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Cathi Aradi

This Week In Fastpitch

This Week's USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 featured three teams which have rarely if ever been nationally ranked. Baylor (No. 23) hasn't appeared in the Top 25 since 1997, when they were ranked as high as No. 22. Wisconsin (No. 24) and Southwest Texas State (No. 25) are making their first-ever Top 25 appearances.

Baylor, in its first year under long-time LSU coach Glenn Moore, has won 18 of its last 19 after a 1-4 start. The Bears were 6-0 in last weekend's Troy Cox Classic in Las Cruces, New Mexico, grabbing the nation's attention Saturday night with a 23-9 win over New Mexico State. Baylor's Joni Miller was named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week. The Bears will receive their toughest test to date this weekend when they compete in the Hildebrand Classic, hosted by the University of Arizona.

Southwest Texas State has been competing in Division I fastpitch softball for 17 years but the Bobcats had never appeared in the Top 25 until this week. SWT is 6-6 against Top 25 teams and pushed No. 1 UCLA to the limit on Monday, dropping a doubleheader to the Bruins 4-3 and 3-1.

Wisconsin, like Southwest Texas, had never before appeared in the Top 25 until this week. The Badgers finished second at last weekend's Texas Invitational, opening with a 12-1 loss to UCLA but rallying to beat Cal State Fullerton (2-1) and Texas(4-0) before losing to UCLA, 1-0, in the championship game, holding the Bruins to their lowest single-game run total of the season.

For this weekend's tournament schedule, check out the NFCA Competition Calendar.

Outstanding Division I Performances for the week of February 19-25.

University of Alabama-Birmingham junior pitcher Mandie Wyatt, making her first career start against Alabama A&M February 24 in game two of a doubleheader, pitched the UAB softball program's first perfect game. A transfer from Jefferson State Community College in Birmingham, Wyatt recorded five strikeouts and retired 18 straight batters in UAB's 8-0 six inning victory over the Bulldogs. Wyatt saw her first action for UAB in a relief appearance against Charleston Southern February 16 at the Georgia Bulldog Softball Classic in Athens, Georgia. She pitched two innings, allowed no hits and recorded one strikeout in UAB's 6-0 shutout of Charleston Southern.

University of Georgia freshman outfielder Julie Milner hit .417 for the 14-8 Georgia Bulldogs, who ended their weekend in Columbus, Georgia., at the NFCA Leadoff Classic with two wins. The left fielder had five hits in 12 at bats, including one double, two RBI, four runs and three walks. She was 1-for-1 in stolen bases and had an on base,average of .533. Not only was Milner hot at the plate but she was rock solid defensively as well. Milner made several outstanding plays in left, including a diving grab against No. 8 Fresno State.

University of Arizona pitcher Jennie Finch had an ERA of 0.64 last week, striking out 20 in 11 innings, while walking one. She is now 7-0.

Louisiana Lafayette junior shortstop Alana Addison went 6-for-11 with 12 RBIs at 15th Louisiana Classics this weekend. Addison led the Lady Cajuns to 4-0 mark for week (three victories over Boston College and one over Centenary). She had four RBIs in Louisiana-Lafayette*s 11-run seventh-inning vs. BC Sunday (game was scoreless entering final frame). She has recorded two home runs and 22 RBIs in last eight games.

Fresno State University junior third baseman Lindsay Fossatti was named Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week after finishing as one of the top hitters last weekend in the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Georgia. The all-West Region and two-time first team all-WAC selection picked up her first WAC Player of the Week honors after batting .385 (5-13) with two runs, two home runs, six RBI, four walks (two intentional), 11 total bases and a .846 slugging percentage.