No. 1 Huskies Head To Palm Springs To Face Tough Competition

Feb. 24, 2010

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• Tournament Central

Thursday, Feb. 25
#1 Washington (7-1) vs. #25 BYU (9-1), 8:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 26
#1 Washington vs. #9/12 Oklahoma (8-1), 1 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 27
#1 Washington vs. #19/21 Fresno State (7-1), 5:30 p.m.
#1 Washington vs. Oklahoma State (6-4), 8:30 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 28
#1 Washington vs. UC Davis (6-3), 1 p.m.

All Times Pacific
All games available via Gametracker,

The No. 1-ranked Washington softball team (7-1) stays on the road this week when it plays in the prestigious Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs. The Huskies face a tough task this weekend as they go against five teams with winning records, while three are currently ranked and four advanced to the 2009 NCAA Tournament. UW's fi ve opponents boast a combined record of 36-11, with their fi rst three opponents coming in with a combined 24-3 mark. The Huskies start the weekend against No. 25 BYU (9-1) on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. and play another single game Friday against No. 12/9 Oklahoma (8-1) at 1 p.m. before a tough doubleheader Saturday against No. 19/21 Fresno State (7-1) at 5:30 p.m. and Oklahoma State (6-4) at 8:30 p.m. The weekend concludes on Sunday with a 1 p.m. battle against UC Davis (6-3).

The Cathedral City Classic - hosted by Oregon State - is one of the toughest and most prestigious tournaments in the country, featuring 30 teams, 22 of which advanced to the 2009 NCAA Tournament. Nine of the 30 teams also advanced to the Super Regionals last year, including two teams - Washington and Arizona - who advanced to the Women's College World Series. The Huskies and Wildcats also head into the weekend as the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation, respectively.

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The Huskies went 2-1 over a rain-soaked weekend in San Diego, having two of their scheduled five games canceled. UW, which came into the weekend on a roll after an opening 5-0 weekend, got stopped in their tracks in the first game, falling to Utah State, 7-4, despite a pair of RBI doubles from Niki Williams. The Dawgs bounced back later that night, run-ruling UC Santa Barbara, 9-1, behind Danielle Lawrie's 100th career victory, which tied the school's all-time record. Lawrie was also the star at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two doubles and a two-run home run. After UW's third game of the tournament against Western Kentucky was canceled, the Huskies faced host San Diego State and came away with a 5-0 win, with Lawrie striking out 11 in a one-hitter and homering again to break the UW record with her 101st victory. The win also handed head coach Heather Tarr her 200th career victory. UW's final game of the weekend against Penn State was also rained out.

The Huskies still hold the No. 1 spot in both national polls this week, although they are no longer the unanimous pick that they were last week. UW received 23 of the 30 first-place votes in the NFCA poll and 13 of 20 in the poll.

The Huskies started the season ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history, earning the top spot unanimously in the NFCA/USA Today poll while earning 17 of 20 first-place votes in the Softball poll. UW finished last season atop both polls after winning the Women's College World Series and they return six starters from that squad including National Player of the Year Danielle Lawrie. Arizona is No. 2 in both polls and six of the eight Pac-10 teams are in the nation's top 15 (Washington, Arizona, Arizona State, California, Stanford, UCLA).

#RV/25 BYU Cougars
2010: 9-1
2009: 40-18 (NCAA Regionals)
Series vs. UW: Series tied, 2-2
About BYU: The Cougars are off to a hot start at 9-1 and have moved into the Softball rankings at No. 25 this week. BYU is coming off its fifth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance but are looking to take it a step further as they have yet to reach the Super Regionals. They return a bevy of talent from a team that went 40-18 last season, including All-American catcher Jessica Purcell-Fitu, who was also named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List. The Cougars also return their top two pitchers in Paige Affleck and Christine Zinati, but it is their offense that has been on display this year. BYU has already hit 18 home runs in 10 games, led by senior Andrea Ramirez, who leads the team with five home runs and 17 RBI.
Series History: The Huskies evened up the all-time series between the two teams with a 7-3 victory last year in the Red Desert Classic, a game in which Alyson McWherter robbed a pair of home runs from the Cougars - a three-run home and a grand slam in successive innings. Prior to that game, BYU had won two in a row in the series, winning games in 2001 and 2002 after the Huskies won the first meeting between the teams in 2000.

#12/9 Oklahoma Sooners
2010: 8-1
2009: 41-16 (NCAA Regionals)
Series vs. UW: Series tied, 6-6
About Oklahoma: The Sooners are looking for redemption in 2010 after a surprise ouster from the NCAA Regionals last year. On top of returning several stars from last year's team, Oklahoma also boasts one of the most heralded freshman in the nation in pitcher Keilani Ricketts. The rookie was named USA Softball Player of the Week last week after going 3-0 with victories over the likes of Northwestern and California. She also picked up a save in compiling a 0.37 ERA in four appearances. Jessica Shults, meanwhile, leads the offense with five home runs and 18 RBI while Haley Nix is batting .440 to lead the team.
Series History: The Huskies and Sooners have met frequently throughout the years, with the teams tied at 6-6 in the all-time series. UW won the last meeting between the teams, a 12-4 decision in 2004 in Las Vegas. The teams have met four times in the postseason, including the 2003 and 2004 World Series, with UW winning 3-1 in 2003 but falling 6-2 in 2004. The Huskies won the first-ever meeting between the teams, 3-2, in 1995.

#19/21 Freno State Bulldogs
2010: 7-1
2009: 38-20 (NCAA Regionals)
Series vs. UW: Series tied, 8-8
About Fresno State: The Bulldogs are off to a good start at 7-1, led by their senior All-American pitcher Morgan Melloh, who is 4-1 with a 0.73 ERA this season. At the plate, Caitlin Stiglich leads the way with a .533 average (8-for-15) while the Bulldogs have balanced power throughout the lineup, with six different players hitting at least one home run thus far. Michelle Moses and Kaitlin Griffin lead the squad with six RBI each while Nicole Angene has two home runs and five RBI.
Series History: The Huskies and Bulldogs have split their 16 games against each other with UW drawing even after an epic 3-0 win last year in 11 innings at the Judi Garman Classic. A pitcher's duel saw Danielle Lawrie outlast Melloh, with the eventual National Player of the Year striking out 18 batters and allowing just two hits. Ashley Charters provided the game-winning hit off Melloh, who was equally impressive with 13 strikeouts and just five hits allowed in 11 innings.

Oklahoma State Cowgirls
2010: 6-4
2009: 36-22 (NCAA Regionals)
Series vs. UW: Washington leads 12-3
About Oklahoma State: The Cowgirls have faced a tough schedule so far with all four of their losses coming against ranked teams. Junior Mariah Gearhart leads the offense with a .438 average (14 hits, five SBs) while sophomore Julie Ward has belted four home runs and driven in 18. Kat Espinosa has been the leader in the circle, going 2-1 with a 1.96 ERA.
Series History: The Huskies hold a decided advantage over the Cowgirls, winning 11 of the 14 meetings between the teams. They last faced off in 2008 with OSU winning, 3-2, but the Dawgs won the previous four meetings before that and 10 of the previous 11.

UC Davis Aggies
2010: 6-3
2009: 22-32
Series vs. UW: First Meeting
About UC Davis: The Aggies are off to a good start at 6-3 and face a busy week this week with seven games on tap. Sarah Axelson leads the Aggies with a .458 batting average. The senior is 11-for-24 through nine games with seven RBI and seven runs. Jessica Gonzalez has posted a .400 average and leads the team with three doubles. In the circle, Alex Holmes is 4-1 and has struck out 31 in 30.2 innings.
Series History: This weekend marks the first ever meeting between the two teams. One of UC Davis' assistant coaches is former Husky All-American Dominique Lastrapes.

Washington head coach Heather Tarr picked up two wins last weekend to reach a big milestone in her career. UW's win over San Diego State last Saturday was her 200th career victory as a head coach, all at her alma mater. The former All-Pac-10 third baseman for the Huskies, Tarr led the Huskies to 51 wins last year - her first 50 win season - and the program's first national championship. She has a career record of 200-104-1, good for a .657 winning percentage.

Danielle Lawrie made quite the statement over the opening weekend that she's not ready to relinquish her title of College Softball Player of the Year. All Lawrie did was go 3-0 with a save and 21.0 shutout innings, striking out 45 batters while walking just one in four appearances. To top things off, one of her wins was a perfect game, the first seven-inning perfect game of her career and just the second in Husky history. Lawrie also was a menace at the plate, belting a team-leading four home runs - including a grand slam - and driving in nine runs. The only game she didn't pitch in, Lawrie hit two home runs and drove in a career-high six runs, all of which ended in her being named the National Player of the Week by both USA Softball and the NFCA for the second time in her career and also earning Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors for the 11th time.

Lawrie kept that blistering pace up over the second week of the season, earning two victories - including a one-hit shutout of San Diego State - and belting two home runs at the plate. In eight games, she has a team-high six home runs and 14 RBI and is 5-0 with a 0.21 ERA with 65 strikeouts and just two walks in 33.0 innings.

With two wins last weekend, Danielle Lawrie reached the 100-win mark, breaking UW's career wins record. Jennifer Spediacci previously held the record, having won 100 games between 1997-2000, but Lawrie earned wins No. 100 and 101 against UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State last week in the Campbell Cartier Classic. Lawrie has now broken two UW career records in two weeks this season. With two starts last weekend, she reached 129 in her career, passing the previous mark set by Ashley Boek from 2002-05 of 127. Lawrie now owns six of the 10 career pitching records at UW.

Danielle Lawrie ended the 2009 season as a big name in college softball but by the time the 2010 season comes to a close, she might be known as one of the best ever. She's doing her part to make the case via her numbers, as she's already jumped into the all-time NCAA top-10 in career strikeouts after just two weekends. Lawrie went into the season ranked 13th all time, but with 65 strikeouts in six appearances, Lawrie has jumped four players to move into ninth all time. With 1,430 career Ks, Lawrie needs just 11 to move into eighth, which would also move her up to fourth all-time in Pac-10 history as UCLA's Anjelica Selden currently owns that spot. The next spot is a little further out of reach at the moment, as Cal legend Michelle Granger sits seventh in NCAA history and third in Pac-10 history with 1,640. Should Lawrie match her single-season total of 521 from last season, should would move up as high as fourth all-time, which would also place her No. 1 in Pac-10 history.

With all the focus on her pitching in the past, Lawrie is now starting to get some attention for her bat. She's off to a blistering start at the plate this year, belting a team-high six home runs in eight games and driving in 14 runs. Lawrie had seven home runs all of last year and is already closing in on her career-high of 10 home runs set in 2007. WIth two more long balls over the weekend, Lawrie now has 25 in her career, moving into UW's all-time top-10 past recent graduate Ashlyn Watson. She needs just two more to tie All-Americans Jenny Topping and Sara Pickering for eighth all time.

The Huskies' two Canadian superstars, Olympians Danielle Lawrie and Jenn Salling, appear to be motivated by their country hosting the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The British Columbia natives combined to go 4-for-6 with three runs and three RBI in the season opener on the eve of the Opening Ceremonies, both hitting home runs in the game. On Sunday in Tempe - the day Canada won it's first-ever winter gold medal on home soil - the pair combined for some fireworks of their own as the duo hit back-to-back home runs, the front end of which was a grand slam by Salling. For the weekend, the two combined to go 12-for-27 (.444) with six home runs and 15 RBI.

For the season, Salling and Lawrie are 1-2 in Husky offensive statistics, with Salling batting .474 through the first two weekends while Lawrie is batting .440. Salling leads the team with 11 runs scored and eight walks while Lawrie leads the Dawgs with six home runs and 14 RBI.

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