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This Week In Fastpitch

CHECK THIS OUT: Saturday's (April 7) Pac-10 game between the top-ranked UCLA Bruins and the No. 2 Arizona Wildcats will be telecast live on FOX Sports West in the Los Angeles area and on FOX Sports Net in other parts of the country, beginning at 2:05 p.m. PDT. Those outside the Los Angeles area should check their local listings or call their local cable provider.

AND THIS: Two nationally-ranked Southeastern Conference teams, No. 3 Alabama (34-1, 14-1 in the SEC) and No. 6 LSU (31-7, 11-3) meet in Baton Rouge, Louisiana this weekend. At stake will be the top spot in the SEC Western Division. Saturday's doubleheader is at 4 p.m. CDT and will be televised by the Pelican Sports Network on a tape delay basis. Sunday's contest will be carried live on Fox Sports South at 1 p.m. on cable channel 26. The LSU Sports Network will broadcast all three games on 107.3 FM in Baton Rouge. Click here to hear Alabama/LSU via the internet.

'WAY UP NORTH: Of all of the outstanding performances at every level of college softball last week, the two best may have come at the Dawson Spring Classic hosted by Dawson Community College in Glendive, Montana. Dawson sophomore catcher Trish Halvorsen was 14-for-18 (.778) with 10 runs scored, 16 RBI, four doubles, three home runs, one walk and one stolen base. For good measure, Halvorsen threw out two runners attempting to steal, one at second and one at third. In that same tournament, Dawson pitcher Tawnya Vernon won four games in one day, beating Fergus Falls, Central Lakes, Itasca and Mesabi Range. Vernon came back the next morning to shut out Itasca, 6-0, for the tournament championship, allowing four hits and striking out 14. Vernon allowed no earned runs in any of those games.

INSTANT REMATCH: On Sunday, Notre Dame women's basketball defeated Purdue 68-66 to win the Division I women's basketball national championship. Two days later, Notre Dame softball traveled to Purdue for an "instant rematch." The Irish continued their winning ways against the Boilermakers, taking both ends of the doubleheader, 10-2 (in six innings) and 4-2.

IN THE VILLAGE, THE LION DOES NOT SLEEP TONIGHT:Penn State sophomore Erin Norton was named Big Ten Conference Softball Player of the Week. This is the first time this season that a Nittany Lion has received the honor. Norton had 12 hits in 23 trips and eight RBI in six games, helping the Lions to a 3-3 week, including a 3-0 win over No. 12 Iowa. PSU is 19-13 overall.

WHITTAKER'S WEEK: Junior catcher Angela Whittaker of Wingate (NC) batted .733 with four doubles, three home runs and nine RBI to earn South Atlantic Conference Player of the Week honors. In the Bulldogs' 11-0 win against SAC foe Mars Hill, Whittaker went 3-for-3 with four runs, two home runs and four RBI.

LOOK FOR THE UNION LABEL:Union's (TN) battery of pitcher Rachel Murray and catcher Ame Clapsaddle won national honors in back-to-back weeks. Murray was named NAIA National Pitcher of the Week on March 21 and Clapsaddle was named NAIA National Player of the Week on March 28. Union is ranked No. 4 in this week's NAIA Top 25.

35-INNING DOUBLEHEADER (NO FOOLING): Players from Barry and Florida Southern probably wish they could say "April Fool" after telling the story of their doubleheader Sunday, but it was no joke. The two teams split a doubleheader on April 1 that took nearly 10 hours to complete, as Barry defeated Florida Southern 2-1 in 21 innings in game one and Florida Southern took the nightcap 1-0 in 14 innings. Florida Southern pitcher Keltie Christian tied a Division II single-game record with 23 strikeouts in game one. Christian and Barry pitcher Lindsay Anderson both went the entire 21 innings, two innings shy of the single-game record. Barry first baseman Nora Conroy set a D-II record with 37 putouts, six better than the previous record. Three players had nine at-bats each in game one, one off the single game record of 10. Game one began at 1 p.m. and lasted five hours and 12 minutes. After a 28-minute break, the two teams played another four hours, completing game two at 10:44 p.m.

BEST EVER: Villanova's 19-3 record after 22 games ranks as the best ever start for a Wildcat softball team. 'Nova's most recent wins came in a sweep of Drexel, 4-2 and 5-0. Jackie Pasquerella was 5-for-7 in the twin bill and pitchers Keri Stoller and Theresa Hornick picked up the wins in games one and two respectively. The best previous 22- game record in school history was 16-6 by the 1998 team, which went on to win a school season record 42 games.

THE LONGEST DAY: Bloomsburg (18-3 through games of April 3) has been ranked No.1 in the last two Division II polls, a designation that may have been clinched in one day, March 10, at the Columbus State Tourmanet. On that day, the Huskies defeated three teams currently ranked in the top 10, No. 5 Alabama-Huntsville (2-0), No. 8 Kennesaw State (8-5) and No. 3 Columbus State (6-1). The common thread running through those three games was pitcher Amber Cowher, who pitched complete-game wins agianst Huntsville and Columbus State and picked up a save following a one-inning, scoreless stint against Kennesaw. For the day, Cowher pitched 15 innings, allowing 15 hits, one run (fourth-inning home run by Columbus State*s Jennifer Lohse) and just one walk. On a related note, Bloomsburg shortstop Erica Miller has hit safely in each of the Huskies' first 21 games. A senior from Williamsport, Pa., Miller was a first team All-American last year.

IN WITH THE NEW: Iowa's Central College will make its debut in the renovated Kuyper Athletic Complex field on Saturday, April 7, against Upper Iowa in a 2 p.m. Iowa Athletic Conference doubleheader. A new outfield has been installed in the complex, with irrigation and drainage systems, a warning track and spacious new dugouts. "We've always had good facilities, with the press box, permanent seating and a good infield," Central head coach George Wares said. "Now the outfield will be much better. We may not see it at its best this spring because of the bad weather we've been having. But the field, combined with a couple of other things we're talking about doing down the road, should make it comparable to some of the best Division III facilities in the country."

SHOWDOWN: In an early meeting of the top two AAAA high school teams in the Houston, Texas, area, Brenahm High School (18-6) defeated Magnolia High School (14-5), 8-2 at Magnolia. Magnolia held a 2-1 lead entering the fourth inning, but Brenahm took the lead with a three-home run outburst in the fourth and never looked back. Candi Kloecker, Katherine Lehrmann and Kristin Gunter accounted for the fourth-inning round-trippers and Gunter added another circuit blast in the seventh. Gunter leads the Houston area in batting average (.595), doubles (15), home runs (5), slugging percentage (1.145) and RBI (33).

MILESTONES: David Hanna of Coker College reached the 400-career win mark with an11-1 win over Mount Olive (NC) on March 31. Marilyn Wax of Evergreen Park High School (IL) was induced into the Illinois Coaches Association Hall of Fame on February 24, a little more than a month before achieving her 500th career win on March 29.

NCAA DIVISION I AND II REGION RANKINGS: For the most recent NCAA Division I and II regional rankings, click here.