This Week in Pac-10 Softball
May 15, 2002
With a sweep of the Arizona schools last weekend, UCLA won its seventh Pac-10 title in Conference history (most in Pac-10). . . Seven Conference squads made the 48-team NCAA Tournament field for the second consecutive year. This season marks the fourth straight year in which seven or more Pac-10 teams have made the NCAA Regionals. . . UCLA (Columbia, S.C.), ARIZONA (Minneapolis, Minn.) and WASHINGTON (Ann Arbor, Mich.) earned top-seeds in their respective regions. ARIZONA STATE (Lafayette, La.), STANFORD (Fresno, Calif.) and OREGON STATE (Iowa City, Iowa) own No. 2-seeds. CALIFORNIA (Fresno, Calif.) is the lowest Pac-10 seed at No. 3. . . The Pac-10 has done well in NCAA Regional play as the Conference has sent at least two members to the Women's College World Series every year since 1987. In fact, four or more have made the trip to Oklahoma City three consecutive seasons. . . In 472 regional games all-time, the Pac-10 sports a 318-154 (.674) record. . . In voting by the Conference coaches, UCLA catcher Stacey Nuveman was named Player of the Year (three-time winner), Arizona's Jennie Finch (two-time winner) was named Pitcher of the Year, Arizona shortstop Lovieanne Jung was named Newcomer of the Year and Arizona's Mike Candrea (eight-time winner) was named Coach of the Year. . . Seven teams continue to be ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 Poll this week. . . UCLA owns the top spot, followed by No. 2 Arizona, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 5 California, No. 6 Washington, No. 8 Stanford and No. 15 Oregon State.
Seeding, Site Selection. . . Seeded teams were placed in the bracket, and the remaining selected teams were placed in their most proximate geographic regions. The NCAA committee maintained the ability to balance the bracket and /or avoid first-round (defined as first three games of the regional tournament) conference match-ups by moving a team to another region when necessary, but flights could not be created in doing so. Top-seeded teams were not guaranteed to host a regional because site selection was based on geographic location.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS BRACKETMay 16-19, Double Elimination Play
REGION 1 - Columbia, S.C.#1 UCLA vs. #6 Liberty, 11:30 a.m.#2 Georgia vs. #5 UMBC#3 South Carolina vs. #4 Eastern Kentucky
REGION 2 - Minneapolis, Minn.#1 ARIZONA vs. #6 Boston U., 12 noon#2 DePaul vs. #5 Penn State,#3 Minnesota vs. #4 Princeton,
REGION 3 - Lafayette, La.#1 LSU vs. #6 Northwestern State#2 ARIZONA ST. vs. #5 Mississippi State, 2:30 p.m.#3 La. Lafayette vs. #4 Massachusetts
REGION 4 - Fresno, Calif.#1 CS Fullerton vs. #6 Evansville,#2 STANFORD vs. #5 Pacific (Calif.), 2:30 p.m.#3 CALIFORNIA at #4 Fresno State, 5 p.m.
REGION 6 - Ann Arbor, Mich.#1 WASHINGTON vs. #6 Oakland, 11:30 a.m.#2 Michigan vs. #5 Canisius#3 Ohio State vs. #4 Central Michigan
REGION 7 - Iowa City, Iowa#1 Nebraska vs. #6 Illinois-Chicago#2 OREGON STATE vs. #5 Wisconsin, 12 noon#3 Notre Dame at #4 Iowa
LAST WEEK's RESULTS
Wed., May 8STANFORD 10, San Jose State 2 (GM 1)San Jose State 1, STANFORD 0 (GM 2)
Fri., May 10*UCLA 4, ARIZONA 2*WASHINGTON 5, ARIZONA STATE 2*CALIFORNIA 3, OREGON 2*STANFORD 2, OREGON STATE 1
Sat., May 11*WASHINGTON 3, ARIZONA 1 (GM 1)*WASHINGTON 3, ARIZONA 2 (GM 2)*UCLA 4, ARIZONA STATE 1 (GM 1)*UCLA 6, ARIZONA STATE 1 (GM 2)*CALIFORNIA 6, OREGON STATE 1 (GM 1)*CALIFORNIA 10, OREGON STATE 7 (GM 2)*STANFORD 10, OREGON 1 (GM 1)*OREGON 4, STANFORD 0 (GM 2)
* - Pac-10 Conference Game
PAC-10 PLAYER/PITCHER OF THE WEEK
WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - UCLA shortstop Natasha Watley has been named Pac-10 Player of the Week, while her teammate Keira Goerl was named Pitcher of the Week for May 6-12.
Watley, a junior from Irvine, Calif., hit .444 (4-for-9) last week, with three runs scored, a triple, a .667 slugging percentage, two walks and a .583 on-base percentage, while stealing two bases on as as many attempts. With her four hits, Watley now has 101 on the season, becoming the first Bruin in history to have two 100-plus hit seasons in her career.
Goerl, a sophomore from Moreno Valley, Calif., went 2-0 with wins over second-ranked Arizona and fourth-ranked Arizona State last week. She posted a 1.00 ERA in 14 innings pitched. Goerl gave up just 2 earned runs and struck out 17 batters while opponents hit .185 against her.
It is the third weekly honor for Watley, while Goerl garners the sixth award of her career. UCLA now has 70 honors all-time.
USA TODAY/NFCA TOP 25 POLL (May 8)
1. UCLA (23) 2. ARIZONA (4) 3. LSU 4. ARIZONA STATE 5. CALIFORNIA 6. WASHINGTON 7. Nebraska 8. STANFORD 9. CS Fullerton10. Texas11. Michigan12. Florida Atlantic13. Oklahoma14. Fresno State15. OREGON STATE16. DePaul17. Pacific18. Alabama19. Louisiana-Lafayette20. Ohio State21. Florida State22. Iowa23. Texas A&M24. Baylor25. Georgia
AROUND THE PAC-10
ARIZONA - The Wildcats will be making their 16th consecutive NCAA regional playoff appearance, all of which have been under the direction of head coach Mike Candrea. . . UofA is 25-7 (.781) versus ranked opponents this season and 27-9 (.750) against teams competing in the NCAA Tournament. . . Arizona is in the midst of its longest losing streak since April of 2000 (three games). . . UofA clubbed 89 home runs this year after hitting an NCAA-record 126 round-trippers last season. . . Arizona is hitting .356 with the bases loaded (32-for-90). . . The 'Cats placed six players on the All-Pac-10 squad. Senior Jennie Finch, junior Lovieanne Jung and sophomore Leneah Manuma were each named first-team All-Conference. Sophomore Mackenzie Vandergeest was named to the second team, while freshman Jackie Coburn and sophomore Jenny Gladding garnered honorable mention honors. . . Finch established the NCAA record for consecutive victories this year, boosting her mark to 60 games before losing to UCLA on April 7. In that same game, the Bruins broke Arizona's home-field winning streak at 70 games. . . Manuma leads the nation with 20 home runs. It is also a career-high for the Wildcat first baseman.
ARIZONA STATE - ASU will make its sixth straight regional appearance and the 15th in school history. . . The Sun Devils went 30-7 in non-conference action. . . 10 players have hit at least one home run. . . Arizona State has outscored opponents 83-35 in the first two innings and and 50-21 in the fourth inning. . . The Sun Devils are four wins shy of a school record (44). . . ASU leads the Pac-10 in fewest number of walks allowed (97) and is second in saves (6). . . Left handers are hitting just .198 against Sun Devil pitching, while right handers hit .223. . . The Sun Devils are 33-4 when they score first. . . Arizona State has 558 assists in the field to lead the Pac-10. . . ASU had five players make the All-Conference squad. Junior Kara Brun and sophomore Phelan Wright were first team selections, while seniors Erica Beach and Nichole Thompson took home All-Pac-10 second team honors. Senior Missy Hixon ws named honorable mention. . . Senior Kirsten Voak is seven strikeouts shy of 900 in her career. . . Beach has posted a career-high 27 wins this year. . . Sophomore Kristen Farber is 16-for-17 (.941) in stolen bases this year. Farber now has 32 swipes in her career, which is sixth all-time at ASU.
CALIFORNIA - With its invitation to the postseason this year, Cal is making its 17th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament - the longest on-going streak in the Conference. . . California finished 12-9 in the Pac-10 this season, its best showing since 1996 when the squad went 14-12. . . The Bears rank second in the Conference with a .975 fielding percentage. Currently, that mark is .002 points higher than the season record set in 2001. . . Earlier this year, senior Jocelyn Forest became the second Cal pitcher to record 20 wins in all four seasons. The only other pitcher in school history to do so was Michele Granger. Forest also ranks second in Cal and Pac-10 history with 1,139 strikeouts (Granger - 1,640). . . Junior Veronica Nelson broke the NCAA career walk mark back on March 2 versus CS Fullerton, as she collected her 212th base on ball. Nelson currently has 91 walks this season, just three away from breaking the NCAA single-season mark for the third straight year. Nelson now has 271 walks all-time. . . Five Bears were selected to the All-Conference team. Forest was the only player to reach the first team, while freshman Kaleo Eldredge, senior Candace Harper and juniors Nelson and Courtney Scott made the second team. . . Harper has played in 285 of 286 games in her career at Cal.
OREGON - The Ducks finished the season on a high note, knocking off eighth-ranked Stanford on the road, 4-0 (May 11). Connie McMurren capped off her collegiate career with her 12th career shutout, which puts her fourth all-time at Oregon. In that game, McMurren held the Cardinal offense to just four hits over seven innings. She finished her career with 439 strikeouts all-time - second on the Duck list. Junior Lakeesha Eversley was the offensive catalyst going 2-for-2 in the win, adding two runs scored, one RBI and two walks. . . The Ducks put two players on the All-Conference squad. Junior Andrea Vidlund was named second-team All-Pac-10 and junior Alyssa Laux garnered honorable mention All-Conference honors. . . Both Laux and Vidlund finished the year with a .320 batting average. Vidlund led the team with nine home runs and 39 RBI. . . Sophomore Anissa Meashintubby posted a team-leading 2.41 ERA and 93 strikeouts this season.
OREGON STATE - OSU is making its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance. . . Oregon State is the only Pac-10 team never to have reached the Women's College World Series. In 1999 and 2000, OSU finished one game short, losing in the regional championship to Southern Mississippi and Oklahoma, respectively. . . The Beavers have a 445-104 strikeout-to-walk ratio. . . Oregon State has turned 21 double plays this year, just three short of the school season record (24 - 1984). . . The Beavers enter the tournament with their worst losing streak of the season (five games). All the losses have been to teams ranked in the NFCA Top-8. . . Oregon State had three players earn All-Pac-10 honors (second team - Clare Burnum; honorable mention - Brynnen Guthrie, Monica Hoffman). . . Burnum has 17 doubles. She needs one more to break the school record. . . Junior outfielder Jessica King is one of five Pac-10 players to have a perfect fielding percentage.
STANFORD - The Cardinal will be making its fifth overall NCAA Tournament appearance this weekend. . . Stanford is 6-4 in its last 10 games. . . The Cardinal is 19-15 versus teams in the NCAA Tournament - 13 losses have come from Conference squads. . . Stanford is 8-9 in one-run games. . . The Cardinal is 38-7 when it scores first and 40-3 when it leads going into the last inning. . . Six Cardinal players earned All-Conference honors. Seniors Sarah Beeson and Jessica Mendoza were named to the first team, while junior Tori Nyberg and senior Robin Walker made the second team. Sophomore Jessica Allister and junior Kira Ching earned honorable mention honors. . . Ching has reached base safely in 10 of the last 12 games and is hitting .405 (15-for-37) with eight runs scored, three home runs and 15 RBI. Ching has set career-highs in batting average (.326), runs scored (33) and home runs (9). She has 16 multi-hit games and 12 multi-RBI games. . . Junior Cassi Brangham has not committed an error in 61 games.
UCLA - The Bruins will be making their fourth straight NCAA Tournament and a league-leading 19th appearance in school history. . . The Bruins lead the country with 116 NCAA Tournament wins all-time and have never lost an NCAA Regional since the NCAA sponsored softball in 1982. . . UCLA leads the Pac-10 with nine Conference Player of the Year honors all-time (Lisa Longaker - 1987, 88, 90; Lisa Fernandez - 1991, 92, 93; Stacey Nuveman - 1999, 01, 02). . . Six Bruins made the All-Pac-10 Team. A league-leading four players were named to the first team (Amanda Freed, Keira Goerl, Stacey Nuveman, Natasha Watley). Junior Tairia Mims and and sophomore Claire Sua were named to the second team. . . On May 4, at the OSU Softball Complex, senior Stacey Nuveman hit her NCAA-record breaking 86th home run. She currently has 88 round-trippers. Of her 18 home runs this season, 11 have come against teams that were ranked in the NFCA Top-17 at game time, including three homers in her last three official at-bats against two-time Pac-10 Pitcher of the Years and reigning Honda Award winner Jennie Finch. . . In 2002, Goerl became the first player in Pac-10 history to record five Conference Pitcher of the Week honors. . . Last Saturday (May 11), senior Amanda Freed tied B'Ann Burns for the most wins in UCLA history (96).
WASHINGTON - UW is making its ninth consecutive NCAA Regional Appearance. . . UW's third-place finish in the Pac-10 is the school's ninth straight, top-four finish in conference play after beginning with a seventh-place finish in the program's inaugural season in 1993. . . For the sixth time in its history, Washington has earned a No. 1 seed for the NCAA Regionals. The Huskies previous five No. 1 seeds went to the WCWS. . . The Husky pitching staff logged a save in each of its three wins last weekend, bringing the team season total to 12, a Pac-10 record. . . Sophomore Tia Bollinger's seven saves beat the previous single-season record of six by Jamie Graves in 1997 and also is a Pac-10 record. . . UW senior Becky Simpson broke the school single-season record for triples with her seventh of the season against Arizona (May 11) ... The Huskies 20 triples as a team is a school record ... Washington is 6-0 in its last six games against Arizona at home, dating back to a 9-0 six-inning win on April 11, 1999. . . After starting with a 1-5 record in conference play, the UW rebounded with a 12-3 record over the rest of the schedule. . . Five Huskies earned All-Conference honors. Junior Jaime Clark and freshman Kristen Rivera were named to the first team (Rivera was the lone freshman on the first team). Sophomore Rita Roach earned second team honors, while sophomore Tia Bollinger and senior Becky Simpson were voted honorable mention.
The Pac-10 continued to excel and prove that it is still the nation's premiere softball Conference in 2001. Seven teams went to the NCAA Regionals while four Conference squads advanced all the way to the Women's College World Series (ARIZONA, CALIFORNIA, STANFORD and UCLA). For the eighth time in Conference history, two Pac-10 teams met in the National Championship Game with Arizona defeating UCLA in a 1-0 thriller. The Conference has now claimed 14 titles in the 20 years the event has been in existence, including 11 of the last 14 years.
Overall, the Pac-10 finished strong, as Conference teams finished 1-2-3 in the final USA Today/NFCA Poll, including five teams in the top nine and seven teams in the top 20 (1. Arizona, 2. UCLA, 3. Stanford, 6. California, 9. ARIZONA STATE, 13. WASHINGTON and 20. OREGON STATE). Additionally, 17 student-athletes were named Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-Americans, of which 10 were named to the first team.
Arizona concluded the regular season by winning its sixth Pac-10 crown in school history and eventually finished the year with a 65-4 overall record and its first national title since 1997. UCLA closed its season in second place in both the Pac-10 and nation as the Bruins felt the heartbreak of losing in the NCAA title game for the second consecutive year. The Bruins were impressive, nevertheless, posting a 35-game winning streak to begin the season. Stanford posted its best record in school history (54-16-1) while making its first trip to Oklahoma City. Washington put up an impressive 40-23 mark during the year and finished tied for third in the Conference with the Cardinal. The Huskies were led by freshman pitcher Tia Bollinger, who was honored at the end of the year as the team MVP. Oregon State also put together one of its best seasons in history as the Beavers finished at 10-10 (.500) in Conference play, only the second time an OSU squad has finished at .500 or better in the Pac-10. Arizona State went to its 14th NCAA Regional in 2001. Junior Erica Beach and freshman Phelan Wright were instrumental in the Sun Devils winning two games in one of the tougher NCAA Regionals last season (Baton Rouge, La.). For the second straight year, California proved that seventh in the Pac-10 is still good enough to get you to the WCWS. The Bears knocked off NCAA Regional host Florida State en route to the 'Big Dance.' Unfortunately for Oregon, its run of three consecutive NCAA tournaments came to an end. The Ducks, however, found a gem in transfer Alyssa Laux, who will return as the biggest UO offensive threat in 2002.
The 2001 campaign was a definitive year for Pac-10 softball. There were 14 no-hitters thrown from 10 different pitchers (seven of which were perfect games). Last year also marked the first time in NCAA softball history that three teams from the same Conference had posted an undefeated record through its first 30+ games of the season (UCLA, 35-0; CAL, 32-0; ARIZ, 31-0). Arizona hit an NCAA record 126 home runs, averaging nearly two homers per contest (1.83). California's Veronica Nelson broke her own single season NCAA walk record set the previous year with 93 free passes. Nelson's teammate, pitcher Jocleyn Forest, also set a milestone by throwing 88 consecutive scoreless innings during the season, a mark that ranks sixth all-time in NCAA history.
On the awards front, UCLA's Stacey Nuveman won Conference Player of the Year honors after taking a year off to play with Team USA in the 2000 Olympics. Nuveman was also named NFCA Diamond Sports Catcher of the Year. Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year went to Arizona's Jennie Finch. Finch went 32-0 on the season, breaking former UCLA star Lisa Fernandez's mark (29-0) of most wins without a loss in a season. Finch also went on to garner the Honda Award, which goes to the nations' most outstanding softball player. Rounding out the honors, Washington's Tia Bollinger won Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year. Bollinger posted UW season records for wins (36), innings pitched (287.0) and games started (39).