This Week in WAC Softball - May 1
Brigham Young’s Delaney Willard and Hawai‘i’s Stephanie Ricketts have been named the Verizon Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for April 23-29. This is the third honor of the season for Willard and the fifth of the season and 12th overall for Ricketts.
Willard, a senior right fielder from Camarillo, Calif., hit .444 with two doubles, a triple, a home run and 12 RBI as the Cougars went 5-0 on the week, including a series sweep of San Jose State. She had a hit in all five games to extend her hitting streak to 13 games, a career high and the longest by a BYU player this season. In the first game at Southern Utah, Willard had a single, a double and a triple. In game two vs. the Spartans, she hit the game-winning double, and in game three, she hit a three-run homer and had an RBI single. Willard has a streak of nine straight games with an RBI, totaling 19 in that time. She also has 76 RBI on the season, one shy of the WAC record.
Ricketts, a senior from San Jose, Calif., went 2-0 with 13 strikeouts against Fresno State as the Rainbow Wahine swept the series from the Bulldogs for the first time ever last week. She held Fresno State to a .125 average in 12 innings pitched. In the series finale, Ricketts fired her second no-hitter of the season and the sixth of her career. She faced just two batters over the minimum and did not allow a runner past second base. It was her 10th shutout of the season and the 33rd of her career, breaking the Hawai‘i school record. Ricketts is now the program’s career leader in wins (99), strikeouts (791), shutouts (33), innings pitched (897.0), appearances (157) and starts (135).
Other Hitter of the Week nominees included: Makani Duhaylonsod-Kaleimamahu of Hawai‘i hit .500 with a double, a home run and three RBI on the week ... Louisiana Tech’s Erin Kipp hit .429 with one double and one RBI last week ... Karley Hopkins of Nevada hit .412 with two home runs and three RBI ... New Mexico State’s Brittany Clifton hit .500 with three hits ... Breanna Lopez of San Jose State hit .583 with three homers ... Utah State’s Kelley Kaneshiro hit .357 with a double, a home run and three RBI on the week.
Other Pitcher of the Week nominees included: Tori Almond of Brigham Young went 4-0 with a 1.94 ERA and 21 strikeouts last week ... Nevada’s Karlyn Jones went 2-0 with a 0.50 ERA and nine strikeouts ... Sydney Williard of New Mexico State earned her first win of the season ... Utah State’s Shelbi Tyteca went 1-1 with a 1.12 ERA on the week.
WAC HAS FOUR TEAMS IN TOP 100 RPI
In the most recent NCAA RPI, four WAC schools are in the top 100, led by Hawai‘i at 18. Also ranked in the top 100 are Brigham Young (36), Fresno State (58) and San Jose State (89).
WILLARD ON TRACK TO BREAK WAC RBI SEASON RECORD
Brigham Young’s Delaney Willard currently has 76 runs batted in this season, one shy of the WAC record of 77 set by Fresno State’s Nina Lindenberg in 1998. With a minimum of seven games left this season, at her current pace, the senior, who is averaging 1.58 RBI per game, would finish the season with 87 RBI.
HAWAI‘I WINS 40 GAMES FOR NINTH TIME IN PROGRAM HISTORY
With its three victories last week, Hawai‘i hit the 40-win mark for the ninth time in program history. The Rainbow Wahine have now outscored their opponents 269-58 in 45 games.
NEVADA’S JONES LEADS NATION IN WALKS ALLOWED PER SEVEN INNINGS
In the most recent NCAA statistics released April 30, Nevada pitcher Karlyn Jones leads the nation in walks allowed per seven innings at 0.56. The sophomore has just eight walks this season compared to 80 strikeouts.
FRESNO STATE WINS 30 GAMES FOR 30TH CONSECUTIVE SEASON
When it defeated New Mexico State on April 21, Fresno State notched its 30th win of the season. This is the 31st consecutive season the Bulldogs have reached the 30-win mark.
RICKETTS BECOMES HAWAI‘I CAREER SHUTOUT LEADER
Stephanie Ricketts set the Hawai‘i career shutouts record in the series finale against Fresno State when she tossed her 33rd complete-game shutout and sixth career no-hitter. She fanned seven, faced just two batters over the minimum and did not allow a runner past second base. Ricketts is now Hawai‘i’s career leader in wins (99), strikeouts (791), shutouts (33), innings pitched (897.0), appearances (157) and starts (135).
EAKIN NOTCHES 400TH VICTORY
Brigham Young shut out Louisiana Tech 5-0 on April 20 to give head coach Gordon Eakin his 400th career victory. Eakin, whose 27th wedding anniversary was also the same day, is now 408-173 (.702) in his 10-year career.
BYU’S WILLARD ONE OF 25 FINALISTS FOR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Brigham Young senior outfielder Delaney Willard is one of the Top 25 finalists for the 2012 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year. A two-time WAC Hitter of the Week this season, Willard ranks in the top 20 nationally in several different offensive categories. This year’s Top 25 is comprised of 13 seniors, seven juniors, four sophomores and one freshman. The student-athletes selected represent 17 NCAA Division I universities and eight athletic conferences.
Ten finalists will be announced on May 9, three finalists will be announced May 23, and the winner will be revealed May 29. The USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award is voted on by coaching representatives from 11 Division I Conferences in the 15 ASA Regions as well as members of the media who consistently cover Division I Softball across the country.
RICKETTS ONE OF 10 FINALISTS FOR LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Hawai‘i pitcher Stephanie Ricketts is one of the 10 student-athletes selected as finalists 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. Lowe’s will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winner during the Women’s College World Series, which will be held May 31-June 6.
Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award website through May 14. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I softball head coaches’ votes to determine the winner. The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the original list of 30 candidates.
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 tied for fourth all-time in RBI (183), fifth in home runs (47), sixth in runs scored (186) and ninth in total bases (423).
RICKETTS LEAVING MARK ON WAC CAREER PITCHING MARKS
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 (99) and innings pitched (897.0), and sixth in strikeouts (791).
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 50 career rounder trippers, good for fourth all-time in WAC history.
SIX NO-HITTERS THROWN IN THE WAC THIS SEASON
There have been six no-hitters thrown in the WAC this season. The first was by Fresno State’s 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 the Bulldogs’ 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, one off of the school record that she set herself in 2010. Hawai‘i’s 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 five strikeouts, then repeated the feat on April 28 against Fresno State. Ricketts now has six no-hitters on her career
HAWAI‘I HANDS NO. 1/2 CAL ITS FIRST LOSS OF SEASON
Jessica Iwata hit a two-run, walk off homer 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. She threw 10.0 innings, giving up one unearned run while scattering seven hits. The win ended Cal’s 23-game win streak.
The last time UH defeated a No. 1 team was in 2007, when it beat No. 1 Tennessee 9-6 at the Super Regional in Knoxville, Tenn. 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. 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, one away from the record. Pridmore’s three season saves this season is tied for fourth-best in the San Jose State single-season record books.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.