Huskies Travel South to Portland For Cascade Clash
March 13, 2008
SEATTLE - The No. 20/22 (NFCA/USA Softball) Washington Huskies head to Portland, Oregon this weekend to play four games over three days at the Cascade Clash.
The Huskies open up with a 6:00 p.m. game against Northern Illinois on Friday night and then take on Mississippi Valley State at 1:00 p.m., the next day. Washington closes out the tournament with a doubleheader against Utah State, starting at 11:00 a.m.
Washington has won the only two previous meetings against NIU, sweeping a pair of games back in 1996. The Huskies of NIU are 5-3 under first-year head coach Lindsay Chouinard, who was a three-time All-American pitcher at DePaul (2000-03). After winning their first four games of the season, the Huskies are just 1-3 over their past four games.
Mississippi Valley State (12-14) and the UW have met only once before, with Washington claiming a 3-0 victory two seasons ago. The Devilettes are led at the plate by senior 3B Candy Shumpert and sophomore OF Ta 'Niya Wallace, and on the mound by sophomore P Brittany Franklin.
Washington holds a 5-0 lead in the series against Utah State, with the last victory coming in 2003. Utah State is 3-9 under second-year head coach Candi Letts, whose team is hitting .224 and has a 5.27 ERA. The trip to Portland will be a bit of a homecoming for a few Utah State players, as the Aggie's roster features two players from Washington and six from Oregon.
Washington climbed up two spots this week in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Top 25 Poll (Mar. 11) to No. 20. The Huskies have now been ranked in the poll for each of the last 186 datings. Washington also moved up two spots in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll (Mar. 11) to No. 22. The Huskies were ranked No. 11 in the USA Today/NFCA Preseason Poll and No. 14 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Preseason Poll.
Last week, Washington went 6-0 at the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament in Honolulu and captured the title after defeating No. 15 Hawaii, 8-6, on Sunday afternoon. Washington also defeated the Rainbow Wahine, 3-2, on Saturday, and had wins over Eastern Kentucky (4-0), Idaho State (11-3, five-innings) and twice over Southern Illinois (11-1, five-innings/9-0, five-innings).
Freshman SS Morgan Stuart was named the tournament MVP after hitting .526 with two doubles, two home runs and a tournament-high 12 RBI. Freshman Aleah Macon was named the Most Valuable Pitcher after going 4-0 with a 1.35 ERA and a tournament-high 24 strikeouts. Junior OF Marnie Koziol was also named to the all-tournament team after hitting .526 with eight runs scored and three stolen bases. All seven UW players that played in all six games hit at least .333.
Washington is hitting .331 on the season with 29 doubles and 15 home runs. Six UW players are hitting over .300 and two are over .400, led by freshman Jace Williams with a .424 average. Bailey Stenson is batting .418, Koziol is hitting .397, Amanda Fleischman is batting .354, Alicia Blake is hitting .328 and Stuart is hitting .322. Stuart raised her average by 97-points (from .225 to .322) with her performance last weekend in Hawaii.
After the Portland trip, the Huskies will hit the road for Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. The UW will play five games from March 20-22.