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This Week In Fastpitch

LAST WEEK'S TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONS: Penn State (UVA Hoo's Who), Florida State (Frost Cutlery), Iowa (Hawkeye Classic), Michigan (Boilermaker), Florida Atlantic (Buzz Classic), Syracuse (Saluki), St. Mary's (MN) (Simpson Classic 1), Humboldt State (CA) (Pioneer), Rochester Institute of Technology (NY) (Wilson), Alma (MI) (Alma Invitational).

SAINT MARY'S OVERWHELMS SIMPSON: St. Mary's University (MN) stunned the Division III softball world with a 9-1 win over defending national champion Simpson College (IA) in the final game of Simpson's tournament. That win culminated a 6-0 tournament run for Saint Mary's that saw them outscore their opponents 51-4. As a team, Saint Mary's batted .439 in the tourney, led by Jill Hocking, Jacyln Huegel and Angie Wright, all of whom batted .550 or better. SMU pitchers gave up just one earned run in the six games. "I was very pleased with the way we played over the weekend," said Cardinals' Coach John Tschida. "I think we raised some eyebrows."

WINTERS BECOMES MVC CAREER STRIKEOUT LEADER: Southern Illinois University pitcher Carisa Winters set the Missouri Valley Conference all-time strikeout record in a 6-0 win over Syracuse at the Saluki Invitational on Sunday, March 26. Winters had seven K's in the game, advancing her career total to 769. That beats the previous standard of 767, set by Nora Cagwin of Southwest Missouri State from 1996-99.

LOOK OUT FOR PSU: Michigan and Iowa may be the only two Big Ten teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 but Penn State (16-8) is making a bid to join them. The Nittany Lions posted a 4-0 record in winning the championship of the University of Virginia Hoo's Who Tournament over the weekend. PSU freshman outfielder/first baseman Megan Humphrey batted .500 (6-for-12) in the tournament with three multiple-hit games, enough to earn Big Ten Co-Player of the Week honors. Humphrey is batting .386 in the first 24 Nittany Lions games and has led Penn State to its best start since 1985.

IRISH POWER: Notre Dame set a team single-season home run record last year with 29 (compared to four hit the previous season) and the Irish are on course to berak that record this season. Notre Dame has clubbed 16 homers in its first 30 games.

GRAND SLAMMIN': Arizona State has hit four grand slam home runs already this year, two by Erica Beach and one each by Andrea Rodgers and Jamie Hlebechuk.

KING DOES IT ALL: Boston University's Robyn King was instrumental in her team's doubleheader win over Providence on March 22. In the opener, a 1-0 BU win, King pitched a complete-game, eight-inning, four-hit shutout. In the nightcap, King hit her second home run of the year to lead BU to a 4-1 win.

US OLYMPIC TEAM BEATS UCLA: Defending national champion UCLA dropped both ends of a doubleheader to the US Olympic Team, 3-0 and 2-0. A standing-room only crowd of 1,218 fans saw UCLA hold the Olympians scoreless through six innings of each game. International rules were in effect, meaning the pitching rubber was only 40 feet from the plate rather than the NCAA-mandated 43 feet.

AND SHE'S ONLY A FRESHMAN: Mount Olive (NC) freshman Melissa Curington became only the eighth player in NCAA Division II history to drive in nine runs in a game and the tenth to hit three home runs in a game in Mt. Olive's 24-0 win over Fayetteville State (NC) on March 29. Two of the homers came in the same inning (third) as MOC sent 16 batters to the plate and scored 11 runs. Lost in the offensive fireworks was the pitching performance of another freshman, Jennifer Denning, who gave up just one hit, a slap single, in the fourth inning. Mount Olive has won its last seven games in a row.

THE FIRST ONE'S THE TOUGHEST: SUNY-Stony Brook (NY) won its first game as a Division I program on April 28, beating Saint Johnís (NY), 1-0. Stone Brook sophomore pitcher Stephanie Poetzsch pitched a two-hit shutout, striking out seven.

WOODARD SLAMS THE DOOR: Hawai'i Pacific University pitcher Jennifer Woodard pitched her fifth straight win and fourth consecutive shutout with a 4-0 win over Columbia College (MO) in Hawai'i on March 29. Woodard has now pitched 31 consecutive scoreless innings and hasn't allowed an earned run in her last 49 innings.

SO DOES FITZGERALD: University of Wisconsin-Parkside pitcher Amanda Fitzgerald pitched her seventh shutout and first no-hitter of the year in beating Concordia (WI) 8-0 on March 29. She fanned 13 against Concordia and ran her record to 11-2.

HIT, HIT, HIT: In what ranks as one of the wildest games thus far in season Y2K, the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford and the University of Pittsburgh-Greensburg combined for 30 hits and 37 runs in Bradford's 19-11 win in a game halted after six innings by the 8-run rule. Bradford's Sarah Kokanovich was 4-for-4 and scored three runs, while Sherry Schoenfield drove in five runs, three on a home run.


University of Dubuque/Loras College Tournament March 30 - April 2 Dubuque, Iowa Host: Loras College, Dubuque University  Missouri Southern Invitational April 1 Joplin, Missouri Host: Missouri Southern State College  Hall of Fame Invitational March 31 - April 1 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Host: Oklahoma City University Simpson Classic 2 April 1-2 Indianola, Iowa Host: Simpson College  Central Invitational March 31 - April 1 Pella, Iowa Host: Central College