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This Week in Fastpitch
DATES TO REMEMBER
USA SOFTBALL COLLEGIATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR FINALISTS ANNOUNCED: As reported on NFCA Home Plate on the Web, the Amateur Softball Association announced 25 finalists for its inaugural USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The list will be narrowed down to 10 by May 3, then three finalists will be announced May 31. The player of the year will be named June 7 and will receive her award at the ASA National Council Meeting in Reno, Nev., in November. Click here for the list of finalists.
NO. 1 VS. NO. 2 BATTLE A DRAW: The top two teams in the USA Today/NFCA Division I 25 hooked up in Tucson, Ariz., last weekend and they basically battled to a stalemate, splitting a pair of one-run games. UCLA entered the two-game series ranked No. 1, while Arizona was No. 2. The Wildcats took game one 3-2, scoring the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning. UCLA won the second game 6-5, thanks to a grand slam home run by Stephanie Ramos and a pair of homers by Stacey Nuveman, including the game-winner in the top of the seventh. Arizona, which had its seven-game winning streak snapped, jumped to No. 1 ahead of UCLA, which had lost three consecutive games prior to Sunday.
THE RECORD STOPS AT 60: Arizona pitcher Jennie Finch saw her NCAA-record winning streak come to an end in Sunday's loss to UCLA. Finch, who went 32-0 last year, suffered her first loss in two years, ending her winning streak at 60.
GOLDEN GRIFFIN SETS HOME RUN RECORD: Canisius first baseman Jill Iacono became the first player in Division I history to hit four home runs in one game, as she belted four round-trippers in the Golden Griffins' 16-7 victory over St. Francis (Pa.) on April 5. Prior to Iacono's feat, there had been 15 three-homer performances, including two last year -- Christi Musser, Kansas (April 21 vs. Iowa State) and Tiffany Cooley, Long Island (April 19 vs. St. Peter’s). Iacono becomes the second Canisius player to hit at least three home runs in one game, joining Laurie Miller who accomplished the feat in 1987 (May 1 vs. Manhattan).
NINE AND 50 FOR FAU'S MYERS: Florida Atlantic senior pitcher Nikki Myers reached a couple of milestones last week, in fact, in the same game. In the Owls' 8-0 game two victory over Mercer, Myers tossed her ninth career no-hitter, striking out eight and walking one. She also contributed to the victory at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three runs batted in, including her 50th career home run. Myers is among the 25 finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award.
BARBER’S THEFT STREAK CONTINUES: Georgia sophomore Nicole Barber continues her climb up the Division I charts for most consecutive stolen bases. After starting last week with the fifth-longest streak, Barber went 10-for-10 in stolen bases last week to give her 62 consecutive stolen bases and move her into third place. She stole another base Wednesday against South Carolina to give her 63 in a row and pull within one of tying for the second-longest streak (64 by Jen Dean, Northern Iowa, 1994-97). The record is 69 by Laura Crowder of East Carolina (1989-92). Barber is 52-for-52 in stolen bases in 2002.
HAVING A BALL AT PACIFIC: Senior pitcher Cindy Ball had quite a week on the mound and at the plate last week. She posted a 3-0 record with a 0.93 earned run average and 26 strikeouts in 22.2 innings pitched. At the plate, she hit .600 (9-for-15) with four home runs and 11 RBI in four games. She hit two home runs in a game against Utah and added a grand slam against Utah State.
MARYLAND DEBUTS STADIUM IN STYLE: Maryland played its first game in its new stadium Wednesday and pitcher Amanda Bettker made the debut one to remember, tossing her first career individual no-hitter in the Terrapins' 7-0 win over Towson. (The senior had also combined on a no-hitter two years ago.) Maryland went on to sweep the doubleheader.
"NASTI" MAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Breanne Nasti, that is. The University at Buffalo sophomore outfielder was named the Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week, as she hit .750 (6-for-8) in a three-game series against Western Michigan, including two doubles in the Bulls" 12-inning victory.
SIZZLING HUSKIES: There may still be a chill in the state of Minnesota, but St. Cloud State is on a hot streak. The Huskies have won 14 consecutive games, which includes undefeated performances in three consecutive tournaments. St. Cloud State, which entered this week with a 22-3 mark, jumped 11 places to No. 13 in this week’s USA Today/NFCA Division II Top 25.
PERFECT GENRE: Delta State pitcher Nicki Genre (pronounced Gen-ree) retired all 21 batters she faced in an 11-0 victory Gulf South Conference victory over Christian Brothers. She struck out four batters. Genre is 23-4 on the season with a 0.79 earned run average on the year. She has 85 strikeouts and only 12 walks in 168.2 innings pitched.
MORE PERFECTION: Simpson (Iowa) junior Amy Kuliksy tossed her third career perfect game as she retired all 21 batters in a victory over Dubuque. Kuliksy now has three of the school's five perfect games and is one of only three Simpson pitchers ever to throw a perfect game.
MUSKINGUM JUNIOR MOVES UP HOME RUN CHARTS: Muskingum junior Mandy Carnes hit five home runs in eight games last week to give her 35 for her career. She moved into sixth place on the Division III career home run list.
OKLAHOMA CHRISTIAN'S MOSHER WINS PITCHER'S DUEL: Oklahoma Christian pitcher Amber Mosher outlasted Union (Tenn.) pitcher Rachel Murray in a classic pitcher's duel during the Oklahoma City Tournament on April 5. Both pitchers carried no-hitters into the eighth inning, but Mosher broke up Murray's no-hitter with a single in the top of the eighth and Lacey Botchlet followed with an RBI-single. Mosher retired the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to preserve the 1-0 no-hit victory. Oklahoma Christian jumped two spots to No. 3 in this week's NAIA Top 25 Rating, switching places with Union, which fell from No. 3 to No. 5.
BETHEL PITCHING STREAK: Bethel freshman pitcher Mandy King tossed back-to-back no-hitters against Trinity International (March 29) and Huntington (April 4). Her bid for a third consecutive no-hitter ended with a two-hit shutout against Grace. Bethel’s pitching staff also had a streak of 35 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run before giving up an earned run in a 2-1 victory over Indiana Wesleyan.
TWO "BREAKFAST SPECIALS" FOR GORDON'S CARTER: The "grand slam" breakfast special that is. Gordon (junior) College third baseman Ashley Carter grand slam home runs in consecutive at-bats in a victory over Spartanburg Methodist last Saturday (April 6). The home runs were the first two of the season for Carter and gave her three for her career. Carter, who is hitting .411 with 12 doubles and 32 runs batted in, will play for Arkansas next year.
Gardner-Webb designated player Julie Dillon had 15 RBI in six games last week, including a six-RBI performance against Johnson C. Smith and a five-RBI game against Howard. Dillon capped her week by being named MVP of the North Carolina A&T Lady Aggie Softball Tournament ... Eastern Kentucky pitcher Jonelle Csora tossed a pair of complete-game victories -- a three-hitter and a five-hitter -- in a doubleheader sweep over Tennessee Tech ... LSU pitcher Britni Sneed recorded 46 strikeouts in 31.1 innings last week and moved into eighth place on the Division I career strikeout list ... Michigan pitcher Marissa Young had a 15-strikeout performance against Indiana last week and a 14-strikeout game this week against Central Michigan to break her own single-season school strikeout record ... Arizona shortstop Lovie Jung hit two home runs last week -- game-winners in one-run victories over Washington and UCLA ... Army senior Nikki Robbins extended her hitting streak to 15 games before having it come to an end April 6 against Lafayette. Robbins, who drew 10 walks in the four-game series against Lafayette, walked twice in the April 6 contest and was walked four times in one game the next day. (In case you’re wondering, the single-game walk record is six.) ... Miami (Ohio) freshman pitcher Jackie Poggendorf made five appearances last week, going 2-1 with a save and a 0.79 ERA ... Oklahoma outfielder Erin Evans went 6-for-8 with seven RBI and three stolen bases in a doubleheader sweep over Iowa State ... Robin Walker's three-run double was part of a seven-run seventh inning to lift Stanford to a come-from-behind 7-2 victory at Oregon State Sunday ... Louisiana-Lafayette pitcher Melissa Coronado went 3-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 20.0 innings pitched last week ... Fairleigh Dickinson freshman Jessi Potter homered three times in eight games last week. She has already set school single-season records for runs, doubles, home runs and runs batted in for the second-year program ... Illinois sophomore Lindsey Hamma hit .714 (10-for-14) in her last five games and has hit safely in 16 of her last 17 games ... Oklahoma Panhandle State sophomore Crystal Aguirre had a pair of two-home run games against Tabor ... West Virginia State freshman Sarah Adams had three three-hit games last week ... Western Washington junior Jessi Williams hit .615 (16-for-26) last week, raising her batting average from .191 to .342 ... After going 4-0 with two shutouts last week, including a one-hitter against Shippensburg, Bloomsburg senior Kerri Cooper followed with a perfect game against West Chester this week ... Texas Woman’s pitcher Brittany Willson was 3-0 in four appearances last week ... Kennesaw State sophomore pitcher Lisa Macki tossed her fourth career no-hitter in a victory over Lander ... Pace freshman pitcher Angela Loscin posted a 7-0 record last week, pitching all 18 innings of a doubleheader sweep over Massachusetts-Lowell. (Game two went 11 innings.) Pace has won a school-record 11 consecutive games ... Southern Colorado senior Julie Strand drove in at least one run in each of her six games last week ... SUNY pitcher Annemarie Czngiolosi has not allowed an earned run in 34 innings pitched ... La Verne junior Sue Whitcher tossed a five-hitter and drove in six runs in an 11-1 victory over Occidental ... Wisconsin-Stout sophomore Michelle Harvieux hit .667 (8-for-12) in four games last week ... Thiel senior Melissa Mosco went 4-0 in four appearances last week ... Augustana (Ill.) pitcher Michelle Kass tossed back-to-back shutouts last week, a one-hitter against North Park and an eight-inning two-hitter against Carthage, in which she recorded 15 strikeouts ... Savannah College of Art and Design junior Larissa Stec hit .556 (10-for-18) in her first four games of last week, including a 4-for-8 performance in a doubleheader split against Division III No. 4 Emory ... Albion freshman Sarah Caskey had a pair of three-hit performances in four games last week ... Western Connecticut sophomore Sarah Caskey struck out 13 and tossed a two-hit shutout in an eight-inning 1-0 victory over Plattsburgh ... Kings Point freshman Jessica France hit .607 (17-for-28) with 10 RBI in eight games last week ... Adrian senior Lodi VaRocca hit .611 (11-for-18) with four stolen bases last week ... William Paterson junior Kszepka hit .556 (10-for-18) and posted a 3-0 record with two shutouts last week.