Pac-12 announces softball players of the week

ASU Athletics / UCLA Athletics

SAN FRANCISCO — The Pac-12 Conference office announced the softball weekly honors for play from Mar. 29 –Apr. 3. ARIZONA STATE senior Jennifer Soria was named player of the week, UCLA’s Paige McDuffee was tabbed pitcher of the week while fellow Bruin Brianna Tautalafua was voted freshman of the week.

Soria (Simi Valley, Calif.) led the ASU offense and defense to a series victory over Cal on the road in Berkeley. Soria went 7-for-13 on the weekend with four home runs as she slugged an outstanding 1.462 on the weekend. Soria knocked a team-leading six RBIs and scored seven runs in the series, four more than any other player on the roster and nearly a third of the total 22 runs scored on the weekend. Soria went 3-for-5 in the opener, hitting a solo home run in the ninth inning that would prove to be the game winner. She added another solo home run Saturday before closing the weekend with a 3-for-4 effort with her fourth home run and three RBIs in the series finale. Her four home runs were especially notable as Cal pitchers had given up 18 all season entering the weekend (28 games, .64 per game), as Soria had more than 1/5th of that total in three games alone (1.33 per game). This is ASU’s 82nd all-time weekly honor.

McDuffee (The Woodlands, Texas) was stellar in two appearances at No. 4 Oregon this weekend, picking up a win on Sunday and posting a 0.72 earned run average and four strikeouts in 9 2/3 innings to help the 16th-ranked Bruins clinch the series victory. UCLA’s win over Oregon marked the first Pac-12 series loss for the Ducks since 2013. After missing last weekend’s series at Washington due to an injury, she was on a pitch count versus the Ducks but was economical in her pitching numbers. Starting on Saturday, she tossed three innings before reaching her limit, striking out two and giving up just a run and two hits. The redshirt junior induced three double plays during the game, as UCLA kept the national lead in that category. McDuffee was outstanding though on Sunday, getting through 6 2/3 innings of relief with only 58 pitches. She struck out two and gave up just one unearned run, one hit and one walk. McDuffee retired the last 14 batters of the game to win her second game of the season. This is UCLA’s 139th all-time weekly accolade.

Tautalafua’s (Carson, Calif.) hit total rose throughout the weekend at No. 4 Oregon, as she recorded one hit on Friday, two on Saturday and three on Sunday in helping the 16th-ranked Bruins to a series win and sent the Ducks to their first Pac-12 series loss since 2013. Including a midweek win at Cal State Fullerton, Tautalafua batted .500 with six hits in 12 at-bats, adding three home runs, six runs batted in and five runs scored. In game one against Oregon, after reaching base via errors in her first two at-bats, the freshman connected on her first long ball of the weekend, a three-run shot in the fifth in the Bruins’ 16-6 rout. A day later, Tautalafua singled in her first at-bat and posted an RBI hit in her third appearance before leaving the yard twice on Sunday. She hit a solo homer in the second and added another solo shot in the fifth, adding a seventh-inning single for the first three-hit game of her career. This is UCLA’s 140th all-time weekly nod.

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 week No. 20/12 Arizona State hosts No. 11/13 Washington in Tempe beginning on Friday and No. 16/18 UCLA welcomes Stanford starting on Saturday. The Pac-12 Networks full television information can be found here.

Also Nominated:

PLAYER: Kobie Pettis, CAL; Mikela Manewa, OSU; Kylie Sorenson, STAN; Brianna Tautalafua, UCLA; Casey Stangel, WASH.

PITCHER: Bev Miller, OSU, Carolyn Lee, STAN; Casey Stangel, WASH.

FRESHMAN: Fa Leilua, ASU; Meehra Nelson, OSU; Carolyn Lee, STAN.

2016 SOFTBALL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

  Player Pitcher Freshman
Feb. 17 Mo Mercado, ARIZ Taran Alvelo, WASH Meehra Nelson, OSU
Feb. 23 Kylee Perez, UCLA Danielle O’Toole, ARIZ Morgann Flores, WASH
Mar. 1 Nikki Girard, ASU Meehra Nelson, OSU Kayleen Shafer, OSU
Mar. 8 Ali Aguilar, WASH Megan Kleist, ORE Taylor McQuillin, ARIZ
Mar. 14 Delaney Spaulding, UCLA Taylor McQuillin, ARIZ Taylor McQuillin, ARIZ
Mar. 21 Gwen Svekis, ORE Danielle O’Toole, ARIZ Ally Dickman, UTAH
Mar. 28 Nikki Udria, ORE Cheridan Hawkins, ORE Taran Alvelo, WASH
Apr. 4 Jennifer Soria, ASU Paige McDuffee, UCLA Brianna Tautalafua, UCLA
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