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This Week in WAC Softball-April 9
Courtesy: WAC

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK – Louisiana Tech’s Jessica Kirby and Nevada’s Katie Holverson have been named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. This is the first honor this season for Kirby, and the second honor for Holverson.

Kirby, a sophomore from Spring, Texas, (Spring), 615 for the week with eight hits in 13 at bats, while  leading Tech to a 4-1 mark on the week. Kirby pounded four home runs and drove in nine runs, while scoring seven runs in five games during the week. Kirby, who entered the week with only two career home runs, hit four home runs all four coming in a three-game WAC series in Las Cruces against New Mexico State. Kirby recorded an eye-popping 1.538 slugging percentage and a .706 on-base percentage during the week. She set career-highs with four hits, two home runs and five RBI in Tech’s 12-4 win over New Mexico State Friday.

Holverson, a sophomore from Anthem, Calif., (Cactus) was phenomenal as Nevada went 3-1 last week with a pair of wins over No. 10 Fresno State. For the week, Holverson pitched 18.1 scoreless innings and went 2-0 with a save. She gave up only eight hits and three walks while striking out 18 and allowing only one extra-base hit. Opponents batted just .125 off of her. Against Pacific on Thursday, Holverson entered the game in the bottom of the seventh inning with the bases loaded and Nevada holding a 3-0 lead. She got out of the jam without giving up a hit and earned her fifth save of the season. On the road against No. 10 Fresno State on Friday, Holverson dealt a three-hit complete-game shutout as Nevada won 2-0 in 11 innings. She walked just three and matched a career high with 11 strikeouts. Against No. 10 Fresno State on Saturday, Holverson delivered another gem, a five-hit complete-game shutout as Nevada won 5-0. Holverson did not allow a run and struck out 18. She yielded only eight hits and the Bulldogs batted .127 against her.

Other hitter of the week nominees included: Kym Silagyi of Nevada hit .357 as the Wolf Pack captured a road series against Fresno State ... Stacey Lien of New Mexico State hit .571 with four hits as the Aggies went 1-2 in conference action ... Kayla Dunn of Utah State hit .667 with 10 hits as the Aggies went 4-1 last week at home.

Other pitcher of the week nominees included: Morgan Melloh of Fresno State went 1-1 last week with a 0.71 ERA, reaching the 250 strikeout mark this season ... Mandi Bertsch of Louisiana Tech went 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA for the Lady Techsters.

THREE WAC TEAMS EARN RANKINGS – For the first time in a decade, their are three WAC softball teams ranked in the National Fastpich Coaches Association top 25 poll. Fresno State, Hawai‘i and Nevada are all ranked this week. The last time three WAC teams were ranked in the NFCA poll was March 2, 1998 when Fresno State (No. 2), Hawai‘i (No. 11) and Colorado State (No. 23) were all ranked. The NFCA poll began in 1995 and is the most established of the softball polls.
 For the first time in school history, the University of Nevada softball team is nationally ranked. In the Softball Collegiate Top 25, Nevada narrowly missed the rankings, coming in at a tie for 26th with Massachusetts. Nevada is 29-14 overall and 7-2 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Wolf Pack has beaten five other ranked opponents this season, including a series win (two-of-three) at Fresno State over the weekend.

Fresno State is ranked No. 13 this week, falling from No. 10 last week. The Bulldogs are an  impressive 35-7 overall and 3-2 in conference action. This week Fresno State will take on Louisiana Tech in a three-game series in Ruston.

The Rainbow Wahine are ranked No. 20 this week. Hawai‘i is 28-11 this overall this season and 4-1 in conference action. The Rainbow Wahine are in first place in the WAC, while the Wolf Pack are second and the Bulldogs are third. After a week off, Hawai‘i returns to host San Jose State in a three-game series.

ON DECK – Hawai‘i moved into first place in the WAC standings without even playing. The Rainbow Wahine hope to stay there this week at home against San Jose State in a three-game series. Third-place Fresno State will travel to Ruston to take on Louisiana Tech. In other WAC action Utah State will host New Mexico State in Logan. Second-place Nevada will take the week off.

GALINDO NAMED TO U.S. OLYMPIC SOFTBALL TEAM – San Jose State assistant coach Vicky Galindo, a members of the U.S. National Softball Team, was named to the squad that will travel to Beijing, China this summer. The United States softball team has won the past three gold medals.

WAC LEADERS – Louisiana Tech’s Amberly Waits leads the conference in batting average (.429). She is one of three players hitting over .400 Fresno State’s Haley Gilleland is tops in the WAC in hits (59). Teammate Haley Perkins is first in runs scored (38), while Gilleland is second (33). 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 (26), ERA (1.02) and strikeouts (272). Melloh also has three saves.

SIMPLY THE BEST – In the third 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).

ROBINSON FINALIST FOR AWARD – The Amateur Softball Association, the National Governing Body of Softball in the United States, announced today the 25 finalists for the 2008 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. This award, which is considered one of the most prestigious honors in women’s collegiate softball, is designed to recognize outstanding athletic achievement by female collegiate softball players across the country.The Top 25 is comprised of players representing 18 colleges and 10 different NCAA Division I Conferences. Among the list are eleven seniors, six juniors, five sophomores and three freshman.  The Top 25 finalists for the 2008 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, listed in alphabetical order, are:

Chelsea Bramlett (Mississippi State)
Katie Burkhart (Arizona State)
Tonya Callahan (Tennessee)
Samantha Camuso (UCLA)
Kaitlin Cochran (Arizona State)
Samantha Findlay (Michigan)
Amber Flores (Oklahoma)
Megan Gibson (Texas A&M)
Sam Marder (Ohio State)
DJ Mathis (Oklahoma)
Charlotte Morgan (Alabama)
Rosey Neill (Stanford)
Stacey Nelson (Florida)
Carmen Paez (Florida Gulf Coast)
Missy Penna (Stanford)
Kate Robinson (Hawai‘i)
Brittany Rogers (Alabama)
Anjelica Selden (UCLA)
Angel Shamblin (Houston)
Holly Tankersley (Louisiana-Lafayette)
Jordan Taylor (Michigan)
Angela Tincher (Virginia Tech)
Brooke Turner (Long Beach State)
Jackie Vasquez (Arizona State)
Tammy Williams (Northwestern)

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.

Fresno State Bulldogs (37-7, 3-2 WAC)
Changes have been made for the Louisiana Tech
Tech series this weekend as the Bulldogs and the Lady Techsters will play the doubleheader on Friday, beginning at 2 p.m. PT and a single game on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. ... No. 12/13 Fresno State earned the sweep at UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday with scores of 5-2 and 9-5 as they improved to 37-7 and freshman Morgan Melloh pitched two complete games to improve to 26-4 on the mound ... in the second game, Morgan Melloh had 12 strikeouts and pitched her 25th complete game.

Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (28-11, 4-1 WAC)
The Rainbow Wahine return after 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 multiple-hit games this season and 12 multiple-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 (23-20, 3-5 WAC)
Amberly Waits hit a two-run home run and junior Krissi Oliver pitched five strong innings to lead Louisiana Tech to a 6-1 win over Louisiana-Monroe Tuesday ... Waits seventh home run of the season - a two-run shot over the right centerfield wall - ignited a four-run third inning as Tech pulled away for the victory ... Waits is fourth in the WAC in hits with 54 and first in the WAC in total bases with 94 ... Waits is also first in the WAC in batting average hitting .429 this season ... this week, Louisiana Tech hosts Fresno State in a three-game series.

Nevada Wolf Pack (29-14, 7-2 WAC)
For the first time in school history, Nevada softball team is nationally ranked ... in the USA Today/NFCA poll, Nevada entered the rankings at No. 25 ...  in the Softball Collegiate Top 25, Nevada narrowly missed the rankings, coming in at a tie for 26th with Massachusetts ...the Wolf Pack has beaten five other ranked opponents this season, including a series win (two-of-three) at Fresno State over the weekend ... the Wolf Pack is off this week and will return to action on April 19 when nationally ranked WAC foe Hawai‘i comes to Christina M. Hixson Softball Park for a three-game series.

New Mexico State Aggies (19-27, 2-4 WAC)
Freshmen first baseman Hoku Nohara, third baseman Ashley Maroda and junior designated player Stacey Lien all nailed home runs, but it was not enough as the New Mexico State softball team fell, 7-6, to I-25 rival, New Mexico ... Maroda is first on the team with nine multiple-hit games ... Stephanie Herrera has 13 multiple-hit games ...New Mexico State is eighth in the nation in double plays per game (0.47) ... Kristi Randall is tied for first in double (13) ...  Kim Watson is second in the strikeouts with 153 ... this week, the Aggies are on the road against Utah State.

San Jose State Spartans (21-22, 3-3 WAC)
Junior Brittany McConnell equaled three San Jose State single-game records against Utah State on April 4 ...
she tied her own single-game RBI record when she knocked in six against the Aggies ... in addition, she blasted two home runs, a record she already shared with five other athletes and her three extra-base hits (two home runs and a double) matches three other players ... Kelli Fangonlio had 14 multiple-hit games and Sarah Taylor has 13 ... Taylor also has 10 multiple-RBI games.

Utah State Aggies (10-21, 2-6 WAC)
Utah State softball travels to Pocatello, Idaho to take on the Idaho State Bengals in a non-conference doubleheader on Wednesday, April 8 ... Utah State has won four of its last five games ... USU is led by freshman shortstop Kelley Kaneshiro’s .410 average, while sophomore Emily Reilly and junior Kayla Dunn are tied for second on the team, hitting .344 ... Junior Lindsey Benson leads the team with a 5.05 ERA and has struck out 77 in 123.1 innings of work ... Kaneshiro has the longest active hitting streak in the WAC at 13 games.





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