each hit three-run home runs in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, to pull UA out of its hole ... junior Taryne Mowatt led the Wildcats to the win in game two, allowing just one run on three hits as Arizona moved on with a 2-1 win ... Arizona is now 6-1 in Super Regional play ... the Wildcats swept through the Tucson Regional, defeating Howard, Mississippi State, and Pacific by a combined 24-0 score ... Arizona is now 55-6 all-time in NCAA games at Hillenbrand Stadium ... Pac-10 Champions for the 10th time in program history 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 had a season-high 10-game hitting streak snapped in game two of the Super Regional ... Mowatt's 446 strikeouts are tied for second with Alicia Hollowell on UA's single-season strikeout list ... in a fitting bit of news, senior Caitlin Lowe took home the first ever Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for softball. The award, selected by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented to college softball's outstanding NCAA Division I senior student athlete ... 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 ... 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, 54-15): The Sun Devils swept aside 10th-seeded LSU last weekend at the Tempe Super Regional to reach the program's sixth Women's College World Series and second in a row. ASU has now reached the World Series in both of Clint Myers' seasons as Head Coach, and this marks the Wildcats' first return trip to Oklahoma City following an appearance the previous year ... Arizona State has a 5-10 record in five previous WCWS appearances, and its best finish was a tie for third in 2002 ... last season the Sun Devils tied for fifth place, losing their opener to Texas, defeating Oregon State, then losing to Tennessee ... ASU's win in game two of the Super Regional was its 54th overall, breaking the single-season wins record set last season ... game one of the Super Regional featured a brilliant display of pitching on both sides, as neither team got on the board until Mindy Cowles ended the affair with an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning for a 1-0 win. Junior Katie Burkhart outdueled LSU ace Emily Turner, going all 10 innings and allowing only two hits and one walk while striking out 15 ... the Sun Devil offense got in gear in Saturday's game two, scoring four in the top of the first on Jackie Vasquez's first career grand slam. ASU went on to prevail, 7-4 ... Arizona State is now 4-0 in Super Regionals, sweeping Florida State in Tempe last season ... ASU was a perfect 3-0 at the Provo Regional, highlighted by Burkhart's 23 K's in a nine-inning win over Southern Utah, which tied her career-high and is the season-high for a Pac-10 pitcher ... Burkhart upped her record to 35-11, setting the ASU single-season wins record, passing Erica Beach (33 in 2002). Burkhart also increased her school record for strikeouts in a season to an even 500, the second most in Conference history behind Arizona's Alicia Hollowell who had 508 in 2004. Burkhart also is fifth on the Pac-10 career K's list with 1,140 ... 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 ... Pac-10 Player of the Year Kaitlin Cochran is the nation's leading hitter, sporting a .495 batting average. She also ranks fourth nationally in slugging (.897) and 10th in runs per game (1.04 - 72 runs) ... junior second baseman 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 ... Bianca Cruz's 38 two-out RBI are 15 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, 40-17): The Huskies swept 11th-seeded Alabama at the Super Regional in Seattle last weekend for their first ever Super Regional win. UW advances to the Women's College World Series for the eighth time in program history and first since 2004. This will be their first WCWS appearance under third-year Head Coach Heather Tarr ... among this year's participating schools, Washington's eight WCWS appearances is second only to Arizona's 19 ... the Huskies are looking for their first NCAA Championship, having finished second twice (1996, 1999) and third twice (1997-98) ... in its last WCWS appearance, Washington lost to Oklahoma and Florida State, marking the first time in program history the Huskies did not win a game at the WCWS ... the Huskies are making their 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, tied with Oklahoma for the fourth-longest active streak. Washington has a 58-25 record in those games (42-9 Regionals/3-4 Super Regional/13-12 WCWS) ... three Huskies have World Series experience, including seniors Dominique Lastrapes (2004), Jacki Hansen (with Stanford in 2004) and Dena Tyson (2003 and 2004) ... last weekend's Super Regional marked the first time the Huskies hosted postseason since 2000, and they maintained their perfect 16-0 NCAA Tournament record at Husky Softball Stadium ... junior Lauren Greer had the game-winning RBIs in both Super Regional games vs. Alabama. In game one she broke a 3-3 tie with a solo home run in the fourth inning, and sophomore Danielle Lawrie held the nation's top offense scoreless over the final three innings for a 4-3 win ... the next day, Greer ripped a two-out single in the top of the seventh inning that plated Lastrapes from second and broke a 5-5 tie as UW pulled out a see-saw 7-5 win ... 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 leads the Pac-10 with 11.58 strikeouts per game. Interestingly, despite trailing ASU's Katie Burkhart in total strikeouts by 78, Lawrie leads the league with 120 batters struck out looking, eight more than Burkhart ... senior Dena Tyson had a breakout final season for the Dawgs, finishing in the top-10 in six major offensive categories. Tyson's .804 slugging percentage ranks 12th nationally, and her 0.30 home runs per game average is 15th 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.
PAC-10 IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
In the sports' 25-year history, Pac-10 schools have won the NCAA title 19 times, easily more than any other Conference in the nation. There have been 11 occasions when the NCAA championship game featured two Pac-10 schools, most recently in 2004 when UCLA defeated California.
The 2006 campaign marked the eighth year in a row in which seven or more Conference squads competed in postseason play. All seven won their regional and advanced to the Super Regional round, a first in NCAA history for one Conference. Out of the seven teams, four advanced to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City (Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon State and UCLA). Arizona played No. 4 seed Northwestern in the National Championship game, with the UA sweeping the other Wildcats in a best-of-three series.
Pac-10 schools have made a total of 130 NCAA postseason apperances and own a cumulative record of 518-235 (.688). Conference schools have also made 72 appearances in the WCWS. UCLA leads the way with 22, followed by Arizona with 19, California with 13, Washington with eight, Arizona State with six, Stanford with two, and Oregon and Oregon State with one each.
NCAA TOURNAMENT INFORMATION
The Division I championship provides for a field of 64 teams. The championship will be three weekends of competition. Four teams will participate at each of 16 regional sites in a double-elimination tournament. Sixteen teams were seeded and placed at one of the regional sites.
The regional winners advance to super regional competition for a best-of-three series over Memorial Day weekend at eight campus sites. The remaining eight teams will advance to the WCWS, an eight-team, double-elimination tournament. The championship final will be a best-of-three-series. The WCWS will be conducted May 31 to June 6 at the ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City.
Twenty-nine conferences were awarded automatic qualification, and the remaining 35 slots were filled with at-large selections to complete the bracket. The top 16 teams were seeded nationally and will play at campus sites this weekend. Team pairings were determined by geographical proximity, with the exception that teams from the same conference were not paired during regional competition, when possible.
THREE CONFERENCE PLAYERS VYING FOR HONDA-BRODERICK AWARD
For the 21st consecutive year, Honda will honor the most outstanding female collegiate athletes in the nation with the Collegiate Women Sports Awards. Winners are selected in each of the 12 NCAA-sanctioned sports by a panel of more than 1,000 NCAA administrators. Each woman is selected not only for her superior athletic skills, but also for her leadership abilities, academic excellence and eagerness to participate in community service.
At the end of the year, one deserving athlete will be chosen as the Collegiate Woman Athlete of the Year and receive the coveted Honda-Broderick Cup. Past winners of this prestigious award include Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Mia Hamm. The only two softball players to capture the Cup were UCLA's Natasha Watley in 2002-03 and Lisa Fernandez in 1992-93. The four finalists for the 2007 Honda-Broderick Collegiate Women Sports Award for softball are:
Monica Abbott (Tennessee) - Senior - Pitcher - Salinas, Calif.Katie Burkhart (Arizona State) - Junior - Pitcher - San Luis Obispo, Calif.Kaitlin Cochran (Arizona State) - Sophomore - Outfielder - Yorba Linda, Calif.Caitlin Lowe (Arizona) - Senior - Outfielder - Tustin, Calif.
ARIZONA'S LOWE WINS 2007 LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Arizona's All-American outfielder, Caitlin Lowe, has combined her on-field and off-field achievements to earn the honor of being the first-ever recipient of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for softball. The award, selected by a nationwide vote of coaches, media and fans, is presented to college softball's outstanding NCAA Division I senior student athlete.
The trophy presentation is being made to Lowe tonight during pre-tournament festivities at the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Earlier this year, Lowe's announced the addition of softball and three other NCAA sports to the award program that originally was launched in 2001 with basketball. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award has grown into the nation's premier tribute to college seniors.
The award identifies personal qualities that define a complete student athlete, with criteria including excellence in the classroom, character and community, as well as competition in sports.
'This is a tremendous honor that goes beyond any on-field accomplishments and honors,' said Lowe. 'I am simply flattered that anyone would recognize what I do as a person, and in that regard, this award should not go to me as much as it should go to my family for making me who I am.'
Washington senior second baseman Dominique Lastrapes was also named an All-Senior All-American First Team member by the Lowe's Award program.