Preview UCLA Softball
April 25, 2001
UCLA stays local this week, with a Wednesday doubleheader at UC Riverside followed by a critical Pac-10 weekend series against the Bay Area schools. Earlier in the season, the Bruins swept a doubleheader from UCR on March 6 at Easton Stadium, a day that included a five-inning perfect game tossed by Bruin freshman Keira Goerl. UCLA traveled to the Bay Area for the first weekend of Pac-10 play, falling to Stanford 1-0 before rebounding for two wins at Cal. The Bruins lead all three all-time series with a 10-1 record against the Highlanders, a 55-13 mark against Cal and a 28-7 record against Stanford.
UCLA Sweeps Oregon, Falls to Oregon State
Last weekend's Pac-10 slate started off with an upset loss to No. 16 Oregon State on Friday by a 2-1 margin. The Beavers scored two unearned runs in the fifth inning, and the Bruins were able to come up with one run in the top of the sixth on an RBI single by third baseman Tairia Mims, but it was not enough to record a second comeback victory against the Beavers. UCLA took a come-from-behind 3-2 win from OSU in March at the Hedrick's Hallowell Chevrolet Classic in Fresno.
Saturday's game featured Courtney Dale's first Pac-10 pitching start since the end of the 1999 season, a 4-3 UCLA win over Oregon, as Dale missed the majority of the 2000 conference slate due to a shoulder injury that required off-season surgery. Dale pitched effectively for six innings, allowing just three hits and striking out five before allowing three runs on three hits in the bottom of the seventh. UCLA scored three of its four runs in the top of the first inning, as shortstop Natasha Watley hit a leadoff double and scored during Mims' at-bat. The 13th home run of the season by Stacey Nuveman provided the other two runs of the inning. UCLA added what proved to be a key insurance run in the fifth, when Mims led off with a single and pinch-runner Julie Hoshizaki came around to score during Dale's at-bat.
Watley posted the big numbers in Sunday's 6-3 win, extending her hitting streak to 27 games with a 3-for-5 performance while swiping three bases to bring her season total to 40 stolen bases. The Bruins put together a four-run second inning, featuring a two-run home run by Mims, and adding one run apiece in the fourth and fifth innings. Keira Goerl earned the victory, improving to 17-1 on the season.
Natasha Watley Hitting, Sprinting into Record Books
Sophomore All-America shortstop Natasha Watley enters Wednesday's non-conference doubleheader with a 27-game hitting streak, which is tied for the 11th-longest streak in NCAA Division I history. In addition, Watley's three steals on Sunday at Oregon brought her season total to 40, extending her UCLA single-season record. That total leads the Pac-10 and ranks eighth on the conference's all-time single-season list.
Watley is one of four Bruin starters hitting over .400. Her .412 season average includes a team-high four triples, and ranks 26th on the NCAA Division I statistics list. Her 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. Her current career stolen base total is 72 swipes, just two away from breaking into the Pac-10's all-time top-10 list.She's Baaack!: Nuveman Moves Up NCAA Career Lists
With 13 home runs this season, Bruin slugger Stacey Nuveman currently has 65 career home runs, giving her 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 48 games, Nuveman has walked 53 times (16 intentional walks), equivalent to 30% of her total plate appearances and a 1.1 per-game average that contributes to an impressive .596 on-base percentage. Nuveman is third among active players on the NCAA's career walks list, and has become the second Bruin in history to record more than 200 career RBI, with 217. She 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.
Bruins Dominate NCAA Statistics
UCLA's 44-4 record translates to a .917 winning percentage, ranking third among NCAA Division I schools. That is just one of several categories where the Bruins rank in the national top-10, as the team batting average of .349 is second, the team fielding percentage of .976 ranks fifth and the team's 0.91 ERA is seventh (through games of April 22).
Individually, five Bruins rank in the current NCAA Statistical Leaders: batting average (16. Nuveman, .427, 22. Sua, .419, 26. Watley, .412, 35. Mims, .401), RBI (3. Mims, 1.25/gm, 7. Nuveman, 1.15/gm), home runs (13. Mims, 0.29/gm, 15. Nuveman, 0.27/gm), stolen bases (7. Watley, 0.83/gm) and ERA (7. Freed, 0.54, 38. Goerl, 0.94).
UCLA's 3-0 win over No. 2 Arizona on April 8 gave the Bruins the 16th 40-win season in program history. Last year, UCLA did not record win No. 40 until its 52nd contest, an 8-0 win over Canisius in the Bruins NCAA Regional opener. This is the 16th 40-win season in UCLA history. UCLA's 40-3 record converts to a winning percentage of .930, which is the best winning percentage in the nation through games of April 8.
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 623-119-1 (.839) coaching record and 1,050 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.
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 all 48 games for UCLA: 13 games in right field, four games at first base, 21 at third base and 10 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 .401 average with 13 doubles, two triples, 14 home runs, 60 RBI, 41 runs scored and 13 walks, for a .466 on-base percentage and a .789 slugging percentage. In comparison, she totalled nine home runs, 32 RBI and eight doubles last year as a freshman.
Four Bruin starters currently own season batting averages of .400 or above, and all rank in the NCAA top-35 for batting average: Nuveman (.427, 16th), freshman Claire Sua (.419, 22nd) and sophomores Natasha Watley (.412, 26th) and Tairia Mims (.401, 35th). The Bruins have scored 315 runs while allowing just 57. The Bruins are hitting .348 as a team, the second-best team batting average in the country.
Claire Sua has started all of UCLA's 48 games and is second on the team with a .419 batting average. She has six home runs -- including two grand slams -- 39 RBI and 18 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 20 of UCLA's games and has a 1.13 ERA with 106 strikeouts in 124 innings pitched. Goerl pitched a five-inning perfect game against UC Riverside on March 6, and all 14 innings on April 13 against Washington. Batters are hitting .166 against Goerl, and she is 16-0 on the 2001 season. She leads the team in innings pitched.
Freshman outfielder Stephanie Ramos started UCLA's first 29 games before breaking a the fourth metacarpal bone in her left hand. She was hitting .405 with seven doubles, 12 RBI and 22 runs scored, and had 18 putouts and an assist when the injury occurred. She returned to the Bruin starting lineup on April 6 against Arizona State.
Six of Marcel Torres' nine game starts have come in Pac-10 play, with two more in the April 4 doubleheader at Cal State Northridge. 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. Torres hit her first career home run on Feb. 16 against Portland State, and is hitting .417 with 20 games played, one double and two home runs.
Baserunning specialists Amanda Simpson and Julie Hoshizaki both see regular game action, with Simpson stealing two bases with 14 runs scored. She has appeared as a pinch runner in 41 of UCLA's 45 games. Hoshizaki has pinch-run in 30 games with 11 runs scored.Injury Report
Junior pitcher Amanda Freed was diagnosed with an injury in her right forearm on April 16. She will be out of the lineup for Wednesday's doubleheader against UC Riverside, and her status for this weekend's Pac-10 series will be determined later in the week. 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 and underwent surgery on Feb 28. She returned to the lineup as a pinch-hitter in both games against Washington. Outfielder Stephanie Ramos broke the fourth metacarpal bone in her left hand on March 8. She returned to full participation last weekend in Oregon. Junior Casey Hiraiwa tore a tendon in her left hand during UCLA's Alumnae game on March 24, and had surgery on April 6. No timetable has been set for her return.