Oregon's Melissa Rice Named Pac-10 Softball Pitcher of the Week

March 27, 2007

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif. - OREGON sophomore Melissa Rice has been named the Pac-10 Softball Pitcher of the Week for Mar. 20-26, Commissioner Tom Hansen announced today.

Rice made three starts over the weekend, going 3-0 to help the Ducks roll through a pair of double-headers against Idaho State and Utah Valley State. Oregon won by the mercy-rule in each of the four games and allowed a total of two runs.

On Saturday, Rice fired a one-hitter against the Bengals of Idaho State in the day's second game. She walked none and struck out seven in a five-inning shutout.

Next time out, Rice went the first four innings of another five-inning Oregon win, again giving up just a solitary base hit with no walks and four strikeouts as the Ducks hammered Utah Valley State, 10-1. Rice returned to the circle for the day's second outing, this time cruising through six strong innings, allowing one run on four hits with one strikeout in a 9-1 Oregon victory.

For the week, Rice threw 15.0 innings, allowing just one run (0.46 ERA) and six hits, while striking out 12 and not issuing a single free pass. She improved her record to 17-2 with a Pac-10 leading 0.68 ERA. Opponents are hitting just .164 against Rice, the fourth-best mark in the Conference.

No. 13 Oregon (34-3) finishes its non-conference schedule with a double-header this Wednesday, Mar. 28 at Portland State. The Ducks will then look to carry their sterling play into league competition, as California (Mar. 30) and Stanford (Mar. 31-Apr. 1) visit Eugene, Ore. for the opening weekend of Pac-10 play.

This is Rice's first career Pitcher of the Week honor and the 28th Player/Pitcher of the Week award all-time for Oregon.

ALSO NOMINATED: Taryne Mowatt, ARIZ; Katie Burkhart, ASU; Brianne McGowan, OSU; Anjelica Selden, UCLA.

2007 PAC-10 SOFTBALL PITCHERS OF THE WEEK: Feb. 13 - Katie Burkhart, Jr., ASU; Feb. 20 - Danielle Lawrie, So., WASH; Feb. 27 - Missy Penna, So., STAN; Mar. 5 - Danielle Lawrie, So., WASH; Mar. 13 - Katie Burkhart, Jr., ASU; Mar. 20 - Taryne Mowatt, Jr., ARIZ; Mar. 27 - Melissa Rice, So., ORE.

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