No. 7/10 Softball Takes Undefeated Record To San Diego
Feb. 12, 2009
CAMPBELL CARTIER CLASSIC
San Diego State Softball Stadium, San Diego, Calif.
Friday, Feb. 13, 2009
No. 7/10 Washington (5-0) vs. UC Santa Barbara (4-0) 9 a.m. PT
No. 7/10 Washington vs. Utah State (2-3) 2 p.m. PT
Saturday, Feb. 14, 2009
No. 7/10 Washington vs. No. 24 (NFCA) San Diego State (2-2) 7 p.m. PT
Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009
No. 7/10 Washington vs. No. 24 (ESPN) Long Beach State (2-2) 11:30 a.m. PT
Live stats for all games available via Gametracker, www.gohuskies.com
The No. 7/10 Washington Huskies head to San Diego, Calif., this week for four games in the Campbell Cartier Classic on the campus of San Diego State. The Huskies will play two games on Friday before playing single games on Saturday and Sunday. UW will play the early game Friday morning against UC-Santa Barbara at 9 a.m. follwed by a match-up with Utah State at 2 p.m. UW won't play again until Saturday night when they face host San Diego State at 7 p.m. before an 11:30 a.m. game Sunday against Long Beach State.
The Huskies have not played in a tournament hosted by San Diego State since 1995, when they played an incredible eight games in three days at the San Diego State Classic, posting a 4-4 record.
FOLLOW THE ACTION LIVE
All games will be available this weekend via Gametracker on www.gohuskies.com, with a blog and chat also avaible on GoHuskies.com throughout the game. Additionally, fans can follow along for occasional updates during the season on the UW Softball Twitter page by logging on to www.twitter.com/UWSoftball.
The Huskies can also be found on Facebook via the Washington Softball fan page at the following link:http://www.facebook.com/pages/Washington-Husky-Softball/46364349899
The Huskies kicked off the season in style, going 5-0 in the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, Washington's first 5-0 start under fifth-year head coach Heather Tarr and the program's best start since opening up the 2003 season with a 9-0 record. UW was challenged right from the get-go by No. 12 Tennessee, but stood up to the challenge with a 2-1 win. Later that day UW held off a late-charging BYU team to win, 7-3. On Saturday, the Huskies swept games from Southern Utah and Loyola Marymount by scores of 9-0 and 4-2, respectively, before capping off the weekend with a 4-0 shutout of Utah.
WELCOME BACK, REDSHIRTS
The Huskies were reminded just how much they missed their three stars who missed the entire 2008 season for various reasons. Junior All-American pitcher Danielle Lawrie went 3-0 in the circle with a 0.64 ERA, striking out 36 batters in 22.0 innings while allowing just eight hits and two earned runs. Senior two-time All-American Ashley Charters led the team with a .429 (6x14) batting average, six runs scored and four RBI - including a grand slam - while senior All-Pac-10 outfielder Lauren Greer was right behind Charters with a .417 average (5x12), three runs and four RBI, including a game-winning three-run jack against LMU.
DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS
While the hitting and pitching were solid last weekend, the Husky defense also chipped in with some key plays. UW outfielders robbed three home runs over the weekend, with junior Alyson McWherter bringing back two in the same game - and consecutive innings no less - robbing a potential three-run HR and grand slam in back-to-back innings. Bailey Stenson, meanwhile, did some robbing of her own, taking a dinger away from Southern Utah on Saturday.
ROOKIES MAKE STRONG DEBUTS
Last season, UW's freshman were forced into carry a major part of the load while three Husky starters redshirted. This season, however, the rookies are being eased into the college game and it seems to be paying off. All five of UW's freshman collected their first hits this weekend while two knocked their first career home runs out of the park. Felecia Harris, meanwhile, was a key factor in the circle for the Huskies, going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA, not allowing a run in 9.1 innings of work.
Niki Williams was the freshman who saw the most action, starting four games and batting .300 (3x10) with two runs and four RBI including her first career home run. Jenna Clifton had a hit in two at-bats while Kimi Pohlman collected two hits in her seven at-bats and stole two bases. Harris, meanwhile, added an RBI double to her pitching performance. Perhaps the biggest debut over the weekend was made by Taylor Smith, who had just one at-bat but she made the most of it, crushing a home run to centerfield in her first collegiate at bat.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
UC Santa Barbara (4-0 2009, 40-24 2008)
Series vs. UW: UW leads 3-0
About UC Santa Barbara: The Gauchos head into the weekend with a perfect 4-0 record and received votes in the USA Today/NFCA poll. UCSB earned victories over Oregon, Wichita State, McNeese State and Wagner at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., last weekend.
Santa Barbara is led by three-time All-Big West selection Christine Ramos, who batted .600 (9x15) in UCSB's opening weekend, and 2008 Big West Field Player of the Year, Tiffany Wright. In the circle, the Gauchos used five different pitchers last weekend, with freshman Krista Cobb leading the way with a 2-0 record and a 0.000 ERA in nine innings of work.
Series History: The Huskies have won all three meetings between the teams, including the last meeting, a 4-2 win on Feb. 13, 2005. UW also scored a 15-5 win in 2002 and a 8-1 win in the first meeting between the two teams in 1997.
Utah State (2-3 2009, 14-34 2008)
Series vs. UW: UW leads 7-0
About Utah State: The Aggies went 2-3 in the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, the same tournament UW kicked its season off at. Utah State started the season with an 11-3 loss to No. 12 Tennessee, followed by a narrow 3-2 loss to Loyola Marymount. The Aggies rebounded with an 8-2 win over Northern Colorado before falling to Utah, 10-0. The weekend ended on a high note, however, with USU taking down Idaho State, 6-2.
The Aggies were led by Megan McDonald over the weekend, who batted .500 (6x12) with one HR and six RBI, while junior Simone Hubbard hit three dingers in the five games.
Series History: The Huskies are 7-0 all time against Utah State, including two wins last season in the Cascade Clash by scores of 9-3 and 5-4. Prior to those two victories, UW also recorded wins against the Aggies in 1996, '98, '01, '02 and '03.
No. 24 San Diego State (2-2 2009, 44-17 2008)
Series vs. UW: UW leads 12-1
About San Diego State: The Aztecs went 2-2 over the opening weekend and come into the weekend ranked No. 24 in the USA Today/NFCA poll while they received votes in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. SDSU defeated Cal Poly and Pacific in the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament but also fell to Cal Poly and dropped a heartbreaker in nine innnigs to No. 4 UCLA.
The Aztecs were led by Erin Floros over the weekend, who went 5-for-11 with a home run and six RBI while Bailey Micetich and Samantha Beasley each earned a victory in the circle.
Series History: The Huskies own a 12-1 record over SDSU but the Aztecs won the last game between the teams, snapping a 12-game losing streak to UW with a 9-5 win in the Judi Garman Classic. Prior to that, UW had dominated the series, shutting out SDSU on eight occasions and winning by six or more runs seven times.
Long Beach State (2-2 2009, 40-17 2008)
Series vs. UW: UW leads 7-3
About Long Beach State: The 49ers are 2-2 but hung on to a No. 24 ranking in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 while dropping out of the NFCA poll. Over the weekend, LBSU defeated Wisconsin and Liberty at the Cathedral City Classic while falling to No. 20/22 Georgia and Southern Illinois.
All-Big West senior Danielle Linke led the offensive attack for the 49ers, batting .533 (8x15) over the weekend a home run and three RBI, while four others had at least three hits.
Series History: While the Huskies own a 7-3 edge in the series, Long Beach State is riding the momentum after a 6-3 victory last season in the Judi Garman Classic. UW had won six of the last seven in the series prior to the loss dating back to the 2000 season. UW played the 49ers in their last trip to the San Diego State tournament in 1995, coming away with a 12-1 victory.
LAWRIE COMES OUT FIRING
The Huskies knew they missed Danielle Lawrie in 2008 but they remembered just how much when she returned to the circle last week. The ESPN Preseason All-American lived up to the billing, going 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA in four appearances. In 22.0 innings, she allowed just two earned runs and eight hits while striking out 36 batters. The 36 Ks puts her just 14 shy of tying the UW career record in just over two seasons.
Lawrie started the weekend with a strong performance against No. 12 Tennessee, allowing just four hits and no earned runs while striking out nine in a 2-1. She came on in relief later that night agianst BYU and struck out all three batters she faced to preserve a 7-3 win. After striking out 12 in a 4-2 win over Loyola Marymount, Lawrie finished the weekend in style by firing a one-hit shutout with 12 Ks against Utah, coming within one out of her third career no-hitter. After allowing two walks in the first inning, Lawrie settled down to retire the next 20 batters before the Utes ended the string with a solid single to right. Still, it was a commanding preformance for the junior All-American who hopes to lead UW back to the Women's College World Series.
FLEXING THEIR MUSCLES
After hitting just 29 home runs in 2008, the Huskies look to have the pop back in their bats this season after hitting six home runs in the five games over the weekend.
After not connecting in the first game, UW knocked out five over the next four games, with senior Ashlyn Watson hitting two and fellow senior Ashley Charters belting her second career grand slam. The other two homers were provided by freshman, with Niki Williams and Taylor Smith going yard for the first time in their careers.
UW's 5-0 start is their best under fifth-year head coach Heather Tarr and the best UW start since 2003 when the team got off to a 9-0 start. UW also got off to 9-0 starts in 1996 and 2000. In all three seasons, the Huskies ended up in the Women's College World Series. The best start in UW history came during the 2002 season when the Huskies won their first 10 games but ultimately fell in the NCAA Regionals.
UW's previous best start under Tarr came in her first season in 2005 when they won their first three games.
Washington has opened each of its 16 seasons with a multiple-team tournament, accruing a 64-17-1 record. The Huskies have gone undefeated in five of those tournaments (1996, '00, '02, '03, '09) and are 13-4 in season openers after defeating No. 12 Tennessee, 2-1, last week.
WASHINGTON IN THE POLLS
The Huskies 5-0 start gave them a big boost in both rankings this week, jumping from No. 21 to No. 10 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and from No. 15 to No. 7 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll.
The Huskies finished the 2008 season unranked - the first time since the program's inaugural season in 1993 UW did not finish the season ranked - but they earned respect from around the nation by earning rankings in both the USA Today/NFCA poll (21st) and the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll (15th) in the preseason polls. Additionally, ESPN.com columnist Graham Hays selected the Huskies No. 4 in his preseason top-20 countdown. A convincing 5-0 start now has voters realizing how talented the 2009 team is.