No. 6 Softball Opens Season Hosting 17-Team Tournament

Feb. 6, 2001

ON TAP: The sixth-ranked Arizona State softball team (0-0, 0-0 Pac-10) will kick off the 2001 season hosting the 10th annual Fiesta Bowl Tournament, February 9 through 11 at both the Rose Mofford Sports Complex and on its home field, Farrington Stadium. Four of the Sun Devils games will be against Top-25 competition. ASU will open the tournament at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex against Utah State on Friday at 3:30 p.m. and then will take on 18th-ranked South Carolina at 5:30 p.m. On Saturday, ASU will take to its home field in Tempe with a match up against Georgia at 3:30 p.m. followed by a game against 24th-ranked Texas at 5:30 p.m. ASU will end the tournament back up at Rose Mofford with games against eighth-ranked LSU at 10:00 a.m. and against 25th-ranked Utah at 12:00 p.m.

ABOUT THE FIESTA BOWL: This will be the 10th year Arizona State plays host to one of the nation's top tournaments. Nine of the 17 teams are ranked in the Top-25 with two more teams receiving votes. The teams come from all over the country and represent seven different conferences. The conferences represented are: Pacific-10 (4), Big-12 (4), Southeastern (3), Mountain West (2), Big West (2), Big Ten (1), Atlantic-10 (1). The tournament is a three-day event with teams playing in a round robin fashion, There are no brackets, pools or champion crowned. Games will be played on four different fields at Rose Mofford and at Arizona State's Farrington Stadium throughout each day, except for Sunday when all games will be played at Rose Mofford.

HEAD COACH LINDA WELLS: Arizona State's storied tradition of softball excellence continues to flourish under the tutelage of 12th-year head coach Linda Wells, one of the most prominent and successful coaches in NCAA history. Last year, Wells' achieved a coaching milestone that few can or will ever obtain, winning 700 career games. The Sun Devils earned Wells her 700th win with a 8-3 win over Cal State Fullerton (2/13/00). The team also tied school-records in the national polls reaching as high as No. 3 and for posting the most wins in a single season with 43. The 2000 team also advanced to the postseason for the fourth consecutive season, making it to the finals of the Region V Championship. Additionally, Wells team won the National Invitational Softball Tournament in San Jose, Calif. Wells also tutored six players on the Pac-10 All-Conference team, the most since the 1997 season. Wells has now coached 52 all- conference players during her tenure at Arizona State, averaging nearly five All-Pac-10 selections every season. Wells is currently the eighth-most successful active coach in NCAA Division I history with a 737-585-1 career record. She has led the Sun Devils to eight NCAA Regional appearances in 11 seasons, including her first trip to the College World Series in 1999. While at Arizona State, Wells has compiled 386 victories and has had five players earn a total of eight All-American awards.

TOUGH SCHEDULE/TOUGHER CONFERENCE: As in any season, Arizona State will face many of the nation's top programs. Within the toughest conference in the nation, the Pacific-10, ASU will face a nationally-ranked team every time out. For the second consecutive year, all eight Pac-10 teams are ranked in the top-20, including five of the top seven positions. Additionally for the second straight season, all eight teams made postseason appearances with four teams advancing to the College World Series.

BRUN'S A HIT: Sophomore shortstop Kara Brun made an immediate impact last year, offensively and defensively. Brun earned All-Pac-10 second team accolades, was selected to the Region V All-Tournament team and was named the team's Freshman and Defensive Player of the Year. At the plate, Brun led the team in batting average (.352), hits (68), doubles (16), runs (44), total bases (108), and was second in RBIs (38). Brun also tied the single-season record in home runs (8). Brun posted 18 multi-hit games, eight multi-RBI games and held a team-high 16 game hitting streak. On the field, the strong-arm shortstop led the team in assists (133) and committed only five errors for a .978 fielding percentage.

LIFE'S A BEACH: Junior pitcher/designated player Erica Beach continues to have a stellar career as a Sun Devil. After earning NFCA first-team All-American honors as a freshman, Beach claimed first-team All-Pacific Region honors and was an honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick as a sophomore. Last year in the circle, Beach posted a 13-9 record with eight shutouts, a 2.01 ERA and 78 strikeouts. Against Portland State, Beach set a new career-high in strikeouts with seven. At the plate, Beach batted .339 with eight home runs (tied single-season mark), including two grand slams and a team-high (single-season record) 48 RBIs. She posted 13 multi-hit games, including a career-high 4-for-4 performance against CS Fullerton. Beach also had a team-high 11 multi-RBI games, including one five RBI game. Beach was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week (3/17) after batting .500 with seven RBIs, helping ASU win the 2000 NIST. Also her 13 career home runs are good for third all-time, while her 87 career RBIs is good for sixth all-time.

VOAK'S RESUME: Two-time junior All-American pitcher/designated player Kirsten Voak is also looking to pick up where she left off last season. After two ASU record-setting seasons (24 wins, 314 strikeouts/Fr.), (30 wins, 316 strikeouts/So.) Voak garnered her second NFCA All-American honor, was a first-team All-Pac-10 and second-team All-Pacific Region selection and was named the team's MVP and Pitcher of the Year. Last year Voak fired her first no-hitter of the season (third career) against Simon Fraser and struckout a season-high 15 against Oregon, which also tied her career-high. Additionally, Voak earned three Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors (2/22), (3/17), (4/3) and was named to the NFCA Leadoff Classic and NIST All-Tournament teams. She's fourth all-time in career wins (54) and second all-time in career strikeouts (630). Last season Voak averaged eight strikeouts per game and 8.2 for her career ... opponents batted .178 ... averaged only one walk per game ... batted .315 with seven doubles and three home runs ... recorded a .414 slugging percentage and a .434 on-base percentage ... led the team in walks with 33 ... had 13 multi-hit games and four multi-RBI games ... has tallied 15 career double-digit strikeout games.

Voak's Career Double-Digit Strikeout Games (15):

15 -- Oregon, 7 innings (4/2/00)

15 -- Central Michigan, 8.1 innings (5/20/99)

14 -- Utah, 7.1 innings (3/13/99)

13 -- Santa Clara, 7 innings (3/10/00)

13 -- Florida Atlantic, 7 innings (5/22/99)

12 -- UNLV, 7 innings (3/26/00)

12 -- Iowa, 7 innings (3/17/00)

12 -- Portland State, 7 innings (2/26/00)

12 -- Nebraska, 7 innings (2/13/99)

12 -- Oregon State, 6 innings (4/24/99)

12 -- Washington, 8 innings (4/10/99)

11 -- Utah, 7 innings (3/10/00)

11 -- Illinois State, 7 innings (2/20/00)

10 -- Oregon, 7 innings (4/25/99)

10 -- Utah, 7 innings (3/18/99)

CAREER/ALL-TIME MILESTONES: Head Coach Linda Wells needs 13 wins to reach 750 in her career and 14 more to reach 400 at ASU ... Erica Beach needs four more home runs to become ASU's all-time leader ... Beach needs 29 RBIs for the all-time record ... Voak needs 176 strikeouts for the all-time record and 29 more wins for the school record ... Missy Hixon needs 17 more doubles for the all-time record ... Arizona State, as a program, needs 29 more wins to reach 900 in its history.

2000 SEASON IN REVIEW: Opened the 2000 season in its new home, Alberta B. Farringinton Softball Stadium...finished tied for 10th in the finalUSA Today/NFCA top-25, reaching as high as No. 3...the No. 3 ranking tied the school's highest ranking ever, set last year...posted a 43-20 overall record with a 8-13 mark (5th) in the Pacific-10 Conference...the 43 wins tied for the most in school history (1991 season)...the team's 31 home runs set a new school record, four coming the way of grand slams...advanced to the postseason for the fourth consecutive season and the eighth time in the past 10 years...hosted its first regional since 1991, recording a 3-2 record...ASU won the National Invitational Softball Tournament in Sunnyvale, Calif....head coach Linda Wells earned her 700th career victory (2/13), defeating Cal State Fullerton, 8-3...Well's overall career win total of 737 places her eighth all-time among active NCAA Division I coaches...sophomore pitcher Kirsten Voak earned second-team All-American honors...Voak also was a first-team All-Pac-10 and second-team All-Pacific Region selection...Voak set school records for most wins (30) and strikeouts (316) in a single-season...she also earned three Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors (2/22, 3/17, 4/3) and was named to the NFCA Leadoff Classic and NIST All-Tournament teams...Voak no-hit Simon Fraser (2/21), her third no-hitter in her career...sophomore designated player/pitcher Erica Beach earned first-team All-Pacific Region honors and was a Pac-10 honorable mention pick...Beach also earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors (3/17) and was named to the Region V All-Tournament team...she set single-season school records for runs batted in (48) and home runs (8)...Voak also earned team MVP honors and Pitcher of the Year accolades...freshman shortstop Kara Brun was named to the All-Pac-10 second-team and Region V All-Tournament team...she tied ASU's single-season home run mark (8) and finished the season leading the team in batting average (.352), runs (44), hits (68), doubles (16) and was second in RBIs (38)...Brun also posted a team-high 16 game hitting streak...Brun was awarded the team's Freshman of the Year honor and the team's Defensive Player of the Year honor...sophomore center fielder Nichole Thompson earned All-Pacific Region accolades, NFCA Leadoff Classic and Region V All-Tournament honors...Thompson tied for the team-high in runs scored (44) and also had a 16-game hitting streak...Thompson also claimed the team's Offensive Player of the Year honor...catcher Sara Kahler and second baseman Missy Hixon earned Pac-10 honorable mention status.

NEW FACES: The Sun Devils added six new players to this year's team. Freshmen Kristin Farber (OF) and Phelan Wright (3B) both come to Tempe from Los Alamitos, California. Farber led Los Alamitos HS in batting average and stolen bases all four seasons. She was named the school's Female Athlete of the Year and was a three-time Long Beach Press Telegram first-team Dream Team choice. Wright was the 1999 MVP of the Sunset League and was an All-CIF and county selection. Freshman Kristen Swetel (P) from Dobson High School in Mesa, Arizona was the state Gatorade Player of the Year. Swetel was also a first-team all-area and East Valley selection. Junior Shiloh Talanoa is a transfer from El Camino JC where she earned second-team all-conference honors. Talanoa also hit the most home runs in the JC ranks. Transfer Nicole Cullen (Chandler, Ariz. CC) was a two-time MVP of her team and freshman Felicia Romero out of Gilbert (Ariz.) High School batted .370 and stole 20 bases her senior year.

DYNAMIC DUO: Juniors Missy Hixon and Nichole Thompson, who play second base and center field respectively, each contribute in similar ways. Hixon, a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, is a two-year starter and has played in 132 career games ... she has produced 124 hits, scored 63 runs and recorded 41 RBIs ... Hixon has also tallied 23 career doubles and stole 11 bases. Thompson earned All-Pac-10 honors her freshman year and was an All-Pacific Region choice as a sophomore ... Thompson holds a career .324 batting average in 124 games ... she has produced 122 hits, scored 84 runs and recorded 36 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 14 doubles and stole 16 bases.

DEVIL NOTES: ASU starts one senior, sometimes none at all ... eight players hold a cumulative grade-point average above 3.0 ... hit a school record 31 home runs (including four grand slams) last year by eight different players (all-time mark of 26 total HRs in '99) ... ASU's longest winning streak last year -- 9 games (3 times).

MEDIA INFORMATION: All publicity for the ASU softball team are coordinated by Assistant Media Relations Director Will Phillips at (480) 965-1237. Any interviews with ASU softball players or coaches should be arranged through Phillips with at least 48 hours notice.

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