Pac-12 announces softball players of the week

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Arizona Athletics / Oregon State Athletics

SAN FRANCISCO — The Pac-12 Conference office announced the softball weekly honors for play from May 9-14. ARIZONA’s redshirt junior pitcher/infielder Nancy Bowling was voted player of the week, fellow Wildcat LHP Danielle O’Toole was tabbed pitcher of the week for the second-straight week, and RHP Meehra Nelson of OREGON STATE was named freshman of the week.

Bowling (Simi Valley, Calif.) had a complete weekend in the batter’s box, the pitcher’s circle and on the stage in McKale Center in Arizona’s first ever Student-Athlete Commencement. On Thursday, she received her degree from the Arizona School of Agriculture in the morning before hitting a pinch-hit grand slam in game 1 of Arizona’s series vs. California. Bowling, who entered the weekend with three homers and 14 RBI on the season, hit a pair of homers vs. the Golden Bears, bringing in seven runs in the process. The redshirt junior hit .600 in three games vs. Cal and slugged 1.800, helping the Cats take the series from the Bears. In addition to her work in the batter’s box, Bowling tossed four innings of scoreless ball vs. Cal in game 2 in relief. This is Arizona’s 156th all-time weekly honor.

O’Toole (Upland, Calif.) went 2-0 vs. Cal, allowing just two runs in two complete-game victories. On Thursday, O’Toole tossed her seventh shutout of the season, tossing a complete-game two hitter with six strikeouts. On Saturday, O’Toole tied a season-high with nine strikeouts in Arizona’s 11-2, six-inning victory. O’Toole’s dominance in the circle helped the Wildcats take the series from Cal; in the two games O’Toole pitched, Arizona outscored Cal 19-2. O’Toole posted a 1.27 ERA and had more than double the amount of strikeouts (15) than hits allowed (7). Her two victories vs. the Golden Bears added to her Pac-12 leading win total, now sitting at 22, the most by any Wildcat since 2011. The junior lowered her ERA to 2.14, on pace to be the lowest in the program since 2010. This is O’Toole’s fourth pitching honor this season and Arizona’s 157th weekly honor all-time.

Nelson (Simi Valley, Calif.) had a pair of dominant efforts as she did not allow a run for the weekend while picking up a win and a save to help Oregon State seal a bid to its first NCAA Tournament since 2013. The rookie got the Beavers off to a good start as she out-dueled ASU’s Kelsey Kessler in a 1-0 win on Thursday. Nelson tossed a complete-game shutout, allowing the Sun Devils just three hits and a walk with three strikeouts. The next day, Nelson sealed a Beaver series victory on Friday with her seventh save of the season, using only 14 pitches to retire the Sun Devils in order in the seventh inning. With her seventh save of the season on Friday, Nelson set the program’s single-season saves record, breaking what was a four-way tie with Paige Hall (six saves in 2012), Monica Hoffman (2004) and Tarrah Beyster (1999). Nelson, who is the only Pac-12 player to be selected as a finalist for the Schutt Sports/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I National Freshman of the Year, leads all Pac-12 freshmen in strikeouts (196), innings pitched (160.2), batting average against (.193), batters struck out looking (64), appearances and saves. She paces all Pac-12 pitchers in the latter three categories. This is the third weekly honor for Nelson this season and 42nd overall for the Beaver program.

A player of the week has been selected every week since 1989, with the pitcher of the week honor dating back to 1992. This is the second season of freshman of the week honors.

This week #18/18 Arizona heads to the NCAA Tournament for the 30th-straight year, the longest active streak in the nation.  The Wildcats were selected to the Knoxville Regional where they will take on Ohio State on Friday, May 20th at 12:30 p.m. PT on ESPNU. Oregon State heads to the Auburn Regional, where the Beavers will take on USC Upstate on Friday, May 20th at 1:30 p.m. PT on ESPN3.

Also Nominated:
PLAYER: Casey Stangel, WASH; Alyssa Gillespie, ORE.
PITCHER: Cheridan Hawkins, ORE; Meehra Nelson, OSU.
FRESHMAN:  Lindsay Rood, CAL; Megan Kleist, ORE; Tannon Snow, WASH.

2016 Pac-12 Players of the Week

Date Player Pitcher Freshman
Feb. 17 Mo Mercado, ARIZ Taran Alvelo, WASH Meehra Nelson, OSU
Feb. 23 Kylee Perez, UCLA Danielle O’Toole, ARIZ Morgann Flores, WASH
Mar. 1 Nikki Girard, ASU Meehra Nelson, OSU Kayleen Shafer, OSU
Mar. 8 Ali Aguilar, WASH Megan Kleist, ORE Taylor McQuillin, ARIZ
Mar. 14 Delaney Spaulding, UCLA Taylor McQuillin, ARIZ Taylor McQuillin, ARIZ
Mar. 21 Gwen Svekis, ORE Danielle O’Toole, ARIZ Ally Dickman, UTAH
Mar. 28 Nikki Udria, ORE Cheridan Hawkins, ORE Taran Alvelo, WASH
Apr. 4 Jennifer Soria, ASU Paige McDuffee, UCLA Brianna Tautalafua, UCLA
Apr. 11 Kimberlee Souza, WASH Cheridan Hawkins, ORE Taran Alvelo, WASH
Apr. 18 Kay Kay Fronda, UTAH Katie Donovan, UTAH Joelle Krist, ARIZ
Apr. 25 Anissa Urtez, UTAH Taran Alvelo, WASH Ally Dickman, UTAH
May 2 Mysha Sataraka, UCLA Cheridan Hawkins, ORE Lindsay Rood, CAL
May 9 Brianna Tautalafua, UCLA Danielle O’Toole, ARIZ Brianna Tautalafua, UCLA
May 16 Nancy Bowling, ARIZ Danielle O’Toole, ARIZ Meehra Nelson, OSU


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