Cochran Named Pac-10 Player of the Week; #22 Devils Roll 7-0 into Six-Game Home Tournament

Feb. 15, 2006

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Leading Off:

The Sun Devils kicked off their 2006 campaign last weekend with seven straight games in only four days as they hosted the 2006 Kajikawa Classic, which brought eight ranked teams into the valley for 41-games of competition.  The Devils went 6-0 in the tournament along with their in-state rival, Arizona. To decide the winner of the tournament, it came down to a run-differential tie-break, with ASU taking the tourney title with 50 runs and only seven allowed, giving them a score of 43, while UA scored 37 and allowed only one, giving them a score of 36.


On Deck:

Next up, the Devils will remain at home, as they will play host yet again this weekend as #19 Iowa and Illinois State University roll into town to compete against the Devils in the Littlewood Classic. The tournament will consist of eight games played over three days, with ASU playing each team three times.  They will face worthy opponents in ISU and Iowa, as ISU in their opening weekend ended up with a 1-1 record as they faced off against the #3 Tennessee Lady Vols and Coastal Carolina at the Coastal Carolina Tournament. The Red Birds gave the top-ranked Lady Vols a run for their money as Tennessee only barely pulled out a win over the Red Birds with a 1-0 win in eight innings. The rest of the tournament was rained out.  ASU's other opponent, Iowa, had a huge 4-1 opening weekend as they defeated the #10 seed, Georgia 6-5 in their opening game followed by three more wins, good enough to help them jump from #24 to #19 in the polls.


Series History:

In their last meeting on February 18, 2005, the Sun Devils defeated the Illinois State University Red Birds in a 3-0 decision and lead the all-time series history 23-2 over the Red Birds. Against Iowa last season, the Hawkeyes shut out the Devils 2-0 when they met on February 18. The Devils still lead the series history between the teams 14-9.




Beginner's Luck?:

Freshman Kaitlin Cochran in her first week of collegiate softball, exploded onto the scene and has claimed the first Pac-10 Player of the Week award of the season. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native went 13-24 (.542) at the plate with four home runs, two triples, no strikeouts, 10 runs scored and 20 RBI as the Sun Devils won seven games at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Cochran's 20 RBI put her on a record-shattering pace, as the ASU season record for RBI is 58. 


After the first weekend of tournament play, Cochran leads or is tied for the Pac-10 lead in six hitting categories - slugging percentage (1.208), hits (13), RBI (20), triples (2), home runs (4) and total bases (29). She is also tied for second in runs scored (10) and tied for third in stolen bases (4).


The Votes Are In:

After starting off the season un-ranked, the Devils have not-so-quietly exploded into the top 25, with a #22 ranking from the NFCA and a #23 ranking from USA Today/ESPN polls.


History Looking to Repeat:

 The Sun Devils are off to their best start in six years as the last time they had seven or more wins in a row to start the season was in 2000 where the team was led by a cast of four of the eleven past Sun Devil All-Americans and went 9-0 before accepting a loss. The Devils that year fell just shy of the College World Series in the Region 5 Championships, after advancing the year before.


Record Chasers:

The 2006 squad has already begun to show promise in breaking records as they have as a team hit 11 home runs in seven games, while last year the Devils only hit 34 home runs in the entire season.  The Devils also batted in 57 RBI over the weekend, which is 36% of last year's season total of 158 already. The Devils have already shown their speed and confidence on the base-paths as well, going 20-20 in stolen base attempts, where last season they only stole 34 bases all season.


Tough Schedule/Tougher Conference:

The Devils as always find themselves competing against some of the best softball teams in the world, in arguably the hardest softball conference in the world in the Pac-10. Currently, all eight teams of the Pac-10 are ranked in the top 25, including the number 2, 3, 7 and 8 seeds.  Since the Women's College World Series began in 1987, only four years have found the National Champion to be from another conference other than the Pac-10.

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