Pac-12 announces softball players of the week
SAN FRANCISCO — The Pac-12 Conference office announced the softball weekly honors for play from Feb. 22-Feb. 28. ARIZONA STATE senior Nikki Girard was named player of the week, OREGON STATE’s Meehra Nelson was tabbed pitcher of the week while fellow Beaver Kayleen Shafer was voted freshman of the week.
Girard (Chino Hills, Calif.) had a stellar weekend as she helped ASU to a 4-1 weekend and a 15-2 record overall. The senior went 10-for-12 over five games (.833) with a team-leading nine RBI and four doubles. She added two walks to post a .857 OBP over the course of the weekend and finished with a slugging percentage of 1.417 and was a perfect 18-for-18 fielding at second base. She batted 6-for-7 on the weekend with runners in scoring position (.857) and led the team with four two-out RBI. Girard was the only Sun Devil to have a hit in each game, including the team’s lone blemish in what amounted to just a four-hit effort against #21 Minnesota. Girard knocked in five RBI with a home run in the team’s first game against St. Francis and all five runs were important in a 12-9 victory. She successfully advanced runners on 7-of-8 chances over the course of the weekend. This is Girard’s first weekly honor and 150th all-time for ASU.
Nelson (Simi Valley, Calif.) made four appearances last weekend, picking up a pair of wins in her three starts as well as her first collegiate save and the Beavers’ first save of the season. The rookie earned her eighth consecutive win to open her college career against No. 12/11 Oklahoma, holding the Sooners to four runs (two earned) with six strikeouts. She entered in the fifth inning against Northwestern, earning the save after allowing neither a run nor a hit over the final three innings and striking out five Wildcats. While she was charged with her first collegiate loss against Loyola Marymount, she limited the opponent to one earned run (two total) on a solo home run that followed a 15-pitch at-bat by the first batter she faced. Nelson earned her final win of the weekend against New Mexico State, a team that entered the week ranked second in the country in batting average (.426). She held the Aggies to two runs on four hits and three walks with seven strikeouts in seven innings, striking out 25 batters in 24.0 innings pitched for a 1.04 K/IP ratio and 7.29 K/7 ratio. Nelson has helped Oregon State match its best start in program history (2006 WCWS team) by posting a 9-1 record with a save, 1.50 ERA and 84 strikeouts. This is Nelson’s second weekly honor all-time after earning rookie of the week honors to open the season.
Shafer (Mission Viejo, Calif.) Shafer hit .500 (8-for-16) for the week with a pair of home runs, four doubles, seven RBI and three runs scored in the Beavers’ 4-1 weekend. The rookie had two doubles, an RBI and a run scored in the win over No. 12/11 Oklahoma, including a leadoff double with the Beavers trailing, 4-3, in the bottom of the seventh to set up the comeback. Both of her doubles came against the Sooners’ LHP Paige Parker, who was the 2015 NFCA Freshman of the Year. Each of Shafer’s two hits against Bethune-Cookman went for extra bases, as she drove in four RBI on a double and home run to lift the Beavers to their run-rule victory. She then went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI to help the Beavers to a 10-2 win against New Mexico State and starter Karysta Donisthorpe, who entered the matchup with a 5-2 record and 1.33 ERA. This is the first weekly accolade for Shafer and 41st all time for the Beavers.
A player of the week has been selected every week since 1989, with the pitcher of the week honor dating back to 1992. This is the second season of freshman of the week honors.
This weekend Arizona State and Oregon State are off to the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.
PLAYER: Kobie Pettis, CAL; Kayleen Shafer, OSU; Bessie Noll, STAN; Allexis Bennett, UCLA; Anissa Urtez, UTAH; Courtney Gano, WASH.
PITCHER: Danielle O’Toole, ARIZ; Kourtney Shaw, CAL; Carolyn Lee, STAN; Katie Donovan, UTAH.
FRESHMAN: Fa Leilua, ASU; Lindsay Rood, CAL; Lauren Frost, STAN; Paige Halstead, UCLA.
2016 SOFTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
|Feb. 17||Mo Mercado, ARIZ||Taran Alvelo, WASH||Meehra Nelson, OSU|
|Feb. 23||Kylee Perez, UCLA||Danielle O’Toole, ARIZ||Morgann Flores, WASH|
|March 1||Nikki Girard, ASU||Meehra Nelson, OSU||Kayleen Shafer, OSU|