No. 3 Huskies Look To Stay Hot In Palm Springs
Feb. 19, 2009
CATHEDRAL CITY CLASSIC - PALM SPRINGS, CALIF.
Big League Dreams Complex All Times Pacific
Friday, Feb. 20
No. 3/7 Washington vs. Long Island, 10:30 a.m.
No. 3/7 Washington vs. No. 2 Florida, 5:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 21
Washington at Mississippi, 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 15
Washington vs. Nebraska, 10:00 a.m.
Washington vs. No. 23 Ohio State, Noon
All games available via Gametracker
The No. 3/7 Washington Huskies head to Palm Springs, Calif., this week for five games in the prestigious Cathedral City Classic hosted by Oregon State, one of the top tournaments in the country. The Huskies will play two games on Friday, starting with a 10:30 a.m. match-up against Long Island, a 2008 NCAA Tournament participant. That game is followed by a potential Women's College World Series preview when the Huskies take on No. 2 Florida Friday evening. Saturday sees UW take on Ole Miss at 6 p.m. followd by a double dip on Sunday when the Huskies face Nebraska at 10 a.m. and No. 23 Ohio State at Noon.
The Huskies have played in the Palm Springs tournament two previous times, in 2005 and 2007. UW went 3-2 in the 2005 version of the event, including a 9-2 win over Ohio State. UW went 4-1 in the 2007 Palm Springs tournament, which included an 8-3 win over Mississippi.
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 http://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 went 4-0 in the Campbell Cartier Classic in San Diego to improve to 9-0 on the season, tied for the second-best start in program history and one shy of tying the school record start of 10-0 set in 2002. UW earned two run-rule victories over Utah State (16-3) and No. 25 (ESPN) Long Beach State (14-1) and posted shutouts in their other two victories over No. 25 (NFCA) San Diego State, 5-0, and UC-Santa Barbara, 3-0. The Huskies and the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal were declared co-champions of the tournament as both went 4-0 and did not play each other in the six-team tournament.
BREAK OUT THE BATS
The Huskies came out swinging last weekend, outscoring their four opponents, 38-4. UW batted .409 as a team, banging out six doubles, three triples and four home runs and winning two games by the five-inning mercy rule. Against Utah State, the Huskies scored 16 runs, the most by a UW team since a 22-1 outburst against Nevada in 2005. In the final a game of the weekend against No. 25 Long Beach State, the Huskies tied a season high with 15 hits and used an 11-run third inning to breeze to a 4-0 record in the tournament.
SCOUTING THE OPPOSITION:
Long Island (2-3 2009; 34-17 2008 - NCAA Regionals)
Series vs. UW: First Meeting
About Long Island: 15th year head coach Roy Kortmann has quietly built a softball powerhouse at the downtown Brooklyn school, leading the Blackbirds to five Northeast Conference titles and five NCAA Tournament appearances in the last six years. This season, Long Island returns four All-NEC players, including pitchers Jenny Giles and Blair Porter. Junior Mariesha Marker leads the offensive attack for the Blackbirds, batting .467 (7x15) through five games.
Series History: This weekend will mark the first-ever match up between Long Island and Washington.
No. 2 Florida (8-1 2009, 70-5 2008 - College World Series)
Series vs. UW: UW leads 5-3
About Florida: Florida is coming off not only the greatest season in school history but also one of the best in NCAA history as the Gators racked up an NCAA-record 70 wins last season. But Florida fell just short of the SEC's first national championship, falling to Texas A&M in the semifinals to finish tied for third in their first Women's College World Series appearance.
The Gators return eight starters from that team, including First Team All-American pitcher Stacey Nelson, who went 47-5 last season, and fellow First Team All-American Ali Gardner, who batted .407 with 56 RBI last season. Gardner is off to a hot start again, batting .458 this season which puts her fourth on the team. Junior All-American Francesca Enea leads the team with a .542 average (13x24) with 21 RBI in nine games.
Series History: The Huskies lead the series 5-3 but the teams have not faced each other since the 2002 season when the teams played each other four times in a four-day span in Gainesville. The Gators took three of four that weekend, coming away with 9-4, 3-2 and 6-5 wins while the Huskies won the second game, 8-2. UW won the first four times the teams played each other, shutting out the Gators three times in 1999 (3-0, 8-0, 7-0) and winning again in 2000, 6-1. The Huskies will look to snap a two-game skid against their SEC foe on Friday.
RV Mississippi (5-3 2009, 26-28 2008)
Series vs. UW: UW leads 1-0
About Mississippi: Ole Miss comes in with 5-3 record, having taken two games from No. 18/20 Louisiana Lafayette. The Rebels are led by junior Becky Nye in the circle, who has four of Ole Miss' five victories this season, posting a 1.21 ERA.
Series History: UW won the only match-up between the two teams, an 8-3 victory in 2007 which came in the same Cathedral City Classic tournament where the teams will square up in a re-match this weekend.
Nebraska (4-0 2009, 25-28 2008)
Series vs. UW: UW leads 5-3
About Nebraska: The Cornhuskers are looking to get back on track after not advancing to the NCAA postseason last year, the first time in 13 seasons they were not in the tournament. Nebraska should fare better this season with all nine starters back as well as all three pitchers.
The Huskers boast a Canadian Olympic team member just as the Huskies do, with 2007 All-American Robin Mackin joining the NU team after playing two years at Fresno State. Mackin has not appeared in the circle this season, but Molly Hill and Ashley Hagemann have each earned two victories on the young season. Heidi Foland leads Nebraska with a .545 average (6x11) in four games followed closely by Darcy Rutherford, who is hitting .500 (6x12).
Series History: The Huskies and Huskers have had several good battles in the past, including two in the postseason. UW defeated Nebraska, 3-1, in the 1998 Women's College World Series and 7-6 in the 2005 NCAA Regionals, the last time the teams battled. Nebraska won the first two times the teams played each other before UW won four in a row in the series. Nebraska's last win came in 2005 when the Huskers came away with a 4-1 win in the 2005 Kia Classic (now Judi Garman Classic).
WASHINGTON IN THE POLLS
The Huskies 9-0 start has given them a big boost in both rankings this week, jumping from No. 10 to No. 7 the USA Today/NFCA poll and from No. 7 to No. 3 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll after they started the season 21st and 15th in the two polls, respectively.
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 are now up to their highest ranking since the end of the 2007 season when they finished No. 3.
ON A ROLL
The Huskies current nine-game winning streak is their longest since they also had a nine-gamer from March 7-16 last season. The last time the Huskies won 10 in a row was March 7-23, 2003.
UW's 9-0 start is their best under fifth-year head coach Heather Tarr and the best UW start since the 2003 team also started 9-0. In fact, UW has started 9-0 four times now in school history, which also happened in 1996 and 2000. In all three previous 9-0 starts, 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.
LAWRIE LIGHTS OUT
All-American junior Danielle Lawrie continued her strong start to the 2009 season, picking up three wins over the weekend to improve to 6-0 on the season. She did not allow a run in 18.1 innings of work in three games, lowering her ERA to 0.35 and extending her scoreless innings streak to 28.1 dating back to a two-run home run she allowed to Loyola Marymount in the Red Desert Classic. Lawrie allowed just five hits in 18.1 innings of work in the Campbell Cartier Classic and struck out 28 batters. For her efforts, Lawrie was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week, the fifth time in her career she has earned the honor.
Speaking of strikeouts, Lawrie came went into last weekend needing just 14 strikeouts to equal Jennifer Spediacci's career school record and Lawrie nearly got it over with in the first game of the weekend. She recorded her third 12-strikeout performance of the season, shutting out UC-Santa Barabara on just two hits to move just two back of Spediacci.
Lawrie tied the record with two Ks in the first inning against San Diego State then broke the recod in the second inning to become UW's all time leader with 895 strikeouts. She later went on to hit the 900 mark in that game and finished the week with 908 career Ks. Lawrie is in rare company as she and Stanford senior Missy Penna are the only active pitchers in Division I softball with 900 or more strikeouts.
TRIPLE YOUR PLEASURE
The Huskies did not have a triple in 56 games last season, the first time in school history UW went an entire season without a three-bagger. Senior Ashley Charters made sure the Huskies wouldn't repeat the effort when she picked up her 11th career triple against UC Santa Barbara in the opening game of last weekend's Campbell Cartier Classic. Charters' 11 triples ranks fourth all time on the UW career charts, one shy of moving into third all time with Tami Storseth.
Sophomore Morgan Stuart went on to leg out two triples over the weekend - the first two of her career- to triple the Huskies triple output from last season.
Not only did Charters speed into third with a triple last week, but she also swiped four bases over the weekend, giving her 102 for her career, moving her past Angie Marzetta into third all time at UW. She needs just 11 more to equal the school record of 113.
FLEXING THEIR MUSCLES
After hitting just 29 home runs in 2008, the Huskies look to have the pop back in their bats this season, connecting for 10 home runs in their first nine games. UW notched five long balls in their first weekend in St. George, Utah, then added four more last weekend in San Diego. Seven different players have gone deep for the Huskies this season including four freshmen.
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