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This Week in Fastpitch
DATES TO REMEMBER
TOP 10 SHAKEUP: There were quite a few shakeups in the Pac-10 last week, resulting in shakeups in this week's USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25, particularly the top 10. UCLA reclaimed the No. 1 spot after wins against Oregon and Oregon State. After two weeks at No. 1, Arizona dropped to No. 2 after back-to-back losses to California, which jumped two places to No. 6., one point behind No. 5 Arizona State, which moved up a spot after two wins over Stanford. The Cardinal, which had been ranked in the top three the entire season, fell to No. 7 after losing all three of their Pac-10 games last weekend. Washington, winners of five consecutive Pac-10 games before Wednesday's loss to UCLA, climbed a spot to No. 8, while Cal State Fullerton slipped two places to No. 9. The Titans extended their winning streak to 32 games with a win over Pacific before dropping the next two to the Tigers. Speaking of Tigers, LSU jumped two spots to No. 3 on the strength of a 7-0 week. No. 4 Nebraska and No. 10 Florida Atlantic were the only top 10 teams to not move.
UW'S RIVERA ON HOME RUN TEAR: Washington freshman Kristen Rivera is definitely getting her money's worth out of her recent at-bats. During a two-game stretch against Stanford, Rivera homered in each of three consecutive at-bats. In addition, all five of her hits during a four-game span were home runs. Her home run streak came to an end when she hit two doubles Wednesday against UCLA. For the season, she has 15 home runs, tying her for the team lead with Jaime Clark.
HISTORIC WEEKEND FOR GOLDEN BEARS: Last weekend, California followed its win over Arizona State with a pair of victories over then-No. 1 Arizona, marking the first-ever time the Golden Bears had swept the two Arizona schools in a weekend series. In Sunday's 2-1 victory over Arizona, Cal pitcher Jocelyn Forest tossed a one-hitter and recorded 15 strikeouts.
YEAR OF THE CAT: It may not be "the morning of a Bogart movie" and she may not be "strolling down the streets like Peter Lorre," but 2002 may just be the "year of the cat" for Texas freshman pitcher Cat Osterman. Already a two-time Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Player of the Week, Osterman struck out 45 batters (24 innings pitched) last week to become only the second freshman in Division I history to eclipse the 400-strikeout mark in a season. Including Wednesday's 10-strikeout performance against Texas A&M, Osterman has 445 strikeouts, moving her within 30 strikeouts of breaking the freshman mark. The record is 469 by Lisa Ishikawa of Northwestern (1984).
BUCKEYES ATOP BIG 10 STANDINGS: This season could go down as the best ever for Ohio State. The Buckeyes jumped to No. 20 in this week's USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25, the highest-ever ranking for Ohio State softball. The Buckeyes also matched their highest win total in Wednesday's victory over Wright State as Ohio State improved to 46-9. The win also extended Ohio StateÃŒs winning streak to 17 games. Ohio State enters this weekend with a 13-3 mark in conference play, putting the Buckeyes ahead of second-place Michigan (10-3) and third-place Iowa (9-4).
CHANTICLEER DUO SIZZLING: Coastal Carolina senior pitcher Stephanie Belden and junior second baseman Holly Lee have helped the Chanticleers to 10 wins in their last 11 games. In her last 10 appearances, Belden is 7-0 with two saves, including shutouts in each of her last three starts. Lee, who was named Big South Player of the Week, hit .545 (6-for-11) in four games last week and belted a pair of three-run homers in a six-RBI performance against Charleston Southern.
THREE NORTHWESTERN CAREER RECORDS BROKEN IN SAME GAME: Three school career records fell on April 17 in NorthwesternÃŒs victory over DePaul. Gretchen Barnes hit her 19th career home run to become the Wildcats' career home run leader. Erin Jancic became Northwestern's career leader in two categories in the same inning. She hit her 35th double and came around to score her 106th run to become the Wildcats' all-time leader in both categories.
FIVE DEBUTS IN FINAL D-II TOP 25: Five teams make their first appearance in the USA Today/NFCA Division II Top 25 in 2002, including three teams which make their first-ever appearance during the four-year history of the poll. Washburn debuts at No. 18, while Chico State and Longwood come in at a tie for No. 25 in their first-ever appearances in the poll. Longwood won its first-ever Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference championship over the weekend. Not new to the poll, but making their first appearance of 2002 are No. 23 Shippensburg and No. 24 Merrimack.
OWL SHORTSTOP ON HITTING TEAR: Kennesaw State senior Krissy Bamford hit safely in each of her first nine games last week and finished the week with a .467 batting average (14-for-30) in 10 games. She also scored eight runs as she helped lead the Owls to the Peach Belt Conference Tournament championship and an automatic berth in the Division II South Atlantic Regional.
GVSU PITCHER VIRTUALLY UNHITTABLE: Grand Valley State pitcher Jennifer Mackson tossed a two-hitter in the Lakers' 2-1 victory over No. 2 Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. Those were the only hits allowed by Mackson in 18 innings pitched last week. Mackson, who struck out 14 against SIUE, recorded 16 strikeouts in a seven-inning perfect game against Northwood.
...AND BORTZ CROSSES HOME PLATE AGAIN (AND AGAIN): Moravian freshman Heather Bortz went on a bit of a scoring frenzy last week, scoring 11 runs in her last six games. She finished the week with four multi-run games, including a three-run performance in a 21-10 win over Delaware Valley. She also finished the week with six consecutive multi-hit games, including three three-hit performances.
MCKENDREE JUMPS INTO NAIA TOP 10: McKendree jumped five spots to No. 10 in this week's NAIA Top 25 Rating, thanks in part to a split with previously eighth-ranked Columbia. The split clinched the American Midwest Conference regular season title and a first-round bye in the AMC Tournament for McKendree.
CHATTANOOGA STATE SOPH FOLLOWS UP ON SUPER FRESHMAN YEAR: Chattanooga State Technical Community College pitcher Charmaine Johns earned All-America honors in her freshman year and is having another outstanding season as a sophomore. On the mound, she is 24-4 with a 0.49 earned run average to go with 271 strikeouts in 172.1 innings pitched. At the plate, she has a team-high 10 home runs to go with a .377 batting average.
DID YOU SAY 37 STRIKEOUTS?!: Addison Trail High School (Ill.) outlasted Downers Grove South 1-0 in 17 innings on April 16. In that game, Addison Trail senior pitcher Kristen Brestan went the distance and recorded 37 strikeouts, the second-highest single-game strikeout total in Illinois high school history. (The record is 38 in a 22-inning game.) Brestan is 7-0 with a 0.00 ERA and 104 strikeouts in 56 innings pitched. Addison Trail is 12-0, its best start in school history.
MILESTONES: Harvard head coach Jenny Allard reached the 200-win mark in a 2-0 win Saturday against Columbia ... Tufts head coach Kris Talon picked up her 300th career victory in the Warriors' eight-inning 2-1 victory over Eastern Connecticut State.
TRANSACTIONS: Wichita State announced the resignation of head coach Judy Favor effective at the conclusion of the season.
Massachusetts set a school record with its 25th consecutive victory, a 3-0 win over Connecticut Wednesday. Kaila Holtz took a perfect game into the seventh and finished with a one-hitter ... Arizona's back-to-back losses last weekend marked the first time since April 2000 that the Wildcats had lost consecutive games ... Louisiana-Lafayette's Becky McMurtry hit .667 (12-for-18) in her last five games last week, which included a five-RBI performance against Nicholls State ... Jennie Finch set an Arizona record with 19 strikeouts in a nine-inning three-hit shutout over Oklahoma ... Florida Atlantic pitcher Nikki Myers became Division I's first 30-game winner of 2002 ... Cal State Bakersfield pitcher Erin Kelly went 3-0 with a 0.33 ERA and three complete game victories last week ... Winona StateÃŒs Cyndy Schubbe tossed five shutouts last week and extended her scoreless streak to 39 consecutive innings ... Delta State centerfielder Leslie Pourcian hit .500 (9-for-18) in six games last week ... Wingate senior Angela Whittaker hit .688 (11-for-16) last week and had at least two hits in each of her four games, including a 4-for-4 performance against Mars Hill ... Texas A&M-Kingsville junior Sarah Norman went 9-for-15 (.600) last week and hit a game-winning two-run double in the 11th inning of the Javelinas' 6-5 victory over Angelo State ... Bloomsburg pitcher Amber Cowher tossed a two-hitter against Mansfield and a one-hitter against Millersville ... Simpson (Iowa) junior Amy Kulisky struck out a career-high 15 batters in a six-inning win against Upper Iowa ... Wisconsin-Oshkosh sophomore Julie Barth had back-to-back 3-for-3 games against Milwaukee School of Engineering and Elmhurst ... St. Mary's (Minn.) junior Jackie Huegel went 3-for-5 with three RBI in game one against Bethel, then game back with another 3-for-5, three RBI performance in game two ... Eureka senior Jill Lindstrom hit .579 (11-for-19) with 11 RBI in six games last week ... Buffalo State freshman Alyssa Brosius hit .625 (10-for-16) and scored four runs against SUNY Potsdam ... Cortland State senior Annemarie Cangiolosi went 3-1 with a 0.61 ERA and also hit .615 (8-for-13) last week ... Edgewood senior Denise Gard went 3-0 with three complete game victories last week ... Last week's Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III Player of the Week Ali Gerrish made a case for back-to-back awards, hitting .643 (18-for-28) with 13 RBI and a pair of 4-for-4 performances ... Muskingum freshman pitcher Katie Herbst finished last week with 17 consecutive scoreless innings ... Benedictine sophomore Cari Zalesiak had six multi-hit performances in eight games last week ... Coe sophomore Leah Fuhrman collected five RBI against Cornell (Iowa) ... Western Connecticut State junior Cherie Bailey hit .516 (16-for-31) with 11 runs scored in eight games. Among her 16 hits was an inside-the-park home run.