No. 8 Softball Heads To Tucson For Two-Game Series Against No. 2 Arizona
April 11, 2001
ON TAP: The eighth-ranked Arizona State softball team (30-9, 5-1 Pac-10) will play their 18th and 19th straight road games and their seventh and eighth consecutive Pac-10 games away from Farrington Stadium. The Sun Devils will travel south down I-10 to face second-ranked Arizona (39-4, 3-2 Pac-10) on Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14. Both games are slated for a 7:00 p.m. first pitch.
LAST TIME OUT: Arizona State had it most successful Pac-10 series in recent memory as they swept the UCLA/Washington road swing for the first time in school history. ASU opened the series with a 16-hit, 6-1 victory over No. 1 UCLA. ASU then swept two games from No. 14 Washington, 5-1 and 6-1 to accomplish the feat for the first time since 1993. Against UCLA, Missy Hixon opened the game with a single up the middle, which turned out to be a sign of how the game would unfold. Designated player Erica Beach, who went 3-for-4 with four RBIs on the afternoon, homered to lead off the second inning and doubled in the third inning, leaving her a triple shy of the cycle. ASU put two more runs across in the third inning on four hits, including a bases-loaded double by Beach. ASU added one more run on three straight singles to start the fifth inning, then would score two more as they opened the seventh with five straight singles, accounting for the final score of 6-1. In the first game against Washington, it was the first home loss for the Huskies this year and Arizona State's third straight conference road win. ASU scored first when Nichole Thompson came through, after fouling several balls off, with a clutch two-out hit to right field to score one run. ASU then posted two more runs in the fourth inning. With the bases loaded, Kirsten Voak singled to center field to score one run, while Jennifer Forner followed with another single to right field for the second run. ASU posted two more runs in the top of the fifth inning to end the game. Beach pitched a solid game, allowing only one run with six strikeouts and one walk. Voak pitched to one batter in the sixth inning, striking out the player to end a UW threat. Beach re-entered and finished the seventh inning for the win. In the second game, Voak pitched a three-hit, one run game, while striking out 12 batters. ASU got on the board first when Beach launched a solo home run over the right field fence to become the school's all-time RBI leader (116). ASU posted one more in the fifth inning. Thompson walked and was then sacrificed over to second by Kara Brun. With two outs, Phelan Wright singled to left to drive in Thompson. ASU then unloaded four runs in the seventh to seal its fourth straight Pac-10 road win. Kristin Farber reached on an error by the first baseman. Hixon sacrificed her over, which was followed by another error on the third baseman to put Thompson on first. Brun then stepped to the plate and drilled a double off the left field wall to bring in two runs. Wright then put down a sacrificed bunt to bring in Brun. Beach followed with a double to center field to drive in Wright for the final run.
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 767-594-1 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 416 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 14-5, including six shutouts and a 1.15 ERA with a career-high 96 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. Against UCLA and Washington, Beach batted .700 (7-for-10) with two doubles, two home runs, two runs scored, two walks and seven RBIs. Beach also picked up her 14th win in the circle as ASU defeated UW, 5-1, earning her Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week and Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. Beach posted a 2-0 record (both shutouts) with one save as ASU went 4-1, reaching the quarterfinals of the KIA Klassic Tournament. 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 also posted a 3-1 record at the NFCA Leadoff Classic and was named on the all-tournament team. Offensively, Beach is batting .369 with six doubles, a team-high seven home runs (three over 250 ft.), 17 walks and has tallied 31 RBIs. Beach also continues to set ASU's all-time home run mark as she belted her 20th career shot against Washington. She also set the school's all-time RBI mark, currently at 118. 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 12-3 with a 0.82 earned-run average, Voak has pitched a perfect game (fourth career no hitter), struck out 93 batters in 77 innings, issued just 12 walks and posted a Pac-10 leading three saves. She is also holding opponents to a .118 overall batting average, an 0.80 average with two outs and is averaging 8.5 strikeouts/game. Against UCLA and Washington, Voak picked up two of ASU's three wins. Against top-ranked UCLA, Voak pitched five and a third innings, allowing only two hits, one run, while striking out seven. She pitched the complete game against UW, limiting the Huskies to three hits, one run, while striking out a season-high 12 batters. Voak struckout seven of 11 UW batters, four batters struckout two or more times and she retired the last 15 batters in a row. Overall on the weekend, Voak went 2-0, pitched 12 and two-thirds' innings, allowed only five hits, two runs, two walks, while fanning 20 batters. For her efforts, she claimed her second Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honor this year and her eighth all-time (fifth all-time in th Pac-10). 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 choice and was named the team's MVP and Pitcher of the Year. Last year Voak earned three Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors and was named to the NFCA Leadoff Classic and NIST All-Tournament teams. She's currently second all-time in career wins (66) and second all-time in career strikeouts (723). She has also tallied 16 career double-digit strikeout games.
Voak's Career Double-Digit Strikeout Games (16):
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 -- Washington, 7 innings (4/8/01)
12 -- UNLV, 7 innings (3/26/00)
12 -- Iowa, 7 innings (3/17/00)
12 -- Portland State, 7 innings (2/26/00)
12 -- Oregon State, 6 innings (4/24/99)
12 -- Nebraska, 7 innings (2/13/99)
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)
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 .336 with 43 hits, a team-high seven doubles and 28 runs scored. She also has three home runs and 31 RBIs, also tied for the team-high. Brun has tallied 12 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 87 assists. In the ASU record book, she is already fourth all-time with 11 home runs and is sixth 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 .371 (101-for-272) with 44 runs scored, seven doubles, one triple, three home runs, 41 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. Wright leads the team with a .407 average, while 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.
HOT BAT: Over the last 20 games, freshman Phelan Wright has boosted her batting average over 100 points to a team-best .407. Over this period Wright has batted .517 (31-60) with three doubles, one triple, one home run, 10 runs scored, 10 walks and 17 RBIs. Wright, who has played and started in all 38 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.
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 161 career games ... she has produced 148 hits, five home runs, scored 78 runs and recorded 54 RBIs ... Hixon has also tallied 29 career doubles and stole 14 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 .336 batting average in 163 games ... she has produced 169 hits, scored 109 runs and recorded 51 RBIs ... Thompson has also tallied 18 doubles, three triples, stole 23 bases and has sacrificed 35 times ... she averages just one strikeout every 21 at bats.
PAC-10 HONORS: Freshman pitcher/designated player Kristen Swetel claimed Pac-10 Player of the Week honors (4/1) for her pitching and hitting 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.
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 183-64 ... ASU pitchers are holding opponents to a .165 average ... ASU has walked 100 times ... 11 players have five or more RBIs this year with nine players recording in double digits ... 14 of ASU's 30 wins have been shutouts ... Missy Hixon is batting .476 with runners in scoring position ... Phelan Wright has tallied 14 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 ... ASU has claimed four Pac-10 honors this year, including the last three ... ASU's last home game was March 6th ... ASU has played 18 games against top-25 teams ... ASU is 6-1 on the road this year, compaired to a 5-7 mark last year.
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.