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This Week in WAC Softball - Feb. 28
Courtesy: UT Arlington
FRANDRUP, MOSES NAMED WAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Louisiana Tech’s Janna Frandrup and Fresno State’s Michelle Moses have been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for Feb. 20-26. This is the first-ever honor for Frandrup and the first of the season and sixth overall (four Pitcher, two Hitter) for Moses.

Frandrup, a junior first baseman/utility player from Phoenix, Ariz. (Greenway HS), led the Lady Techsters to the tournament title at the Southern Miss Gold Pub and Grill Classic. She was 6-of-14 with two runs scored, three doubles, seven RBI and three walks. For the week, Frandrup posted a .429 batting average, a .556 on-base percentage and a .643 slugging percentage over five games. She also picked up a win in relief in the circle in Tech’s win over Southern Miss.

Moses, a senior from Paso Robles, Calif. (Paso Robles HS), went 2-2 with a 1.96 ERA and 34 strikeouts last week. She opened the week by throwing her second career no-hitter and the 68th in program history while leading Fresno State to a 7-0 victory over Iowa State last Thursday. Moses struck out 17 batters in the win vs. the Cyclones, one off the school record that she set herself in 2010. That win was her third consecutive shutout victory. She then led Fresno State to a 6-3 win over No. 7 UCLA by throwing a complete game and striking out eight Bruins. With a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Moses struck out the side to preserve the win that snapped a 14-game losing streak to UCLA. In all, Moses’ 34 strikeouts in four starts last weekend were the most by any pitcher from the 36 teams competing in the Cathedral City Classic.

Other Hitter of the Week nominees included: Stacie Toney of Brigham Young hit .333 with seven RBI last week ... Fresno State’s Brenna Moss hit .375 with three RBI ... Lauren Lastrapes of Nevada hit .375 with two RBI … New Mexico State’s Kristi Covarrubia hit .417 with an inside-the-park homer on the week … Michelle Cox of San Jose State hit .417 with five hits, three runs and a home run on the week.

Other Pitcher of the Week nominees included: Mallary Darby of Nevada posted a 1.75 ERA with 14 strikeouts ... New Mexico State’s Alex Newman picked up a pair of wins and had 13 strikeouts on the week ... Amanda Pridmore of San Jose State went 4-0 with 19 strikeouts.

HAWAI‘I IN TOP 25 IN BOTH POLLS
After starting the season 12-0, Hawai’i entered the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 poll last week at No. 25 and moved up to No. 22 this week. The Rainbow Wahine, which were idle last week, made their debut at No. 22 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll. Hawai’i has gotten off to its best start in school history, bettering the 7-0 record set last season. The Rainbow Wahine have outscored their opponents 109-11 through the first 12 games, including a 59-0 mark through the first three innings of each game. Hawai’i has won by the eight-run rule six times this season, including the last four straight, and has launched 22 doubles and 18 home runs this season.

RICKETTS NAMED LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE
Hawai‘i pitcher Stephanie Ricketts is one of the 30 student-athletes selected as candidates for the 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award.

The two-time reigning WAC Pitcher of the Year was named an Easton All-American last season and is Hawai‘i’s all-time strikeout leader. A three-time All-West Region honoree, she has been named an NFCA Scholar-Athlete and Academic all-WAC three times.

To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as a senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.

The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot.

NEW MEXICO STATE TO HOST 2012 TOURNAMENT

New Mexico State will host the 2012 WAC Softball Tournament May 9-12 at the NM State Softball Complex. The top six teams will advance to the double-elimination tournament. It is the second time the Aggies have hosted the event, as they did so in 2010, as well.

Top-seeded New Mexico State shut out No. 3-seed Fresno State 5-0 to claim its first-ever WAC Tournament title last season in Fresno.

FRESNO STATE PICKED TO WIN 2012 WAC TITLE
The WAC softball coaches selected Fresno State to win the 2012 WAC regular-season crown. It was the 14th time in the last 17 years that the Bulldogs were the preseason favorite to win the title.

Fresno State had 44 points and three first-place votes, just ahead of Hawai‘i with two first-place votes and 42 points. New Mexico State was third with 37 points and two first-place votes. Brigham Young received the other first-place vote and came in fourth place with 35 points. Nevada, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech and Utah State rounded out the poll.

PRESEASON ALL-WAC/RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
The preseason all-WAC team is composed of the returning all-conference players from last season. Hawai’i placed the most players on the team with four, while Fresno State and New Mexico State had three apiece.

The WAC features nine players who were first team all-conference performers last year. Three come from New Mexico State - Teresa Conrad, Tiare Jennings and reigning WAC Freshman of the Year Valerie Swedberg. Brigham Young returns Carly Duckworth and Jessica Dugas, both of whom were named to the all-Mountain West team last season. Fresno State returns two players (Michelle Moses and Andrea Ortega), while Hawai‘i returns reigning WAC Pitcher of the Year Stephanie Ricketts and reigning WAC Player of the Year Jessica Iwata.

Second team returnees include: Alex Aguirre, Hawai‘i; Janna Frandrup, Louisiana Tech; Erin Jones, Nevada; Allison Lenzora, Utah State; Kelly Majam, Hawai‘i; Brooke Ortiz, Fresno State; and Kassy Uchida, Utah State.

UH’S IWATA NAMED TO PRESEASON PLAYER OF YEAR WATCH LIST
Hawai’i shortstop Jessica Iwata was one of 50 student-athletes selected to the watch list for the 11th annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award.

Iwata, a two-time WAC Player of the Year, led the Rainbow Wahine last season with a .355 batting average, a .663 slugging percentage and a .447 on-base percentage. Iwata also led UH in runs scored (43), hits (60), home runs (15) and RBI (44), and finished the season on a nine-game hitting streak. She accumulated more multiple-hit games (16) and multiple-RBI games (13) than any other Rainbow Wahine in 2011. Iwata was also voted to the NFCA All-West Region second team for the second straight year and was named a second team Easton All-American last year as a sophomore.

Iwata is just the fourth Rainbow Wahine to ever be selected to the “Top 50 Watch List.” Last season both Melissa Gonzalez and Kelly Majam were chosen to the list. Before that, the only player to ever represent Hawai’i was Kate Robinson in her senior season, 2008.

The award, which is considered the most prestigious honor in Division I women’s collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by collegiate softball players across the country. The 2012 Watch List is comprised of 23 seniors, 20 juniors and seven sophomores representing 31 universities and 13 conferences.

The Top 25 finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award will be announced April 11. The Top 10 finalists will be announced May 9 and the Top 3 finalists will be announced May 23. On May 29, prior to the start of the 2012 NCAA Women’s College World Series (WCWS) in Oklahoma City, the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year will be revealed.
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