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This Week in WAC Softball - March 9
Courtesy: Hawai‘i
FANGONILO, RICKETTS NAMED WAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
San Jose State’s Kelli Fangonilo and Hawai`i’s Stephanie Ricketts have been named the Verizon Wireless Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for March 1-7. This is the first-ever honor for Fangonilo and the first honor of the season and third of her career for Ricketts.

Fangonilo, a senior third baseman/outfielder from Palo Alto, Calif., hit .600 (7-of-15) with a double, one homer, five runs scored and seven RBI in four games last week. After starting the weekend without a hit against Charlotte in game one on Saturday, Fangonilo’s bat broke loose. She had at least two hits in each of the next three games, including a 4-for-4 effort against Sacramento State on Saturday. On Sunday against the Hornets, she was 3-for-4 with five RBI, including a three-run home run. She also scored three runs in the game. Fangonilo wrapped up the weekend with two hits in a 3-2 win over Charlotte as the Spartans improved to 16-5 on the season.

Ricketts, a sophomore from San Jose, Calif., posted a 1.56 ERA in four appearances while holding opponents to a .186 batting average last week. She tied a season high with 10 strikeouts against Seattle on March 5, just one shy of her career high. Ricketts lost a heartbreaking 1-0, eight-inning game to No. 1 Washington in which she fired a three-hitter and lost the game on an error with the international tie-break rules in place. She also came in to earn her first save of the season against East Carolina on Sunday. Against the Pirates, she entered with a runner on second and no outs and proceeded to retire the final six batters in a row, striking out the side in the seventh.

Other Hitter of the Week nominees included: Boise State’s Kathy Cox hit .250 with two home runs last week … Lisamarie Coronado of Fresno State hit .400 with two doubles last week, including one against No. 5 UCLA … Hawai`i’s Melissa Gonzalez hit .500 with seven hits and two stolen bases last week … Meghan Knowles of Louisiana Tech’s hit .462 with a double, a triple, a home run and six RBI on the week … New Mexico State’s Kylie Randall hit .400 with three stolen bases last week ... Tina Ferguson of Utah State hit .500 with one double, one homer and five RBI last week.

Other Pitcher of the Week nominees included: Boise State’s Ashley Collier earned the Broncos’ only win of the weekend over Wichita State … Morgan Melloh of Fresno State went 1-1 with a complete-game win over Wisconsin … Louisiana Tech’s Meghan Krieg went 3-1 on the week with 32 strikeouts … Torrey Schroeder of New Mexico State allowed one run and two hits over seven innings of work at the Eller Media Stadium Tournament over the weekend … San Jose State’s Amanda Pridmore posted a 2.44 ERA and five strikeouts on the week.

MELLOH THROWS NO-HITTER

Fresno State junior Morgan Melloh became the 17th Bulldog and the first since Robin Mackin on March 8, 2007, to throw a no-hitter in game one of the Fresno State Kick-Off Feb. 13, a 1-0 win over Pacific. It was the 63rd no-hitter in school history. Melloh had 10 strikeouts and three walks in the game.

NM STATE PLATES 28 RUNS IN WIN OVER UT-SAN ANTONIO
New Mexico State set school records for runs scored in a game (28), hits in a game (26) and doubles in a game (6) as the Aggies defeated UTSA 28-7 on Feb. 13. Tiare Jennings led the attack, going 4-of-5 with four hits, four runs scored and one RBI. Tehani Kaaihue went 3-of-4 with four runs and four RBI, while Ashley Maroda hit two home runs, going 3-of-4 with four runs and four RBI. Amber Olive also did her part in the Aggies’ win, going 2-of-2 at the plate, with a home run and five RBI to lead the team. The Aggies tallied four home runs in the game.

OAKES TOSSES NO-HITTER

Fresno State sophomore Mackenzie Oakes made history at Bulldog Diamond on Feb. 14 in the Fresno State Kick-Off as she led the Bulldogs to a 6-0 win over Sacramento State and pitched the first no-hitter of her career. Oakes became the 18th Bulldog in school history to throw a no-hitter. It was the 64th total no-hitter at Fresno State and came one day after teammate Morgan Melloh threw a no-hitter. Oakes and Melloh became the first Fresno State pitchers since Kristen Hunter and Amanda Scott in 2000 to have two different pitchers threw no-hitters in the same season. It was also the first time since Carie Dever and Marcie Green in 1990 that two different pitchers threw no-hitters in back-to-back days.

WAITS SELECTED IN NATIONAL PRO FASTPITCH DRAFT

Louisiana Tech’s Amberly Waits recorded another program first on Feb. 10 when the senior shortstop was selected by the Chicago Bandits with the eighth overall pick in the 2010 National Pro Fastpitch College Senior Draft. Waits was taken by the Bandits with the final pick of the second round of the five-round draft, which was held in Kissimmee, Fla.

FRESNO STATE PICKED TO WIN 2010 WAC TITLE

The WAC softball coaches selected Fresno State to win the 2010 WAC regular-season crown. This is the 13th time in the last 15 years that the Bulldogs have been the preseason favorite to win the title.

Fresno State took the top spot in the preseason poll with 48 points and six first-place votes. Nevada came in second, picking up one first-place vote and 41 points, followed by Hawai`i in third place with 34 points. New Mexico State edged Louisiana Tech for fourth place with 29 points and the remaining first-place vote. San Jose State was picked to finish sixth with 19 points, followed by Boise State in seventh with 18 points. Utah rounded out the poll in eighth place with seven points.

PRESEASON ALL-WAC

Fresno State junior hurler Morgan Melloh was selected in a vote of the league’s eight coaches as the preseason Pitcher of the Year, while Louisiana Tech senior shortstop Amberly Waits earned preseason Player of the Year honors.

Nevada and New Mexico State placed the most players on the preseason all-WAC team with three each, while Fresno State, Hawai`i and Louisiana Tech had two apiece. Joining Melloh and Waits on the preseason team are Nevada’s Sam Bias, Katie Holverson and Noelle Micka, New Mexico State’s Tiare Jennings, Hoku Nohara and Angie Ortega, Hawai`i’s Stephanie Ricketts and Amanda Tauali’i, Haley Gilleland of Fresno State, Louisiana Tech’s Kylie Bassett and Kathy Cox of Boise State.

All but one member of the preseason all-WAC team was named to the 2009 all-WAC team. Nine members were first team all-WAC honorees a year ago (Bassett, Bias, Holverson, Melloh, Micka, Nohara, Ortega, Tauali’i and Waits), while three 2009 second-team honorees are on the team (Gilleland, Jennings and Ricketts).

THREE WAC PLAYERS ON PRESEASON PLAYER OF YEAR WATCH LIST

Three WAC softball players – Morgan Melloh of Fresno State, Amberly Waits of Louisiana Tech and Katie Holverson of Nevada – have been named to the watch list for the ninth annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award.

Melloh, who appears on the list for the second-straight year, was the 2008 WAC Freshman and Pitcher of the Year and a second team All-American. The 2009 WAC Tournament MVP, Melloh became the fourth pitcher in NCAA history to record back-to-back 400 strikeout seasons in her freshman and sophomore campaigns.

Waits earned numerous accolades following her junior campaign after setting program records for single season batting average (.488), hits (81), home runs (17), RBI (62), total bases (155), on-base percentage (.538) and slugging percentage (.934). In addition to being LA Tech’s first-ever WAC Player of the Year, Waits was named the state Hitter of the Year by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, first team all-WAC, first team all-state and to the All-West Region team.

Holverson, the 2009 WAC Pitcher of the Year, is 61-31 with a 2.23 ERA in her career at Nevada. Last year, she went 28-11 with a 1.70 earned-run average in leading the Wolf Pack to its second-straight WAC title and NCAA Tournament appearance.

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 list is comprised of 50 players representing 35 schools and 14 different conferences. It includes 27 seniors, 17 juniors and six sophomores. The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 7.

RETURNING ALL-WAC PLAYERS

The WAC will feature nine players who were 2009 first team all-WAC performers. Three of the returners come from Nevada - junior catcher Noelle Micka, senior third baseman Sam Bias and senior pitcher Katie Holverson, the reigning WAC Pitcher of the Year. Louisiana Tech (Kylie Bassett and Amberly Waits) and New Mexico State (Hoku Nohara and Angie Ortega) return two players each. Fresno State returns Morgan Melloh, while Hawai`i returns Amanda Tauali’i.

Second team returnees include: Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu, Hawai`i; Haley Gilleland, Fresno State; Tiare Jennings, New Mexico State; Meghan Krieg, Louisiana Tech; Kanani Pu’u-Warren, Hawai`i; Stephanie Ricketts, Hawai`i; Kelsey Starr, Nevada; Caitlin Stiglich, Fresno State; and Sarah Taylor, San Jose State.

NEW MEXICO STATE TO HOST 2010 TOURNAMENT
New Mexico State will host the WAC Softball Tournament for the first time ever in 2010. The top six teams will advance to the double-elimination tournament, which will be held at the NM State Softball Complex from May 12-15. It is the first time the Aggies have hosted the event.

Top-seeded Fresno State defeated No. 2-seed Nevada 3-2 in eight innings to claim its third WAC Tournament title last season in Fresno and earn the WAC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
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