No. 2 UW Opens Conference Play In Bay Area
March 25, 2009
Friday, March 27, 3 p.m.
No. 2 Washington (27-3) at No. 12/16 California (22-7)
Levine-Fricke Field, Berkeley, Calif.
Saturday, March 28, 1 p.m.
No. 2 Washington at No. 3 Stanford (29-1)
Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium, Palo Alto, California
Sunday, March 29, Noon
No. 2 Washington vs. No. 3 Stanford
Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium, Palo Alto, California
All games available via Gametracker
The No. 2 Washington Husky softball team heads to the Bay Area to open Pac-10 play against two ranked teams, No. 3 Stanford and No. 12/16 California. After a succesful non-conference campaign which saw the Huskies go 27-3 and defeat the likes of No. 1 Florida, No. 4 Alabama, No. 7 Georgia, No. 9 Tennessee, and No. 11 Michigan, the Huskies move into the second phase of their season which features competition in the most competitive conference in the country.
Six of the eight Pac-10 teams are ranked and all six sit in the top 15 of the rankings. The conference also boasts four top-10 teams, including UW, Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State. The Huskies finished tied for fifth in the conference last season with California and will look for their first conference title since 2000.
FOLLOW THE ACTION LIVE
All Husky games this weekend will be available via Gametracker on www.gohuskies.com. Additionally, fans can chat live and follow an in-game blog on GoHuskies.com.
Fans can also follow along for occasional updates during the season on the UW Softball Twitter page by logging on to www.twitter.com/UWSoftball. The Huskies can also be found on Facebook via the Washington Softball fan page. Search for 'Washington Husky Softball' on Facebook to find the site.
DAD'S AND DAUGHTERS WEEKEND APPROACHING
The Huskies and KJR-AM radio will team up for the UW-KJR Dads & Daughters Day at Husky Softball Stadium, Saturday, April 4, when UW hosts defending national champion Arizona State at 3 p.m.
For just $6 per person, fans will receive one general admission outfield ticket, one Dads & Daughters t-shirt and the opportunity to participate in a post-game Q&A with UW coaches and student-athletes. Pre-game activities include free trading cards of the UW Freshmen to the first 500 fans and all participating daughters will be invited to join the Huskies on the field for the National Anthem at approximately 2:50 p.m.
To order your tickets, visit GoHuskies.com. Within 24 hours you will receive a confirmation email, as well as t-shirt size information. Space is limited so order early to guarantee your spot. For more information, email Amy Wilson at email@example.com.
The Huskies swept New Mexico in a three-game series at Husky Softball Stadium in their final non-conference tune-up before Pac-10 play this week. UW won the first game in five innings via the mercy rule, 14-3, before being pushed to extra innings by New Mexico but squeaking by, 4-3. In the final game, UW broke out with five runs in the sixth inning to break open a close game and win the finale, 9-2.
Freshmen Felecia Harris and Jenna Clifton carried the pitching load over the weekend, with Harris getting two wins and Clifton one in her first career start to give Danielle Lawrie a rest. Ashley Charters led UW at the plate, going 8-for-11 (.727) with five runs and four RBI to go along with four stolen bases. Freshman Niki Williams also had a big weekend, going 5-for-10 with five runs and four RBI. UW hit four home runs over the weekend, including three in the opening game, with Harris, Lawrie, Morgan Stuart and Taylor Smith supplying the power.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
No. 12/16 California (22-7 2009; 43-27, 7-14 2008)
Series vs. UW: California leads 32-27
About California: The Bears return their top hitter and pitcher this season after reaching the NCAA Super Regionals last season before falling to No. 1 Florida. Marissa Drewery, who earned All-Region and All-Pac-10 honors last season, leads the team in the circle again with a 14-6 record and carries a 1.72 ERA. Valerie Arioto, also an All-Region and All-Pac-10 selection last season, is back at it again hitting .325 with four home runs and 15 RBI while also going 8-1 with a 0.99 ERA. Jamia Reid leads the team with a .344 average and a Pac-10-leading 28 stolen bases. Her twin sister, Elia, also carries a .339 average and 21 steals.
Series History: The Huskies took two-of-three from the Golden Bears last year, splitting a pair of games in Berkeley but winning at Husky Softball Stadium, 2-1. UW won the first game at Cal, 6-5, before the Bears came back to take the finale of the series, 3-1. UW has won four of the last six meetings between the teams since a three-game losing streak in 2006.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
No. 3 Stanford (28-1 2009; 49-15, 11-10 2008)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads 34-19
About Stanford: The Cardinal come into the game with a nation-best and school-record 28-game winning streak but will face their first big test this weekend when they face No. 4 UCLA on Friday and No. 2 UW on Saturday and Sunday. Stanford's only wins over ranked teams came early in the season when they knocked off then-No. 24 Long Beach State and San Diego State. Senior Missy Penna leads the Cardinal with a 19-1 record and a 0.57 ERA and recently went over the 1,000 mark in career Ks. She leads the Pac-10 in wins and is second in ERA and strikeouts behind UW's Danielle Lawrie. At the plate, the Cardinal are led by All-American Alissa Haber, who sports a conference-leading .476 average with five home runs, while freshman Ashley Hansen is right behind with a .438 average. Catcher Rosey Neill leads the team with six home runs.
Series History: UW holds a big lead in the all-time series but Stanford has won the last two meetings between the teams, a 2-1 decision in Palo Alto last season and a 3-1 victory in Seattle. The Huskies won the first meeting between the teams last season, a 4-1 decision to extend their winning streak over the Cardinal to three games. The teams have split their last 10 meetings.
BEAT THE BEST TO BE THE BEST
The Huskies are more than prepared for the rigors of Pac-10 play after their difficult non-conference slate. UW has proven so far this season they can compete with anyone in the country, which will bode well for their chances of winning the program's third Pac-10 title and first National Championships. The Huskies have already beaten four of the top 10 teams in the country and eight ranked teams overall.
In addition to knocking off current No. 1 Florida, UW has also defeated No. 4/5 Alabama, No. 7 Georgia, No. 9/10 Tennessee, No. 11/12 Michigan, No. 13/15 Ohio State, No. 19/20 Florida State and No. 23 Fresno State. In all, UW is 8-2 against teams currently ranked in the Top 25.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS
UW moved up one spot to No. 2 in both polls this week, earning two first-place votes in the NFCA/USA Today poll and one in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
The Huskies spent two weeks at the top spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 earlier this season after going 5-0 in the Cathedral City Classic, including a 1-0 win over current No.1 Florida. That performance gave the Huskies their first No. 1 ranking since the 2000 season. It was also the first time the Huskies have ever been ranked No. 1 in the ESPN.com poll, which has been in existence since 2003.
CHARTERS EARNS FIRST POW HONOR
With her big weekend against New Mexico, senior All-American Ashley Charters was rewarded with her first career Pac-10 Player of the Week Award.
In addition to batting .727 (8x11) with five runs and four RBI, Charters also stole four bases last weekend to became UW's all-time leader in the category. She tied the record in the opening 14-3 win over New Mexico and broke the record in the second game of the doubleheader with her 114th career stolen base. Charters went on to swipe two more bases on Sunday and now has 116 in her career to sit atop the record books. The mark also ranks sixth all-time in Pac-10 history.
Charters went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI in the first game then went 3-for-4 with two RBI in the second game, with both RBI coming on a game-tying two-run single in the bottom of the sixth with UW trailing 3-1. Charters capped the weekend by going 3-for-4 with three runs, an RBI and two SBs in UW's 9-2 win. For the season, the two-time All-American leads UW in average (.438), runs (34), hits (42), triples (3), walks (18) and stolen bases (20).
In addition to breaking the stolen base record, Charters' five runs over the weekend moved her ahead of two players into fourth all-time in that category. She needs just four more to move into third all time and just six to take over sole possession of second. Jaime Clark holds the UW record with 223 runs scored, which could also be within Charters' reach. The speedy senior also needs just three more triples to take over the all-time lead in that category as well.
Charters also extended her hitting streak to 10 games over the weekend and increased her career hit total to 261, which now ranks No. 8 all time. While the record of 319 held by Sara Pickering might be out of reach, Charters could reach 293 hits to move into second.
The Huskies overcame two more deficits in last weekend's three-game sweep over New Mexico and have now come from behind to win nine times this season. UW trailed New Mexico 3-0 in the bottom of the sixth last Saturday but scored three in the sixth and one in the eighth to improve to 5-0 in extra-inning games this year.
Two weeks ago, UW won one of the craziest games in Husky history, scoring eight runs in the final two innings to defeat Penn State, 14-13, in the Judi Garman Classic. The Huskies fell behind early as Penn State jumped out to leads of 5-1 after one inning and 7-1 after two. While the Dawgs chipped away, Penn State kept extending their lead and took a 13-6 lead into the sixth. But UW scored five in the sixth and three in the seventh to win the game on Niki Williams' game-tying triple and Alicia Blake's game-winning single.
On the flip side of things, the Huskies have not allowed a lead to slip away all season, going 19-0 when they score first.
Kimi Pohlman has worked her way into a full-time starting position in the outfield, proving she's got the speed and power to play every day. Pohlman is third on the team with a .364 average (28x77) and second with eight stolen bases while also belting two home runs. Pohlman has also contributed 11 RBI. Her biggest impact this season was a game-winning single in the ninth inning against All-American Stacey Nelson to lead UW to a 1-0 victory over current No. 1 Florida.
After notching a hit in all three games last weekend against New Mexico, Pohlman is now riding a career-high eight-game hitting streak.
FLEXING THEIR MUSCLES
After hitting just 29 home runs in 2008, the Huskies have the pop back in their bats this season, and have nearly equaled that output. With four home runs last weekend, UW now has connected for 28 home runs in their first 30 games with nine different players going deep, including four freshmen. Ashlyn Watson has already equaled the team's individual high set last season with seven home runs (Morgan Stuart and Alicia Blake each had 7 in '08) while leadoff hitter Ashley Charters has gone yard five times. UW is 13-0 this season when they hit at least one home run.
The Huskies have also received clutch hitting throughout their lineup in 2009 as eight different players have 10 or more RBI. Besides Watson's team-leading 28, freshman Felecia Harris and senior Ashley Charters have driven in 19 . Fellow senior Alicia Blake is not far behind with 18 while freshman Niki Williams has chipped in 17.
The Huskies offense hasn't been overpowering this season but they've done enough to get the 'W' most of the time. UW is 25-0 this season when they out-hit their opponent.
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