Bruins Softball Returns To Action In Weekend Series
March 28, 2001
Final exams are over, and the top-ranked and undefeated Bruins return to action this Friday, opening their Pac-10 schedule with road games at Stanford and Cal. Because UCLA's academic schedule follows the quarter system and final exams concluded on March 23, it will be nearly three weeks between official games for UCLA. The Bruins lead the all-time series against the Cardinal and the Bears, with a 28-6 record against Stanford and a 53-13 mark against Cal.
Alumnae Game Features Six Softball Olympians
UCLA's annual softball Alumnae Classic took place at Easton Stadium on Saturday, March 24, as the Blue team defeated the Gold team by a 7-6 margin. Most of Team Blue's runs were recorded as part of the home run hitting contest. Four players from each team were given three swings off of a tee, and junior Stacey Nuveman was the only player to hit more than one over the fence, as all three attempts cleared the scoreboard in left field. All told, Team Blue out-homered Team Gold by a 5-1 margin.
Six of UCLA's seven American Olympians were in attendance for Saturday's festivities, including Nuveman, Dot Richardson, Lisa Fernandez, Sheila (Cornell) Douty, Christie Ambrosi and current Bruin junior Amanda Freed, who was a traveling alternate for Team USA.
UCLA Takes Hallowell Chevrolet Classic Title, Downs UCSB
The Bruins went 5-0 at the Hedrick's Hallowell Chevrolet Classic, their most recent tournament, then downed UC Santa Barbara in a single game on March 14. At the tournament in Fresno, the Bruins survived a scare from Pac-10 foe Oregon State, as the Beavers took a 2-0 lead after five and a half innings before the Bruins tied it up in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Lupe Brambila then hit a one-out home run to left field to end the game and give the Bruins the 3-2 win.
On the final day of tournament play, UCLA faced host Fresno State. Errors on UCLA's first two defensive plays led to two unearned runs for the Bulldogs, and Fresno State was able to hold UCLA scoreless through three at-bats. Nuveman led off the fourth inning with a home run to right, leading a parade of 13 Bruins to come to the plate in that inning. Seven Bruins would cross the plate in that half-inning, including two trips home for Nuveman. UCLA won the game and the tournament title with an 8-2 final against the host Bulldogs. Tairia Mims was named to the All-Tournament Team, and Nuveman was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her efforts.
Also notable from the Hedrick's Hallowell Chevrolet Classic was a seemingly harmless play in the top of the sixth inning when outfielder Stephanie Ramos broke the fourth metacarpal bone in her left hand while sliding into second base. Ramos will be out for 6-8 weeks.
On March 14, the Bruins took the short road trip up to Santa Barbara, and defeated the Gauchos 6-1. Senior Courtney Dale pitched five perfect innings before allowing one hit in the bottom of the sixth. Stephanie Swenson pitched the seventh in relief, allowing UCSB's only run of the game.
Head Coach Sue Enquist
The 2001 season marks Sue Enquist's 13th campaign as head coach of the Bruin softball program. It is her 22nd year as part of UCLA's softball coaching staff and her 26th year of involvement with the program as either a coach or player. Enquist has a 614-115-1 (.842) coaching record and 1,041 wins in her Bruin softball career as a player, assistant coach and head coach, combined. As a player from 1975-78, Enquist became UCLA's first All-American while establishing the Bruin career batting average record of .401. She is still the only UCLA player to complete her career with a batting average over .400.
She's Baaack!: Nuveman Moves Up NCAA Career Lists
With 11 home runs this season, Bruin slugger Stacey Nuveman currently has 62 career home runs, moving her into fourth place on the NCAA's all-time list. Nuveman now has the best career home run total of any non-Arizona player. Jenny Dalton is next on the list with 76 career home runs (see page 5 of notes).
Through 35 games, Nuveman has walked 40 times, equivalent to 31% of her total plate appearances and a 1.14 per-game average that contributes to a stunning .636 on-base percentage. Nuveman is second among active players on the NCAA's career walks list, behind only Pacific's Adrienne Ratajczak. She has also become the second Bruin in history to record more than 200 career RBI, and is the active leader on the NCAA career list in that category.
Nuveman returns to the Bruins in 2001 after missing the 2000 collegiate season in order to play for the U.S. Olympic Team. Despite the fact that she is in her fifth year as a Bruin, Nuveman has remaining collegiate eligibility for the 2001 and 2002 seasons, and is considered an athletic junior in 2001.
Four Bruin starters currently own season batting averages of .400 or above: Nuveman (.472), freshman Claire Sua (.453), sophomores Tairia Mims (.438) and Natasha Watley (.403) and injured freshman outfielder Stephanie Ramos (.405). The Bruins have scored 264 runs while allowing just 31. The Bruins are hitting .371 as a team, and UCLA's offensive power is evident in the team pitching stats, as UCLA has a team ERA of 0.65 while the Bruins have hit their opponents into a 6.79 team ERA.
Freed Continues Domination in the Circle
Junior P/OF Amanda Freed spent her summer as a traveling alternate with the U.S. Olympic Team, and has returned to the Bruins as the same dominant pitcher who tossed UCLA to last year's NCAA Championship Game. Freed leads the Bruins with 68.0 innings in the circle and an 11-0 record with one save. She has struck out 95 and walked 10, good for a stunning K:BB ratio of 9.5:1! The Bruins have allowed just five runs, two earned, with Freed in the circle for a 0.16 ERA. Offensively, Freed is hitting .336 with one home run, six doubles and three triples with 20 RBI. She has stolen 14 bases on 15 tries.
Dale Effective in Return to Lineup
After an injury-plagued 2000 season, Bruin senior Courtney Dale returned to the lineup on Feb. 7 at Cal State Fullerton, going 3-for-8 with four RBI, a double and a run scored in the doubleheader against the Titans. She made her first appearance in the pitching circle on Feb. 10 against San Diego, pitching one shutout inning and facing three batters. She currently owns a .371 season batting average with one home run and nine RBI. In each of her last two pitching appearances, Dale has started with five perfect innings (vs. Colorado State 3/8, vs. UCSB 3/14), earning wins in both starts. She is 4-0 with two saves and a 0.88 ERA this season.
Elementary, My Dear Watley!
Even the masterful detective Sherlock Holmes wouldn't be able to stop Bruin sophomore All-American shortstop Natasha Watley, who became the most prolific base stealer in UCLA history after just one season. Watley's record-setting freshman campaign included team highs of a .426 batting average and stealing 32 bases on 37 attempts. In addition to setting a new Bruin single-season record for stolen bases and taking over the UCLA career lead in that category, Watley set an NCAA Division I postseason record with four steals against Canisius in UCLA's postseason opener on May 18, 2000. Watley has already improved on that freshman campaign, swiping 33 bases on 36 tries for 65 career steals. Through 26 games, she had already improved on her freshman year total of 11 RBI and is closing in on her 2000 total for runs scored. Watley currently has 27 RBI and 46 runs scored, compared to 48 runs last year.
Forget Waldo, Where's Tairia?
Sophomore Tairia Mims is on the field and producing impressive offensive numbers from the No. 3 spot in the lineup, but you never know where you'll find her on the field defensively.
Mims has started 13 games in right field, four games at first base, nine at third base and nine games behind the plate. UCLA's starting first baseman a year ago, Mims was a catcher and third baseman in high school and ASA ball. Since coming to UCLA, she has learned first base and right field, making her one of Sue Enquist's most versatile athletes defensively.
Mims was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Feb. 12-18 after hitting six home runs with 19 RBI during that stretch. For the 2001 season, Mims currently has a .405 average, going 34-for-84 with six doubles, 10 home runs, 40 RBI, 27 runs scored and 10 walks, for a .480 on-base percentage and a .833 slugging percentage. In comparison, she totalled nine home runs, 32 RBI and eight doubles last year as a freshman.
Claire Sua has started all of UCLA's 35 games and is second on the team with a .453 BA, going 48-for-106 with six home runs, including two grand slams with 37 RBI and 15 runs scored. Sua entered the lineup as the designated player in UCLA's first five games (at the Early Bird Classic) before making her defensive debut at first base in the doubleheader at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 7.
Pitcher Keira Goerl has pitched in 13 of UCLA's games and has a 0.88 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 72 innings pitched. Goerl pitched a five-inning perfect game against UC Riverside on March 6. Batters are hitting .131 against Goerl, and she is 12-0 on the 2001 season. She is second on the team in innings pitched to Amanda Freed (87 IP)
Freshman outfielder Stephanie Ramos started UCLA's first 29 games before breaking a bone in her left hand. She was hitting .405 with seven doubles, 12 RBI and 22 runs scored, and has 18 putouts and an assist.
Baserunning specialists Amanda Simpson and Julie Hoshizaki both have seen game action, with Simpson stealing two bases with 11 runs scored. She has appeared as a pinch runner in 32 of UCLA's 35 games. Hoshizaki has pinch-run in 24 games with nine runs scored. Marcel Torres earned a single in her first collegiate at-bat, entering the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning in the first game of the Cal State Fullerton doubleheader. She went 1-for-1 with an RBI against San Diego, and made her defensive debut at third base. Torres hit her first career home run on Feb. 16 against Portland State, and is hitting .333 with 12 games played going 5-for-15 at the plate.
Freshman outfielder Stephanie Ramos broke the fourth metacarpal bone in her left hand while sliding into second base on March 8 against Colorado State at the Hedrick's Hallowell Chevrolet Classic. She is expected to be out of the lineup for 6-8 weeks. Sophomore Toria Auelua tore her right meniscus while warming up Courtney Dale in game one of UCLA's doubleheader at Southwest Texas State on Feb. 26. Auelua underwent surgery on February 28 and will be out for at least of 6-8 weeks.