Pac-12 Softball closes out non-conference action
At least five Pac-12 Softball teams have been ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches poll every week this season, while No. 2 UCLA (17-1) and No. 6 WASHINGTON (16-3) have maintained a spot in the top-10. No. 12 ARIZONA (14-5), No. 16 ARIZONA STATE (15-6), No. 24 OREGON (11-7) continue to hold a spot in the top-25, while OREGON STATE and STANFORD are receiving votes.
Pac-12 Softball programs have combined for a 122-47-1 record (.721) for the second-best winning percentage among power conferences. League teams look to close the non-conference stretch this weekend with four schools hosting tournaments, top-25 opponents and high-level competition.
Top-ranked matchups highlight this weekend’s slate as No. 12 Arizona hosts the defending national champions and No. 1 ranked Florida State in a three-game series. Oregon opens its 2019 home schedule with a three-game series against No. 19 Oklahoma State.
ASU host No. 18 James Madison, Michigan, New Mexico State, South Dakota and Lehigh at the 2019 ASU Invitational as part of its 17-game home stand. Washington hosts the annual Husky Classic for its first home series of the 2019 season with Ohio State, Idaho State, Northern Illinois, and Seattle in the field.
IN THE RANKINGS: Five teams rank in this week’s ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 with No. 2 UCLA, No. 6 Washington, No. 13 Arizona, No. 17 Arizona State, and No. 24 Oregon while Oregon State, Stanford and California are receiving votes.
Washington owns a 16-3 record, including six wins over ranked opponents and have faced at least one ranked team every week this season, as it heads into it’s annual Huskie Classic. Taran Alvelo broke her career-best mark twice last week, striking out 15 against No. 3 Florida before striking out 16 against Fullerton.
UCLA swept No. 3 Florida in back-to-back outings as pitcher Rachel Garcia set a new career-high five RBIs in the Bruins’ 7-1 win on Wednesday and then threw 10 strikeouts over seven inning in the 4-0 shutout on Friday. The Bruins started the year with 16-straight victories before dropping its first and only contest this year again Michigan (3-1) to close out the Judi Garman Classic with a 4-1 record.
Stanford’s 10-game win streak is the longest since the 2014 squad began the year 13-0, and its 16-2 start is the best since 2009. Teaghan Cowles guided Stanford to a 5-0 record last week, including two shutout victories, to earn wins over Northwestern (1-0), Montana (7-3/8-0), North Dakota State (3-2) and Cal Poly (13-5). Cowles was tabbed Pac-12 Player of the Week and as the Louisville/Slugger NFCA Division I National Player of the Week. As the leadoff hitter, she reached base at an .889 clip and slugged 1.455 while collecting 11 runs, two triples, a homer, three stolen bases and a pair of RBIs.
Cardinal SS Emily Young went 6-for-13 at the plate (.462) with three runs scored, two doubles, a triple and three RBIs to earn Pac-12 Freshman of the Week. Young only had two errors in the field and posted a .923 fielding percentage in Stanford’s five wins last week.
Arizona’s Taylor McQuillin picked up five victories last week at Arizona’s home-hosted Wildcat Invitational, defeating Drake (4-0/9-4), No. 23 Minnesota (2-0), Kent State (7-6) and No. 19 James Madison (8-6). The Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week tossed 34 strikeouts in 25 innings, as the senior didn’t allow a single run through the first four games of the weekend and has only gave up two runs over her previous 42.1 innings this season.
Oregon State barley dropped out of the top-25 and is still receiving votes in the national poll after going 0-3 to No. 3 Florida, Cal St Fullerton, and No. 22 Auburn last week in the Judi German Classic. Senior Shelby Weeks is eight stolen bases away from setting the OSU career record (58) set by Mia Longfellow (2004-07). Oregon State travels to Los Angeles for five games at the LMU Tournament.
PAC-12 SOFTBALL NOTES:
UCLA owns the fourth-best win-loss percentage (.944) in the country and ranks in the top-10 of four other categories, ranking third in ERA (1.10), second in strikeout-to-walk ratio (7.81), 10th in batting average (.347) and scoring (7.17). Washington ranks 14th in ERA followed by No. 22 Stanford, 1.72, and No. 25 Arizona, 1.74.
Arizona continues to hit it out of the park, leading the nation in home runs per game (1.77) and junior Jessie Harper tops all competition with 13 homers so far. Harper is tied with teammate Palomino for the fifth-most RBIs in the nation and most in the Pac-12 with 27 thus far.
Pac-12 star pitchers dominate the mound, led by UCLA’s Rachel Garcia, who ranks seventh in ERA (0.58) and eighth in hits allowed per seen innings (3.02). Stanford’s Kia Pancino is second in the league with a 1.00 ERA.
RETURNING ALL-AMERICANS: Six NFCA D-I All-America team members are returning for the 2019 season, including the NFCA Player of the Year in UCLA pitcher Rachel Garcia. Four first-team selections headline Pac-12 rosters with Arizona’s Alyssa Palomino, Washington’s Sis Bates, and the UCLA duo of Garcia and Aaliyah Jordan. The Huskies lead all league teams with three total returning All-Americans including second-team member Taran Alvelo and third-team honoree Gabbie Plain.
RANKED NEWCOMERS: All nine Pac-12 teams appear in the top-34 of FloSoftball’s 2019 recruiting class rankings. Oregon leads the league at No. 12 with five newcomers, followed by No. 15 California, No. 16 UCLA, No. 23 Oregon State, No. 25 Washington, No. 26 Arizona State, No. 27 Stanford, No. 31 Utah and No. 32 Arizona.
WATCH LISTS: Twelve Pac-12 student-athletes appear on the USA Softball Top 50 Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List for the second most of any Conference (SEC-13). Arizona and Washington lead all institutions with four representatives each, while UCLA is tied for the second most (Florida, Oklahoma) with three players on the Watch List. Reigning Player of the Year, UCLA pitcher Rachel Garcia, highlights the list.
Previous league recipients of the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award include Stacey Nuveman (UCLA, 2002), Danielle Lawrie (Washington, 2009 and 2010), Ashley Hansen (Stanford, 2011) and Rachel Garcia (UCLA, 2018).
|Wednesday Feb. 27||All Times PT|
|St. Bonaventure vs. CALIFORNIA||5:30 p.m.|
|Thursday March 7|
|James Madison vs. ARIZONA STATE||3 p.m.|
|Michigan vs. ARIZONA STATE||5:30 p.m.|
|NIAG vs. CALIFORNIA||5:30 p.m.|
|CALIFORNIA vs. Hawai'i||8 p.m.|
|Friday, March 8|
|New Mexico vs. OREGON STATE||8 a.m.|
|LMU vs. OREGON STATE||12:30 a.m.|
|St. Bonaventure vs. CALIFORNIA||3 p.m.|
|Ohio State vs. WASHINGTON||13:45 p.m.|
|Bucknell vs. STANFORD||4:45 p.m.|
|Florida State vs. ARIZONA||5 p.m.|
|New Mexico State vs. ARIZONA STATE||6 p.m.|
|NIU vs. WASHINGTON||6 p.m.|
|OKLAHOMA STATE vs. OREGON||6 p.m.|
|RMU vs UCLA||7 p.m.|
|UMass Lowell vs. STANFORD||7 p.m.|
|Saturday, March 9|
|Oklahoma State vs. OREGON||12 p.m.|
|St. Bonaventure vs. UTAH||12 p.m.|
|NIAG vs. UTAH||2 p.m.|
|Oklahoma State vs. OREGON||2 p.m.|
|UNLV vs. STANFORD||2 p.m.|
|BYU vs. UCLA||3 p.m.|
|NIU vs. WASHINGTON||3:45 p.m.|
|SIUE vs. CALIFORNIA||4 p.m.|
|New Mexico vs. OREGON STATE||4 p.m.|
|UMass Lowell vs. STANFORD||4:45 p.m.|
|Florida State vs. ARIZONA||5 p.m.|
|LIB vs. UCLA||5:30 a.m.|
|Idaho State vs. WASHINGTON||6 p.m.|
|LEH vs. ARIZONA STATE||6 p.m.|
|Sunday, March 10|
|UNLV vs. STANFORD||11:15 a.m.|
|UCLA vs. Boston||11:30 a.m.|
|Florida State vs. ARIZONA||12 P.M.|
|South Dakota State vs. ARIZONA STATE||12 p.m.|
|Idaho State vs. WASHINGTON||12:45 a.m.|
|Bucknell vs. STANFORD||1:30 p.m.|
|UCLA vs. Long Beach State||1:30 p.m.|
|Seattle vs. WASHINGTON||2 :45 p.m.|
|NIAG vs. UTAH||3 p.m.|
|SIUE vs. UTAH||5 p.m.|
CONFERENCE STANDINGS (Expanded Standings)
|Teams||Pac-12 Record||Overall Record|
2019 PAC-12 PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
|Player of the Week||Pitcher of the Week||Freshman of the Week|
|Feb. 12||Missy Nunes, OSU||Rachel Garcia, UCLA||Rachel Cid, ORE|
|Feb. 19||Kindra Hackbarth, ASU||Rachel Garcia, UCLA||Megan Faraimo, UCLA|
|Feb. 26||Shaye Bowden, ORE||Rachel Garcia, UCLA||Megan Faraimo, UCLA|