This Week in WAC Softball - April 3
San Jose State’s Vanessa House and Madison Fish have been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for March 26-April 1. This is the first-ever honor for both.
House, a junior outfielder from Palmdale, Calif. (Yavapai College), hit .571 with six RBI as the Spartans went 2-0 on the week against Louisiana Tech. She had a .625 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage in the two games. In the first game of the series, House took the first pitch she saw in the bottom of the 10th inning and hit a three-run, walk-off homer to give San Jose State a 4-2 win. In the series finale, she was 3-for-3 with three RBI and a stolen base.
Fish, a freshman from Sacramento, Calif. (Consumnes Oaks), went 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in one appearance last week, holding Louisiana Tech to a .043 batting average. She pitched her first complete game in a Spartan uniform last Friday, a one-hitter in just her fourth start of the year. She allowed just one hit over the seven innings with two walks and two strikeouts in 25 batters faced.
Other Hitter of the Week nominees included: Fresno State’s Courtney Moore hit .444 with two home runs and three RBI ... Kelly Majam of Hawai‘i hit .444 with one homer and four RBI on the week ... Nevada’s Chelsea Barilli hit .300 with a triple … New Mexico State’s Valerie Swedberg hit .333 with one RBI on the week ... Hailey Froton of Utah State hit .400 with one home run and four RBI on the week.
Other Pitcher of the Week nominees included: Michelle Moses of Fresno State went 3-0 with a 2.74 ERA and 17 strikeouts ... Hawai‘i’s Stephanie Ricketts went 2-0 with a save and a 1.11 ERA on the week ... Bailey Brewer of Nevada went 2-1 with a 1.68 ERA and 12 strikeouts on the week ... Utah State’s Mandy Harmon went 1-2 with 10 strikeouts last week.
JENNINGS CLIMBING WAC CAREER OFFENSIVE CHARTS
New Mexico State senior Tiare Jennings ranks in the top 10 in the WAC several different career offensive categories. She ranks fourth all-time in home runs (55), fifth in RBI (177), sixth in runs scored (181) and ninth in total bases (414).
RICKETTS LEAVING MARK ON WAC PITCHING RECORDS
Reigning WAC Pitcher of the Year Stephanie Ricketts ranks in the top 10 in three different WAC career pitching categories. She is third all-time in wins (92), fifth in innings pitched (845.0) and seventh in strikeouts (743).
MAJAM BECOMES ALL-TIME HOME RUNS LEADER AT HAWAI‘I
On March 24 in the series finale against San Jose State, Hawai‘i’s Kelly Majam went 3-for-3 with a single, a double and a home run. It was her fifth homer of the season and the 45th of her career, which broke the Hawai‘i career record of 44 previously held by former UH All-American Kate Robinson in 2008. She now has 46 rounder trippers, tied for fifth all-time in WAC history.
BYU BOASTS NATION’S SECOND-LONGEST HOME WINNING STREAK
The week of March 19-25, Brigham Young defeated Idaho State at home in non-conference play, then swept its first-ever WAC series against New Mexico State to extend its home win streak to 25 straight games. The Cougars’ streak is the second-longest home winning streak in the nation, dating back to April 23, 2010, when they fell 4-9 to San Diego State. Only Louisiana-Lafayette has a longer streak at 33 games.
FIVE NO-HITTERS THROWN IN THE WAC THIS SEASON
There have been five no-hitters thrown in the WAC so far this season and three have come from the Fresno State pitching staff. The first was by senior pitcher Mackenzie Oakes on Feb. 19, when she threw her third career no-hitter in an 8-0, six-inning victory over Cal State Fullerton. The next two no-hitters, on Feb. 23 against Iowa State and March 3 vs. State Joseph’s, were by senior Michelle Moses. They were Moses’ second and third no-hitters of her career. In the 3-0 win over Iowa State, Moses struck out 17 batters and that was one off of the school record that she set herself in 2010.
The other two no-hitters were thrown by Hawai‘i pitchers. Kaia Parnaby fired her second career no-no on March 14, with a career-high 14 strikeouts in a 6-0 win over Marist. Stephanie Ricketts no-hit San Jose State on March 24, with three walks and five strikeouts. No Spartan runner advanced past second base.
HAWAI‘I HANDS NO. 2 CAL ITS FIRST LOSS OF SEASON
Hawai‘i shortstop Jessica Iwata hit a two-run, walk off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Rainbow Wahine over No. 1/2 California, 3-1, on March 15. Stephanie Ricketts earned the complete-game win over the previously unbeaten Golden Bears. The game was scoreless through the first nine innings of play. Ricketts stranded 17 California runners on base in the game. She threw 10.0 innings, giving up one unearned run while scattering seven hits.
Cal broke the scoreless game in the top of the 10th inning. With the international tie-breaker rules in place, Jace Williams was at second base to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt by Elia Reid pushed Williams to third. After a walk, Henderson hit a slow roller to short that was mishandled for an error that allowed Reid to score from third on two outs.
In the bottom of the 10th, UH fought back. Kayla Wartner was placed at second base to start off the inning and Robinson then drove a single to left-centerfield. Wartner moved to third on the hit, but the throw home from the centerfielder sailed past the catcher and ricocheted around the backstop to allow Wartner to dive across home plate for the tying run. The ensuing batter, Iwata, then came through with the clutch two-run blast to left field to end the game and Cal’s 23-game win streak. It was Iwata’s fifth home run of the season and 38th of her career.
The last time UH defeated a No. 1 team was in 2007, when it held on to defeat No. 1 Tennessee 9-6 at the Super Regional in Knoxville, Tenn., in the second game of the series. Alabama, which UH defeated in the 2010 Super Regional, was ranked No. 4 at the time, but was seeded No. 1 in the NCAA Tournament.
SAN JOSE STATE’S COX BREAKS SCHOOL HITTING STREAK RECORD
San Jose State freshman Michelle Cox broke the program’s hitting streak record when she hit in 19 consecutive games before the streak ended against Stanford on March 11. Cox broke the old record of 17 games set by Pat Martinez during the 1995 season.
HAWAI‘I SETS SCHOOL WIN STREAK RECORD
On March 10, Hawai‘i defeated Radford 4-0 to break its previous win-streak record of 18 set in 2010. The Rainbow Wahine extended the streak to 21 games before losing to No. 6 Texas on March 13.
PRIDMORE BECOMES SJSU’S CAREER SAVES LEADER
San Jose State junior Amanda Pridmore tied and then broke the San Jose State career saves record on March 9. She tied the record against UC Santa Barbara, then broke it against James Madison and added to her record with a save against Cal Poly. Pridmore now has 10 saves in her three-year career. The previous record of eight was held by Carol Forbes. Her 10 career saves is tied for second all-time in the WAC record books. In addition, Pridmore’s three season saves this season is tied for fourth-best in the San Jose State single-season record books.
RICKETTS NAMED LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD CANDIDATE
Hawai‘i pitcher Stephanie Ricketts is one of the 30 student-athletes selected as candidates for the 2012 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. The two-time reigning WAC Pitcher of the Year was named an Easton All-American last season and is Hawai‘i’s all-time strikeout leader. A three-time All-West Region honoree, she has been named an NFCA Scholar-Athlete and Academic all-WAC three times.
To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as a senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition.
The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot.
UH’S IWATA NAMED TO PRESEASON PLAYER OF YEAR WATCH LIST
Hawai’i shortstop Jessica Iwata was one of 50 student-athletes selected to the watch list for the 11th annual USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award. A two-time WAC Player of the Year, she led the Rainbow Wahine last season with a .355 batting average, a .663 slugging percentage and a .447 on-base percentage.
Iwata is just the fourth Rainbow Wahine to ever be selected to the “Top 50 Watch List.” Last season, Melissa Gonzalez and Kelly Majam were chosen to the list, while Kate Robinson made the list in 2008.
The 2012 Watch List is comprised of 23 seniors, 20 juniors and seven sophomores representing 31 universities and 13 conferences. The Top 25 finalists will be announced April 11, the Top 10 will be announced May 9 and the Top 3 will be announced May 23. The winner will be announced May 29.
RICKETTS SELECTED IN NPF DRAFT
Hawai’i softball pitcher Stephanie Ricketts was the 10th overall pick in the third round of the 2012 National Pro Fastpitch Senior Draft. Ricketts was selected by the defending league-champion Chicago Bandits. She is just the second Rainbow Wahine to ever be drafted by the NPF.
Stephanie is the second member of the Ricketts family to be drafted into the NPF. Her older sister Samantha was selected as the 12th overall pick in the 2009 NPF draft by the Akron Racers where she played for two seasons. The elder Ricketts is currently an assistant coach at Wichita State after spending the past six seasons as a player then as a coaching staff member.
Former UH All-American Kate Robinson is the only other UH player to ever be drafted into the NPF. She was selected in the second round, No. 11 overall by the Akron Racers. Robinson, the older sister of current Rainbow Wahine softballer Sarah Robinson, played for two seasons in Akron before heading overseas to continue her professional career in the Netherlands and in Italy.
NEW MEXICO STATE TO HOST 2012 TOURNAMENT
New Mexico State will host the 2012 WAC Softball Tournament May 9-12 at the NM State Softball Complex. The top six teams will advance to the double-elimination tournament. It is the second time the Aggies have hosted the event, as they did so in 2010, as well.
Top-seeded New Mexico State shut out No. 3-seed Fresno State 5-0 to claim its first-ever WAC Tournament title last season in Fresno.
FRESNO STATE PICKED TO WIN 2012 WAC TITLE
The WAC softball coaches selected Fresno State to win the 2012 WAC regular-season crown. It was the 14th time in the last 17 years that the Bulldogs were the preseason favorite to win the title. Fresno State had 44 points and three first-place votes, just ahead of Hawai‘i with two first-place votes and 42 points. New Mexico State was third with 37 points and two first-place votes. Brigham Young received the other first-place vote and came in fourth place with 35 points. Nevada, San Jose State, Louisiana Tech and Utah State rounded out the poll.
PRESEASON ALL-WAC/RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
The preseason all-WAC team is composed of the returning all-conference players from last season. Hawai’i placed the most players on the team with four, while Fresno State and New Mexico State had three apiece.
The WAC features nine players who were first team all-conference performers last year. Three come from New Mexico State - Teresa Conrad, Tiare Jennings and reigning WAC Freshman of the Year Valerie Swedberg. Brigham Young returns Carly Duckworth and Jessica Dugas, both of whom were named to the all-Mountain West team last season. Fresno State returns two players (Michelle Moses and Andrea Ortega), while Hawai‘i returns reigning WAC Pitcher of the Year Stephanie Ricketts and reigning WAC Player of the Year Jessica Iwata.
Second team returnees include: Alex Aguirre, Hawai‘i; Janna Frandrup, Louisiana Tech; Erin Jones, Nevada; Allison Lenzora, Utah State; Kelly Majam, Hawai‘i; Brooke Ortiz, Fresno State; and Kassy Uchida, Utah State.
BRIGHAM YOUNG COUGARS (21-10, 3-2 WAC)
The Cougars swept a doubleheader against UMKC (8-2, 16-1) last Tuesday, then dropped a doubleheader at Fresno State (1-3, 9-10) ... In the first game against UMKC, BYU had a season-high three stolen bases ... In the second game against the Kangaroos, five different players had two or more hits as the Cougars rattled of 14 hits ... The team had a season-low three hits in the first game of the doubleheader at Fresno State, while the two teams combined for 22 hits in the nightcap ... BYU has a 25-game home win streak, second-best in the nation ... As a team, BYU ranks 21st nationally in scoring (5.97), 28th in double plays per game (0.42), 43rd in batting average (.299) and 48th in winning percentage (.677) ... Delaney Willard ranks third in the nation in RBI per game (1.45), fourth in both batting average (.483) and slugging percentage (1.000), fifth in on-base percentage (.578), 12th in home runs per game (0.39) and 14th in home runs (12) ... Caroline Umphlett ranks 41st nationally with two saves ... BYU hosts Southern Utah on Tuesday, then hosts No. 15 Hawai‘i for a three-game series this Friday and Saturday.
FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS (24-13, 4-1 WAC)
The Bulldogs defeated UC Santa Barbara 2-1 last Tuesday, then swept BYU last Friday, 3-1 and 10-9 ... Michelle Moses won all three games in the circle last week, marking the third time this year she has won three straight ... Moses has also hit four home runs and driven in eight runs in her last five games ... In the second game against the Cougars, Fresno State had 10 RBI, the second time all season it had 10 or more RBI in a game ... Moses has 14 home runs this year to give her 55 for her career, good for third place in WAC history ... Fresno State is 16-4 at home and has outscored opponents 114-43 at Bulldog Diamond ... As a team, Fresno State ranks 10th nationally in triples per game (0.32), 25th in double plays per game (0.43) and 43rd in slugging percentage (.451) ... Moses ranks sixth in the nation in home runs (14), eighth in shutouts (7), 12th in strikeouts (167), 15th in home runs per game (0.38), 33rd in wins (14) and 40th in strikeouts per seven innings (8.2) ... Stesha Brazil and Brenna Moss rank seventh in the nation in triples (4) ... The Bulldogs host UNLV for a doubleheader on Wednesday, then host Utah State for a three-game series this Friday and Saturday.
HAWAI‘I RAINBOW WAHINE (29-3, 5-1 WAC)
The Rainbow Wahine swept the series at New Mexico State last weekend, 9-1, 4-3, 4-1 ... Hawai‘i had eight hits in all three games vs. the Aggies ... Stephanie Ricketts went 2-0 with a save in the three games ... The Rainbow Wahine have hit at least one home run in each of their last five games, including three in the series finale at NM State ... As a team, Hawai‘i ranks third in the nation in ERA (0.83), sixth in winning percentage (.906), 10th in home runs per game (1.34), 15th in scoring (6.25), 18th in slugging percentage (.497) and 22nd in fielding percentage (.973) ... Ricketts ranks fifth in the nation in wins (18), sixth in hits allowed per seven innings (3.9), eighth in shutouts (7), ninth in ERA (0.90), 16th in strikeouts (154) and 43rd in strikeouts per seven innings (8.1) ... Kaia Parnaby ranks fourth nationally in ERA (0.72), seventh in walks allowed per seven innings (0.89) and 19th in shutouts (6) ... Kelly Majam is 29th in the nation in runs per game (1.03) and 36th in walks per game (0.75) ... Jessica Iwata is 34th nationally in RBI per game (1.03) ... The Rainbow Wahine play a single games at Utah and Utah Valley and a three-game series at Brigham Young this weekend.
LOUISIANA TECH LADY TECHSTERS (15-19, 2-3 WAC)
The Lady Techsters dropped a doubleheader at San Jose State last Friday, 1-3 (10) and 0-7 ... In the first game, the Spartans hit a walk-off three-run homer for the win, just the fourth long ball surrendered by Michelle Jones in 114 innings in the circle this year ... Louisiana Tech managed just five hits over the two games, including one in the nightcap, compared to the 17 of the Spartans ... As a team, Louisiana Tech ranks 28th nationally in doubles per game (1.41) ... Meghan Knowles ranks 17th nationally in sacrifice flies (3) ... Janna Frandrup ranks 29th in the nation in walks (0.79), while Melanie Goff is 41st in saves ... The Lady Techsters lead the WAC in doubles (48), doubles per game (1.41) and assists (347) ... Frandrup leads the WAC in walks (27) and walks per game (0.79), ranks second in on-base percentage (.521), sixth in batting average (.368) and 10th in RBI per game (0.65) ... Amanda Krueger ranks second in the WAC in runs (29), doubles (10) and doubles per game (0.29), and fourth in runs per game (0.85) ... Louisiana Tech hosts Northwestern State for a single game on Wednesday, then hosts New Mexico State for a three-game series this Friday and Saturday.
NEVADA WOLF PACK (12-24, 3-3 WAC)
The Wolf Pack split a doubleheader at Weber State last Thursday (3-5, 7-1), then went 2-1 (8-7, 3-1, 0-4) at Utah State last weekend ... Bailey Brewer tossed a complete-game victory at Weber State, posting eight strikeouts and no walks while just allowing one run ... In the first game vs. the Aggies, Nevada had 11 hits. It was the ninth time this season the team posted 10 or more hits in a game ... The team had nine stolen bases over the five games ... As a team, Nevada ranks 23rd nationally with 0.28 triples per game ... Mallary Darby ranks 20th in the nation in walks allowed per seven innings (1.16) ... Sara Parsons ranks 25th nationally in doubles per game (0.33), while Karlyn Jones is eighth in saves (3) ... Karley Hopkins leads the WAC in assists (95), plate appearances (142) and plate appearances per game (3.94) ... Sara Parsons leads the WAC in doubles (12) and doubles per game (0.33) ... Chelsea Barilli leads the WAC in sacrifice bunts (6), ranks third in triples (2) and seventh in stolen bases (6) ... Lauren Lastrapes leads the WAC in putouts (253), ranks fifth in hits (37) and seventh in both doubles (7) and total bases (60) ... Nevada hosts San Jose State for a three-game series this Friday and Saturday.
NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES (18-19, 0-6 WAC)
The Aggies lost all three games to No. 16 Hawai‘i last weekend, 1-9 (5), 3-4 and 1-4 ... New Mexico State had just three extra-base hits over the three games ... Valerie Swedberg blasted her seventh home run of the season in the series finale ... As a team, New Mexico State ranks 37th nationally in home runs per game (0.89) ... Alex Newman is eighth in the nation in saves (3) and 27th in walks allowed per seven innings (1.22) ... Celisha Walker ranks 41st nationally in saves (2) ... Tiare Jennings ranks fourth all-time in the WAC in career home runs (47), fifth in RBI (177), sixth in runs scored (181) and ninth in total bases (414) ... As a team, New Mexico State leads the WAC in hits (283), total bases (437), plate appearances (1139), walks (120) and saves (5), and ranks second in batting average (.287), runs scored (190), RBI (170), doubles (45), home runs (33) and at-bats (985) ... Amber Olive leads the WAC in hits (46), ranks fifth in batting average (.387) and at-bats (119), sixth in stolen bases (7) and ninth in plate appearances (124) ... The Aggies play a three-game series at Louisiana Tech this Friday and Saturday.
SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS (19-18, 3-2 WAC)
The Spartans swept a doubleheader against Louisiana Tech 3-1 (10) and 7-0 last Friday ... Vanessa House hit a three-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Spartans the win in the first game ... Amanda Pridmore tied her career high with 11 strikeouts in the win ... In the finale, Madison Fish threw a complete-game one-hitter in just her fourth start ... Pridmore ranks third all-time on the San Jose State career strikeout list with 378 and 10th on the single-season list with 124 ... Jessica Garcia ranks second nationally in sacrifice flies (4), while Pridmore is eighth in saves (3) ... The Spartans lead the WAC in putouts (741), sacrifice flies (12), stolen bases (35) and runners picked off (2) ... Michelle Cox leads the WAC in stolen bases (16), ranks third in triples (2), ninth in hits (36) and 10th in batting average (.350) ... Markesha Collins ranks second in the WAC in stolen bases (11), third in walks (20) and fifth in runs (27) ... Pridmore ranks third in the WAC in strikeouts (124) and innings pitched (114.1), and fourth in wins (10), opponent batting average (.197) and ERA (2.51) ... The Spartans play a three-game series at Nevada on Friday and Saturday.
UTAH STATE AGGIES (10-22, 2-4 WAC)
The Aggies fell 0-7 at Utah last Wednesday, then went 1-2 (7-8, 1-3, 4-0) against Nevada in WAC play last weekend ... Utah State hit three homers in the three games against the Wolf Pack ... Mandy Harmon delivered her second complete-game shutout of the season in the finale ... Shelbi Tyteca ranks eighth nationally in saves (3), while Kelley Kaneshiro ranks 28th in hit by pitch per game (0.32) ... As a team, Utah State leads the WAC in batters face per game (35.71), ranks second in saves (3) and sacrifice bunts (20) ... Christine Thomsen ranks fourth in the WAC in batting average (.391), fifth in on-base percentage (.477), seventh in slugging percentage (.598) and ninth in hits (36) ... The Aggies play a single game at Utah Valley on Tuesday before playing a three-game series at Fresno State on Friday and Saturday.