#15 Softball Kicks Off Its Pac-10 Season At California, Stanford

March 28, 2001

SEATTLE - Let The War Begin - Pac-10 Play Opens: The 15th-ranked Washington softball team will look to defend its 2000 Pac-10 Conference title beginning this weekend with a three-game tilt in Northern California. The Huskies are set to face third-ranked California on Friday, March 30, followed by one game on Saturday and Sunday at fifth-ranked Stanford.

Spring Break 2001 - It's A Wrap: The Huskies completed a nine-game journey to California with a well-deserved 'mini vacation,' taking the team's first and only weekend off from competition, March 24-25.c While in California, the UW posted a 5-4 record, including a 3-2 mark at the Kia Klassic. The Huskies finished in a tie for fifth overall at the Kia, falling 8-1 to eventual tournament champion #9 Cal State Fullerton in the quarterfinals. The team then split four non-conference games, picking up a pair of victories over Northwestern (8-2) and 24th-ranked Cal State Northridge (3-1).

Give Me Light: In its final game of the spring break trip, Washington ran out of more than just innings in a 4-3 loss to 24th-ranked Cal State Northridge. The Huskies, who attempted to rally from an early 4-1 deficit, were denied their last at-bat in the top of the seventh as the game was called due to darkness (the Matadors' field does not have lights).

First Look: Either by coincidence or perhaps by design, the Huskies will get their first chance to face a Pac-10 opponent in 2001 this weekend. The UW had played a Pac-10 school at least once prior to the regular conference schedule in six of the program's nine seasons, posting an 8-7 record in those games. Washington could have faced a Pac-10 team in 2001 in either the NFCA Leadoff Classic or the Kia Klassic, while four of the Huskies' five early season tournaments included at least one conference foe.

Best Of The Best: Just how tough is the Pac-10 Conference again this season? One can just look at the conference's combined 234-50-1 (.823) or maybe the fact that four teams are ranked in the top five in the country.

Last year, the Pac-10 sent all eight teams to the NCAA regionals for the second consecutive season.

Tia POWer: Washington softball pitcher Tia Bollinger (Santa Ana, Calif.) has been named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for her performances at the Kia Klassic tournament, the conference office announced Thursday, March 22.

Bollinger led the Huskies to three wins at the Kia Klassic, going 3-0 with a 0.00 earned-run average in 21 innings pitched. The freshman did not allow a run, while giving up just seven hits over the three games. She also struck out 17 and extended her streak of complete-game shutouts to five.

For the season, Bollinger is 20-2 overall with a 0.90 ERA in a little over 140 innings pitched. It is the first weekly honor for Bollinger, while it is the second for the Huskies this year with senior Christie Rosenblad (Fillmore, Calif.) receiving Pac-10 player-of-the-week honors back on February 12.

Pitcher, Pitcher: Washington freshman Megan Owen (Spokane, Wash.) took the meaning of the words 'utility player' to the fullest, when she logged her first career appearance at pitcher in the team's 12-0 loss to Texas on March 15. Owen got off to a rough start in her debut, giving up nine runs in four innings, but struck out four Longhorn batters in the process.

Owen had originally come to fall practice as a middle infielder, but later was moved to the outfield. The right-hander was a three-time all-league pick as both a shortstop and pitcher at University High School in Spokane.

Owen's appearance comes on the heels of the announcement that junior Bridget Wilcox (Olympia, Wash.), one of the team's three pitchers entering 2001, will redshirt the season due to a rib cage injury.

Back In The Saddle: Sophomore catcher Amy Hanson (Mt. Vernon, Wash.) returned to action at last week's Kia Klassic after missing seven games due to a fractured ring finger on her catching hand against Kansas (Feb. 25).

Senior third baseman Kim DePaul (Tomball, Texas) had taken over for Hanson behind the plate, catching all five games at the Red Desert Classic in Utah and both games versus Texas, while not allowing a passed ball.

With Hanson's return, freshman Amanda Oleson (Agoura Hills, Calif.) who had taken DePaul's spot at third base, returned to first base.

Over-The-Fence Club: After hitting 23 home runs in their first 24 games, the Huskies hit just two home runs in their nine-game spring break trip, with both coming in a 8-2 win over Northwestern on March 20. Senior Kim DePaul smacked a three-run shot in the third inning, while sophomore Jaime Clark (Tustin, Calif.) added a solo effort in the fifth.

For the season, nine different players have tallied at least one home run with Clark leading the charge with seven.

Streaking Away: So far this season, three Husky players have had hitting streaks of 10 games or more. Freshmen utility player Amanda Oleson had the team's longest streak of 15 games (February 11 -March 3), while classmate Rita Roach (Norwalk, Calif.) also had an 11-game hitting streak from February 17 to March 2.

After going 0-for-2 at the plate in the season-opener with Louisiana State, UW outfielder Kelly Hauxhurst (Westminster, Calif.) had at least one hit in her next 13 games before a two-game drought against Michigan State and South Carolina. Hauxhurst, however, recovered to log another seven-game streak, which ended versus over Texas (March 11). For the season the senior co-captain has reached base at least once in 31 of 33 games.

Longest Husky Hitting Streaks
Gms Player Dates AB-R-H-RBI-Avg.
21 Rosie Leutzinger 3/4-4/8/00 81-18-32-5-.395
15 Amanda Oleson 2/11-3/2/01 55-7-24-10-.436
15 Kelly Hauxhurst 2/12-2/26/00 52-14-17-7-.327
15 Michelle Church 3/3-3/23/96 50-10-31-23-.620
14 Christie Rosenblad 2/18-3/5/00 40-10-19-3-.475
14 Shelley Brown 4/4-4/26/97 48-17-24-2-.500
14 Sara Pickering 2/16-3/2/96 40-13-18-17-.450
13 Kelly Hauxhurst 2/9-2/23/01 45-11-21-10-.467

Freshman Record Watch: Just over half way through the regular season, UW freshman hurler Tia Bollinger has already broken one Husky freshman pitching record and could set two more this weekend. With seven solo shutouts and an overall record of 20-2, Bollinger also has 139 strikeouts to her credit in 26 appearances.

UW True Freshman Season Pitching Records
Wins - 21 by Stephanie Burns (1993) and Jamie Graves (1997) - (Bollinger - 20 in 2001)
Solo Shutouts - 7 By Tia Bollinger in 2001
(Previous 6 by Stephanie Burns (1993) and Jamie Graves (1997))
Strikeouts - 154 by Stephanie Burns in 1993 - (Bollinger - 139 in 2001)

Pac-10 Power: The University of Washington softball team, which has made five consecutive trips to the College World Series, has been picked to finish fourth in the Pac-10 in a poll of conference coaches released January 16.

The Huskies, who finished their 2000 season with a number five national ranking, received 27 points overall to place behind Arizona (46), UCLA (46) and Arizona State (34). Arizona and UCLA both tied for first place with 46 points and four of the eight first-place votes. Behind Washington was Stanford (25), California (20), Oregon State (17) and Oregon (9).

Scouting the California Bears (39-1): The third-ranked California Golden Bears kicked off their 2001 season with a 32-game win streak, dropping just a 1-0 game to 13th-ranked Iowa, before picking up right where they left off last weekend with a 7-0 run at the Georgia Tech Buzz Classic.

Under head coach Diane Ninemire, Cal returned eight of nine starters from last year's squad that advanced to its second straight College World Series. This year, sophomore Veronica Nelson has led her team in batting with a .388 average, 13 home runs and 35 RBI. The Golden Bear pitching staff, behind aces Jocelyn Forest (22-1, 0.35 ERA) and Nicole DiSalvio (13-0, 0.47 ERA), have allowed just 29 runs while shutting out its opponents 25 times.

Washington defeated California two of three times in 2000, while maintaining a close 18-16 edge in the all-time series. The Huskies have won seven of the last 10 meetings.

Scouting the Stanford Cardinal (30-2-1): Washington faces another tough two games against the fifth-ranked Stanford Cardinal. The Cardinal has lost just two games this season to Cal State Northridge (1-2) and Boston University (2-4), while picking up notable victories over five top 25 foes.

Under head coach John Rittman, All Americans Jessica Mendoza (.474 avg., 11 HR) and Sarah Beeson (.432 avg., 39 RBI) lead the Stanford offense, while pitchers Dana Sorenson (0.20 ERA, 15-1) and Maureen LeCocq (0.56 ERA, 11-1) have seen the majority of the team's starting time.

The Huskies swept the three-game series in 2000, but the UW owns just a 6-4 record in the two schools' 10 previous meetings. Washington is 23-5 all-time versus Stanford.

Close Connections: Washington's Jaime Clark and California's Eryn Manahan both hail from Tustin, Calif., and attended Foothill High School ... UW's Tia Bollinger and Stanford's Robin Walker are alumnae of Mater Dei High School ... Bollinger, Walker and Cardinal Jessica Mendoza all played for Gordon's Panthers ... Clark and Stanford pitcher Dana Sorenson were members of the same Orange County Batbusters team ... Mendoza and Washington's Nikki Holt both went to high school at Adolfo Camarillo in Camarillo, Calif. ... Stanford head coach John Rittman was an assistant under UW coach Teresa Wilson at Washington, Minnesota and Oregon ... Cardinal assistant coach Sara Pickering is a 1997 Washington grad and a two-time All-American ... UW assistant Drew Christmon held a similar position at Stanford in 1996.

Pickering Update (March 14): Former Washington standout Sara Pickering (1994-97), who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease last March, has had a relapse. Pickering, now an assistant softball coach at Stanford under former UW assistant John Rittman, is scheduled to undergo a Stem Cell Transplant in mid-March.

In support of Pickering, the Washington softball team will give supporters a chance to send their well wishes on the weekend of April 6-8 (Arizona, Arizona St.) as well as April 27, when the Huskies play host to the Cardinal at 2 p.m., at Husky Stadium.

On The Tube: Washington's May 5, game with Pac-10 foe Oregon has been scheduled to air live on FOX Sports Net at 2 p.m. (PT). The Huskies' game with the Ducks is one of three Pac-10 games set for FOX with the other two being the April 7, game between Arizona and UCLA and the April 14, game with Stanford and California.

Huskies On the Air Waves: The Washington softball team will have eight games broadcast live on KSRB 1150-AM in 2001. Mike Brown will handle play-by-play duties for the fourth- straight season, while John Cowley will provide color commentary.

UW is one of the few softball programs in the nation with regular-season games broadcast by a local radio station. This year's schedule began March 10, with the first of a pair of games versus non-conference foe Texas, and includes four other Husky home games as well as two road games from Corvallis, Ore. Each game's broadcast will begin and end with a 15-minute pre- and post-game show, featuring interviews with UW players and coaches. To listen to live audio broadcasts on the web, go to www.1150ksrb.com.

Dear Diary: Wonder what goes on behind the scenes and in the minds of Husky softball players and coaches? You will have two opportunities for the second year in a row to read a more personal account of Washington softball. Head coach Teresa Wilson will post bi-monthly diary submissions to the cnn-si.com site, while one Husky player per week will write about the team's fortunes on and off the field on the school's official site, www. gohuskies.com.

Head Coach Teresa Wilson: Teresa Wilson wasted no time in building a perennial contender for the NCAA Championship at the University of Washington. In eight years, Wilson has led the Huskies to five straight trips to the College World Series, including appearances in the championship game in 1996 and 1999. UW has earned seven straight berths in the NCAA tournament, a No. 1 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA poll, and two Pac-10 titles.

As the only head coach in Husky history, Wilson has led the Huskies to a 421-152 record, accruing an incredible .735 winning percentage. All totaled, Wilson's players have earned 19 All-America certificates, 58 mentions on all-Pac-10 squads, and 44 all-conference academic honors.

A fierce competitor, Wilson, a native of Pickering, Mo., was an All-American pitcher at the University of Missouri from 1980-83. Her 14-year career coaching record of 625-313 (.666) also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota, and ranks her 21st among the most winningest active coaches in division I softball.

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