This Week in WAC Softball - March 8
New Mexico State’s Hoku Nohara has been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Hitter of the Week, while Boise State’s Aubray Zell and Hawai`i’s Kaia Parnaby share WAC Pitcher of the Week honors for Feb. 28-March 5. This is the first honor of the season and fourth of her career for Nohara, the first-ever honor Zell and the first honor of the season and second of her career for Parnaby.
Nohara, a senior infielder from Waimanalo, Hawai`i, recorded eight hits, including six home runs and 11 RBI, in five games at the Arizona State Wilson/DeMarini Invitational last weekend. She hit .500 on the weekend, with a .529 on-base percentage and a 1.625 slugging percentage. She hit a home run in four of the five games and belted two homers in each of her final two games on the weekend. The all-time leader in home runs at NM State already has 14 this season.
Zell, a junior from Lakewood, Calif., went 2-0 with a pair of shutouts against Southern Utah last week, including the first no-hitter in Boise State history. In a 12-0 five-inning game shortened by the run rule, Zell matched her career high with eight strikeouts. It was a dropped strike three that resulted in the only base runner of the game for SUU, keeping Zell from perfection. The following day, she earned her fifth career shutout, striking out seven without walking a batter. For the week, Zell posted a 0.00 ERA, a .122 opponent batting average, 15 strikeouts and no walks.
Parnaby, a sophomore from Bilgola Plateau, NSW, Australia, fired her first career perfect game in a 6-0 win over Weber State on Sunday. She tied her career high with 12 strikeouts while getting three ground outs and five fly outs for the victory. It was Parnaby’s first shutout of the season and raised her record to 5-1 on the year.
Other Hitter of the Week nominees included: Boise State’s Devon Bridges hit .571 with two doubles, four home runs and seven RBI on the week … Haley Gilleland of Fresno State hit .353 with a double and two RBI on the week … Hawai`i’s Jenna Rodriguez hit .455 with a home run and four RBI on the week … Britton Murdock of Nevada hit .563 with a .688 slugging percentage on the week … Utah State’s Kassy Uchida hit .429 with one RBI on the week.
Other Pitcher of the Week nominees included: Fresno State’s Mackenzie Oakes went 1-2 with a save … Mallary Darby of Nevada tossed a no-hitter and went 2-1 with a 2.85 ERA on the week.
MOSES HITS FIRST CYCLE IN FRESNO STATE HISTORY
Michelle Moses hit the first cycle in Fresno State softball history in the first game of a doubleheader against Sacramento State on Feb. 12. She opened her production at the plate with a two-run home run in the third inning, then followed with a double in the fifth, a single in the seventh and a triple in the ninth inning.
FRESNO STATE TO HOST 2011 TOURNAMENT
Fresno State will host the 2011 WAC Softball Tournament for the second time in the last three years. The top six teams will advance to the double-elimination tournament, which will be held at Bulldog Diamond from May 11-14. It is the fifth time the Bulldogs have hosted the event.
Top-seeded Hawai`i defeated No. 2-seed Fresno State to claim its first-ever WAC Tournament title last season in Las Cruces, N.M. and earn the WAC’s automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
HAWAI`I PICKED TO WIN 2011 WAC TITLE
The WAC softball coaches selected Hawai`i to win the 2011 WAC regular-season crown. This is the third time the Rainbow Wahine have been the favorite to take the crown (2002, 2008).
Reigning WAC champion Hawai`i took the top spot in the preseason poll with 48 points and six first-place votes. Fresno State came in second, picking up two first-place vote and 43 points, followed by Boise State in third place. New Mexico State edged Louisiana Tech for fourth place. Nevada was picked to finish sixth (24), followed by San Jose State in seventh with 13 points. Utah State rounded out the poll in eighth place with eight points.
Hawai`i junior hurler Stephanie Ricketts was selected in a vote of the league’s eight coaches as the preseason Pitcher of the Year, while teammate sophomore outfielder Kelly Majam earned preseason Player of the Year honors.
Hawai`i placed the most players on the preseason all-WAC team with five, while Fresno State had three and New Mexico State had two. Joining Ricketts and Majam on the preseason team are Hawai`i’s Melissa Gonzalez, Jessica Iwata and Jenna Rodriguez, Fresno State’s Haley Gilleland, Michelle Moses and Caitlin Stiglich, New Mexico State’s Tiare Jennings and Hoku Nohara, Meghan Krieg of Louisiana Tech, Allie Crump of Boise State and Amanda Pridmore of San Jose State.
All but one member of the preseason all-WAC team was named to the 2011 all-WAC team. Ten members were first team all-WAC honorees a year ago (Gilleland, Gonzalez, Iwata, Jennings, Krieg, Majam, Moses, Ricketts, Rodriguez and Stiglich), while two 2010 second-team honorees are on the team (Crump and Nohara).
TWO WAC PLAYERS ON PRESEASON PLAYER OF YEAR WATCH LIST
Two WAC softball players – Hawai`i’s Melissa Gonzalez and Kelly Majam – have been named to the watch list for the 10th annual USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award.
Gonzalez, a 2010 first team NFCA All-American, had a breakout season last year as a junior, posting career highs in batting average (.394), hits (81), doubles (13), home runs (25), RBI (60) and slugging percentage (.807). She was ranked fourth nationally in home runs (25) and 17th in slugging percentage (.457) while leading UH with 25 multiple-hit games, five in which she hit two home runs.
Majam, an NFCA and ESPN.com All-American and reigning WAC Freshman of the Year, had one of the best individual seasons in UH history. She finished the season as the NCAA home run leader while setting new WAC and UH single-season home run records with 30. Nationally, she ranked fourth in runs per game (81), fifth in slugging percentage (.919), 27th in on-base percentage (.519) and 42nd in batting average (.400). Majam broke the UH single-season records for runs scored (88) and walks (44).
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 2011 Watch List is comprised of 50 players representing 36 schools and 15 different conferences.
A list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 11. The three finalists will be announced May 25, while the winner of the 2011 USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the 2011 NCAA Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
MAJAM NAMED ESPN.COM PRESEASON ALL-AMERICAN
After leading the nation with 30 home runs last year, Hawai`i’s Kelly Majam was selected to the ESPN.com Preseason All-America first team.
Majam has also been named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Award “Watch List,” is the WAC Preseason Player of the Year and was selected to the preseason all-WAC team.
RETURNING ALL-WAC PLAYERS
The WAC will feature 10 players who were 2010 first team all-WAC performers. Five of the returners come from Hawai`i - senior third baseman Melissa Gonzalez, sophomore shortstop and reigning WAC Player of the Year Jessica Iwata, sophomore outfielder and reigning WAC Freshman of the Year Kelly Majam, junior pitcher and reigning WAC Pitcher of the Year Stephanie Ricketts and senior outfielder Jenna Rodriguez. Fresno State returns three players (Haley Gilleland, Michelle Moses and Caitlin Stiglich). New Mexico State returns Tiare Jennings, while Louisiana Tech returns Meghan Krieg.
Second team returnees include: Kellie Caplan, Boise State; Allie Crump, Boise State; Kandis Jones, New Mexico State; Hoku Nohara, New Mexico State; Andrea Ortega, Fresno State; Danielle Patrick, Nevada; and Kylie Randall, New Mexico State.