No. 9 Softball Travels To No. 1 UCLA and No. 14 Washington
April 4, 2001
ON TAP: The ninth-ranked Arizona State softball team (27-9, 2-1 Pac-10) will continue conference play on the road as they face top-ranked UCLA (37-1, 2-1 Pac-10) in a single game on Friday, April 6 at 2:00 p.m. ASU will then catch a flight to Seattle to take on 14th-ranked Washington (24-12, 2-1 Pac-10) for single games on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. The Sunday game will be televised by FOX Sports Northwest on a tape-delay basis, airing on Monday, April 9 at 7:30 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona State opened the Pac-10 season with a 2-1 record at the Oregon schools. ASU opened the season with a 4-2 win over 14th-ranked Oregon State and then spilt a doubleheader with Oregon, falling 4-0 in the first game and then run-ruling the Ducks 10-1 in six innings in the second game. Against OSU, the Beavers struck first in the third inning with a solo home run to right field. Erica Beach started the game, going the first three innings. Kristen Swetel then came in with two on and no outs to retire the side. Swetel pitched the next three innings before giving way to Kirsten Voak who finished the final inning for her third save on the year. ASU rallied for three runs in the fifth inning on a Kara Brun and Swetel RBI. ASU tallied one more run in the seventh when Voak hit a sacrifice fly to right field. Oregon State posted one more run in the seventh off of another solo home run, but Voak came in for the final three batters to end the threat. In the first game against Oregon, the Ducks tallied the first two runs in the second inning. Beach started the game, going one and two third innings before being lifted for Swetel. ASU had scoring chances in the second and third innings with runners on third base, but was unable to score. Oregon posted one more run, an unearned run, in the fourth to take a 3-0 advantage. They recorded their last run in the sixth inning. In the second game, ASU wasted no time scoring as Swetel blasted a two-out, three run home run to left center field. In the second inning, Voak added to the score with a solo home run to right center field. Then again with two outs, Brun singled to right field to score Missy Hixon to make the score 5-0. Oregon then posted one run in the fourth on an unearned run. In the top of the sixth inning, the game was delayed for 20 minutes due to rain. However, when play resumed, ASU came back and scored five more runs, three courtesy of a Beach three-run blast to right field. The game was then ended in the sixth inning due to the eight-run mercy rule. Voak pitched the complete game, limiting Oregon to three hits while striking out eight.
PAC-10 HONORS: Freshman pitcher/designated player Kristen Swetel claimed Pac-10 Player of the Week honors (4/1) for her pitching and hitting performances against Oregon State and Oregon. Swetel secured the win against Oregon State, pitching her way to her fourth win as well as hitting the game-winning RBI. She also had the game-winning hit, a three-run home run against Oregon to secure the win. Overall, Swetel went 1-0, pitched 6.1 innings, allowed one run, while going 4-for-5 at the plate with five RBIs and two game-winners.
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. 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 764-594-1 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 ASU, Wells has compiled 413 victories and has had five players earn a total of eight All-American awards.
LIFE'S A BEACH: Junior pitcher/designated player Erica Beach continues to have a stellar career as a Sun Devil. This year Beach is 13-5, including six shutouts and a 1.16 ERA with a career-high 89 strikeouts. She has thrown two one-hitters, had a scoreless streak of 27 innings and has tied her career-high in strikeouts (7) four different times. Beach posted a 2-0 record (both shutouts) with one save as Arizona State went 4-1, reaching the quarterfinals of the KIA Klassic Tournament. Beach, who has already tied her win total from last year (13), pitched 24 and two-thirds innings with a 0.84 ERA, allowing only three runs, two walks with 12 strikeouts. Against ninth-ranked Cal State Fullerton, Beach came in the fifth inning with the score 4-3 and no-hit Fullerton (3 K's) for the rest of the game to notch her second save of the year. Beach posted a 3-1 record at the NFCA Leadoff Classic and was named on the all-tournament team. Offensively, Beach is batting .333 with four doubles, a team-high five home runs (two over 250 ft.), 15 walks and has tallied 24 RBIs. Beach also continues to set ASU's all-time home run mark as she belted her 18th career shot against Oregon. She is also second all-time with 111 RBIs. 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.
VOAK'S RESUME: Two-time junior All-American pitcher Kirsten Voak is also picking up where she left off last season. Currently at 10-3 with a 0.76 earned-run average, Voak already has pitched a perfect game (fourth career no hitter) and claiming Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors, struck out 73 batters in 64 innings and has issued just 10 walks. She is also holding opponents to a .118 overall batting average and 0.82 average with two outs. 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 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 currently second all-time in career wins (64) and second all-time in career strikeouts (703). She has also 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)
HOT BAT: Over the last 17 games, freshman Phelan Wright has boosted her batting average over 100 points to a team-best .392. Over this period Wright has batted .510 (25-49) with three doubles, one triple, one home run, six runs scored, nine walks and 14 RBIs. Wright, who has played and started in all 35 games, also held the team's longest hitting streak at 13 games. Additionally, she batted .530 at the National Invitational Softball Tournament, earning all-tournament honors.
CAREER/ALL-TIME MILESTONES: Beach needs five RBIs for the all-time record ... Voak needs 104 strikeouts for the all-time record and 18 more wins for the school record ... Beach needs four more wins to set a new career record (17) ... Hixon needs 11 more doubles for the all-time record ... Arizona State, as a program, needs two more wins to reach 900 in its history.
BRUN'S A HIT: Sophomore shortstop Kara Brun, who made an immediate impact as a freshman, offensively and defensively, is picking up right where she left off. Brun's currently batting .333 with 39 hits with a team-high six doubles and 25 runs scored. She also has three home runs and 30 RBIs, also a team-high. Brun has tallied 11 multiple hit games and eight multiple RBI games, both team highs. She also held the team's second longest hitting streak (12) and leads the team with 83 assists. In the ASU record book, she is already fourth all-time with 11 home runs and tied for fifth all-time with 24 doubles. As a freshman, Brun earned All-Pac-10 second team honors, 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.
FRESHMEN TRIO: Freshmen Kristin Farber, Phelan Wright and Kristen Swetel have all made immediate impacts this year. Combined the three are batting .376 (91-for-242) with 39 runs scored, seven doubles, one triple, three home runs, 36 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Wright leads the team with a .392 average, Swetel is second at a .375 clip, while Farber is batting third at .363. Swetel is also 4-1 with a 0.71 earned-run average.
A PERFECT START: In Arizona State's first game of the year, junior All-American pitcher Kirsten Voak claimed only Arizona State's second perfect game in school history as she blanked Utah State, 10-0 in five innings. Voak struckout nine batters with only two balls leaving the infield. For her effort, Voak was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week (Feb. 5-11). It was Voak's first perfect game and fourth career no hitter.
DYNAMIC DUO: Juniors Missy Hixon and Nichole Thompson, who play second base and first base respectively, each contribute in similar ways. Hixon, a two-time All-Pac-10 selection, is a three-year starter and has played in 158 career games ... she has produced 145 hits, five home runs, scored 77 runs and recorded 54 RBIs ... Hixon has also tallied 29 career doubles and stole 13 bases. Thompson, also a three-year starter, earned All-Pac-10 honors her freshman year and was an All-Pacific Region choice as a sophomore ... Thompson holds a career .333 batting average in 160 games ... she has produced 164 hits, scored 105 runs and recorded 50 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 18 doubles, three triples, stole 23 bases and has sacrificed 34 times ... she averages just one strikeout every 21 at bats.
DEVIL NOTES: ASU starts one senior, sometimes none at all ... eight players hold a cumulative grade-point average above 3.0 ... ASU has outscored its opponents 166-61 ... ASU pitchers are holding opponents to a .163 average ... ASU has walked 92 times ... 11 players have five or more RBIs this year with eight players recording in double digits ... 14 of ASU's 27 wins have been shutouts ... Missy Hixon is batting .526 with runners in scoring position ... Phelan Wright has tallied 13 RBIs with two outs ... seven different players have hit at least one home run ... six of ASU's nine losses have been by either one or two runs.
TOUGH SCHEDULE/TOUGHER CONFERENCE: As in any season, Arizona State will face many of the nation's top programs, including seven of its first 14 games, and nearly half of its non conference schedule (14) against top-25 competition. Within the toughest conference in the nation, the Pacific-10, ASU will face a nationally-ranked team almost every time out. Seven of the eight Pac-10 teams are ranked in the top-16, including the top two and four of the top five positions. Additionally for the second straight season, all eight teams made postseason appearances with four teams advancing to the College World Series.
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.