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Cathi Aradi

This Week in Fastpitch

UMass wins Leadoff Classic

It rained and it rained. Then it rained some more. But Massachusetts didn't mind. The Minutewomen got off to a quick start at the 2003 NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga., by defeating Oregon State 7-1 and holding off Pacific 6-3. Kelli Arnold, who picked up a save in UMass' win over Pacific, pitched a complete game to lead her team to a 2-1 victory over Florida State. For her efforts, Arnold was named Most Outstanding Player of the Leadoff Classic and the Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Player of the Week.

Field of Comebacks

There was a lot of great action in the Leadoff Classic, but one field had its fair share. Field 1 at the South Commons Complex saw two amazingseventh inning comebacks. On Saturday night, Cal State Fullerton trailed LSU 6-4 in the top of the seventh inning when the game was delayed 38 minutes by rain. When the Titans and Tigers took the field again, Fullerton took to the challenge. The Titans score three runs in the top of the seventh and held off LSU in the bottom half to win 7-6. On Sunday, Alabama trailed 4-0 with two outs in the top of the seventh inning when Jackie McClain sparked the Tide with a three run homer. After Lacy Prejean walked, Jacklyn Wilkins gave Alabama a 5-4 lead with a homer to center field. The Tide scored two more runs in the inning and Erin Wright shut down the Irish bats in the seventh to give Alabama a second place finish in the Leadoff Classic.

Around the Nation

The Leadoff Classic wasn't the only tournament being played this past weekend. Top-ranked UCLA won the FAU Worth Invitational. Iowa State won the UCSB Softball by the Beach Tournament and Mississippi State went 5-0 to claim the title at the Troy Cox Invitational.

What a Debut

Nicholls State's Dione Meir threw a no-hitter in her first Division I start. Against SEC foe Mississippi, Meir struck out 11 batters and walked just three. The Colonels upset Ole Miss 1-0.

Another No-No

Florida State's Casey Hunter, this week's ACC Player of the Week, threw a no-hitter facing just 24 batters in a victory over cross-town rival Florida A&M. The sophomore struck out 11 and walked just three. In the NFCA Leadoff Classic, Hunter fanned a career-high 15 batter against then-No. 20 Pacific. Hunter did not allow a hit in a two-inning relief appearance against Oregon State. Against Leadoff Classic champion UMass, she gave up one hit and one earrned run. She has given up two or fewer hits in four consecutive appearances.

A Super Spartan

UNC Greensboro's Amber Watson had a great day Saturday at the UNCG Spartan Classic. She hit a home run in the seventh inning to give her team a 4-3 win over Kent State. It would get better. On Sunday, Watson took the circle against Toledo and pitched a perfect game. 21 batters up, 21 batters down - 17 of which went down on strikes. No Toldeo hitter was able to get the ball out of the infield against the senior lefthander.

Streakin' in Tampa

South Florida is currently on a 10-game winning streak, thanks in part to Courtney Lewellen. Last week, Lewellen went 10-for-15 (.667) at the plate and leads the Bulls with a .481 batting average. South Florida is 16-4 on the season, and entered the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 this week, debuting at No. 22