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This Week In Fastpitch

March 27: Next USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25
March 27: Next USA Today/NFCA Division II Top 25
March 27: Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III Player of the Week award begins
April 3: First regular-season USA Today/NFCA Division III Top 25

For tournament dates and team schedules, check the NFCA Calendar.

EMOTIONAL HOME TOURNAMENT: Marshall University played host to its Spring Softball Classic last weekend, the team's first home contests of the year and the first home games since the tragic death of sophomore shortstop Dana Black, who died February 27. Marshall players wore Black's initials and jersey number (5) on their helmets, wrist bands and socks. A moment of silence was observed in between games in Black's honor. The team is dedicating the 2002 season to Black's memory.

Marshall head coach wishes to thank NFCA members and the entire softball community for the support given to Marshall softball.

"Dana was a special blessing to all of our lives and she will remain in our hearts forever. On behalf of Marshall softball, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to everyone for the outpouring of expression of sympathy over these past few weeks. Please continue to pray for the family of Dana Black and our softball program."

Coach Stanton also has a message to all coaches about their players.

"Dana had a heart of a lion and was a special gift to my life and our entire Marshall softball family. Her loss has prompted me to encourage us all as coaches to reflect on the blessings of our players. As coaches, we understand the importance of developing and maximizing our team's ability on the field. However, at a time like this, we are reminded of the value of each unique individual and the gift of life."

The NFCA's thoughts and prayers are with the Marshall softball team and Dana Black's family.

TITAN(IC) TURNAROUND: Cal State Fullerton was ranked No. 10 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Preseason Top 25, but the Titans were only 8-8 and ranked No. 17 after the NFCA Leadoff Classic in late February. Since then, Cal State Fullerton (27-9) has won 19 of its last 20 games, including 18 in a row. The lone loss came against top-ranked UCLA (February 27), with whom the Titans split a doubleheader. Eleven of the Titans' 19 wins during this stretch have come against teams that were ranked or received votes in the Top 25. Cal State Fullerton capped its current streak by posting a perfect 7-0 mark at its own Kia Klassic. The Titans defeated Texas 2-0 in the championship game as Jenny Topping's walk-off two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth was the game-winner. Ironically, Cal State Fullerton head coach Michelle Gromacki went up against her former Titan battery-mate and current Longhorn head coach Connie Clark in the title game.

SPEAKING OF TOPPING...: Jenny Topping's game-winning home run in the championship game of the Kia Klassic capped a phenomenal tournament for the two-time All-American junior catcher. Topping hit .696 (16-for-23) with 11 runs scored and 13 runs batted in. She homered in five of Cal State Fullerton's seven games at the tournament and finished with six round-trippers for the week. She hit safely in all seven games, including three-hit games against Rutgers, New Mexico and No. 6 Oklahoma. She drove in four runs against Rutgers and had four two-RBI performances. She also had two doubles and walked four times for a .741 on-base percentage and a 1.545 slugging percentage. For the season, Topping is hitting .522 with seven home runs and 19 RBI.

MATADORS SHIFT INTO OVERDRIVE AT KIA KLASSIC: Cal State Northridge enjoyed a successful run at last weekend's Kia Klassic, posting a 4-1 record at the tournament, including a 4-3 win over then-No. 2 Arizona. Freshman pitcher Jenny Wheeler retired all eight batters she faced -- five by strikeout -- as she picked up the win in relief. She also pitched complete game shutouts against Notre Dame and Utah. The Matadors (18-11) have won 11 of their last 14 games.

ATLANTIC SUN STREAKS: First-year softball team Central Florida set an Atlantic Sun softball record with 21 consecutive victories from February 8 through March 14. The Golden Knights are currently 27-7. However, as the saying goes, "records were meant to be broken." Just two days after UCF saw its winning streak snapped, Stetson won a pair of games to extend its new conference-record winning streak to 23. The Hatters won two more games Wednesday to bring the winning streak to 25 and counting. Stetson (30-4) has not lost since falling to Tennessee 2-0 on February 10.

HUSKERS JOIN "RAY STEVENS CLUB" (I.E., ANOTHER STREAK): Nebraska is yet another team on a record winning streak. The Huskers' 3-1 win over Creighton Tuesday extended No. 4 Nebraska's school record winning streak to 20 games. The Huskers (26-5) have not lost since falling 5-2 to Illinois-Chicago in the opening game of the NFCA Leadoff Classic on February 22. The win took place in the Huskers' first-ever game at Bowlin Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. Nebraska's win streak was to have been put to the test Thursday as the Huskers were scheduled to open Big 12 play with a doubleheader against No. 9 Oklahoma at Norman, Okla. However, the games were canceled due to inclement weather and will not be rescheduled. Nebraska will open conference play with a three-game series Saturday and Sunday at Oklahoma State

MUSKIES' STREAK ENDS: In 2000, Muskingum set a Division III record with a 33-game winning streak. Last year, the Muskies broke their own record with a season-ending 34-game winning streak, capped by their first national championship. Muskingum extended its winning streak to 35 games with a season-opening 5-4 victory over Simpson, but fell to Lake Forest 1-0 to end the streak.

STANFORD BENEFITS FROM IDLE WEEK: Perhaps the key to success is not to play. Stanford (26-2) was idle last week, but the Cardinal moved ahead of Arizona to the No. 2 spot in this week's USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25. Arizona went 3-2 at last weekend's Kia Klassic. Stanford is back in action this week, but top-ranked UCLA is off due to winter quarter exams. Is there a position higher than unanimous No. 1?

WEST FLORIDA SAILING ALONG: West Florida had high expectations when the season started, particularly with a No. 6 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA Division II Preseason Top 25. But an uncharacteristic 2-7 start bounced the Argonauts out of the top 25. However, West Florida appears to have righted the ship as the Argonauts have won 24 of their last 28 games to improve to 26-11.

DEJA VU FOR WILDCATS?: Last year, Villanova jumped out to a 12-2 start, had a 21-game winning streak during the season and finished 43-10. Heading into conference play this weekend, Villanova is currently 12-2.

COUGARS VAULT INTO TOP 10: Columbia College (Mo.) was unranked in the NAIA Preseason Top 25. But a 15-3 start has the Cougars debuting all the way in the No. 8 position in this week's top 25, the first of the regular season.

DOUBLE NAUGHT SPY: Troy State pitcher Ashley Floyd and Georgia Southern pitcher Crystal Crews notched dueling no-hitters in their February 22 contest. Troy State won the game 1-0 in eight innings. Troy State Assistant Director for Athletics Media Relations Joel Lamp would like to know of any other Division I schools that have played any contests which featured dueling no-hitters. You can e-mail Joel at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .




LSU senior pitcher Britni Sneed tossed her second no-hitter of the season in the Tigers' 5-0 victory over Tennessee ... Missouri freshman pitcher Erin Kalka posted a 3-0 record with two saves in six appearances last week. The Tigers have won their last 10 games ... St. John's freshman pitcher Meghan Allman pitched all 26 innings for the Red Storm last week, posting a 4-0 record, including a no-hitter against Morehead State ... UNLV pitcher Jackie Kerrigan became this year's first two-time Mountain West Conference Pitcher of the Week ... Louisiana-Lafayette senior shortstop Alana Addison hit two home runs last week to increase her career total to 49 ... Rollins first baseman Tina Savage hit safely in all 10 games last week, posting a .588 batting average (20-for-34) ... Ashland senior catcher Alicia Longstreth hit .480 (12-for-25) in eight games last week, including a 4-for-4, eight-RBI performance against Southwest State ... Sophomore third baseman Ria Hoog drove in six runs in Texas A&M-Kingsville's victory over St. Edward's ... Fort Hays State sophomore pitcher/designated player Kristy Roethemeyer hit .464 in nine games last week and also posted a 3-1 record with one save on the mound ... North Dakota State sophomore pitcher Lindsay Graham posted a 5-0 record (all shutouts) while hitting .375 in nine games ... St. Mary's (Texas) pitcher/first baseman Kym Kling hit .471 while notching a 2-0 record and 0.91 ERA ... Nebraska-Omaha senior first baseman/right fielder Erin Drinnin had three three-RBI performances (vs. St. Cloud State, Eastern New Mexico, Mississippi University for Women) in six games last week ... Saint Leo freshman second baseman Denyve Duncan went 5-for-5 and tripled home the game-winning run in the top of the eighth inning in a 3-2 victory over Rollins. Duncan earned Sunshine State Conference Co-Player of the Week honors.