Pac-10 Softball Season Review

June 25, 2007

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WILDCATS COME THROUGH WITH BACK-TO-BACK WORLD SERIES TITLES

The Arizona Wildcats repeated as NCAA Champions this season, defeating Tennessee in the championship series, two games to one. After dropping the first game to the Lady Vols, Arizona pulled out a 1-0 win in 10 innings in game two, then broke through for a 5-0 win in the deciding contest ... junior Taryne Mowatt held Tennessee scoreless for the final two games, outdueling national player of the year Monica Abbott en route to earning the Most Oustanding Player award for the World Series. Mowatt pitched every inning of Arizona's eight games, a WCWS record 60 innings pithed and more than 1,000 pitches thrown ... the Wildcats faced elimination in five games and won them all by a combined 19-1 ... Arizona is the first team to repeat as champs since UCLA in 2003-04 and its eight titles trails only UCLA's 10 ... Washington finished tied for third in the WCWS and jumped to No. 3 in the final USA Softball/ESPN.com Top-25. The Huskies defeated DePaul and Northwestern before losing twice to Arizona, producing their best national finish since 1999 ... Arizona State tied for seventh in Oklahoma City and finished seventh in the final rankings as well. ASU struggled on offense, losing 2-0 to Northwestern and 3-1 to DePaul. ASU's 54 wins set a program record ... all eight Pac-10 teams qualified for postseason play for the fifth time in history. The eight participants was the most of any conference and the Pac-10's three WCWS teams also surpassed any other conference ... in the final USA Softball/ESPN.com Top-25, Arizona finished first, Washington third, Arizona State seventh, OREGON STATE at No. 17, UCLA at No. 18, STANFORD at No. 21, and OREGON at No. 23. CALIFORNIA also received votes.

WOMEN'S COLLEGE WORLD SERIES RESULTS

Thu., May 31
Game 1: No. 6 Washington def. No. 14 DePaul, 3-1
Game 2: No. 2 Northwestern def. No. 7 Arizona State, 2-0
Game 3: No. 5 Tennessee def. No. 4 Texas A&M, 2-0
Game 4: No. 1 ARIZONA def. No. 8 Baylor, 2-1 (9 inn.)

Fri., June 1
Game 5: No. 6 WASHINGTON def. No. 2 Northwestern, 9-0 (5 inn.)
Game 6: No. 5 Tennessee def. No. 1 ARIZONA, 1-0

Sat., June 2
Game 7: No. 14 DePaul def. No. 7 ARIZONA STATE, 3-1
Game 8: No. 8 Baylor def. No. 4 Texas A&M, 7-4
Game 9: No. 1 ARIZONA def. No. 14 DePaul, 3-0
Game 10: No. 2 Northwestern def. No. 8 Baylor, 7-0

Sun., June 3
Game 11: No. 1 ARIZONA def. No. 6 WASHINGTON, 2-0
Game 12: No. 5 Tennessee def. No. 2 Northwestern, 3-0
Game 13: No. 1 ARIZONA def. No. 6 WASHINGTON, 8-1

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Best two-of-three

Mon.-Wed., June 4-6
Game 1: No. 5 Tennessee def. No. 1 ARIZONA, 3-0
Game 2: No. 1 ARIZONA def. No. 5 Tennessee, 1-0 (10 inn.)
Game 3: No. 1 ARIZONA def. No. 5 Tennessee, 5-0

TEAM BY TEAM NOTES

ARIZONA (15-5-1, 50-14-1): The Wildcats won their eighth national championship and second in a row, defeating Tennessee two games to one in the Championship Series ... Arizona, playing in its 19th World Series in the past 20 years, went 6-2 en route to the title, surviving five different elimination games by a combined score of 19-1 ... the Wildcats came from the loser's bracket to reach the Championship Series, defeating DePaul and Washington twice in elimination games. They then lost Game 1 to Tennessee, 3-0, before rallying in the next two games ... in Game 2, junior Taryne Mowatt held the Lady Vols scoreless through 10 innings when Arizona finally broke through for a run when Danielle Rodriguez slid home safely on a ground ball by Adrienne Acton. The run snapped a 43-inning scoreless streak for Tennessee's Player of the Year pitcher Monica Abbott ... Arizona put Abbott and the Vols away in Game 3 with a five-run fifth inning, highlighted by an RBI-single from Jenae Leles and a three-run homer by Chelsie Mesa. Mowatt held Tennessee scoreless again in the 5-0 win ... Mowatt was fantastic in every pressure situation and was named the Most Outstanding Player for the WCWS. She pitched a record 60 innings and threw over 1,000 pitches in a week's time. Her 78 WCWS strikeouts set a record as well ... Mowatt finished the season with a new Pac-10 record 522 strikeouts, and her 42 wins ties the Conference wins record set in 1989 by Oregon's Katie Wiese. Mowatt also set a new Pac-10 record with 370.0 innings pitched ... senior Kristie Fox tied the WCWS record with 11 hits. She hit a walk-off home run in the ninth inning to defeat Baylor in UA's first game in Oklahoma City ... Arizona now holds a 57-25 record at the WCWS ... the Wildcats reached the WCWS with a two-game sweep of Cal State Fullerton. 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 ... 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 ... Lowe ranked third in steals per game in the NCAA and swiped 49-of-50 bases successfully. Lowe, a four-time Pac-10 first teamer and 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, finished second in steals in Pac-10 history with 156, fifth on the Pac-10 hits list with 351 and seventh in runs scored with 242 ... 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, 54-17): The Sun Devils made their second consecutive apperance at the WCWS, but were ousted in two games to finish in a tie for seventh ... ASU's offense struggled, failing to score in its first 13 innings. The Sun Devils lost the opener, 2-0, to No. 2 Northwestern, then were knocked out by No. 14 DePaul, 3-1 ... ASU swept aside 10th-seeded LSU at the Tempe Super Regional to reach the program's sixth Women's College World Series. Arizona State has now reached the World Series in both of Clint Myers' seasons as Head Coach, and this season marked the Wildcats' first return trip to Oklahoma City following an appearance the previous yea ... ASU's 54 wins broke the single-season wins record set in 2006 ... ASU was a perfect 3-0 at the Provo Regional, highlighted by Katie 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, the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, finished with a record of 35-13, 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 517, the second most in Conference history behind Arizona's Taryne Mowatt who had 522 this season. Burkhart also is fourth on the Pac-10 career K's list with 1,157 ... 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 an 11-10 Conference record in 2006, 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 led the nation in hitting, sporting a .492 batting average, the seventh best single-season mark in Pac-10 history. She also ranked fifth nationally in slugging percentage (.888), sixth in walks per game (0.83), and 20th in runs per game (1.01). Cochran led the Pac-10 in nine major offensive categories ... junior second baseman Mindy Cowles 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 were 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 was one of 10 finalists for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year award, and the only freshman among the nominees. Salling's .481 batting average ranked 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 far outpaced the rest of the Pac-10 in stolen bases with 126, blowing away the old team record of 85 from 1991. Arizona was second with 101 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 ... sophomore Sari-Jane Jenkins was third in the Pac-10 with 82 hits and fifth with a .396 batting average.

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 led the Pac-10 with six triples, and was 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 ranked ninth in the Pac-10 with a .365 batting average, and eighth 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 finished third in the Conference in average with runners on base. She batted .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. 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 second in the Conference with a 1.45 ERA ... several Bruin veterans had breakout offensive seasons. Junior Krista Colburn was 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, 42-19): The Huskies were one win away from advancing to the Championship Series at the WCWS, but lost twice to eventual champion Arizona to finish tied for third place ... the third-place finish was the best for UW since 1999 ... the Huskies defeated DePaul, 3-1 in their first WCWS game behind a no-hitter from sophomore Danielle Lawrie, the first at the World Series since 2003 ... Lawrie gave up only one hit in her next outing, a 9-0 blowout of No. 2 Northwestern. It was the largest margin of victory at the World Series since 1995 ... Washington was then upended by Arizona, 2-0 and 8-1 to end its season ... Lawrie, Ashley Charters, and Dena Tyson were named to the WCWS All-Tournament Team ... the Huskies made their eighth Women's College World Series appearance and first since 2004. It was their first trip under third-year Head Coach Heather Tarr ... UW swept 11th-seeded Alabama at the Super Regional in Seattle for its first ever Super Regional win ... the Huskies made their 14th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, tied with Oklahoma for the fourth-longest active streak ... the Seattle 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. The next day, Greer ripped a two-out single in the top of the seventh inning that plated Dominique 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 led the Pac-10 with 11.51 strikeouts per game. Interestingly, despite trailing Arizona's Taryne Mowatt in total strikeouts by 65, Lawrie leads the league with 130 batters struck out looking, nine more than Mowatt. Lawrie's 457 strikeouts is a UW record and the eighth most in Pac-10 history ... senior Dena Tyson had a breakout final season for the Dawgs, finishing in the top-10 in six major offensive categories. Tyson's .791 slugging percentage ranked 13th nationally, and her 0.30 home runs per game average was 18th in the NCAA ... Tyson's 18 home runs this season were two 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 ... Charters and Tyson both finished in the top-10 in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage.

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