Throughout the 2017 softball season, the NFCA will feature some of the sport's highest-profile contests in our "Featured Five" Games of the Week.
Each weekly installment will be released on Thursday, providing live stat links, game notes, team info, social media accounts and any available broadcast links in hopes of becoming another reason for fans to visit us 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 matchups throughout as many divisions as possible. This week's featured games come from NCAA Division I and DII and NJCAA.
No. 9 Oregon (6-0) vs. No. 22 Kentucky (4-3)
Feb 17 - 12:30 p.m. PT | Cathedral City, Calif. | Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic
Oregon (Notes): UO went 6-0 last weekend at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz... The Ducks outscored their opponents 38-10 over the six games, including two run-rule 8-0 wins... Oregon also picked up a top-25 win last weekend, taking down No. 24 Fresno State, 4-1... Freshmen keyed Oregon's opening weekend play... First baseman Mia Camuso hit a team-high .474 at the Kajikawa, while righty Maggie Balint went 4-0 with 33 strikeouts in 19.1 innings of work.
Kentucky (Notes): Opened its west coast trip with a road split at No. 6 UCLA... Following a 6-2 defeat, the Wildcats edged the host Bruins, 2-1 in 11 innings in the nightcap... Sophomore Jenny Schaper homered in the top of the 11th and senior Meagan Prince went the distance, allowing an unearned run on eight hits with six strikeouts.
No. 5 Alabama (6-0) at No. 18 Louisiana (4-2)
Feb. 17-19 - 5 p.m. / 1 p.m. / 1 p.m. CT | Lafayette, La. | Lamson Park
Side notes: Louisiana and Alabama are part of a group of only nine schools that have played in every NCAA Tournament since 2000... Former Cajuns assistant Pat Murphy (Alabama head coach) and student-athlete Alyson Habetz (Alabama associate head coach) return to where their colegiate softball journey's began.
Alabama (Notes): Alabama went 5-0 on the opening weekend of the 2017 season, sweeping its opponents at the Kickin' Chicken Classic in Conway, S.C., before defeating South Alabama 3-1 on Wednesday in Tuscaloosa... The Crimson Tide has outscored its opponents 46-6, including a 17-0 win over Towson that was the highest run total in a season-opening game in program history... Junior pitcher Alexis Osorio threw the fourth perfect game in program history on Friday against Coastal Carolina with a school-record 19 strikeouts... She started the season pitching 14.2 innings before allowing a baserunner... Alabama took home a pair of weekly conference honors, as Osorio was named the Pitcher of the Week and Bailey Hemphill was named the Freshman of the Week.
Louisiana (Notes): The Ragin' Cajuns continue their season-opening, 23-game homestand at Lamson Park... Louisiana began the 2017 season with the 31st Annual Louisiana Classics at Lamson Park... Posted identical 9-1 victories over DePaul and Iowa State on opening day and rallied in dramatic fashion for wins over DePaul and Ball State on Saturday. The weekend ended with Southern Miss claiming both matchups on Sunday, holding off a Cajuns rally in Game 1 before walking off with a win in Game 2... Of their 35 runs scored, a total of 24 came over the final two innings.
No. 15 James Madison vs. No. 20 USF
Feb. 17 - 6:15 p.m. ET | Clearwater, Fla. | Michele Smith Pediatric Cancer Foundation Invitational
Follow: Live Stats
JMU: James Madison opened the season, 3-1, at the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational, splitting with No. 17 Missouri and defeating host Charleston Southern and USC Upstate... 2016 NFCA First-Team All-American Megan Good was named CAA Pitcher of the Week after tossing a pair of complete-game shutouts against the Tigers and Spartans... She struck out 17 and surrendered just four hits.
USF (Preview): USF got off to a hot start in 2017, compiling a 3-1 record, including a win over then-No. 6 Michigan... The Bulls used three-straight comeback wins to start the season, before falling on Sunday to then-No. 4 Florida... Senior Kristen Wyckoff went 6-for-10 over the weekend and was named the American Athletic Conference Player of the Week... Bethaney Keen’s first collegiate hit was a two-run walk-off dinger to help USF to its first win of the season against Illinois State.
Other Notable DI Games
All Times Eastern
No. 2 West Texas A&M (11-0) vs. No. 23 Dixie State (8-1)
Feb. 18-19 | 11:30 a.m. / 9:30 a.m. MT | Tucson, Ariz. | Cactus Classic
WT: (Notes) The Lady Buffs jumped two spots to No. 2 in the first NFCA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll of the 2017 regular season... Off to an 11-0 start, WT opened 5-0 at the Desert Stinger and then outscored its opposition, 54-3, to sweep through six games as the host of the WT Invitational... Junior designated player Allie Smith was named the LSC Softball Hitter of the Week... She went 9-for-16 (.563) at the plate with six doubles and a homerun, drove in 10 runs and slugged 1.125.
Dixie State: Dixie State jumped into the polls at No. 23 following a doubleheader split with then-No. 19 Colorado Mesa last Sunday in St. George... The TrailBlazers are led offensively by junior Janessa Bassett, who is hitting .688 with 11 hits and three RBI to go along with 12 stolen bases... Jessica Gonzalez was named PacWest Co-Player of the Week helping Dixie State to a 6-1 week.. She hit .500 with eight hits, four home runs, 13 RBI, 10 runs, eight walks, a 1.438 slugging percentage and .667 on-base percentage.
Other Notable DII Games (All Times Eastern)
Noon - RV Pfeiffer at No. 25 Lenoir-Rhyne
No. 7 Walters State (Tenn.) (4-0) at No. 6 Northwest Florida State (15-5)
Feb. 17 | 4 p.m. ET (DH) | Niceville, Fla. | NWF State Softball Complex
Walters State: The Senators are off to a 4-0 start with wins over Snead State CC, Gulf Coast CC, Jefferson Davis CC and No. 20 Lake Land CC... Katelyn Davidson is hitting . 467 (7-for-15) with four doubles, two home runs, five RBI, seven runs and 1.133 slugging percentage... Jordan Fortel and Nadalynn Sauceman have each homered twice... In the circle, Fortel is 2-0 with 0.00 ERA, 12 strikeouts to one walk in 13 innings of work.
NWF State: Led by Jack Byerley, NWF Softball has appeared in the FCSAA state tournament every year since he arrived in 2008, posting a 195-66 record entering the 2017 season... The Raiders trumped Alabama Southern 10-0 and 19-0 on Wednesday and have won nine of their last 10 games and 13 of their last 15... Hitting . 395 as a team, NWF State is led by Kristan Lizardi, who is at .469 with 30 hits, two doubles, 20 runs scored, 10 stolen bases and a .514 on-base percentage... Mariana Pereira has knocked in a team-best 17 runs to go along with a .345 average and four doubles... Dharma Rosbrugh (7-3, 2.28) and Louis Disi (8-2, 2.06) anchor the pitching staff.
Other Notable NJCAA Games (All Times Eastern)