First-Place Huskies Continue Road Swing At No. 13 Cal
April 22, 2010
No. 1 Washington (35-4, 7-2) at No. 13/17 California (33-11, 4-5)
Levine-Fricke Field - Berkeley, Calif.
Friday, April 23 - 3 p.m.
Saturday, April 24 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, April 25 - 12 p.m.
The first-place and top-ranked Washington softball team (35-4, 7-2) stays on the road for the second-straight week to face No. 13/17 California (33-11, 4-5) in a three-game series at Levine-Fricke Field in Berkeley, Calif. The Huskies are coming off a series win over second-place Oregon on the road in a battle for first place in the conference, while Cal is coming off a huge three-game sweep at Arizona State to move into a four-way tie for fourth in the Pac-10. The teams will begin their series Friday at 3 p.m. and continue to battle Saturday at 1 p.m. before wrapping things up on Sunday at Noon.
LIVE STATS UPDATE
Gametracker may be available for this weekend's games but due to some technical difficulties in the Strawberry Canyon area, there may be times when it is not available. In the event that Gametracker is not running, fans can receive periodic updates via the Washington Softball Twitter page, www.twitter.com/UWSoftball. Check the softball schedule page on GoHuskies.com for Gametracker links, if available.
BECOME A HUSKY FAN ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER
Fans can follow the Husky softball team and receive updates throughout the season on the UW Softball Twitter page by logging on to www.twitter.com/UWSoftball. Head coach Heather Tarr and National Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie have their own Twitter accounts as well and fans can follow them at www.twitter.com/CoachTarr and www.twitter.com/daniellelawrie5. The Huskies can also be found on Facebook via the Washington Softball fan page at www.facebook.com/UWHuskySoftball. To become a fan of Danielle Lawrie, search Facebook for Danielle Lawrie.
HUSKIES REACH PROGRAM MILESTONE
With two wins last weekend, the Huskies reachead a program milestone with win No. 800. The Husky program began in 1993 with a 31-27 record and since then, UW has made 16 consecutive NCAA postseason appearances, winning at least 40 games in 13 of those campaigns. The Huskies won a school-record 62 games in 2000 and won 51 in their national-championship winning season last year, the sixth 50-win season in program history. UW has already reached 30 wins this season, something the program has done every year of its existence. The Huskies have averaged 45 wins per season over the 17-year history of the program.
LEADERS OF THE PAC
Northwest rivals Washington and Oregon went into last weekend's three-game series in a tie for first place in the conference and the Huskies came out of it in sole possession of the lead, one game ahead of Oregon, two ahead of Arizona and three games ahead of four teams tied for fourth.
The Huskies swept the season series from Arizona two weeks ago and took two of three from UCLA over the opening weekend and now sit atop the Pac-10 standings with a 7-2 record. UW won the first game of the crucial series at Oregon to give them a 6-1 conference record, their best start in Pac-10 play since 2004. That year, UW won two games apiece from Arizona State and UCLA to start conference before dropping one game to Oregon, but bounced back to defeat Oregon State to improve to 6-1. The 2000 team started 9-1 in conference - the best in program history - before finishing 17-4 to tie for the Pac-10 title.
2010: 33-11, 4-5
2009: 38-20, 10-10 (NCAA Super Regionals)
Series vs. UW: California leads, 33-29
About California: The Bears are coming off a huge weekend sweep of No. 9 Arizona State on the road to move into a four-way tie for fourth in the conference. Cal is a team built for speed, ranking third in the country with 2.44 stolen bases a game. Sophomore Jamia Reid leads the way, ranking second in the nation with 41 swipes herself, while also leading the team with a .375 average. Junior Valerie Arioto and freshman Lindsey Ziegenhirt have brought the power, each belting 13 home runs - including 11 between them in conference play - while Ziegenhirt is third in the conference with 46 RBI on the season. The Golden Bears also carry the nation's sixth-best ERA (1.51), led by Arioto who is 15-6 with a 1.29 ERA and another highly-touted freshman, Jolene Henderson, whose stats are nearly identical to Arioto (15-5, 1.29).
Series History: The Huskies are narrowing the gap in the all-time series, inching closer after a 2-1 series win last year in which UW defeated Cal in Berkeley in run-rule fashion to open conference play, 9-1, before splitting their games in Seattle. Cal evened the series with a 1-0 win before the Huskies took the finale, 11-3, also in run-rule fashion on UW's senior day. The Huskies have now won the series the last two seasons, winning two-of-three in each. Overall, the Huskies have won six of the last nine games between the teams since a three-game losing streak in 2006.
The Huskies hit the road in conference play for the first time to do battle with No. 16/20 Oregon, which came into the weekend tied atop the Pac-10 standings with UW. The Huskies came out of the weekend alone at the top after taking two-of-three from the Ducks. The Huskies took the first game of the series, 9-2, to extend their conference winning streak to six games, breaking open a close game late with a six-run seventh inning. Freshman Shawna Wright launched a three-run home run, sophomore Niki Williams drove in three runs as well and Danielle Lawrie added two RBI to a 12-strikeout performance to improve to 24-1.
The Ducks struck back on Saturday, however, handing Lawrie just her second loss in a 4-0 win. But the Huskies would take the rubber game on Sunday, squeaking out a 1-0 victory as Lawrie struck out 12 again and Jenn Salling scored the winning run in the sixth on a passed ball.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS
The Huskies retained the No. 1 spot in both national polls this week, something they have done all 11 weeks of the season since the preseason polls were released. They did, however, lose their unanimous standing in both polls and are feeling some pressure from No. 2 Michigan, which received seven votes in the NFCA poll and six in the USA Today poll, the closest any team has been to the Huskies all season.
The Huskies started the season ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history, earning the top spot unanimously in the NFCA/USA Today poll while earning 17 of 20 first-place votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. UW finished last season atop both polls after winning the Women's College World Series and they return six starters from that squad including National Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie. Seven of the eight Pac-10 teams are now ranked, with five of those seven in the top 10 (Washington, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State and Stanford).
In addition to tying Alicia Hollowell's Pac-10 record for career Player of the Week honors recently, Danielle Lawrie is also chasing down the Arizona legend for the conference career strikeout record. With 33 strikeouts last weekend, Lawrie passed California legend Michelle Granger to move into third in Pac-10 history and seventh in NCAA history with 1,660 career strikeouts. Lawrie is now just 10 behind Arizona State's Katie Burkhart for second and sixth, respectively, and 108 behind all-time conference leader Hollowell, who is fifth in NCAA history with 1,768 Ks. Lawrie now has 295 strikeouts on the season, moving her into fifth on the UW single-season charts. She now owns four of the top five single-season spots all time, setting the record with 521 last year, as well as ranking second with 457 in 2007 and third with 387 in 2006. Jennifer Spediacci holds the No. 4 spot with 316 in 2000.
Looking at the statistics, it's a little surprising UW is 7-2 in conference play and perhaps even more alarming they've outscored their three opponents - UCLA, Arizona and Oregon - by a total of 38-14, in those nine games when their three best hitters the majority of the season have yet to click against conference pitching. UW's most reliable hitters in the preseason - Danielle Lawrie, Jenn Salling and Niki Williams - are hitting a combined .200 (16-for-80) with just 13 RBI through the first three weeks of Pac-10 play, seven of those RBI coming from Williams. In contrast, the foursome went into conference play hitting a combined .396 (105-265) with 94 RBI in 30 games.
Thankfully, a trio of underclassmen have picked up the slack as freshmen Shawna Wright and Hooch Fagaly and sophomore Kimi Pohlman have led the way, totaling 24 hits between them while the rest of the team has 30 hits in conference play combined. The trio is hitting .333 (24-for-72) with 13 runs and 14 RBI in the first three weeks against some of the best teams in softball. Wright is tied for the conference lead with 12 RBI and five doubles and has also belted two home runs while Pohlman leads the Huskies in Pac-10 games with a .375 average, collecting 12 hits to tie for third in the conference. Fagaly, meanwhile, has drawn eight walks in nine games, tying her for second in the league.
As head coach Heather Tarr predicted, the Huskies have been hitting home runs at a high rate this year, belting 46 in 39 games after hitting 51 in 63 games all last year. UW had just 33 home runs through 39 games last season and it took until their 58th game of the season in the opener of the Women's College World Series on May 28 to reach the amount they have this year already. The Huskies have hit at least one home run in 25 of 39 games and have 13 multi-home run games after just 14 all last year. In fact, the Huskies have hit three or more home runs eight times this year, something they did just twice all last year.
HUSKIES REPRESENT IN NATIONAL STATS
The Huskies appear highly in national statistical rankings, most notably ranking 10th in fielding percentage (.976), 12th in ERA (1.65) and 14th in scoring average (6.33/game). The Huskies also come in at 19th in home runs per game (1.18), 21st in slugging percentage (.505) and 27th in average (.309). Individually, Jenn Salling is ranked 16th in the country in runs per game (1.08) while Danielle Lawrie appears liberally in both hitting and pitching statistics. She leads the nation in shutouts (14) and is third in walks per seven innings (0.77) and fifth in wins (25) and strikeouts (295). She also ranks 12th in ERA (1.11), 10th in strikeouts per seven innings (11.3) and 13th in hits per seven innings (3.76) along with ranking 19th nationally in RBI per game (1.10).
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM
While Morgan Stuart's stats may not indicate she's off to the best start this season, the junior is finding ways to contribute and help her team win games. As always, Stuart is leading the team in times hit by a pitch, getting plunked 10 times this year which leads the conference. That mark also ranks tied for fifth on the UW single-season charts, nine shy of the record set by Kim DePaul in 2000 and two shy of Stuart's career high of 12 set last year, which placed her third in the single-season record book. The junior has now been hit by a pitch 29 times in her career, just one shy of breaking into the NCAA's all-time top-25. Stuart is also third on the team in doubles (5) and is fifth in walks (11) along with playing solid defense at the hot corner.
COMING INTO HER OWN
After an outstanding freshman campaign, in which she earned Second Team All-Region and All-Pac-10 honors, Kimi Pohlman is showing no signs of a sophomore slump, leading the team with a .366 average, 49 hits and 15 stolen bases (15-for-16) while ranking second with 32 runs scored. While she spent most of the early part of the season at the leadoff spot, Pohlman has since settled nicely into the No. 2 spot as Jenn Salling has taken over the leadoff position. The move has paid off as Pohlman has been on a roll in Pac-10 play, batting a team-high.375 with seven runs, hitting safely in each of the last eight games.
Pohlman got off to a slow start to this season but has come on strong lately. After not recording a hit in four straight games early in the season, the sophomore went on a tear, hitting safely in 10 of 11 and batting .515 (17-33) with 11 runs scored in that stretch. She batted .444 in the Bank of Hawaii Invitational to earn a spot on the all-tournament team, then hit .533 (8-for-15) with six runs and three stolen bases in the Husky Softball Classic. Her four triples already rank tied for ninth on the single-season charts and she is 15-for-16 on the base paths, including swiping three in a game against Utah a few weekends ago. She is now an impressive 35-for-37 in her career on steal attempts.
Senior Amanda Fleischman has long been one of the Huskies top utility players throughout her career, appearing just about everywhere on the field except the pitcher's circle. But its seems she has finally found a permanent home on the field at second base as the Woodinville, Wash., native has stepped up in conference games, taking advantage of her opportunity to play every day. After going just 5-for-25 over the first 29 games of the season in a platoon role with freshman Jerrin Fa'asua, Fleischman has picked things up of late, hitting .315 (6-for-19) over the last 10 games, scoring four runs and stealing five bases. She has started eight of nine conference games and is fourth on the team with a .267 average and leads the squad in stolen bases, going a perfect 4-for-4 against Pac-10 catchers.