PLAYERS OF THE WEEK – Louisiana Tech’s Amberly Waits and Fresno State’s Morgan Melloh have been named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. This is the first honor this season for Waits and the second-straight honor for Melloh.
Waits, a sophomore shortstop from Cleburne, Texas (Cleburne), hit .520 for the week with 13 hits in 25 at bats in Louisiana Tech’s eight games. Waits recorded four doubles, one triple, one home run and six RBI, while scoring five runs. She was also a perfect 6-for-6 in stolen bases. She registered a .586 on-base percentage and a .880 slugging percentage during the week, while recording at least one hit in seven of the eight games. Waits registered four multi-hit games during the week (3 vs. Belmont, 3 vs. SFA, 2 vs. Jacksonville State and 2 vs. Alcorn State). Her two-run home run against Stephen F. Austin proved to be the difference in the one-run win. Waits helped Louisiana Tech to a 3-2 mark at the Ole Miss Red & Blue Classic, finishing third out of six teams.
Melloh, a freshman from Fishers, Ind. (Hamilton Southeastern), won her 10th game of the season against James Madison in extra innings and also earned a win over Oregon. She earned her second save of the season, to tie for third all-time in a single season at Fresno State. Melloh pitched her ninth complete game and sixth shutout. She has 108 strikeouts on the season to just 22 walks. Her ERA is 0.64 overall in 76.0 innings pitched.
Other hitter of the week nominees included: Haley Perkins of Fresno State hit .438 and has an eight-game hitting streak ... Brandi Peiler of Hawai‘i hit .500 with three RBI and 11 hits, as the Rainbow Wahine went 6-1 last week ... Noelle Micka of Nevada hit .429 for the Wolf Pack, while running her career-high hitting streak to nine games ... Stacey Lien of New Mexico State hit .333 with six hits and three RBI last week.
Other pitcher of the week nominees included: Kate Robinson of Hawai‘i went 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA in two appearances last week ... Meghan Krieg of Louisiana Tech was 2-0 last week, while picking up her first collegiate save ... Katie Holverson of Nevada went 2-0 with a 0.58 ERA at the University of Washington Tournament ... Kim Watson of New Mexico State went 1-2 with a 1.34 ERA at the Arizona Tournament.
ON DECK – In week five of WAC softball, all seven teams are in action this week. After a two-week hiatus, Utah State returns to play at the Colorado State Tournament. Fresno State returns home to host the Bulldog Classic. Hawai‘i also returns to the friendly confines of the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium for the Pepsi Malihini Kipa Aloha Tournament. San Jose State hosts the National Invitational Softball Tournament. Nevada will travel to the NIST, while New Mexico State travels to the UNLV Invitational. Louisiana Tech will be at the Mississippi State Tournament.
IN THE POLLS – Hawai‘i and Fresno State are both ranked in both polls. The Rainbow Wahine are No. 15 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 14 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Fresno State is ranked No. 23 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 21 in the ESPN.com poll.
HAWAI‘I’S BAUGHMAN OFF TO HOT START – In the circle, Hawai‘i junior Courtney Baughman (7-1) has tossed seven complete games, including two shutouts. Robinson (5-3) has 37 strike outs and just 11 walks in 48.1 innings pitched and she is coming off her best pitching performance of the season. Against Pittsburgh this past Sunday, she had a season-high 10 strikeouts while scattering four hits. Morton has also come on strong, holding No. 6 UCLA and California scoreless in a combined 6.2 innings of relief work.Then she made her first start in two seasons as she picked up the complete-game win over UNLV, 5-2.
FRESNO STATE’S WRIGHT EARNS 1,100 VICTORY – Head Coach Margie Wright earned her 1,100 victory at Fresno State on Monday in game two of the Bulldogs double-header vs. Eastern Michigan at Bulldog Diamond. Wright is the NCAA’s all-time winningest softball coach with 1,263 career wins. The Bulldogs defeated the Eagles 11-0 in five innings in game one, and 11-3 in game two. Fresno State now improves to 10-3 on the season and 4-0 at home.
Early Milestone Season for Rodolph – New Mexico State’s softball head coach Kathy Rodolph has reached two and is about to embark on a third milestone in her career. Over the weekend in the Troy Cox Classic, Rodolph reached her 300th collegiate victory against Utah Valley with a 12-8 win. Then on Sunday, Feb. 24, Rodolph tied NMSU’s all-time coaches’ win-record with 108. She is one game away from being the winningest coach in the program’s history.
FRESNO STATE’S MACKIN COMPETES FOR TEAM CANADA – Fresno State junior pitcher Robin Mackin was named to the 2008 Canadian Softball Olympic Team. Mackin will redshirt this season as she prepares to play for her country.
Mackin, an All-American as a sophomore, pitched for Canada during the summer and pitched during tryouts in October at the China Cup. Mackin is the ninth Fresno State player to make an Olympic team. She is also the third to make an Olympic team from a country outside the US.
The junior will continue to go to school in the fall, but will leave in the spring to join the Canadian team as they prepare for the Beijing Olympics in August. She will have two years left of eligibility when she returns next year.
This will be the last year softball will be played in the Olympics, an even bigger opportunity for Mackin. Canada is one of eight teams competing.
The Canadian team will travel to Las Vegas in late January to begin centralized training and play several games against NCAA competition. They will then travel to Australia in March where they will continue their training at the site of the 2000 Olympic Games in Blacktown, Australia and will play against the Australian and Japanese national teams.
HAWAI‘I TO HOST 2008 TOURNAMENT – For the first time ever the WAC Softball Tournament will be held in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. This will be only the third tournament since 1999. All seven teams will advance to the double-elimination tournament. The tournament will be held at the Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium from May 7-10. Second-seeded Nevada captured its second WAC Tournament last season at home in Fresno. The Bulldogs were outstanding in the tournament not dropping a single game.
HAWAI‘I’S STRONG AT THE PLATE – Overall, the ‘Bows are being led by senior leftfielder Brandi Peiler, who is hitting an even .400 on the season. She is 20-for-50 with three doubles, a home run and five RBI. Right behind her is senior first baseman/pitcher Kate Robinson who carries a .385 batting average into this week, leads team with six home runs, 16 RBI, and has a .788 slugging percentage; is also tied for the team lead with 12 runs scored. Junior rightfielder Tanisha Milca has got off to a strong start as well with a .370 batting average; is tied with Robinson with 12 runs scored and has the team’s only two triples thus far this year. Milca also has three doubles, one home run and five RBI in 2008. Junior third baseman Clare Warwick has picked up where she left off last year, hitting 21-for-61 for a .344 average; the 21 hits leads Hawai‘i; has scored 10 runs, hit three doubles and two home runs, and is second on the team with 10 RBI.
RETURNING ALL-WAC PLAYERS – The WAC will feature eight players who were 2007 first team all-WAC performers. Fresno State returns junior third baseman Haley Perkins and junior second baseman Jenna Cervantez. Hawai‘i returns senior first baseman Kate Robinson, senior outfielder Kaulana Gould and junior third baseman Clare Warwick. Louisiana Tech returns its only first-team all-WAC honoree from last season in junior outfielder Emma Barnes. Also coming back this season are San Jose State outfielder Liz Perez and Nevada outfielder Brittany Puzey. Second team returnees include: catcher Katie Grimes, Hawai‘i, second baseman Kym Silagyi, Nevada, third baseman Stephanie Herrera, New Mexico State, shortstop Valana Manuma, Hawai‘i, outfielder Sarah Hunt, Nevada, outfielder Tanisha Milca, Hawai‘i, outfielder Brandi Peiler, Hawai‘i, designated player Michelle Beach, Nevada and pitcher Kim Watson, New Mexico State.