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This Week in WAC Softball
Courtesy: WAC

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK – New Mexico State’s Ashley Frisby and Hawai‘i’s Kate Robinson have been named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. This is the first honor this season for Frisby. Robinson has earned Hitter of the Week honors twice.

Frisby, a junior from Fullerton, Calif. (Midland College), hit .556 last week for New Mexico State thanks to a 5-for-9 performance at the plate in its series victory over Nevada. She drove in a team-high five runs for the Aggies in their series and had a three-run home run in NMSU’s 14-4 loss on Saturday. In the first game of the set, Frisby went 2-for-3 with a double and two RBI in the Aggies’ 13-0 route of the Wolf Pack. The Fullerton, Calif. native had a .889 slugging percentage during the week and did not strike out. After struggling at the plate to begin the season, she has caught fire recently batting .421 in her last nine games with two doubles, two home runs and has driven in seven runners.

Robinson, a junior from Honolulu, O`ahu (Kamehameha Schools), picked up Hawai‘i’s two wins over rival Fresno State this weekend. Both were complete game victories. Robinson threw a total of 12.0 innings, while holding the potent Bulldog offense to nine hits and three runs with three walks, twelve strike outs, and a batting average of .205. In the first game, she scattered four hits and gave up two runs, while walking one and striking out four in the 18-2 win. The second game was a much tighter affair, with UH holding off the Bulldogs for a 2-1 win. She threw 7.0 innings, gave up one run while spacing five hits with two walks and eight strike outs. It was Robinson’s second-highest strike out total this season. Robinson raised her record to 14-0 overall and 7-0 in conference play.

Other hitter of the week nominees included: Nichole Willis of Fresno State hit .571 in a three-game series with Hawai‘i over the weekend ... Tyleen Tausaga of Hawai‘i hit .556 for the three-game series going 5-for-9, with four runs scored ... Tyler Schafer of Nevada hit .500 with five hits ... Jamie Fife of Utah State hit .438 with seven hits and three RBI for the Aggies.

Other pitcher of the week nominees included: Jordan McPherson of Nevada was 2-1 last week with 19 strikeouts in five appearances.

SHORT WEEK – In week 11 of WAC softball, there is an abbreviated conference schedule. WAC-leader Hawai‘i will travel to Logan to take on the very busy Utah State Aggies. Utah State has already played three games this week with a doubleheader against Idaho State and a single game on the road against Idaho. In the other WAC series, second-place Fresno State will take on last-place Louisiana Tech in Fresno.

NCAA ANNOUNCEMENT INFORMATION – The field of 64 teams for the 2007 NCAA Division I Softball Championship will be announced live between 3 and 4 p.m. Eastern time Sunday, May 13, on ESPNews, which is on DirecTV channel 207 and Dish Network channel 142.  Please note that ESPNews cannot be accessed via C Band or KU Band satellite due to the fact that the ESPNews signal is scrambled.  The regional pairings and sites will be announced.  In addition, the ESPNews audio signal is available on the ESPNews channel on XM Radio and SIRIUS Radio.

LONG BALL RECORD TIED AGAIN  – The Bulldogs tied a WAC record with six home runs in a WAC game on April 13 against New Mexico State. Not to be outdone, Hawai‘i also tied this record against Fresno State on April 20. Fresno State originally set the record against Nevada in 2004. Hawai‘i also hit six long balls against Loyola Marymount on Feb. 21. In the three-game series, Fresno State hit nine home runs, including two apiece from Haley Perkins, Jenna Cervantez and Kristin Sylvester. Nichole Willis, Shannon Garvin and Ashley White each hit one home run. 

RED-HOT ‘DOG – Fresno State senior catcher Nichole Willis hit .571 in a three-game series with Hawaii over the weekend. Willis went 4 for 7 with two home runs and two RBI. She had a 1.429 slugging percentage and a .625 on base percentage. Willis is now batting .309 on the year with six home runs and 28 RBI. She also ranks fourth in the WAC with 12 doubles.

WAC RECORD SHATTERED – Hawai‘i has broken the WAC record for home runs in a season with 72 home runs in only 51 games. The record was 50 set by Fresno State in 2004. Last season, the Rainbow Wahine hit a school-record 42 in 54 games. Hawai‘i has 257 RBI thus far this season. Kate Robinson is closing in on former Fresno State All-American Christina Clark’s single-season home run record. Robinson currently has 16 home runs. Clark had 23 long balls in 2004. The Hawai‘i record is 17 by Stacey Porter in 2003.

WAHINE FACTS – Fresno State snapped UH’s win streak at eight, but Hawai`i has won 18 of their last 20 games. The Bulldogs’ Robin Mackin almost had a shut out over UH if not for a two-out, two-run single by Kaulana Gould in the bottom of the seventh. Only No. 17 DePaul has been able to shut-out the Hawai`i offense in the first tournament of the season, 3-0 on Feb. 10.

MACKIN ATTACKIN’ – Fresno State sophomore Robin Mackin has shown no signs of a sophomore slump. She leads the WAC in pitching with a 1.42 earned run and a 27-9 record. She is the first WAC pitcher to reach the 20-win plateau. The Canadian’s 27 wins is fourth in the nation in wins. Mackin has recorded 297 strikeouts in 236.0 innings pitched. She is 31st in the nation in strikeouts per seven innings, averaging 8.8. Last year, she set the WAC record for strikeouts per seven innings, averaging 10.97.

BEST OF THE BEST – There are several individuals and teams among the leaders in this week’s NCAA statistics. This is the third week of NCAA stats.  Fresno State’s Robin Mackin is fourth in the nation in victories (27).  She is also 36th in ERA (1.42) and 10th in saves (4). Hawai‘i’s Kate Robinson is 13th in runs batted in per game (1.10).
 As a team, Fresno State is seventh in fielding percentage (.976). Hawai‘i is sixth in win/loss percentage (.824) and 14th in slugging percentage (.507). The powerful Rainbow Wahine are also fifth in the country in home runs per game (1.41).

THE WAC IN THE POLLS – The Rainbow Wahine are up to No. 14 in the NFCA top 25 poll. In the USA Softball poll, Hawai‘i is 15th. After several weeks in the polls, Fresno State dropped out this week after two losses last week to Hawai“i. The Bulldogs didn’t fall far they are the 26th-ranked team in both polls.

HOME RUN EXPLOSION – Brittany Puzey’s grand slam in Nevada’s 14-4 five-inning win over New Mexico State on April 21, was the second career grand slam for Puzey and eighth grand slam Nevada has hit since the 2003 season.  Of the eight grand slams, the Wolf Pack won seven of the games in less than seven innings with one win going the full seven innings.  Puzey, who hit her first career grand slam as a freshman on Feb. 25, 2006, is just the second player in Nevada history to record multiple grand slams, joining Lindsay Hall (2003-06) who finished her career with two.  Sophomore Sarah Hunt is the only other current player who has recorded a grand slam as she hit her first as a freshman on Feb. 17, 2006.  Candice Rainwater (2003-06), Stacy Mueller (2003-04) and Kari Stockstill (2003-06) are the other Pack players who have recorded a grand slam.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS NIGHT IN FRESNO –  On Friday, April 27, Fresno State will host its Fourth Annual Domestic Violence Night when the Bulldogs play Louisiana Tech in a single game at 6:00 p.m. from Bulldog Diamond. This night is in honor and memory of Bulldog head coach Margie Wright’s sister Betty. In conjunction with the Marjaree Mason Center and the Fresno Women’s Resource Center, there will be a fund drive to collect bedding items, checks or loose change in memory of Wright’s sister. If you donate bedding or money in Coach Wright’s sister’s name, you will receive a free ticket to any remaining regular season home game.

NEW HOME FOR WOLF PACK –  Christina Hixson Softball Complex was named after the benefactor whose donation allowed Nevada to purchase the land for the softball complex.  The land for the facility was purchased from Bishop Manogue Catholic High School and is located adjacent to campus. The 23-acre site is also home to the field events for Wolf Pack women’s track and field. The softball facility has 168 permanent chair backs behind home plate. The facility can hold up to 1,000 fans comfortably with room for lawn chairs on the burms behind the first and third base lines. 

FRESNO STATE TO HOST 2007 TOURNAMENT – For the second-straight season, the WAC Softball Tournament will be held in Fresno, Calif. This will be only the second tournament since 1999.  This season, all seven teams will advance to the double-elimination tournament. The tournament will be held at Bulldog Diamond from May 10-12. 

 Fourth-seeded Nevada captured its first WAC Tournament last season. The Wolf Pack defeated third-seeded Hawai‘i twice on the final day to win the tournament. Nevada was led by pitcher Jordan McPherson who pitched all 41 innings of the WAC Tournament without allowing an earned run.

WAC LEADERS – Hawai‘i’s Clare Warwick leads the WAC in hits with 69. Her teammate, Kate Robinson, leads the conference in RBI with 56. Hawai‘i’s Tausaga has taken the top spot in the WAC in hitting with a .411 batting average. 
In the circle, Fresno State’s Robin Mackin leads the conference with a 27-9 record. Mackin already has 297 strikeouts. Last season, Mackin set a WAC record with 400 strikeouts during her rookie campaign. The Bulldog All-America also leads the conference in ERA (1.42) and saves (4).
FRESNO STATE PICKED TO WIN 2007 WAC TITLE – The Western Athletic Conference softball coaches selected Fresno State to win the 2007 WAC regular season crown. Fresno State has been picked to take the preseason crown 11 out of the last 12 years. In 2002, Hawai‘i was chosen to win the title. The coaches also voted on 2007 preseason award winners. For the second-straight season Robin Mackin earned preseason Pitcher of the Year honors. Hawai‘i first baseman Tyleen Tausaga earned preseason Player of the Year honors. The last Rainbow Wahine player to earn preseason Player of the Year honors was shortstop Kate Judd who earned the award before the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Fresno State edged out Hawai‘i with 35 points to the Rainbow Wahine’s 30. Defending WAC Tournament Champions Nevada was picked to finish third with 28 points. This is the second-straight year that the Wolf Pack were picked third in the preseason. The Bulldogs and the Wolf Pack were the only WAC teams to advance to the NCAA Tournament last season. Fresno State is the only team in the nation to play in all 25 NCAA Tournaments. New Mexico State finished fourth with 21 points followed by San Jose State with 14 points. Louisiana Tech was picked to finish sixth with 10 points, while Utah State was picked to finish seventh with nine points.

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