This Week in WAC Softball - May 17
After winning both the WAC regular-season and tournament titles, New Mexico State earned its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Aggies, winners of 24 of their last 28 games, will travel to the Tucson Regional to face Texas Tech (40-14) at 4 p.m. (PT) Friday. No. 8 overall seed Arizona (40-16) hosts Harvard (36-14) in the other game.
FRESNO STATE RECEIVES AT-LARGE BID, WILL PLAY AT STANFORD REGIONAL
Fresno State (34-17) received an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and will take on Nebraska (39-12) at 3 p.m. (PT) Friday in the Stanford Regional. The No. 15 overall seed Stanford (38-15) will host Pacific (37-17) on the other side of the bracket. Fresno State remains the only team to be selected to all 30 NCAA Tournaments.
NEW MEXICO STATE WINS FIRST-EVER WAC TOURNAMENT
The Aggies claimed their first-ever WAC Tournament title with a 5-0 win over host and third-seeded Fresno State in the championship game last Saturday at Bulldog Diamond. NM State went 3-0 at the tournament, posting shutouts in two of the three games. WAC Freshman of the Year Valerie Swedberg was named tournament MVP.
Devon Bridges, Boise State
Allie Geisler, Louisiana Tech
Haley Gilleland, Fresno State
Tiare Jennings, New Mexico State
Meghan Krieg, Louisiana Tech
Courtney Moore, Fresno State
Hoku Nohara, New Mexico State
Alex Newman, New Mexico State
Mackenzie Oakes, Fresno State
Lela Work, Boise State
MVP: Valerie Swedberg, New Mexico State
NOHARA BECOMES ALL-TIME WAC LEADER IN HOME RUNS
In the bottom of the first inning in the Aggies’ game against Boise State last Friday, Hoku Nohara ripped her 63rd career home run to become the WAC’s all-time leader. She passed Fresno State All-American Christina Clark, who had held the record since 2006. Nohara is also second in RBI (206) and fifth in total bases (445).
KRIEG SETS LA TECH RECORD FOR STRIKEOUTS IN A SEASON
In Louisiana Tech’s first-round win over Fresno State last Wednesday, Meghan Krieg recorded her 261st strikeout of the season, breaking her previous record of 260 set last year. After throwing every pitch (523) of every inning in the WAC Tournament, she closed out the season with 289. Krieg ends her career ranked second in Tech history and third in WAC history with 859 strikeouts.
ALL-WAC HONORS ANNOUNCED
Hawai`i’s Jessica Iwata was named WAC Player of the Year, while teammate Stephanie Ricketts was named Pitcher of the Year. New Mexico State’s Valerie Swedberg was named Freshman of the Year and the Aggies’ Kathy Rodolph was named Coach of the Year.
Iwata, a sophomore shortstop from Lihu’e, Kaua`i (Kaua`i), repeats as WAC Player of the Year. She ranked second in the WAC in batting average (.429), third in on-base percentage (.520), tied for third in hits (27), fourth in RBI (22), fifth in slugging percentage (.714) and tied for fifth in home runs (5) in WAC play.
Ricketts, a junior righthander from San Jose, Calif. (Archbishop Mitty) earns WAC Pitcher of the Year honors for the second year in a row. She posted an 8-4 mark with a 1.92 ERA in WAC play. She held opponents to a .215 batting average and tallied 87 strikeouts in conference games.
Swedberg, a utility player from Albuquerque, N.M. (Cibola), led the conference in WAC play in doubles (7), ranked second in slugging percentage (.883) and RBI (27), ranked third in batting average (.417), tied for third place in home runs (7) and was tied for sixth in hits (25).
In her 11th season at New Mexico State, Rodolph earned Coach of the Year honors for the first time in her career after leading her team to its first-ever WAC title and the top seed in the WAC Tournament. In WAC play, the Aggies went 17-4 and led the conference in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, runs, hits, RBI, doubles, home runs, total bases and stolen bases.
New Mexico State led the way with seven players on the all-WAC teams, followed by Boise State with five and Fresno State and Hawai`i with four apiece. Ten of the players were repeat selections from a year ago, while seven schools were represented.
Devon Bridges, Boise State
Teresa Conrad, New Mexico State
Allie Crump%, Boise State
Jessica Iwata$, Hawai`i
Tiare Jennings$#, New Mexico State
Kandis Jones%, New Mexico State
Michelle Moses$, Fresno State
Hoku Nohara!%, New Mexico State
Andrea Ortega%, Fresno State
Kylie Randall%, New Mexico State
Stephanie Ricketts$#, Hawai`i
Valerie Swedberg, New Mexico State
Aubray Zell, Boise State
Alex Aguirre, Hawai`i
Nicole Angene, Fresno State
Christina Capobianco, Boise State
Tina Ferguson, Utah State
Janna Frandrup, Louisiana Tech
Erin Jones, Nevada
Meghan Krieg$#, Louisiana Tech
Allison Lenzora, Utah State
Kelly Majam$, Hawai`i
Ashley Maroda, New Mexico State
Brooke Ortiz, Fresno State
Kassy Uchida, Utah State
Tazz Weatherly, Boise State
$2010 first team All-WAC
%2010 second team All-WAC
!2009 first team All-WAC
#2009 second team All-WAC
@2008 first team All-WAC
&2008 second team All-WAC
WAC Player of the Year: Jessica Iwata, Hawai`i
WAC Pitcher of the Year: Stephanie Ricketts, Hawai`i
WAC Freshman of the Year: Valerie Swedberg, New Mexico State
WAC Coach of the Year: Kathy Rodolph, New Mexico State
NOHARA LEADS NATION IN HOME RUNS
In the May 17 NCAA statistics, New Mexico State’s Hoku Nohara leads the nation in home runs (23) and home runs per game (0.43). She also ranks second in walks per game (1.15) and slugging percentage (1.015), third in on-base percentage (.612), fifth in RBI per game (1.32) and 25th in batting average (.430). The senior has 22 multiple-RBI games and 15 multi-hit games on the year.
NM STATE EARNS FIRST WAC REGULAR-SEASON TITLE
With its sweep of Boise State last weekend, New Mexico State won its first conference title of any kind in 37 years as a program. The Aggies’17 conference wins is an all-time record since joining the WAC, obliterating the previous high of 11 set in 2009. In addition, NM State’s 40 wins this season matches the all-time win total in program history and marks the sixth 30 or more win season at NM State.