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NFCA's "Featured Five" Games for March 14-17

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Throughout the 2014 softball season, the NFCA will feature some of the sport's highest-profile contests in our "Featured Five" Games of the Week segment.

Each weekly installment will be released on Thursday, providing live stat links, game notes, returnee info, Twitter accounts and any available broadcast links in hopes of becoming another source for fans to visit during the season for information on some of collegiate softball's best games.

As the year continues, we will attempt to expand our focus to include match-ups throughout as many divisions as possible. This week's featured games come from NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III.

We may not be able to highlight every division or big game each week, but our hope is to provide a spotlight for as many different teams as possible throughout 2014.

Make sure you follow the NFCA on social media through Twitter (@NFCAorg) and on Facebook (NFCA) and let us know what you think of our new "Featured Five" segment.

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#6 Arizona at #3 UCLA

Site: Easton Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.

Date/Game Time: Sat., March 15, 3 p.m. ET; Sun., March 16, 3 p.m. ET; Mon., March 17, 8 p.m. ET

Radio/TV Coverage: Pac-12 Network Video (All Three Games) | UCLA Radio (Sat.-Sun.)

Follow them on Twitter: @UA_Softball, @UCLASoftball

Live Stats: #6 Arizona at #3 UCLA (All Three Games)

Game Notes/Official Sites: Arizona Softball Official Site | UCLA Game Notes | UCLA Softball Official Site

All About #6 Arizona: Sixth-ranked Arizona preps to christen Pac-12 league play, against its longtime rival from UCLA, fresh off a 3-2 effort over March 7-9 at the prestigious Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. The Wildcats (23-3) opened the event by losing match-ups to then-No. 5 Michigan (0-3) and Wisconsin (5-7) before rebounding to defeat Cal State Fullerton (15-0 in 5 inn.), Houston (6-5 in 9 inn.) and San Jose State (8-1). As a team UA is currently hitting a ridiculous .389 overall, scoring at an 8.5 run-per-game clip and owns 82 extra-base hits, including 39 HR’s. Average-wise senior catcher/utility player Kelsey Rodriguez leads the squad at .492 with a team-best 10 doubles, two HR’s and 21 RBIs. Redshirt junior shortstop Kellie Fox (.455 avg., 9 HR’s, 37 RBIs) and junior catcher Chelsea Goodacre (.328 avg., 11 HR’s, 40 RBIs) guide the way in team RBI production. Senior center fielder Alex Lavine (.459 avg.) was recently lost for the season after tearing the ACL in her left knee during the first game of a home doubleheader sweep of Ball State. Five different pitchers have tossed at least 20 innings for the ‘Cats, led by senior Estela Pinon (6-2, 0.48 ERA, 54 K, 43.1 IP), sophomore Nancy Bowling (6-0, 1.26 ERA, 47 K, 39 IP) and redshirt senior Kenzie Fowler (3-1, 2.02 ERA, 28 K, 27.2 IP).

All About #3 UCLA: The unbeaten run to start 2014 finally ended back on March 5 in a 9-4 loss to #5 Michigan, but UCLA still sits at a healthy 23-1 and up to a season-high No. 3 ranking in the latest NFCA national poll. The Bruins enter this weekend’s series against its longtime rival batting .322 overall, having totaled 156 runs over its 24 match-ups (6.5 runs-per-game) and 69 extra-base hits, including 27 big flies. Leading the way offensively is Delaney Spaulding, a rookie infielder who possesses a .431 average with seven doubles, two triples, a team-best 12 steals, five HR’s and 23 RBIs. Junior pitcher/utility player Ally Carda (.403 avg., three HR’s, 21 RBIs) and sophomore infielder Mysha Sataraka (.333 avg., seven HR’s, team-leading 29 RBIs) join Spaulding in leading the squad in RBIs. Carda, a recent Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week choice, has often been the go-to in the circle, tallying a 13-1 record with a 0.96 ERA, five solo shutouts and 94 strikeouts over 80 frames of effort. Senior left hander Jessica Hall has added 55 very effective innings in recording a perfect 8-0 mark with a 0.64 ERA and 74 K’s.

 

Some Additional Major Division I Games This Weekend:

#1 Florida at #RV LSU LIVE STATS (All Three Games) | LIVE VIDEO – PAY (FRI.) | FLORIDA AUDIO (All Three Games) | LSU AUDIO (All Three Games) – Fri., March 14 at 7 p.m. ET; Sat., March 15 at 8 p.m. ET; Sun., March 16 at 1 p.m. ET

 

#8 Michigan at #RV LouisvilleLIVE STATS (GM-1) | LIVE STATS (GM-2) | LIVE VIDEO: (GM-1)/(GM-2)– Sat., March 15 at 3 p.m. ET; Sun., March 16 at 2 p.m. ET

 

#19 Oklahoma at #23 Louisiana LafayetteESPN3 VIDEO (SAT. BOTH GAMES) | LIVE STATS (All Three Games) | LIVE VIDEO (All Three Games) | ULL AUDIO (All Three Games) – Fri., March 14 at 7 p.m. ET; Sat., March 15 at 5 & 7 p.m. ET (DH)

 

#RV N.C. State at #11 Florida State LIVE STATS (GM-1) | LIVE STATS (GM-2) | LIVE STATS (GM-3) – Sat., March 15 at 5 & 7 p.m. ET (DH) & Sun., March 16 at Noon ET

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#9 Kentucky at #16 Missouri

Site: University Field, Columbia, Mo.

Dates/Game Times: Friday, March 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET, Sat., March 15 at 3 p.m. ET & Sun., March 16 at 1 p.m. ET

Radio/TV Coverage: LIVE VIDEO (PAY) – GM-1 | GM-2 | GM-3

Follow them on Twitter: @UKSoftball, @MizzouSoftball

Live Stats: #9 Kentucky at #16 Missouri (GM-1) | #9 Kentucky at #16 Missouri (GM-2) | #9 Kentucky at #16 Missouri (GM-3)

Game Notes/Official Sites: Kentucky Preview | Kentucky Softball Official Site | Missouri Softball Official Site

All About #9 Kentucky: At 18-3 overall, ninth-ranked Kentucky continues its best start to a season in program history after winning its Southeastern Conference-opening series last weekend over Mississippi State. Much of the ‘Cats success is owed to an outstanding pitching staff made up of sophomore Kelsey Nunley, senior Lauren Cumbess and rookies Meagan Prince and Shannon Smith (2-1, 1.08 ERA, 20 K’s, 16.2 IP). The quartet has limited the opposition to just a .194 batting average, while Nunley leads the way with a 7-1 record to go along with a 2.00 ERA, four solo shutouts and 53 strikeouts over a team-high 67.2 innings. Cumbess (5-0, 2.11 ERA, 42 K’s, 47 IP) and Prince (5-1, 1.85 ERA, 26 K’s, 24.1 IP) each possess five victories in the circle. Offensively, UK is batting just .267, but owns 52 extra-base hits, including 24 HR’s, while scoring just short of five runs-per-game. Junior catcher Griffin Joiner, an early-season choice for Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week, leads the attack with team-highs in batting average (.383), hits (23), HR’s (six), walks (18) and RBIs (14). Cumbess (.279 avg., five doubles, two HR’s, 12 RBIs) and senior outfielder Emily Jolly (.278 avg., five HR’s, 12 RBI) conclude the list of Kentucky players with 10 or more RBIs.

All About #16 Missouri: A mid-week doubleheader sweep of Evansville (7-3, 6-2) likely hasn’t dulled the sting of dropping its SEC-opening series at nationally-ranked Texas A&M over March 7-9. After splitting the opening two match-ups against the Aggies, No. 16 Missouri (15-5) suffered a tough, 4-3 (8 inn.) defeat in the finale via a walk-off single. The Tiger offense currently ranks ninth in the SEC at .304 and sits just ahead of Kentucky at 12th in runs scored (114). Pitching wise UM rates seventh in the league with a 2.06 ERA, led by freshman Tori Finucane. The Germantown, Md., native is among the conference leaders at 6-3 overall with a 1.33 ERA and 40 strikeouts over 52.2 innings. Freshman Casey Stangel has added a 7-2 mark with a 2.15 ERA and 30 K’s over 55.1 frames. Offensively, redshirt sophomore outfielder Taylor Gadbois rates third in the SEC in batting average at .484, having totaled 18 runs, 19 stolen bases (second in the SEC) and a .536 on-base percentage.

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#RV Mississippi State at #15 Georgia

Event/Site: UGA Softball Stadium, Athens, Ga.

Date/ Game Time: Fri., March 14, 6 p.m. ET; Sat., March 15, 2 p.m. ET; Sun., March 16, 1 p.m. ET

Radio/TV Coverage: ESPN3 VIDEO (SUN.) | LIVE VIDEO – (GM-1) | (GM-2) | MSU AUDIO (ALL THREE GAMES)

Follow them on Twitter: @HailStateSB, @UGASoftball

Live Stats: #RV Mississippi State at #15 Georgia (GM-1) | #RV Mississippi State at #15 Georgia (GM-2) | #RV Mississippi State at #15 Georgia (GM-3)

Game Notes/Official Sites: Mississippi State Softball Official Site | Georgia Preview | Georgia Softball Official Site

All About #RV Mississippi State: Mississippi State is currently in the middle of what will eventually be a nine-game, 13-day road jaunt, including visits to the states of Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. The trip didn’t start on the best note, however, as the Bulldogs suffered a surprise, 2-1 (8 inn.) loss at Kennesaw State on March 11. Entering this weekend’s action at Georgia, MSU has lost four of its last six contests dating back to a 2-1 victory over Texas State (March 2) that then improved the ‘Dawgs to 19-1. It’s a testament to how good its pitching staff has been (third in the SEC at 1.25 ERA) that MSU has won 21 contests despite ranking last in the league in batting at just .247 and scoring 4.7 runs-per-game. Powering the way from the circle is SEC ERA-leading sophomore Jacey Punches (6-0, 0.20 ERA, 34 K’s, 34.1 IP), freshman Alexis Silkwood (5-1, 1.38 ERA, 65 K’s, 55.2 IP) and redshirt senior workhorse Alison Owen (10-4, 1.62 ERA, 121 K’s, 82.1 IP). From an offensive standpoint, freshman infielder Caroline Seitz has done significant damage, owning team-highs in average (.366), hits (30), doubles (11) and HR’s (six) to go along with 15 RBIs. Senior Logan Foulks has added 18 RBIs, while senior Sam Lenahan has made the most of just 12 hits with eight of those going for extra bases and a squad-leading 20 RBIs.

All About #15 Georgia: No. 15 Georgia is soon to wrap up what has been a lengthy, 15-game home stand at the friendly confines of the UGA Softball Stadium. The Bulldogs enter their SEC-opening action against Mississippi State on a seven-game winning streak dating back to a March 1 loss to UAB. The Red & Black currently sit second in batting (.347), tied for second in HR’s (32) and fourth in ERA (1.33) in the SEC, but are the league’s lowest fielding team with 25 errors and a .959 fielding percentage. In all six different UGA players have blasted at least four round-trippers, led by sophomore third baseman Alex Hugo’s eight. The Olathe, Kan., native is currently batting .364 with 22 tallies, five doubles and 23 RBIs.  Junior shortstop Paige Wilson heads the RBI charge (24) while hitting at a .363 clip with a team-high 15 extra-base hits. Sophomore Geri Ann Glasco remains perfect record-wise in the circle with a 10-0 mark to go along with a 1.23 ERA and 63 K’s over 68.1 innings. Sophomore Chelsea Wilkinson has posted a squad-leading 12 victories with a 1.36 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 77.1 frames.

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#3 Cal Baptist at #6 Humboldt State – DIVISION II

Site: HSU Softball Field, Arcata, Calif.

Date/ Game Time: Mon., March 17 at 3 & 5 p.m. ET

Radio/TV Coverage: TBD

Follow them on Twitter: @CBULancers, @HSUJacks1

Live Stats: TBD

Official Sites: Cal Baptist Softball Official Site | Humboldt State Softball Official Site

All About #3 Cal Baptist: Since starting the season at 17-3 to advance from among those teams not receiving votes in the preseason all the way to No. 3 in the country, Cal Baptist has maintained its lofty ranking but not necessarily its overall momentum, having lost four of its last seven contests entering Monday’s DH at No. 6 Humboldt State. Most recently, the Lancers split a pair of doubleheaders against PacWest Conference rival Azusa Pacific and a four-game series at No. 22 Dixie State. The Lancers are currently hitting at a .328 clip over 27 match-ups with an impressive 80 extra-base hits, including 31 HR’s, and are outscoring the opposition by a 187-117 count. Senior outfielder Marshean August (.430 avg., 38 runs, eight doubles, eight HR’s, 31 RBIs) and freshman shortstop Krista Mann (.427 avg., 23 runs, six doubles, eight HR’s, 29 RBIs) guide an offensive attack that scores at a 6.92 run-per-game clip. In the circle sophomore pitcher/first baseman Belinda Renne owns a 14-3 record with a 2.85 ERA and 60 K’s over 103.1 innings of work, while sophomore pitcher Kayla Hatch has added a 6-3 mark with a 5.15 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 68 frames.

All About #6 Humboldt State: At 21-6 overall, sixth-rated Humboldt State enters Monday’s doubleheader on a three-game winning streak after taking the final trio of games in a four-game set at San Francisco State over March 7-8. HSU currently hits at a .321 clip while scoring 161 runs overall over 27 contests for a 5.96 run-per-game average. Sophomore pitcher Katie Obbema heads the pitching staff with a team-leading 10-4 record, a 2.29 ERA and 45 strikeouts over 100.2 innings. Sophomore Liz Perez (5-2, 2.95 ERA, 25 K’s) and freshman Madison Williams (6-0, 4.74 ERA, 13 K’s) have each tossed over 41 frames in support. Average-wise senior outfielder Sarah Fox guides the way at .436 to go along with five HR’s and 16 RBIs. In all seven different Jacks have blasted at least four HR’s, led by junior outfielder Dani Randall’s nine. The San Jose, Calif., native is hitting .333 overall with 20 tallies and is tied with freshman middle infielder Tiffany Hollingsworth (.355 avg., 15 extra-base hits) for the team RBI lead (24).

 

Some Additional Major Division II Games This Weekend:

#1 West Texas A&M vs. #17 Texas Woman’s – LIVE STATS –Sat., March 15 at 2:30 p.m. ET

#1 West Texas A&M vs. #12 Angelo State – LIVE STATS – Sun., March 16 at 11 a.m. ET

#8 Wayne State (MI) vs. #18 Caldwell – NO LIVE STATS – Fri., March 14 at 10 a.m. ET

#RV Georgia College at #9 North Georgia – LIVE STATS (BOTH GAMES) | LIVE VIDEO (BOTH GAMES) – Sun., March 16 at 2 & 4 p.m. ET (DH)

#21 Emporia State at #13 Fort Hays State LIVE STATS (BOTH GAMES) – Fri., March 14 at 5 & 7 p.m. ET (DH)

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#1 Tufts vs. Ramapo – DIVISION III

Site: National Training Center Spring Games, Minneola, Fla.

Date/Game Time: Sat., March 15, 5 p.m. ET

Follow them on Twitter: @TuftsSoftball, @RCNJRoadrunners

Live Stats: No. 1 Tufts vs. Ramapo

Official Sites: Tufts Softball Official Site | Ramapo Softball Official Site

All About #1 Tufts: The defending national champion Jumbos finally start their season this weekend with a pair of games Saturday against Ramapo and Southern Maine at the National Training Center Spring Games in Minneola, Fla. Tufts went 46-3 last season en route to the program’s first NCAA title and return three of the four players it had selected to the Division III World Series All-Tournament Team. Junior pitcher Allyson Fournier, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, leads that group, which includes senior catcher Jo Clair and junior outfielder Michelle Cooprider. Fournier went 25-1 with 272 strikeouts in 154 innings last season and compiled a 0.59 earned-run average, while Clair was the team’s leading hitter with a .417 average, 17 doubles, 13 home runs, 51 runs batted in and a .776 slugging percentage. Cooprider hit .382 and tied Clair for the team lead in hits (65), plus contributed 16 doubles, one triple, six homers and 28 RBI.

All About Ramapo: The Roadrunners also are debuting this weekend in Florida, following a disappointing 2013 season, during which they went 19-17 and missed the New Jersey Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time in 12 years. New Ramapo coach Bridgette Quimpo returns three NJAC All-Conference players in junior infielder Kim LaPenta (.304 average with 24 hits, including two doubles and a triple), sophomore catcher Erin Witherspoon (.370 average with two doubles and a homer) and junior outfielder Jaclyn Lima (.326 average with team-leading 31 hits, plus five doubles, one triple and a homer). The Roadrunners also return three pitchers; seniors Harley Masiello (9-10 record, with 72 strikeouts and 29 walks in 112.2 innings and a 1.80 ERA) and Nicole Schneider (9-7, with 40 strikeouts and 21 walks in 98.1 innings and a 2.14 ERA) and sophomore Danielle Isenberg (1-0 in eight games and 11 strikeouts in 23 innings with a 2.74 ERA).

 

Some Additional Major Division III Games This Weekend:

#4 Central (Iowa) vs. Dickinson (Pa.) at Tucson Invitational Games in Tucson, Ariz. – Fri., March 14 at noon ET TOURNAMENT WEBSITE

#8 Virginia Wesleyan at RV Randolph-Macon – Fri., March 14 at 2:30 & 4:30 p.m. ET