Softball Heads to Palm Springs Classic

Feb. 21, 2007

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This marks UCLA's fourth year of participation at the Palm Springs Classic. The prestigious tournament is hosted by Oregon State University and is played at the Big League Dreams complex in Cathedral City, Calif.

The Bruins will face two of the nation's top teams during tournament play. Friday's schedule features a match-up with top-ranked Tennessee while Sunday morning's schedule features a rematch of the 2006 NCAA semifinal between UCLA and No. 12/6 Northwestern.

On Saturday evening, UCLA will also play a game against the PFX All Stars, a group of professional softball players. That team will include several of UCLA's finest alumnae, featuring Lisa Fernandez, Andrea Duran and Natasha Watley. Former UCLA head coach Sharron Backus will coach for the PFX team as will Stacey Nuveman, who is unable to play because she and her husband, Mark Deniz, are expecting their first child in May.

UCLA posted a 4-1 record at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic last weekend in Las Vegas and punctuated the weekend with a record-setting day against Wright State on Sunday.

The Bruin bats pounded out a school record seven home runs in the game, including two home runs apiece from freshmen Kaila Shull and Megan Langenfeld. Thirteen of the combined 14 runs scored in UCLA's 12-2 five-inning win crossed the plate on home runs.

Other notables from the weekend included two games with two doubles apiece from Langenfeld, against Colorado State and UNLV. Langenfeld actually doubled twice in the same inning in Friday's 10-2 win over Colorado State, recording a pair of RBI doubles in the bottom of the first inning.

UCLA senior 2B/P Lisa Dodd was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Feb. 20. She becomes the first Bruin to earn both Player and Pitcher of the week honors during her career since Amanda Freed earned Pitcher of the Week honors on Mar. 30, 1999, and Player of the Week honors on Feb. 18, 2002.

Dodd helped lead the Bruins to a 5-1 record, hitting .500 (9-for-18) with five runs scored, 12 RBI, a double and three home runs. She also pitched three innings of one-hit softball against Wright State on Feb. 18, striking out three with no walks to earn the victory.

Dodd had at least one hit in each of UCLA's games last week and at least one RBI in four of the team's six games. Her week started with a first-inning grand slam home run, the fourth of her Bruin career, against UC Riverside. She finished that game going 2-for-3 with five RBI.

Freshman Kaila Shull has made an immediate impact on the Pac-10 statistical rankings, topping the home run standings in the league's first release of stats on Feb. 20. Shull has five home runs on the season, tied with Oregon's Ann Marie Topps for the Pac-10 lead.

Shull hit the team's first home run of 2007 on Feb. 9 vs. Syracuse and became the 20th player in UCLA history to have a two home run game when she belted a pair of longballs on Feb. 18 vs. Wright State. Shull had a solo shot as the second batter of the game in the first inning and followed with a three-run homer in the bottom of the third.

Shull also ranks second in the league behind Topps with a 1.000 slugging percentage, ranks fifth with 12 RBI and is tied for eighth with a .429 batting average through 11 games played.

Freshman 1B/P Megan Langenfeld leads the team with five doubles after posting two multi-double games at the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic during the second weekend of the season.

Langenfeld posted two RBI doubles in the first inning of the Bruins 10-2 five-inning win over Colorado State in the tournament opener and notched another two-double game against UNLV on Feb. 17. Those were the 65th and 66th times in program history that a Bruin had posted two doubles in the same game.

Langenfeld put her name in one other spot in the UCLA record book on Feb. 18 vs. Wright State when the freshman knocked out a pair of home runs in the Bruins 12-2 five-inning win over Wright State. Langenfeld had a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the first inning and a solo shot to lead off the bottom of the third before being intentionally walked during her second trip to the plate in the third inning.

She has also taken a large share of the load in the pitching circle, ranking second only to Anjelica Selden with 18.1 IP and 12 strikeouts over four pitching appearances.

Junior outfielder Krista Colburn took over the leadoff spot in the Bruin lineup from 2006 All-America third baseman Andrea Duran and has performed admirably in that spot.

Colburn leads the team in batting average (.469), runs scored (12) and stolen bases (three). She enters the Palm Springs Classic riding a team-high eight-game hitting streak and has hit safely in nine of UCLA's first 11 games.

Senior shortstop Jodie Legaspi and junior pitcher Anjelica Selden are among 50 players named to the Amateur Softball Association's 'Watch List' for the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

The award, which will be presented for the sixth time in June, is considered one of the most prestigious honors in college softball and is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by collegiate softball players around the country.

The ASA will announce a list of 25 finalists on April 4. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered as a Top-25 finalist, but once the Top 25 is named the remaining finalists must be selected from that list.

Just days before the start of post-season play, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 9. The final three finalists will be announced May 23, while the winner of the 2007 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2007 NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.

Past winners of this award include UCLA's Stacey Nuveman, Florida State's Jessica Van der Linden and three-time winner Cat Osterman from Texas.

Senior infielder/left fielder Ashley Herrera has been diagnosed with a torn left anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), it was announced Feb. 13. She will be forced to miss the remainder of the 2007 season. Herrera suffered the injury on a sixth-inning single during the Bruins first game of the season, a 1-0 loss to Texas.

Surgery to repair the injury is scheduled to take place on March 2. Herrera plans to apply to the Pacific-10 Conference for a medical hardship and use her final season of eligibility in 2008.

Eight of UCLA's 17 eligible players on the 2007 roster are seniors, all of whom have experience as starters. The group is versatile and could field an entire team as several can play multiple positions. Four have been regular starters during their Bruin careers, including Lisa Dodd (P/1B), Tara Henry (CF), Whitney Holum (RF/DP) and Jodie Legaspi (SS). Kristen Dedmon has seen several key pinch-hit at-bats during her career, while Jaisa Creps looks to break in as UCLA's starting catcher this season. Rounding out the group are Celina Rubalcaba (2B) and Shana Stewart (OF), both of whom could see playing time this season.

The group would have included nine seniors had Ashley Herrera not suffered a season-ending injury in the opener vs. Texas.

UCLA pounded out 13 hits in an 82-minute five-inning 14-0 victory over UC Riverside at Easton Stadium on Feb. 13. Three Bruins hit home runs in the contest, including Lisa Dodd connecting on the first grand slam of the season during the bottom of the fourth inning.

Anjelica Selden earned her first win of the year in the contest, striking out nine and allowing just one hit in the game.

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