Pac-10 Champs Wrap Up Regular Season With Series At No. 10 ASU
May 12, 2010
#1 Washington (43-5, 15-3) at #10 Arizona State (40-13, 9-9)
Farrington Stadium - Tempe, Ariz.
Thursday, May 13 - 7 p.m.
Live stats available via Gametracker
TV: Fox Sports Net (Tape delayed on FSN - Friday, May 14, 1 p.m.)
Friday, May 14 - 7 p.m.
Live stats available via Gametracker
Saturday, May 15 - 12 p.m.
Live stats available via Gametracker
Sunday, May 16 - 7 p.m.
NCAA Selection Show - ESPNU
The No. 1-ranked and newly-crowned Pac-10 Champion Washington softball team (43-5, 15-3) heads down South for their final regular-season games of the year when they play No. 10 Arizona State (40-13, 9-9) in a three-game series in Tempe, Ariz. The Huskies carry a seven-game winning streak into the desert and are fresh off a three-game sweep of Stanford - winning the final two games in walk-off variety - which helped them clinch the top spot in the conference standings. Due to the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday at 7 p.m. PT on ESPNU, the series will take place Thursday-Saturday. Thursday and Friday's games take place at 7 p.m. while Saturday's finale is at Noon. This could also be the week Danielle Lawrie breaks the Pac-10's career strikeout record as she needs just 12 more to pass Arizona great Alicia Hollowell.
THURSDAY'S GAME TO BE TELEVISED
Thursday's opener between Washington and Arizona State is being televised on a tape-delayed basis by Fox Sports Net. Fox Sports Northwest has picked up the game and will air it on Friday, May 14 at 1 p.m. PT.
Find out where the Huskies will start their quest for a second straight national title on Sunday, May 16 with the NCAA Selection Show on ESPNU at 7 p.m. While the Huskies are eligible to host throughout the NCAA Regionals and Super Regionals due to the installation of lights at Husky Softball Stadium, there is still a chance UW will have to travel for the first round due to NCAA travel policies. Stay tuned for information on dates, times and ticket information should Seattle be named one of 16 host sites.
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.
With a three-game sweep of Stanford last weekend and with UCLA and Arizona each losing once last weekend, the Huskies clinched their third Pac-10 title in school history and first since 2000. UW will still have to win at least one game this weekend to guarantee its first outright title since 1996, the year the Huskies won their first conference championship and went on to finish as the NCAA runner-up.
The Huskies currently own a record of 15-3 in Pac-10, winning all six series they have played, three via sweep. Their 15 wins are already the second-most ever won by a Husky team since the conference shifted to three-game series rather than four-game series in 2000. The 2000 team went 17-4 in sharing the Pac-10 title with Arizona. The 1996 team won the title with a 23-4 record. Should the Huskies win two-of-three at Arizona State this weekend, it would mark just the second time in school history they won every season series in conference play, joining the 2000 team in that accomplishment.
SCOUTING ARIZONA STATE
2010: 40-13, 9-9
2009: 47-19, 10-11
Series vs. UW: Washington leads, 45-17
About Arizona State: The Sun Devils are looking to snap a two-game winning streak and finish the conference slate strong to place in the top half of the standings as they are currently fourth. Sophomore Katelyn Boyd is having a Player-of-the-Year caliber season in picking up the slack for departed All-American Kaitlin Cochran, leading the team with a .417 average, 15 home runs and 47 RBI while also leading the team with 26 stolen bases. Hillary Bach has been solid in the circle, going 22-6 with a 2.10 ERA. ASU is 10th in the country in runs per game, averaging 6.74 per contest.
Series History: The Huskies won the season series from the Sun Devils last year, 2-1, for the first time 2005. They also took the fourth game between the two teams, 1-0, in the Women's College World Series when Danielle Lawrie fired a two-hitter and Morgan Stuart drove in the game-winning run in walk-off style in the bottom of the eighth to send UW into the semifinals. The Sun Devils had some success against Lawrie last year, scoring 12 runs in 16 innings off the National Player of the Year, including a season-high seven off Lawrie in a 9-2 in Tucson. But she silenced the Sun Devils bats when it mattered most. The Huskies have now won four of the last six between the teams since ASU took five of the previous six meetings.
The Huskies clinched their first Pac-10 title since 2000 with a three-game sweep over No. 15 Stanford in UW's final regular-season home weekend of the season. All three games provided some excitement for Huskies fans, starting with Danielle Lawrie's fourth no-hitter of the season Friday in an 8-0, five-inning victory. Freshman Shawna Wright had a big day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a career-high five RBI, including a three-run double and a two-run home run, while Lawrie added two hits and two RBI herself. On Saturday, the Huskies won in dramatic fashion as Lawrie launched a two-run, walk-off home run with Wright on base to give UW a 2-1 win. It was Lawrie's first-career walk-off home run and was her first long ball since March 19, a span of 21 games and 62 at-bats. Then on Sunday, the Huskies not only earned the sweep but won the conference title in dramatic fashion, pulling out a 1-0 eight-inning win on Jenn Salling's walk-off RBI double which plated Kimi Pohlman with the winning run all the way from first. It was UW's third sweep in conference play and first sweep of Stanford in the season series since 2002.
HUSKIES IN THE RANKINGS
The Huskies retained the unanimous No. 1 spot in both national polls this week, something they have done all 14 weeks since the preseason polls were released. And after two straight weeks of feeling some pressure from No. 2 Michigan, the Huskies have been the unanimous choice again the last two weeks, something they've done eight times in the NFCA poll and seven times in the USA Softball poll. In fact, the Huskies are looking to become the first team since the USA Softball poll's inception in 2003 to remain at No. 1 all season. No. 2 Michigan (44-6), No. 4 Arizona (42-9) and No. 6 UCLA (38-10) have also received No. 1 votes this year but never enough to shake the Huskies
The only poll where UW does not rank No. 1 is in the RPI, which takes strength of schedule into consideration. UW is No. 2 in that poll behind Alabama. UW started the season ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history. Seven of the eight Pac-10 teams are currently ranked, with four of those seven in the top 10 (Washington, Arizona, UCLA, Arizona State).
FAST TO 40
The Huskies won their 40th game of the season two weeks ago to reach the milestone for the 14th time in the 18-year history of the program. Now at 43-5 start, UW is off to the second-best 48-game start in school history and just one off the record held by the 2000 team, which started 44-4. That team did not lose their fifth game until the 52nd contest of the season, going on to win a school-record 62 games (62-9) before finishing fifth in the College World Series. The 1996 team also had a good start, going 41-7 before winning the Pac-10 title and finishing second in the nation. Last year's Husky team was 39-9 through 48 games before finishing 51-12 and winning its first National Championship. The Huskies have won 50 or more in a season seven times.
THEY SAY DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS...
Perhaps overshadowed by Danielle Lawrie and a powerful offense, the Husky defense may be the most underrated reason why UW has been ranked No. 1 in the nation all season. The Huskies lead the Pac-10 and rank sixth in the nation with a .978 fielding percentage, making just 28 errors in 48 games. They had gone a season-high nine games without an error recently before the streak was broken last Saturday against Stanford. With just three regular-season games remaining, UW is on pace to smash the school record for fewest errors in a season, set by the 2000 team which made 48 and also owns the highest fielding percentage in school history (.977). The Huskies have given up just six unearned runs in 48 games this season after giving up 31 in 63 games last year
HOME SWEET HOME
With their three wins at Husky Softball Stadium last week, the Huskies increased their record at home this year to 16-1, the best mark in school history. UW went 15-1 at home last year to set a new record before this year's team surpassed it. The Huskies won their first five games at home before falling to UCLA in April, but they have since reeled off 11 straight at the friendly confines of Husky Softball Stadium. UW is 1,332 fans per game including back-to-back season highs last Saturday and Sunday of 2,080 and 2,159.
With five home runs two weeks ago against Oregon State - including a season-high four in one game - UW surpassed their home run total from all of last year when the Huskies hit 51 in 63 games. UW now has 54 in 45 games after hitting just 37 home runs through 45 games last season. The Huskies also have 14 multi-home run games equaling their number for all of last year. In fact, the Huskies have hit three or more home runs in a game nine times this year, something they did just twice all last year. The 54 home runs are already the fourth-most in school history, trailing teams from 2003 (75), 2005 (80) and 2000 (84).
Danielle Lawrie leads the squad with 12 home runs, which would have led the team lead last year, and freshman Shawna Wright is right on her heels with 11, having gone yard a team-best four times in conference play. Niki Williams has also posted a career-best nine long balls and sophomore Taylor Smith, despite starting just 13 of 48 games, is tied for fourth on the team with six home runs, hitting one every seven at-bats.
UNDERCLASSMEN LEADING THE WAY
In last year's Women's College World Series, UW's offense was carried mostly by underclassmen and through most of conference play, the freshmen and sophomores are once again being clutch down the stretch. Sophomores Kimi Pohlman and Niki Williams and freshmen Shawna Wright and Hooch Fagaly have led the way for the Dawgs, combining to hit .330 (65-for-197) with 45 of the team's 72 RBI. Pohlman has been on fire, tying for the conference lead in doubles (6) and ranking third in hits (22) and runs (15) and fifth in average (.379) in conference play. Wright, meanwhile, has supplied the power, leading the conference in RBI (22) and tying with Pohlman for the lead in doubles while also ranking sixth in slugging percentage (.720) and ninth in average (.360).
Fagaly has also quietly made an impact with her patience, drawing at least one walk in 12 of 18 conference games, ranking third in the conference with 16 walks total. She also ranks fourth in on base percentage at .500. Williams has also been crushing the ball lately, ranking second on the squad with 14 RBI which ranked 10th in the conference. She hit safely in five straight games recently, batting .545 (6-for-11) with seven RBI and seven runs scored.
AWARDS PILING UP FOR LAWRIE
At this rate, Danielle Lawrie is going to have to buy a house just for all the hardware she's earning this year. After going 3-0 against Stanford and allowing just one run and six hits in 20 innings pitched with 34 strikeouts, while also going 4-for-9 with four RBI and a walk-off home run, the senior was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week along with both the NFCA National Player of the Week and the USA Softball National Player of the Week. The conference honor was her record-breaking seventh of the season, breaking her own mark set last year, and was her 17th of her career, extending the record she set two weeks ago. She's now won the award five times in the last six weeks since conference play starting, going 15-2 with a 0.86 ERA and 197 strikeouts against some of the best teams in the country.
She also made national history with her USA Softball Player of the Week honor, becoming the first player to ever win the award three times in a single season. Last year's USA Softball Player of the Year won the award following the opening week of the season - when she also won the NFCA POW as well - and earned her second honor after going 3-0 against then-No. 2 Arizona.
LAWRIE NAMED PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALIST
The top 10 finalists for the 2010 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award were named this week and UW's Danielle Lawrie was among the finalists. Lawrie is the reigning USA Softball Player of the Year and will look to become only the second two-time winner, joining Texas' Cat Osterman, who won three times. Lawrie has been a force at the plate and in the circle, leading the nation in shutouts (19) and ranking in the top-10 in wins (33), strikeouts (358), ERA (0.92), walks per seven innings (0.92) and strikeouts per seven innings (11.7). She is also leading the Huskies in home runs (12) and is second in RBI (47). She was one of four Pac-10 players named to the list, joining Cal's Valerie Arioto, Arizona's Kenzie Fowler and UCLA's Megan Langenfeld.
Jenn Salling was named to the list of 25 finalists, getting added to the list after not being among the top 50 players named prior to the season. She was a top-10 finalist as a freshman in 2007. Kimi Pohlman, meanwhile, was named to the initial watch list of 50 players.
SECOND TO ONE
With 34 strikeouts last weekend, Danielle Lawrie has put herself just 12 strikeouts shy of breaking the Pac-10's career record. Lawrie needs 11 to tie and 12 to break the mark of Arizona's Alicia Hollowell, who is fifth in NCAA history with 1,768 Ks. Lawrie has been averaging 11.59 strikeouts per game in conference play, so she could break the record in the first game of the weekend against the Sun Devils. If not, she has been averaging more than 32 Ks per weekend so depending on how much time she sees in the circle with UW having already clinched the conference title, she could come back to Seattle as the new Queen of K.
Lawrie has now recorded 13 double-digit strikeout performances in 17 Pac-10 appearances including eight of the last nine games. She had a high of 39 for a conference weekend against then-No. 2 Arizona and has had at least 31 in every other weekend except the first against UCLA. With 1,757 strikeouts in her career Lawrie could reach as high as No. 4 all-time in NCAA history by the time the season is up. She is just 11 behind Hollowell for fifth and then another five behind Southern Mississippi great Courtney Blades. The No. 3 spot all-time is held by Virginia Tech's Angela Tincher, who finished with 2,149, out of reach for the Husky senior.
While she has no one else to chase in the Husky record books, Danielle Lawrie is doing a pretty good job of chasing down her own records, most of which she set last year. With 392 strikeouts on the season, Lawrie is third on the UW single-season charts and now owns the top four spots all time, setting the record with 521 last year, as well as ranking second with 457 in 2007 and fourth with 387 in 2006. Jennifer Spediacci is the only other Husky in the top five, striking out 316 in 2000.With two more shutouts last weekend, Lawrie also has a nation-best 19, two shy of her own single-season mark set last year. She also won three games to give her 33 on the season, her third-career 30 win season. That mark moves her into fourth on the single-season charts, behind her record 42 last year, Tia Bollinger's 36 in 2001 and Spediacci's 34 in 2000. Lawrie is also in the NCAA all-time top-10 for career wins, ranking ninth with 126, one shy of UCLA's Keira Goerl for eighth in NCAA history and second in the Pac-10 annals. Alicia Hollowell holds the Pac-10 wins record with 144.
DON'T MAKE HER MAD
Since giving up a season-high tying four runs in her third loss of the season against Oregon on April 17, Lawrie has allowed just two earned run in her last 61 innings pitched. She is 9-0 with a 0.23 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 61 innings.She threw 25-consecutive scoreless after the loss to Oregon before Oregon State scored a run in the first inning of their first game two weeks ago. Lawrie then threw another 26 consecutive scoreless innings before Stanford All-American and USA National Team player Ashley Hansen went yard against her last Saturday. Lawrie responded by holding Stanford scoreless over the final nine innings of the weekend. The longest scoreless streak of Lawrie's career came early last season when she went 64.1 consecutive innings without allow a single run and also went 90.0 straight without allowing an earned run.
IT'S A TOSS UP
Heather Tarr has experimented with both Jenn Salling and Kimi Pohlman at the leadoff spot over the last few weeks and it's pretty much worked out any way you slice it. If only the Huskies could somehow have both players leadoff an inning. Salling has been incredible as the first batter of an inning this year, batting .618 (21-for-34). She has also been highly successful in advancing runners, however, moving runners over at a .597 clip (46-for-77) , the best on the team. Pohlman, meanwhile, has been no slouch at leadoff either, where she has appeared 37 times in 48 games. The sophomore is batting .507 when leading off an inning this year (34-for-67).