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NFCA Leadoff Classic - Notes, Top Performers, Etc.

South Commmons Stadium and Complex
Columbus, Georgia
February 22-24, 2002

Records By Conference
America East 1-1
Atlantic 10 0-2
Big East 1-3
Big Ten 4-2
Big 12 5-3
Big West 1-1
Conference USA 0-2
Horizon 1-1
Mountain West 1-3
Pac-10 4-4
SEC 4-2
WAC 2-0


SURPRISE, SURPRISE: There were no shortage of upsets in the first day of the Leadoff Classic, as "underdogs" won 10 of the 22 games involving teams that were ranked or received votes in this week's USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25. Of the five teams to post 2-0 records on day one, only one team -- No. 2 Stanford -- entered the tournament as the highest-ranked team in its pool.

STANFORD PICKS UP FROM LAST YEAR: After going 4-0 at last year's Leadoff Classic, Stanford won both games Friday to clinch the top spot in Pool 5 and a berth in the Gold Bracket. The Cardinal, which hit a Leadoff Classic record nine home runs last year, wasted no time this year. In Stanford's opener against Cal State Fullerton, Jessica Mendoza, batting second in the lineup, homered in her first at-bat.


MISSISSIPPI STATE WINS NAIL-BITERS: Mississippi State has already clinched the top spot in Pool 3 and a berth in the Gold Bracket, thanks to a pair of one-run victories over No. 8 Arizona State and No. 10 Michigan Friday. Against Arizona State, Iyhia McMichael's double with two outs in the bottom of the seventh provided the game-winner. In the win over Michigan, Kate Jaspers' fifth-inning two-run double put Mississippi State ahead to stay as the Bulldogs rallied from a 2-0 deficit.

BIG-TIME COMEBACK FOR AGGIES: Texas A&M fell behind Oregon State 6-0 after four-and-a-half innings. Then the Aggies' bats woke up. Crystal Martin hit a two-run triple and Selena Collins belted a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to pull within 6-4. In the bottom of the seventh, Martin tied the game with a two-run homer and Collins ended the game with a walk-off home run, her second homer of the game.

WHAT A DEBUT: Connecticut's game against Arizona State was the Huskie's season opener and the first collegiate game for freshman outfielder Jen D'Angelo. D'Angelo celebrated her first at-bat with a home run -- on the first pitch.

NEAR PERFECTION FOR COX: Cal State Fullerton pitcher Jodi Cox tossed a no-hitter against Massachusetts and flirted with a perfect game. Cox retired the first 17 batters she faces before issuing a walk with two outs in the sixth. Cox struck out the first five batters she faced and eight of the first nine. She finished with 14 strikeouts, striking out the side in the first, third and fifth innings.


SUPER START FOR KOLLEN: Michigan second baseman Kelsey Kollen opened the Leadoff Classic with six consecutive base hits. She went 4-for-4 (all singles) in the 10th-ranked Wolverines' 9-1 win over Connecticut, then singled in each of her first two at-bats against Mississippi State. She scored four runs against Connecticut and scored once against Mississippi State.


"SOUTHERN" HOSPITALITY: Fresno State redshirt freshman pitcher Jamie Southern had a day to remember on day one of the Leadoff Classic. Southern tossed a three-hit shutout and struck out 13 batters against No. 6 Washington, then followed with a 14-strikeout performance against Boston University, giving her 27 strikeouts on the day.

NEW SCHOOL RECORD FOR STEWART: Although Oklahoma senior pitcher Jennifer Stewart suffered her first loss of the year against Alabama, her start was No. 104 in her career, a new Sooner record.