STARKVILLE, Miss. – Senior utility player Valerie Arioto of top-ranked California has been named as the Louisville Slugger Division I National Player of the Week for games played March 19-25.

Arioto played a key role in the Bears 4-0 week, which included a win over Princeton and a sweep at then ninth-ranked Stanford. Over the four-game stretch Arioto went 6-for-10 with a double, four home runs, five runs, and nine RBIs. She finished the week with a .545 batting average, a .667 on-base percentage and a 1.727 slugging percentage. Additionally, the senior proved how versatile she could be by going 2-0 in the circle with 11 strikeouts and a 0.68 ERA.

The Pleasanton, Calif. native was a perfect 2-for-2 in her team’s series opener against the Cardinal with both hits coming in the form of the long ball. In the series finale, Arioto also had two hits, a double and a home run, to go along with a run and three RBIs. For the week, she struck out just once in 11 at bats and did not commit an error in 22 chances in the field.

Arioto currently leads her team with a .456 batting average, the 13th highest in the nation, and 14 home runs, the third most in the nation.

The California Bears ascended to the top spot in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 poll this week for the first time since Feb. 23, 2005 and is currently 29-1 overall and 3-0 in Pac-12 play. This week, the Bears will host Sacramento State for a single-game on Wednesday and No. 3 Washington in a three-game conference series this weekend.

Other Top Performances
Tennessee’s Ellen Renfroe
went 3-0 last week, including handing then top-ranked Alabama its first loss of 2012, with a 0.78 ERA and 23 strikeouts … Michelle Moultrie of Florida went 8-for-11 last week with three doubles and two home runs to help lead the Gators to a sweep at Arkansas … USF’s Sara Nevins struck out 22 over four games for the Bulls last week, as USF continued its nine-game win streak… Taylor Orsburn of Southern Illinois got a hit in seven of her 10 at bats last week and homered in back-to-back innings against Creighton… Stony Brook’s Lauren Maloney hit .625 with eight runs and four RBIs for the Seawolves over five games last week, including coming up one single shy of the cycle against Fairfield

2012 Louisville Slugger Division I National Player of the Week
Mar. 27 – Valerie Arioto – California – Sr. – 1B/P – Pleasanton, Calif.
Mar. 20 – Nerissa Myers – Louisiana-Lafayette – Jr. – IF – Petal, Miss.
Mar. 13 – Sara Nevins – USF – So. – P – Pinellas Park, Fla.
Mar. 6 – Keilani Ricketts – Oklahoma – Jr. – P – San Jose, Calif.
Feb. 28 – Monica Perry – Florida St. – Jr. – P – Whitesburg, Ga.
Feb. 21 – Brittany Schutte – Florida – Jr. – C – Fountain Valley, Calif.
Feb. 14 – Kaitlin Inglesby – Washington – So. – P/1B – Portland, Ore.

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