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 the NCAA Division I and II.
No. 23 California (17-5) at No. 3 Oregon (24-0)
March 17-19 / 6:00 / 2:00 / 12:00 p.m. PT | Eugene, Ore.
California (Preview): The Bears look to rebound from a 10-0 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday... Lindsay Rood leads the offense with a .387 afverage and 23 runs scored, while Jazmyn Jackson is hitting .371 with a team-best 26 hits, 10 doubles, two triples and 20 RBI... Zoe Conley has seen the majority of the work in the circle for the Bears... She has appeared in 18 games with 13 starts and nine complete games, posting an 8-4 record, 2.57 ERA, three shutouts and 64 strikeouts in 79 innings of work.
Oregon (Preview): The last remaining undefeated program in NCAA Division I... Alexis Mack leads an offense that is hitting .384 with 25 home runs, 195 runs scored and a .482 on-base percentage... She is hitting .500 with 32 hits, 24 runs scored, a .554 OBP and 11 stolen stolen bases... Danica Mercado is right behind her at .493 with a team-best 37 hits, six doubles and 30 runs, while Nikki Udria (.473) has a team-high six homers, 29 RBI and .770 slugging percentage... The Ducks use a trio of pitchers- Megan Kleist (8-0, 0.77), Maggie Balint (11-0, 1.11), Miranda Elish (5-0, 1.62)- who have posted a 1.12 ERA, 185 strikeouts, 11 shutouts and a .182 batting average against... Kleist has totalled six complete games, four shutouts and 57 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a .190 average in 54.1 innings... Balint owns a team-best 86 strikeouts, two saves and a .166 batting average against, while Elish has fanned 42 and posted three shutouts in 39 innings of work and held her opponents to a .197 average.
No. 7 Texas A&M (22-2) at No. 22 Ole Miss (21-3)
March 17-19 - 6:00 / 4:00 / 1:00 CT | Oxford, Miss.
Texas A&M: The Aggies are coming off a mid-week run-rule win over Memphis after taking two-of-three last week in their SEC-opening series versus Mississippi State... On Feb. 23, head coach and NFCA Hall of Famer Jo Evans obtained her 800th career win as an Aggie with a 5-0 win over Long Beach State at the Mary Nutter Classic... Riley Sartain leads the offense with a .435 average and .507 OBP... Kristen Cuyos has a team-best five home runs, while Ashley Walters tops the team with six doubles and 20 RBI... The Aggies use three arms as Samantha Show is 8-1 with a 0.92 ERA and three shutouts, Trinity Harrington owns a 5-1 mark with a staff-low 0.85 ERA and Lexi Smith is undefeated at 7-0 with a 1.25 ERA and team-best 66 strikeouts.
Ole Miss (Preview): Following a 10-3 victory over Southeastern Louisiana on Wednesday, Ole Miss is off to its best start in program history... Heading into the week, the Rebels rank fourth nationally in average (.378), fourth in OBP (.461), fourth in scoring (8.30 runs/game), 10th in slugging (.546) and ninth in stolen bases per game (2.48)... The pitching staff own a 2.24 ERA and has held opposing hitters to a .225 average... Riding a school-record 17-game hitting streak, Elantra Cox leads the SEC with a .570 batting average, ranking third in DI with 45 hits and a .600 OBP... Ashton Lampton leads the squad with six homers and 29 RBI... Undefeated at 7-0, Morgan Bruce owns a 1.20 ERA with 22 strikeouts and a .193 batting average against... Alyssa Clayton is 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA and a staff-best 31 strikeouts.
No. 17 Kentucky (18-4) at No. 16 Georgia (24-3)
March 18-20 - Noon / 7:00 / 7:00 ET | Athen, Ga.
Kentucky (Preview / Notes): The Wildcats ride a school-record 13-game winning streak into its SEC-opening series this weekend... Kentucky is coming off a five-game sweep of its John Cropp Classic, which included a 5-1 victory over then-No. 17 Michigan... During the streak, the pitching staff has an ERA of 0.72 with five shutouts and 100 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a .118 average... Kentucky ranks 12th in the NCAA with 52 stolen bases led by a perfect 15-for-15 by Erin Rethlake... Vick Bailey is batting .370 with 20 hits and six doubles... Abbey Cheek leads the squad with five homers, 18 RBI and 16 runs scored.. Rethlake is also 5-0 with a 0.58 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 36.1 innings... Staff ace Meagan Prince is 7-2 with a 1.06 ERA, 69 strikeouts and a .192 batting average against in 59.1 innings.
Georgia (Preview / Notes): The Bulldogs posted their fourth perfect weekend of the non-conference slate after going 5-0 in Orlando at the UCF Wilson/DeMarini Tournament... Head coach Lu Harris-Champer hit another milestone this season, notching her 800th win as Georgia head coach with a vitory over UCF. Harris-Champer is now 801-276 at the helm for the Bulldogs... She earned her 1,000th career win earlier in the season... Last weekend, Sydni Emanuel hit .706 with 12 hits and has reached base in every contest this season... On the year, she is batting .522 with 47 hits, 27 RBI and 27 runs scored... Alyssa DiCarlo leads the Bulldogs with aeight homers, 38 RBI and a .813 slugging percentage... In the circle, Brittany Gray is 15-1 with a 1.62 ERA, 74 strikeouts and has held opponents to a .147 average... The Bulldogs have swiped 82 bases this season, averaging 3.03 per game, ranking them fifth nationally.
Other Notable DI Games (All Times Eastern)
No. 12 West Texas A&M (22-4) at No. 2 Angelo State (26-1)
March 17-18 - 7:00 / 1:00 (DH) p.m. CT | San Angelo, Texas
WT: The Lady Buffs are coming off a three-game LSC series sweep at home against Western New Mexico, running their home winning streak to 18 games... Shea Ibrahim is batting a robust .524 with 33 hits, nine doubles, four home runs, 26 RBI and 28 runs scored... Se has walked 21 times and owns a team-best .632 OBP... Kylee Moore has launched a team-high nine homers, while Allie Smith (.423) leads the squad with 36 RBI and 29 runs... Kilee Halbert is 11-2 with a 1.51 ERA, three shutouts and 59 strikeouts in 69.2 innings of work.
Angelo State (Preview): Rides a program 22-game winning streak heading into a Thursday twinbill against Oklahoma Christian before they face off with Lone Star foe West Texas A&M in a three-game league series...Brandy Marlett, honored as the LSC Pitcher of the Week and the NFCA National Pitcher of the Week, set the ASU record for single game strikeouts with 17 and went 3-0 with 36 strikeouts and a 0.74 last week... For the season, she is 12-1 with a 1.58 ERA and LSC-best 122 strikeouts, while limiting teams to a .153 batting average... Reaching base safely in 25-straight games, freshman Courtney Barnhill paces the offense with a .500 batting average, 38 hits , 29 runs, eight doubles, eight home runs, 30 RBI, .921 slugging percentage and .604 OBP.
No. 23 Limestone (21-3) at No. 14 Pfeiffer (22-2)
March 19 (DH) - 7:00 / 1:00 (DH) p.m. CT | San Angelo, Texas
Limestone: Nationally ranked for the first time since becoming a NCAA Division II program in 1998... Limestone's previous highest ranking was No. 7 as a member of the NAIA... Riding an 11-game winning streak into today's matchup at No. 5 Lenoir-Rhyne... Coming off a Conference Carolinas doubleheader sweep of Lees McRae on March 11... Led offensively by junior Sydney Turner, who is boasting a .369 batting average on the year while tallying four home runs and 17 RBI... Caroline Hill has launched a team-best five home runs, while Emma Swearingen paces the Saints with 22 RBI... The pitching staff is led by Josie Weber, who has earned back-to-back Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Week honors... Weber is 9-1 with a 1.40 ERA and 50 strikeouts.
Pfeiffer: The Falcons enter the week on a six-game winning streak and moved up one spot to No. 14 in the NFCA Poll... Prior to this matchup, Pfeiffer will play a pair of Conference Carolinas doubleheaders against Mount Olive and Converse... Pfeiffer outscored its opponents 76-9 over six games last week, which included a doubleheader sweep of Coker and a doubleheader sweep of Barton in league play... Makenzie Pennell tops the offense with a .420 average, 34 hits, five doubles, four home runs, 24 RBI and 22 runs scored... In the circle, Caitlin Christian is 6-2 with 75 strikeouts, 1 1.71 ERA, and four saves in 65.2 innings of work.
Other Notable DIII Games (All times ET)