Huskies Set To Play In Kajikawa Classic

Feb. 15, 2008

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SEATTLE - The No. 15/16 (NFCA/USA Softball) Washington (2-1-1) softball team travels to the presitgious Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., this week for five games over three days. The Kajikawa Classic features 22 teams, including five of the eight 2007 Women's College World Series participants.

The Huskies open the tournament by playing Texas State at 9 a.m., and the University of Missouri-Kansas City at 11:30 a.m., on Friday. On Saturday, the Huskies face Oklahoma State at 9 a.m., and Southern Utah at 12 p.m. Washington's final contest will see them take on No. 3 Texas A&M on Sunday at 10 a.m. All five of Washington's games will be played at the Tempe Sports Complex.

Washington went 2-1-1 last week at the season-opening Sportco Spring Kick-off Classic hosted by UNLV in Las Vegas. The Huskies defeated Loyola-Chicago, 3-0, and Texas Tech, 8-1, on Friday before losing to UNLV, 7-4, on Saturday. Washington also lost an exhibition contest to the Canadian National Team, 7-3, on Saturday night and tied UNLV, 4-4, on Sunday. The game against UNLV on Sunday was halted in the bottom of the sixth inning to allow the Huskies to catch their flight out of Las Vegas.

Washington has now opened each of its 16 seasons with a multiple-team tournament, accruing a 59-17-1 record. The Huskies have gone undefeated in four of those tournaments (1996, 2000, 2002, 2003) and are 12-4 in season openers after defeating Loyola-Chicago last week, 3-0.

The Huskies are ranked 15th in the second USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 Poll (Feb. 12). The Huskies have been ranked in the poll for each of the last 182 datings. Washington is ranked 16th in the week one ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll (Feb. 12). Washington was ranked No. 11 in the USA Today/NFCA preseason poll and No. 14 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason poll.

This weekend will mark the first time that the Huskies have ever faced both Texas State and UMKC. Texas State is 2-3 on the season and almost upset No. 24 Texas on Wednesday before falling 5-4. UMKC has yet to play this year.

Washington leads the all-time series with Oklahoma State, 10-2, and has won three in a row over the Cowgirls. Oklahoma State has yet to play this season and returns four position starters and one pitcher from last years squad that went 25-33.

The Huskies own a 4-0 advantage over Southern Utah, which enters the contest 2-3. SUU has won five straight conference titles and has made back-to-back tournament appearances.

When Washington faces Texas A&M on Sunday, it will be the seventh meeting between the two schools. The UW leads, 4-2, but the Aggies have won the last two outings. The Aggies are ranked No. 3 in both polls and return six starters and both pitchers from last year's team that went 46-14 and advanced to the Women's College World Series. The two pitchers, Megan Gibson and Amanda Scarborough, both were first team Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America picks last season.

Senior pitcher Caitlin Noble is leading the Huskies so far both from the circle and at the plate. Noble hit .429 (6-for-14), which led the team, with two RBI last week. She also went the distance in all three of her appearances, going 2-0 with a 1.89 ERA and 24 K in 19 innings of work. She gave up just three walks while opponents hit .246 off of her. Her 24 strikeouts and 19 innings both rank third in the Pac-10, while her eight batters struck out looking leads the conference.

Washington is hitting .311 (32-for-103) with six doubles on the season, and both marks are second in the Pac-10 so far. After opening the season with just three hits against Loyola-Chicago, the Huskies pounded out 13 hits against Texas Tech and 10 hits in their 7-4 loss to UNLV. Six Huskies are batting over .300 (minimum 10 at-bats), led by Caitlin Noble's .429 average. Alyson McWherter is hitting an even .400, Lauren Greer is batting .385 and has hit Washington's only home run, and Bailey Stenson is hitting .357. Alicia Blake (.333) and Marnie Koziol (.308) are the other two Huskies batting over. 300.

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