This week in Pac-12 softball

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• Three Pac-12 teams occupy the top three spots in the NCAA RPI as a historical weekend wrapped up with three teams sweeping their Conference opponents and Arizona’s Mike Candrea becoming the first coach to reach 1,500 Division I softball wins. 

• Arizona State’s Sashel Palacios earned player of the week honors after recording 11 RBI and five home runs in the Sun Devil’s sweep of Oregon State. Arizona’s Danielle O’Toole threw her first career no-hitter and just the 90th no-hitter in Arizona history, but first vs. a top-10 team since 1993 to earn pitcher of the week honors. UCLA’s Rachel Garcia picked and a save in the Bruins’ doubleheader sweep of BYU on Saturday, striking out 10 in 7 2/3 innings against the Cougars to earn freshman of the week.

• Oregon continues to remain the lone undefeated team in the NCAA, moving up to No. 1 and No. 3 in the national rankings. Arizona remains at No. 4/4, Washington is at No. 8/8, UCLA is at No. 13/14, Utah is at No. 15/15, Arizona State is at No. 21/23 and California received votes and is at No. 22 in the USA Softball/ESPN rankings. At least six Pac-12 softball teams have been ranked since the start of the season. 

• Two Top-25 matchups highlight the week when No. 13/14 UCLA visits No. 8/8 Washington and No. 21/23 travels to No. 3/1 Oregon. Arizona meets in a double header against Grand Canyon then travels to meet California, Utah is at Stanford and Oregon State faces non conference foes UNLV, BYU and Portland State this week.

• Arizona’s historical weekend was capped off with career win number 1,500 for 33rd year head coach Mike Candrea after a sweep of No. 6 ranked Washington. Carrera recorded 32 wins in 33 games in 2017, and 1,500 career wins in 1,882 career games. Candrea is the fastest coach in NCAA history, in any sport, in any division, to reach 1,500 career wins. Candrea is 1,500-380-2 (.798), trailing only Michigan’s Carol Hutchins 1,506-485-5 (.756), who spent time in Division II, in NCAA history. The Wildcats’ sweep of the Huskies earned their first three-game sweep of a top-10 team since sweeping No. 8 Stanford in 2010 and gave UA its first 6-0 start to conference play since 2004.

• In the same weekend, Arizona’s Danielle O’Toole threw her first career no-hitter, facing just two over the minimum in a seven-inning masterpiece with eight strikeouts and one walk on Friday night in the Wildcats’ first victory over Oregon State. O’Toole’s no-hitter was the 90th in Arizona history, and just the first seven-inning no-hitter since Taryne Mowatt no hit the Huskies in 2008. The no-hitter was Arizona’s first non-mercy no-hitter against a top-10 team since Susie Parra threw an eight-inning no-hitter against No. 8 Cal in 1993. She earned both the NFCA and USA Softball National Player of the Week honors. 

• Oregon remains the lone undefeated team in the NCAA after a perfect 2-0 weekend against No. 11 Utah. The Ducks are now 29-0, with Oregon’s longest winning streak prior to this streak was just 18 games.

• California swept rival Stanford at home to mark its third consecutive sweep of their historical foes and evened their Conference record to 3-3.

• Oregon State earned its first Conference win this season with a 5-4 victory over Arizona State. Redshirt senior Natalie Hampton was responsible for an RBI double in the top of the seventh for the win and is now one RBI short from tying the career RBI record set by Terrah Beyster from 1997-2000.

• Washington’s Ali Aguilar, Utah’s Hannah Flippen, and UCLA’s Delaney Spaulding have been selected as candidates for the 2017 Senior CLASS Award in collegiate softball for their work both on and off the field. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: community, classroom, character and competition. The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists later in the season. 

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