No. 6 Softball Concludes Regular Season With No. 2 Arizona, No. 4 Arizona State

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May 8, 2002

SEATTLE - Last Week:
5/3 at No. 16 Oregon State* L, 1-2
5/4 at Oregon* W, 6-2
5/5 at Oregon* W, 8-0(5)

This Week:
5/10 No. 4 Arizona State* 2 p.m.
5/11 No. 2 Arizona* (DH) 1 p.m.

Next Week:
5/16-19 NCAA Regionals TBA

The Final Countdown: The sixth-ranked Washington softball team ends its 2002 regular season with three games this weekend against a pair of top four foes in No. 4 Arizona State (Friday) and No. 2 Arizona (Saturday).

The Huskies currently sit in a tie for third in the Pac-10 standings with the Sun Devils at 10-8, while the Wildcats are tied with UCLA for first place with matching 15-3 records.

Huskies In The Pac: With just three games left in conference play, Washington's final placing in the Pac-10 is still very much in doubt.

With three wins this weekend, the Huskies can still only finish as high as third in the standings, while three losses could drop the UW to as low as fifth.

A year ago, another young Husky squad rallied to finish in a tie for third with Stanford at 11-10 overall. The third place was Washington's eighth straight, top-four finish in conference play after beginning with a seventh place in the program's inaugural season in 1993.

A Perfect 10: Washington junior Jaime Clark (Tustin, Calif.) is among 10 finalists for the inaugural USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) announced last Friday.

The ASA originally announced a list of 25 finalists back on April 5, before reducing the list to 10 players. The award, which is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country, will be handed out on June 7, after the field is once again reduced to three finalists on May 31.

The Huskies' starting shortstop is among six Pac-10 players in the final field of 10.

The 10 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, listed in alphabetical order, are: Jaime Clark (UW), Jennie Finch (Arizona), Keira Goerl (UCLA), Nicole Myers (Florida Atlantic), Stacey Nuveman (UCLA), Catherine Osterman (Texas), Britni Sneed (LSU), Jamie Southern (Fresno State), Natasha Watley (UCLA) and Phelan Wright (Arizona State).

Lil' B Times Three: With her sixth triple of the season in the team's 8-0 win over Oregon last Sunday, UW senior Becky Simpson (Tumwater, Wash.) tied the school record for most triples in a season.

Simpson tied the previous mark set by All-American Michelle Church in 1994. Added to her previous career total of three, the UW's starting leftfielder now has nine to her credit, tying with Leanne Rosser (1994-97) for third on the career triples list.

Simpson also is tied with UCLA All-American Natasha Watley for most triples by a Pac-10 player in 2002.

Save Us - The Sequel: With Tia Bollinger's (Santa Ana, Calif.) fifth save of the season in the 6-2 victory over Oregon Saturday, the UW pitching staff now has nine saves on the season, breaking the school record of eight set in 1997.

Along with Bollinger's five saves in 2002, freshman pitchers Ashley Boek (Redding, Calif.) and Leslie Scott (Edmond, Okla.) also both have two each to their credit. Bollinger's five saves are just one short of the single season record, which belongs to former All-American Jaime Graves, who had six as a freshman in 1997.

A year ago, the Husky pitching staff had just one save by Shannon Walsh on February 21, at Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Going Yard: With four home runs last weekend, the Washington softball team has now belted 49 home runs this season, beating last year's season total of 45 for second-most in school history. The 49 home runs trail only the record-setting 2000 squad, which hit 84 en route to a No. 1 national ranking and a Pac-10 title.

Only Arizona has more home runs this season (87) among Pac-10 schools, while UCLA trails the Huskies by just two home runs with 47 for third place.

In 2002, eight different Huskies have hit at least one home run, led by freshman Kristen Rivera (Perris, Calif.), who has 16 four-baggers, and junior Jaime Clark, who took back the team lead with her 16th and 17th in the two-game series at Oregon.

Making The Century Club: For the fifth time in program history, the 2002 Huskies have reached the century mark in stolen bases, recording their 97th, 98th, 99th and 100th in last weekend's three games in Oregon. The 100 stolen bases are 25 more than last year's team, which finished with a program low 75.

The 1997 team set the bar for stolen bases with 194, while the Huskies have now reached the century mark six times in the program's 10-year history. The 100 stolen bases this year ties as the fourth-most in school history with the 1994 and 2000 squads.

The UW has recorded their 100 stolen bases on just 117 attempts for nearly an 86 percent success rate.

In the Yard: Although her streak is over, UW sophomore pitcher Tia Bollinger gave up her first and only home run of season at Oregon last Saturday, breaking a streak of 169 consecutive innings. Bollinger's streak dates back to last season's NCAA regional loss to Oklahoma on May 19, the same game in which she surrendered her last triple.

Washington is one of two Pac-10 teams (the other being Arizona) to not have allowed a triple in 2001, while the Huskies are second in least home runs allowed with 20. On the flip side, the UW offense has 17 triples and 49 home runs.

Last year, Washington pitchers allowed six triples and 28 home runs.

Forty For Us: With its 6-2 come-from-behind win over Oregon last Saturday, the UW reached the 40-win mark for the ninth time in school history. Only the first Husky squad in 1993, did not win 40 games or more, while the team has claimed 50 or more victories in six of the 10 seasons.

Washington is not alone in reaching the 40-win milestone this year, as six of eight Pac-10 schools have 40 wins or more and one - Oregon St. - is just two away with 38 victories in 2002.

Looking Into The Future: This Sunday, May 12, the Washington softball team will find out its fate in this year's NCAA tournament. The field of 48 teams will be announced on a selection show at 6 p.m. (PDT). Those interested may view the selection show on ESPNEWS, which is on DirecTV channel 207 and Dish Network channel 142. ESPNEWS cannot be accessed via C Band or KU Band satellite.

At The Top Of Their Game: In the fifth set of NCAA rankings through May 5, Washington continues to appear prominently in several categories.

As a team, the Huskies rank 29th in both team batting average (.290) and winning percentage (.719), while they are 22nd in earned-run average (1.39) and 17th in scoring (5.14 runs/game).

Individually, Jaime Clark leads the nation in RBI with 66, is tied for fourth in most home runs with 17 and has the 15th-best batting average (.422). Kristen Rivera (Perris, Calif.) has also shot up in the rankings with her hot hitting. The freshman is currently tied for sixth in the home run category with 16 and ranks fifth in RBI (58).

Senior outfielder Becky Simpson (24th - triples per game) and sophomore pitcher Tia Bollinger (45th - ERA, 13th - saves) round out the group.

Dawg Bites: Jaime Clark has reached base at least once in 55 of 57 games ... Clark has at least one hit in 46 of 57 games ... Clark's career-best 18-game hitting streak and 53-game on-base streak both came to an end versus Arizona State on April 7 ... all three UW pitchers have appeared in a game seven times ... the Huskies need just one more three-bagger to tie the team record for most triples in a season (18), set by the 1994 team.

Scouting the Arizona State Sun Devils (40-15, 10-8 Pac-10): With two wins over California last weekend, Arizona State is tied with the Huskies for third in the Pac-10. The Huskies will look to avenge a pair of losses to the Sun Devils in Tempe back on April 6-7.

ASU, under head coach Linda Wells, has been led offensively this season by sophomore Phelan Wright, junior Kara Brun and senior Nichole Thompson, who all sport batting averages over the .380 mark. Wright is first on the team with 15 doubles, while Brun has a team-best 51 RBI and 10 home runs.

Pitcher Erica Beach (27-12) has carried most of the load, recording 162 strikeouts in 229.1 innings pitched. Kirsten Voak (7-3) and Kristen Swetel (6-0) have also seen time in the circle.

UW holds a large advantage in the all-time series, boasting a 29-10 record versus the Sun Devils.

Scouting the Arizona Wildcats (48-7, 15-3 Pac-10): After playing a single game at UCLA Friday, Arizona heads to Seattle Saturday for a doubleheader in both schools' Pac-10 season finale. The Wildcats won the previous meeting, 1-0, in Tucson on a solo home run by Lovieanne Jung.

Under head coach Mike Candrea, Arizona has won its last seven conference games after being upset by California twice, knocking them out of the No. 1 spot in the national poll. Starters Jung (.386, 58 R) and Leneah Manuma (.336, 19 HR, 65 RBI) have paced the team so far, while five other regulars are batting above the .300 mark.

In the circle, All-American Jennie Finch boasts a 29-2 record and a 0.78 ERA this season. Finch is joined by fellow starter sophomore Jenny Gladding, who is 19-5 and carries a 1.92 ERA in a little over 142 innings pitched.

Arizona leads the all-time series between the two schools with a 38-12 advantage, but the UW won the last meeting at Husky Stadium a year ago in a 1-0 thriller.

Standing Room Only: Washington's regular season-ending doubleheader with No. 2 Arizona, on May 11, beginning at 1 p.m., has been sold-out. Standing room only tickets are still available. For more information, please call the Washington Ticket Office at (206) 543-2200.

Huskies On The Airwaves: KKNW-1150 AM, which carried eight regular season Husky softball games, is planning to air all of the team's postseason (NCAA Regional and College World Series) games in 2002. Mike Brown will handle play-by-play duties for the fifth-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. Each game will include a 15-minute pre- and post-game show, featuring interviews with UW players and coaches. Please turn to to listen to live audio via the web.

Head Coach Teresa Wilson: Teresa Wilson wasted no time in building a perennial contender for the NCAA Championship at the University of Washington. In nine years, Wilson has led the Huskies to five trips to the College World Series, including appearances in the championship game in 1996 and 1999. UW has earned eight 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 480-180 record, accruing an incredible .728 winning percentage. All totaled, Wilson's players have earned 22 All-America certificates, 64 mentions on all-Pac-10 squads, and 48 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 15-year career coaching record of 684-341 (.667) also includes stints at Oregon and Minnesota.

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