#10 Softball Heads to Fullerton for Judi Garman Classic After Winning NIST

March 15, 2006

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Leading Off:

The #10/11 Devils added five more wins to their record over the weekend and two more yesterday at home as they won the National Invitational Softball Tournament in Sunnyvale last weekend as well as sweeping the Baylor Bears in a doubleheader on Tuesday.  The Devils took down the Santa Clara Broncos 9-0 in the first game of a doubleheader last Thursday before the second game was rained out. Following that, the Devils downed Southern Illinois 2-0, UC Davis 8-1, Iowa 3-0 and San JoseState 11-0 as well that weekend as they won the NIS Tournament, outscoring their opponents 24-1.  The Devils also returned home to host the #17 Baylor Bears in a doubleheader Tuesday afternoon, which saw the Devils add two more wins to their record in 3-0 and 5-3 wins at Farrington, where the Devils are undefeated at 13-0. Over that seven game span, the Devils compiled a .309 batting average with 24 runs on 51 hits, with three doubles, three triples, and six home runs with two apiece for Kaitlin Cochran and Mindy Cowles as well as one for Ashley Werschky and Sharee Zaleski. ASU racked up a .473 and .407 slugging and on-base percentage as well going 17-18 in stolen base attempts.


The Sun Devils hurlers also compiled a .60 ERA on the weekend with Desiree Serrano and Katie Burkhart picking up the seven wins on the weekend with Burkhart allowing no runs in four games as well as pitching a no-hitter against San Jose Sate. The pitching squad gave up only one run the whole weekend and tallied 67 strikeouts, with Katie Burkhart doing the lion share with 44 over the weekend, putting her season total at 137 for the season.


On Deck:

The Devils will take to the road yet again to compete in one of the toughest of premier softball tournaments in the country this weekend as they head to Fullerton to compete in the Judi Garman Classic, formerly the Kia Klassic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The Devils are set to begin action on Thursday with a 4 p.m. game against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, followed with an 8:30 p.m. game against the Seminoles of Florida State. On Friday in the last day of pool play, the Devils will take on the host-school, Cal State Fullerton in a 7 p.m. game. From there, brackets will be created to continue play on Saturday and Sunday. Some of the other schools participating and whom the Devils may have to face this weekend are: #1 Arizona (23-1), #2 Tennessee (21-0), #4 Texas (26-2), #7 Alabama (21-3), #9 (and defending national-champions) Michigan (11-5), #11 Louisiana-Lafayette (19-0),  #14 Washington (19-6), #15 Oklahoma (20-6-1), #18 Texas A&M (15-8), and #23 Fresno State (16-9).


Series History:

The Devils lead the all-time series history the Fighting Irish 8-1, the Seminoles 4-2, and trail the Cal State Fullerton Titans 17-24.



Playing With Fire:

ASU leads the Pac-10 Conference in five hitting categories: runs scored (171), runs batted in (158), home runs (31), walks (112) and stolen bases (60) after 29 games and five weeks of play.


Freshman Kaitlin Cochran in her first season of collegiate softball, has exploded onto the scene and claimed the first Pac-10 Player of the Week award of the season. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native thus far has batted 43-85 (.506) at the plate with eight home runs, four triples, two doubles, 24 runs scored and 44 RBI. Cochran's 44 RBI have put her on a record-shattering pace, as the ASU season record for RBI is 58. 


After five weeks of tournament play, Cochran continues to lead the Pac-10 in batting average (.506), hits (43), triples (4), total bases (77) and RBI (44).


Her fellow Devils are no slackers either as teammate Michelle Smith is first in the Pac-10 scoring 31 runs. Smith is also leading the Pac-10 in stolen bases with 27 on the season.


The Sun Devil pitching squad is also coming up huge for ASU this year as Ashley Werschky is currently holding second place in ERA in the Pac-10 with a .42 average and fifth place with an .143 opponent batting average, and her fellow Devils Desiree Serrano also made the list in fifth place with a .73 ERA and Katie Burkhart in ninth with a 1.07 ERA and fourth with a .141 opponent batting average.


Katie Burkhart also holds the #4 spot for batters struck out with 125, with teammate Desiree Serrano in the #8 spot with her jersey number, 99. Burkhart is tied for sixth with 11 wins and Serrano is tied for ninth place in the Pac-10 with ten wins.


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 after their first week of play and jumping rapidly into the #15/16 (USA Today-ESPN/NFCA) positions after just two weeks of play followed by a #12/13 ranking with yet another jump up this week to the #10/11 spots in the USA Today-ESPN/NFCA ranking last week and retaining those positions this week.



Statistics 101:

The 2006 squad has already begun to show promise in breaking records as they have as a team has hit 36 home runs in 29 games, already superseding their total of 34 from last year's entire season.  The Devils have also batted in 166 RBI, which is more than last year's season total of 158. The Devils have already shown their speed and confidence on the base-paths as well, going 63-74 in stolen base attempts, where last season they only stole 34 bases all season.  Last season's Devils only scored 177 runs total on the season, while currently they have 179 runs on the season with 233 hits and a slugging percentage of .502 while posting a 7.55 ERA on their opposing pitchers.  The Devil defense has also held its opponents to only 34 runs off of 121 hits and a .174 batting average.


It's Getting Drafty In Here...

ASU's own senior pitcher, Desiree Serrano was drafted into the National Professional Fastpitch League in February by ASU's own in-state team, the Arizona Heat. The Heat also drafted Arizona pitcher Alicia Hollowell and Stanford shortstop, Lauren Lappin. 



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, seven of the eight teams of the Pac-10 are ranked in the top 25, including the number 1, 3, 5, 6, 8 and 10 seeds.  Since the Women's College World Series began in 1981, 17 of 24 National Champions have been Pac-10 teams, in 10 of those championship games, both teams were Pac-10 teams.


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