PLAYERS OF THE WEEK – Louisiana Tech’s Amberly Waits and Hawai‘i’s Kate Robinson have been named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. This is the second honor this season for Waits. Robinson has earned WAC Hitter of the Week this season, but this is her first WAC Pitcher of the Year honor.
Waits, a sophomore from Cleburne, Texas (Cleburne), batted .600 for the week in four games, registering six hits in 10 at bats while also drawing four walks. The shortstop had one double, one home run and two RBI, while also scoring three runs. She registered a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .714 on-base percentage for the week. In the 4-0 win against Nicholls State, the sophomore was 1-for-2 with a two-run home run and a walk.
Robinson, a senior from Honolulu, O`ahu (Kamehamehaha) earned three complete-game conference wins, two of which were shutouts over New Mexico State (4-0 and 1-0). In the second game against NMSU, Robinson, who is now 12-3 overall and 3-0 in WAC play, fired a two-hit shutout. She then came back the next day and fired a four-hit shutout over the Aggies. Combined against NMSU she walked just one and struck out 13. In her start against Louisiana Tech, Robinson got the win holding Louisiana Tech to four runs and walked just one while striking out six.
Other hitter of the week nominees included: Aja Scheuber of Fresno State hit .400 with two home runs last week in two conference wins ... Kate Robinson of Hawai‘i hit .353 with three RBI in five games for the Rainbow Wahine, including the game-wining hit against New Mexico State in the bottom of the seventh .. Vanessa Briones of Nevada hit .500 for the Wolf Pack, as Nevada went 3-2 last week ... Colleen Kimbro of New Mexico State hit .667 with six hits as the Aggies went 1-2 in conference action ... Kelley Kaneshiro of Utah State hit .474 with nine hits and six RBI.
Other pitcher of the week nominees included: Morgan Melloh of Fresno State improved to 21-3 last week with a win against Utah State on the road ... Courtney Baughman of Hawai‘i went 1-1 with a 1.24 ERA in 11.1 innings last week ... Krissi Oliver of Louisiana Tech went 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA for the Lady Techsters ... Jordan McPherson of Nevada went 1-1 with a 2.39 ERA and 16 strikeouts ... Samantha Dillard of New Mexico State went 1-1 with six strikeouts ... Lindsey Benson of Utah State went 3-2 with a 2.31 ERA in five appearances for the Aggies last week.
IN THE POLLS – Hawai‘i and Fresno State are both ranked in both polls. The Rainbow Wahine are No. 20 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 18 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. Fresno State is ranked No. 13 in the USA Today/NFCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 10 in the ESPN.com poll. The No. 10 ranking is the highest for a WAC team this season. Nevada is receiving votes in both polls this week.
ON DECK – No. 13/10 Fresno State will put its 12-game winning streak on the line against second-place Nevada in Fresno on April 4-5. Nevada is 5-1 in conference action, while the Bulldogs are 2-0. Utah State will look for its first conference wins this week at home against San Jose State. The Spartans are 2-1 to start the WAC season. Louisiana Tech will travel to Las Cruces to face New Mexico State. Second-place Hawai‘i will take the week off after a very rigorous schedule.
NEW MEXICO STATE TO TAKE ON NATIONAL TEAM – New Mexico State will face the U.S. National team on April 6. The game at the NMSU Softball Complex is already sold out, with 2,000 fans planning to watch the best in the world continue its 45-city KFC Bound 4 Beijing Tour. Gates for the event open at 11 a.m. and the game is at 2 p.m.
The U.S. won gold in Athens in 2004 for its third straight Olympic gold medal. In its 18 tour games thus far, the U.S. has outscored its opponents 174-3.
The U.S. hadn’t lost an exhibition game since 1996 before its loss to Virginia Tech two weeks ago on its tour to China. Virginia Tech pitcher Angela Tincher was a walk away from a perfect game, hurlling a no-hitter with 10 strikeouts for a 1-0 victory, beating U.S. pitcher Jennie Finch.
WAC LEADERS – Nevada’s Noelle Micka leads the conference in batting average (.417). Fresno State’s Haley Perkins is tops in the WAC in hits (54), runs scored (38) and triples (6).Once again, Hawai‘i’s Kate Robinson leads the league in home runs with 14. She is over half way to the WAC record of 23 by Christina Clark in 2004. Robinson is also hitting .385. In the circle, yet another Fresno State pitcher is dominating. Freshman Morgan Melloh is first in wins (23), ERA (0.98) and strikeouts (233). Melloh also has three saves.
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 U.S.
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 Fresno State captured its second WAC Tournament last season at home in Fresno. The Bulldogs were outstanding in the tournament not dropping a single game.
SIMPLY THE BEST – In the second set of NCAA statistics, several WAC teams and players stand out. Freshman sensation Morgan Melloh of Fresno State is second in the nation in walks allowed per seven innings (0.58). Following in the footsteps of outstanding Bulldog pitchers like Jamie Southern and Amanda Scott, Melloh is also among the nation’s best in wins. With 23 wins already this season, Melloh is second in the country behind Florida’s Stacey Nelson (25). Fresno State’s Haley Perkins is fifth in triples per game (0.17). Nevada’s Katie Holverson is seventh in the nation with four saves.
As a team, Fresno State is ninth in fielding percentage (.979) and 11th in batting average (.319). Nevada is also in the top 25 in batting average, standing at 24th (.305). With 34 wins, Fresno State is seventh in the nation in win/loss percentage (.865).
FRESNO STATE CAPTURES TOURNAMENT TITLE – Going a perfect 5-0 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., the No. 14 Fresno State softball team won the tournament as the only undefeated team, capturing the win with a 2-0 shutout over No. 20 Long Beach State.
With the win, the Bulldogs reached three milestones, a 30-win season for the team, a 20-win season for freshman pitcher Morgan Melloh and with nine strikeouts in the game, Melloh picked up her 200th strikeout of the year.
Lisamarie Coronado would be the fourth Bulldog to hit her first home run of the season in the tournament as she hit a two-out solo shot to left field for a 1-0 Bulldog lead after two innings.
Fresno State would add to its lead in the top of the sixth with her second home run of the year, a solo shot to left field for a 2-0 Bulldog advantage. The tournament field included No. 1 Arizona State, No. 8 Arizona, No. 6 Michigan, No. 15 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 18 DePaul, No. 20 Long Beach State and No. 22 San Diego State, among others.
Fresno State Bulldogs (34-5 2-0 WAC)
Fresno State is ranked No. 13 in this week’s USA Softball poll and No. 10 in the NFCA poll ... the Bulldogs started the season unranked ... with a 34-5 overall record and a 2-0 WAC record, the Bulldogs are off to the best start since the 1991 season, a team that finished third in the country at the Women’s College World series after a 46-6 start ... Fresno State takes some time away from conference action taking on UC Davis before taking on first-place Nevada in a three-game series in Fresno on April 4-5.
Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (28-11, 4-1 WAC)
The Rainbow Wahine are taking a week off after already playing 39 games this season ... only New Mexico State has played more games (42) ... Hawai‘i is third in the league in batting average (.284) and second in pitching (1.37 ERA) ... Kate Robinson remains first in the WAC in home runs with 14 ... she is 10th in the nation in home runs per game (0.36) ... Robinson has 16 mutiple-hit games this season and 12 mulitple-RBI games ... Robinson is one of four Rainbow Wahine players in double-digits in multiple-hit games along with Tanisha Milca (15), Clare Warwick (11) and Brandi Peiler (11).
Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (18-19, 1-4 WAC)
Louisiana Tech will host Alcorn State in a non-conference softball doubleheader Wednesday ... Tech breaks from WAC action for the afternoon twin bill against the Lady Braves from the SWAC ... the Lady Techsters split a doubleheader against Alcorn State (16-20) earlier this year in Lorman, losing the first game 3-1 before coming back to win the second contest 11-2 in five innings ... Tech continues to be led offensively by sophomore Amberly Waits, who ranks second in the WAC with a .414 batting average along with six home runs and 28 RBI.
Nevada Wolf Pack (26-13, 5-1 WAC)
Nevada is off to a hot start this season in WAC action with a 5-1 record ... the Wolf Pack are in second place in conference action ... this week, Nevada take on red-hot Fresno State ... the Bulldogs have won 12-straight games ... Nevada is second in the WAC in batting average (.305) ... they are one of only two teams that are hitting over .300 ... the Wolf Pack are 15th in the nation in doubles per game (1.63) ... Katie Holverson is seventh in the nation in saves with four.
New Mexico State Aggies (18-24, 2-4 WAC)
The Aggies went 1-2 against Nevada this week and look to rebound this week at home against Louisiana Tech ... last season, New Mexico State went 1-2 against Louisiana Tech ... Stephanie Herrera is hitting .393 this season ... Kristi Randall is first in the WAC in doubles with 13 ... her teammate Hoku Nahara is tied for second in the league in home runs with seven ... Herrera has 12 multiple-hit games this season to lead the team ... Ashley Maroda has nine multiple-hit games and multiple-RBI games this season.
San Jose State Spartans (20-20, 2-1 WAC)
Junior Deanna Mauer established a new single-game strikeout record when she set down 15 Saint Mary’s Gaels in a game on February 23 ... her 15 strikeouts is the second most in the WAC this season ... this week, the Spartans will travel to Logan, Utah to face Utah State in WAC action ... the Spartans had a week off from WAC play last week ... San Jose State is fourth in the WAC in batting average (.274) ... Kelli Fangonlio is tied for fourth in the WAC in runs scored with 27.
Utah State Aggies (5-20, 0-5 WAC)
Utah State softball continues action at home on Wednesday, April 2 hosting in-state foe Utah Valley ... the doubleheader against Utah Valley was originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 1 but was postponed to Wednesday because of the possibility of inclement weather ... the Aggies are 6-20 on the season after going 3-3 last week, taking two games from UVU on Tuesday, splitting with Utah on Wednesday before falling to No. 13 Fresno State twice on Friday ... USU is led by freshman SS Kelley Kaneshiro’s .359 batting average, while sophomore CF Emily Reilly is second on the team, hitting .343 ... junior pitcher Lindsey Benson leads the team with a 4.90 ERA and has struck out 67 batters in 104.1 innings of work.