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This Week In Fastpitch

NUVEMAN IS AMONG FIVE FINALISTS FOR SULLIVAN AWARD: The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) has announced the five finalists for the 70th Annual AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award, which recognizes the top amateur athlete in the nation. Among the five is Stacey Nuveman, member of the USA Softball 2000 Olympic Team, who played collegiately for last year's Women's College World Series Champion UCLA. A Honda Award finalist, Nuveman won the NCAA Division I triple crown last year with 31 home runs, 91 RBI and a .446 batting average for the Bruins. She established an NCAA record for slugging percentage (1.016) and made All-Pac-10, All-Pacific Region and Louisville Slugger/NFCA All-America teams. Other finalists are Ron Dayne (football), Kelly & Coco Miller (women's basketball), Stephen Neal (wrestling) and Mark Ruiz (diving).

ALABAMA OPENS ITS STATE-OF-THE-ART STADIUM WITH A WIN: At 7:04 p.m. the first pitch was delivered, and it was official. The University of Alabama softball team was playing in its long-awaited new stadium. The Crimson Tide defeated the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers, 7-1, before a crowd of 1,500-plus. "What a great night for college softball," Alabama Coach Pat Murphy said. "I hope the administration realizes how much we appreciate this place. And I hope the fans realize how much we appreciated them coming out. The atmosphere was absolutely awesome."

LEAVE THE DRIVING TO FSU: A bus tour has been organized for Fresno State fans to watch the Bulldog softball team this weekend. The bus will leave Fresno at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 26 for the UCLA doubleheader. On Sunday, the bus will head for Loyola Marymount and will return to Fresno after the games. The tour includes round trip motor coach to Los Angeles, one night stay at the Radisson Valley Center and game tickets. Call (559) 225-3164 for details.

IOWA'S BLEVINS REACHES WIN MILESTONE: Iowa head coach and NFCA Hall of Famer Gayle Blevins earned her 500th career win in an Iowa uniform in game one as the 25th-ranked Iowa softball team swept its first two games of the season at the Louisville Slugger/Arizona State Classic. The Hawkeyes opened with a 3-2 victory over Illinois State and then shut out Michigan State 5-0 in the nightcap.

SO DOES BARRY'S NAVAS: Barry University coach Lisa Navas earned her 300th career victory Sunday when the Bucs handed her a 3-2 win over North Florida at Buccaneer Field. The Bucs trailed 2-1 going to the bottom of the seventh and rallied for the milestone victory. Junior Cindi Perantoni tripled in Denise Pressey with the winning run with one out in the seventh.

CONFERENCE USA MAKES SOFTBALL DEBUT: South Florida opened the Conference USA softball season by splitting a doubleheader at Florida International on Jan. 29. This was not only C-USA's softball debut, but it also marked the first NCAA softball game of the new millennium. The Golden Panthers defeated the Bulls in the first game, 2-0 before South Florida prevailed in the nightcap, 4-3.

BLADES, BERMAN SWEEP C-USA HONORS: For the second-consecutive week, Southern Miss' Courtney Blades was named Conference USA's Pitcher of the Week. Southern Miss senior third baseman Amy Berman was named C-USA's Hitter of the Week. Blades got the honor after continuing her torrid pace as she was named the Most Valuable Player of the Mardi Gras Classic hosted by the University of Louisiana-Monroe. On the strength of that performance, Blades also earned Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I Player of the Week honors. Berman batted .579 on the weekend with 11 hits in 19 at bats. The First Team All-American delivered seven RBI on the weekend and blasted a two-run bomb in the semifinals of the Mardi Gras Classic. She also delivered a key RBI single as USM topped Wisconsin in the championship game of the tournament. For the weekend, Berman had two doubles and a home run, while striking out just once in 19 at bats.

CAMPBELL'S JENN BERNARD NAMED TRANS-AMERICA PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Campbell University junior Jenn Bernard has been named TAAC Pitcher of the week for the week ending February 21. Bernard worked to a 3-0 record and earned a 1.50 earned run average. Bernard secured her first victory of the year in a complete game win over Elon in Buies Creek and earned two more wins at the Triangle Classic in Raleigh.

GATORS WIN GRU CLASSIC: Behind a no-hit pitching performance, the Florida softball team continued to make program and individual history as the Gators turned in two shutouts over Samford to win the GRU Softball Classic title at the Florida Softball Stadium. Renise Landry threw UF's fourth-ever no-hitter in the eight-inning, second-game 3-0 win. It was the first since All-America Chelsey Sakizzie's against Ole Miss March 10, 1998. The junior also set a school record for strikeouts in an extra-inning game with 17, breaking her own personal best of 15 which she made Saturday night. Landry is undefeated through six games, also a school record. "It was outstanding," Coach Larry Ray said of his pitcher's night. "It was perfect timing since our hitters were struggling. I was thrilled for her." The Gators have won 11 of their first 12 games, the best 12-game record in the program*s history.

FRESNO'S SCOTT EARNS WAC RECOGNITION: For the second week in a row, Fresno State softball player Amanda Scott (Clovis) was selected the Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week as announced by the conference office. At the Campbell-Cartier Classic she went 2-1 and appeared in four games after posting a 0.55 ERA in 25.1 innings. Scott notched her fourth career no-hitter against CS Northridge (1-0) in the tournament opener and collected her second save on the season against Arkansas in the following game. The three-time All-American followed those performances with another shutout victory over No. 15 Long Beach State (1-0, 10 innings). Notching her second 10-strikeout performance this year, Scott also posted her fourth shutout win in five starts. Owning a 2-1 mark against Top 25 teams, Scott's first and only loss on the season came by the hands of No. 1 UCLA as she goes to 5-1 on the year.

CROSS-TRAINING: Freshman volleyball player Lauren Fendrick has been added to the UCLA softball roster. Fendrick, a starting outside hitter for the NCAA Regional Finalist Bruin volleyball team, is listed as a 6'2" pitcher for the softball Bruins.

UPSETS: The defending WCWS champion Bruins were upset by unranked Hofstra in the semifinals of the Chevron Paradise Softball Classic in Honolulu. The 10-5 shocker ended UCLA's 11-game winning streak. Last week, Sacramento State, also unranked, slipped past the Bruins 2-1 at the Campbell/Cartier Softball Classic in Poway, California.

CHEVRON CLASSIC: The University of Hawai'i softball team beat the Texas Longhorns 6-4 Sunday in the final game of the Chevron Paradise Softball Classic. The game was originally scheduled as a semifinal, but was changed to the championship after Hofstra had to leave early because of prior travel arrangements.

NCAA VS. NAIA: Arizona State University sophomore pitcher Kirsten Voak fired her first no-hitter of the season as Arizona State blanked Simon Fraser, 10-0 in a mercy-rule five inning game at Farrington Stadium Monday afternoon. Simon Fraser, who traveled to Arizona from Burnaby, British Columbia, won the NAIA National Championship last season and was the preseason No. 1 in its poll for this year.

WESTERN KENTUCKY BEGINS SOFTBALL: Western Kentucky played the first two softball games in school history on Feb. 23, going 0-1-1 in a doubleheader against Evansville. Evansville won the opener, 2-0, and the second game was called due to darkness with the score tied 2-2 after nine innings. WKU's first-ever runs scored on a two-run homer by Cassie Palmer that tied the game in the bottom of the seventh of game two.

DOUBLE PERFECT: Armstrong Atlantic State pitchers Annie Sells, Maria Lopez and Julie King combined for two perfect games in a 17-0 and 19-0 doubleheader sweep of Edward Waters. Sells and King combined for the win in the opener and Lopez and King teamed up in the second contest. Armstrong had 39 hits in the two games including Lopez' grand slam home run in game two.

DOUBLE NO-HIT: South Carolina's Megan Matthews and Joyce McMillin threw back-to-back no-hitters as the Gamecocks swept Georgia State 6-0 and 8-0 on Feb. 19.

THIS WEEKEND'S TOURNAMENTS

UCSB/Easton Invitational UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California,  February 25-27 

Bama Bash University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, Alabama, February 25-27

USF Gladstones Orlando, Florida Florida   February 25-27                       

Disney's Spring Training University of South Florida
Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex Tampa,  February 26-March 3

UCA Spring Clash University of Central Arkansas,  Conway, Arkansas, February 25-26                     
UNC Tourney University of Northern Colorado  Greeley, CO February 25-26

BC Classic/TOC Bakersfield College, Bakersfield, California,  February 25-27                      
LSU Invitational Louisiana State University  Baton Rouge, Louisiana  February 25-27