Huskies Ready For NCAA Regional Play in Houston

May 14, 2008

THIS WEEK: No. 24 (USA Softball) Washington was chosen on Sunday night for its 15th-straight NCAA Tournament and will head to the Houston, Texas regional where they face Texas this Friday at 5:00 p.m. (Central).

Washington earned the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Houston Regional, while the host Houston Cougars garnered the No. 1 seed, and the No. 8 national seed. Texas is the No. 3 seed and the No. 4 seed went to Delaware State. All games will be held at the Cougar Softball Complex on the campus of the University of Houston. The regional is a double-elimination format.

FOLLOW THE HUSKIES THIS WEEK: All of the Huskies postseason games will feature GameTracker and audio through GoHuskies.com. In addition, each game will air on KKNW-1150 AM with Mike Brown and John Cowley calling the action.

HUSKY POSTSEASON HISTORY: The Huskies have now made 15-straight NCAA Tournament appearances, missing out only during their inaugural season in 1993. Washington has a 60-27 record (42-9 Regionals/3-4 Super Regionals/15-14 WCWS) and has advanced to the Women's College World Series eight times (1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2007). The Huskies advanced to the national championship game in both 1996 and 1999.

Their 15-straight tournament appearances is tied for the fifth-longest active streak with Oklahoma, while their 60 wins in the tournament are fifth-best in NCAA history. Their eight WCWS appearances is tied for the fifth-most in history with Michigan, and they also are tied with Oklahoma for the fifth-best all-time streak of consecutive WCWS appearances (1996-2000).

SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
No. 1 Seed Houston (50-9, 21-2 Conference USA)

Series vs. UW: This would be the first meeting between the two schools.
Notes: The Cougars won the Conference USA regular season title for the second-straight season, but fell to UCF, 4-2, in the conference tournament title game. Houston received the No. 8 national seed and the right to host an NCAA Regional.

Eighth-year head coach Kyla Holas (245-176) started the program from scratch in 2001 and is taking the Cougars to their third NCAA Tournament appearance (04, 07-08).

Houston is hitting .326 as a team and has 70 total home runs, including three players in double-digits. Senior RHP/UTL Angel Shamblin has shouldered most of the pitching duties (32-3, 0.68 ERA, 267 Ks, 236.2 IP), but also hits for the Cougars (.318, 8 2B, 3 HR). She wsa recently named one of 10 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Houston's three pitchers have a combined 1.16 ERA.

No. 3 Seed Texas (28-21-2, 9-9 Big 12)
Series vs. UW:
The Huskies hold an 11-5 lead all-time in the series. The UW won 10 of the first 11 meetings, before the UT won four straight.
Last Meeting: UW junior Caitlin Noble picked up her second career no-hitter on March 18, 2007 when she shutout No. 8 Texas at the Judi Garman Classic, 4-0. It was the 26th no-hitter in UW history.
Notes: 13th-year head coach Connie Clark had a 440-202-1 record entering the season and has taken the Longhorns to nine NCAA Tournament appearances (98-00, 02-03, 05-08) and four WCWS appearances (98, 03, 05-06). She started the program in 1996. Texas tied for fourth place in the Big 12 and lost to Texas A&M in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals. The Longhorns went 4-10-1 against Top 25 competition this year.

No. 4 Seed Delaware State (29-23, 10-5 MEAC)
Series vs. UW:
This would be the first meeting between the two schools.
Notes: The Hornets earned their first-ever postseason apperance after winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament. Head coach Jeff Savage (203-168) took over the program in 2000 and led the team to four-straight MEAC North titles from 2002-05. Delaware State is hitting .315 and has six starters hitting at least .314. The Hornets have 105 doubles on the season and through May 4 were third in the NCAA in doubles per game (2.06).

WASHINGTON IN THE POLLS: The Huskies remained at No. 24 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll for the second straight week. For the first time this season the Huskies were not ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll. It also marks the first time since 1995 that the UW has not been ranked in the NFCA poll, breaking a streak of 189-straight rankings. Washington's streak began with the team's No. 23 preseason ranking in 1995.

RECORDS WATCH: Caitlin Noble's 141 strikeouts this season give her 746 for her career, which ranks No. 5 all-time in school history. She needs eight more to pass Tia Bollinger (753 Ks/2001-04) for fourth place. Freshman RHP Aleah Macon , who has 250 Ks on the year, needs 11 more strikeouts to become No. 5 on the single-season list. Bollinger currently holds the fifth spot with 260 Ks in 2001.

HOT BATS: Washington is hitting .280 as a team, good for fourth place in the conference. Four UW players are hitting at least .300, with Jace Williams leading the way at .347. Not far behind is Alicia Blake at .346. Also, Bailey Stenson is batting .344 and Amanda Fleischman is hitting at an even .300 clip.

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