This Week n Pac-10 Softball
March 4, 2008
The Conference looks to build off of maybe its finest weekend thus far as ARIZONA STATE recaptured the top spot in the polls, thanks in large part to WASHINGTON's defeat of former No. 1 Alabama ... STANFORD will enjoy a lot of home cooking in the upcoming weeks as they are at home for the next 16 games. The No. 9/7 Cardinal also continued rising up the polls also, even with their five game win streak broken by No. 5/7 Florida. This week finds Stanford with a seven game slate as it hosts the Stanford Classic all weekend ... UCLA continues to sit in the odd position of being differently ranked in the national polls, as ESPN.com/USA Softball places them second in the nation while USA Today/NFCA puts them No. 6. The Bruins are on a 13-game win streak heading into a week that will see them play six games this week, starting with an mid-week matchup with UNLV ... ARIZONA has won nine straight of its own and continues its long home stand as well this week, hosting Creighton for three games and LaSalle for two games in an alternating format ...CALIFORNIA will also take on a sextet of teams, beginning the week at home vs. North Dakota State before traveling the very short distance (20 miles to be exact) to Hayward, Calif. to take on five teams in the National Invitational Softball Tournament ... Washington looks to rejuvenate itself in the sunshine of Hawai'i and the Malihini Kalipi Classic in Honolulu a week after they posted the biggest win of the young season, defeating No. 1 Alabama, 6-3. The Huskies seemed to be on a roll at home, but fell in their last contest against Portland State ... OREGON will take on those very same Portland State Vikings to open their week before heading to the bright lights of Vegas and the UNLV Invitational with a key matchup with No. No. 20/21 Ohio State as the Ducks look to climb back into the national picture ... OREGON STATE faced the most difficult group in last weekend's CSUF Invitational, losing four-of-five and will look to regroup in sun-soaked Florida as the head to the Florida International Tournament facing Harvard, Ball State and the hosts FIU.
TEAM BY TEAM NOTES
ARIZONA (11-4): Arizona played five games in the Hillenbrand Invitational and won all five ...UA took five innings to top South Florida in the opener, 12-0, behind a combined no-hitter from Taryne Mowatt (4 innings) and Sarah Akamine (1), in her first pitching appearance of the year ... On Saturday, UA opened with an 18-3 romp over Illinois-Chicago in five innings, with six home runs including three in the fifth inning. The smacks came from Victoria Kemp with two, Akamine, Arredondo, Callista Balko and Laine Roth. UA had a season-high 15 hits. The nightcap against No. 24 Virginia Tech was a different affair. Mowatt (20) and VT ace Angela Tincher (21) combined for an NCAA-record 41 strikeouts and UA slipped past the Hokies, 4-3, in the bottom of the 12th on an RBI single by Brittany Lastrapes.
ARIZONA STATE (22-1): The Sun Devils made program history Tuesday as they were honored with their first No. 1 ranking in school history in both the NFCA and USA Softball/ESPN.com polls ... Wrapped the Wilson/DeMarini Invitational for their third tournament win with an 11-1 five inning win over San Jose State. Krista Donnenwirth was named the Most Valuable Hitter for the weekend, while Mindy Cowles claimed the MVP honors ... Donnenwirth hit .563 on the weekend with eight runs scored, three home runs and 11 RBIs to power the offense while Mindy Cowles went 8-for-13 to hit .615 on the weekend ... Katie Burkhart allowed just one hit while striking out 18 as No. 1 ASU Softball edged the Creighton Bluejays 1-0 in 10 innings on Tuesday afternoon. Jackie Vasquez finished the game for the Sun Devils with a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the tenth.
CALIFORNIA (14-8): The Bears have won six of their last seven games ... Head Coach Diane Ninemire picked up her 900th win against Long Beach State on Feb. 29 and now sits at 903 wins for her career ... Freshman Valerie Arioto and Senior Erika Racklin have produced as the 1-2 hitters in the line up. For her career, Racklin has 55 stolen bases, tied for fourth-most in program history ... Arioto hit her third triple of the year and is now three away from entering the Cal record books for most triples in a season ... Cal received a huge lift from the top and bottom of the order in its win against No. 15/13 Hawaii. Taylor Kelly and Shannon Houston (the 8-9 hitters) combined for four hits, four runs and three RBI.
OREGON (13-9): The Ducks' victory over San Diego marked the 193rd in sixth-year head coach Kathy Arendsen's tenure in Eugene and broke the school record for wins, formerly held by Teresa Wilson ... Arendsen's career winning percentage (.616 196-122) is also a school record, ahead of Wilson's mark (.548, 192-172) from her four seasons from 1986-89 ... Cortney Kivett extended her hitting streak to nine games with a 1-for-4 performance in the closing game of the San Diego Classic ... Kayleen Hudson had three home runs in as many days for the Ducks during the tournament ... Oregon went 4-2 on the road trip, losing only to ranked opponent
OREGON STATE (9-12): Oregon State's win over Loyola (Ill.) marked the eighth time the Beavers have come from behind to win ... The eight runs scored in the sixth inning against Loyola (Ill.) was the most Oregon State has scored in a single inning this season ... Senior Cambria Miranda has supplied the power for the Beavers, with her five home runs tied for fifth in the Pac-10 ... The Beavers have also been patient at the plate, striing out a league-low 64 times ... Oregon State catchers have been tested, as teams have attempted 29 stolen bases against them, but they have thrown out seven of those runners, second most in the Pac-10.
STANFORD (20-2): Stanford won five more games by significant margins last week, before dropping a heart-breaker to No. 5/7 Florida on Sunday. The Cardinal picked up a 6-0 win over Providence in a midweek game, then cruised to four more victories at the Worth Invitational in Fullerton, topping all four opponents by six or more runs. On Sunday, Florida senior Mary Ratliff belted a walk-off three-run homerun to best the Cardinal in the seventh inning, 4-3 ... The team has already combined for 44 doubles, a triple and 24 homeruns this season, adding up to a whopping 69 extra-base hits. Less than a month into the season, Stanford already has nearly two-thirds of its double total from last year (66 percent) and nearly three-quarters of its home run total from last year (73 percent). Every player in the Stanford starting lineup has doubled at least twice this year.
UCLA (19-2): Freshman Donna Kerr pitched the 16th perfect game and 99th no-hitter in UCLA history on Sunday against Saint Peter's. Kerr struck out seven, including the side in the fifth inning, and did it all in a scant 58 minutes. It was the first Bruin perfect game since May 15, 2003 when Keira Goerl and Michelle Turner combined for a six-inning perfecto against Colgate in the NCAA Regionals. The last freshman to toss a perfect game was Goerl on March 6, 2001 against UC Riverside ... For the Bruins, scoring in the first inning has proved to be a winning combination. UCLA has crossed home plate in its first at-bat 15 times in 21 games this season and has won all 15 contests. The Bruins did it in four of their six games last week and have now outscored opponents 32-4 in the first inning. Overall, UCLA is 17-0 when scoring first and 2-2 when its opponent plates the first run.
WASHINGTON (10-6-1): Washington defeated No. 1/1 Alabama on Sunday in the Husky Classic for the biggest win in the conference thus far ... P Aleah Macon, a freshman, matched her season-high with 11 strikeouts, while giving up five walks and two unearned runs to even her record at 2-2 ... The Huskies have now won three in a row over Alabama after sweeping a pair of games from the Crimson Tide at last years NCAA Super Regional here in Seattle. Those wins propelled the Huskies to their eighth Women's College World Series appearance in school history ... Junior outfielder Marnie Koziol earned MVP honors after hitting .462 with five runs scored and five stolen bases ... Joining Koziol on the team from Washington was Williams and Macon. Williams hit .364 with two runs scored and four RBI, while Macon finished with a 2-1 record, a 0.67 ERA and a tournament-high 29 strikeouts in 21 innings pitched.