This Week in WAC Softball - April 14
New Mexico State’s Angie Ortega and Kim Watson have been named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for April 6-12. This is the first honor of the season for both and the third career honor for Watson.
Ortega, a junior right fielder from Vado, N.M., led the Aggies to their first WAC sweep of the season against San Jose State last week, belting three home runs, including a grand slam. She hit .500, had 10 RBI, recorded a team-high 15 total bases, and posted a 1.500 slugging percentage and .545 on-base percentage. She also recorded at least one hit in each outing and did not commit a single error. In the opening game, Ortega hit back-to-back home runs and had six RBI. The first homer was a solo shot and the second was a grand slam deep over the right field fence to give NM State its 11th run-rule victory of the season. In the series finale, Ortega smacked a three-run bomb, her 11th home run of the season, had four RBI and scored a trio of runs.
Watson, a senior right-hander from Spokane, Wash., guided the Aggies to a series sweep of San Jose State with a flawless 3-0 record. She gave up just one earned run in 17 innings of action, posted a 0.41 ERA and had 20 strikeouts on the week. She also broke the NM State career strikeout record, a record that previously stood for 26 years. In her first outing, Watson tied the all-time strikeout record in the second inning and broke the record when she notched her fourth strikeout of the game and 591st of her career. In the second game of the night, Watson went the distance in her fifth shutout victory of the season as she fanned nine. In the series finale, Watson entered the game with the Aggies down 3-0 in the first and did not give up a single earned run in six innings of action. She sat down seven in the Aggies’ 16-7, come-from-behind six-inning run-rule victory. Watson now has 607 career strikeouts, good for ninth all-time in WAC history.
Other Hitter of the Week nominees included: Fresno State’s Haley Perkins led the team with six hits and five runs as the Bulldogs went 3-2 on the week ... Tanisha Milca of Hawai‘i hit .500 with two homers and four RBI on the week ... Nevada’s Brittany Puzey hit .545 and extended her hitting streak to 20 games.
Other Pitcher of the Week nominees included: Fresno State’s Morgan Melloh went 3-2 with 53 strikeouts on the week ... Stephanie Ricketts of Hawai‘i went 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA and 18 strikeouts ... Louisiana Tech’s Wanda Malone went 1-0 with a 0.55 ERA and .140 opponent batting average last week ... Nevada’s Katie Holverson went 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA in three appearances last week.
WATSON BECOMES AGGIES’ ALL-TIME STRIKEOUT LEADER
New Mexico State senior right-handed pitcher Kim Watson broke the school career strikeout record last Friday, as the Aggies picked up a pair of wins over San Jose State. Watson registered 13 strikeouts on the day to extend her career strikeout record to 600, surpassing Hall-of-Famer Jo Kord’s 26-year-old record of 590. Watson now has 607 career strikeouts, good for ninth place all-time in the WAC record books.
DARBY THROWS NO-HITTER
Nevada freshman pitcher Mallary Darby tossed the second no-hitter in the WAC this season and the third no-hitter in school history in blanking the Broncos 8-0 in five innings last Saturday. It was the first no-hitter of Darby’s career. She did not walk a batter and struck out eight. The only blips in the performance were a pair of hit batters in the second inning that kept if from being a perfect game. Darby’s gem is Nevada’s first no-hitter away from home.
Boise State Broncos (18-18, 4-7 WAC)
The Broncos went 0-3 last week, losing all three games of the series vs. Nevada, 0-5, 0-8 and 1-8 ...
Boise State gave up nine home runs over the three games ... The Broncos are now .500 for the first time since March 7 and have lost four straight games ... Laeha Hill led the team with a .429 batting average on the week ... As a team, Boise State ranks sixth nationally with 0.53 double plays per game ... After the fourth inning, the Broncos are 11-1 when they hold a lead, but only 4-14 when they are down. That trend continues into the later innings as the Broncos are 13-1 when leading after five frames and 13-0 when leading after six ... The Broncos play a doubleheader at the College of Idaho on Tuesday before traveling to Las Cruces for a three-game series at New Mexico State this weekend.
Fresno State Bulldogs (26-17, 8-4 WAC)
The Bulldogs went 3-2 last week, splitting a doubleheader against UC Santa Barbara (3-1, 0-1) before going 2-1 (7-0, 3-0, 0-1) at Louisiana Tech over the weekend ... Haley Perkins led the team with six hits and five runs on the week ... Morgan Melloh picked up three wins and two shutouts last week ... Melloh has now posted back-to-back 20 win seasons and now has 10 shutouts on the season ... Melloh has had 10 or more strikeouts in 20 games this season ... Melloh has 339 strikeouts on the season and is on pace to break her school record of 454 from last year ... Melloh has 793 strikeouts on her career and is looking to become just the third Bulldog and fourth WAC pitcher ever to amass 800 strikeouts in a career ... The Bulldogs host first-place Nevada for a three-game series this weekend.
Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (20-20, 8-4 WAC)
The Rainbow Wahine went 3-0 last week, sweeping the series vs. Utah State, 9-1, 4-3 (10 innings) and 3-2 ... Stephanie Ricketts earned all three wins, two as a starter and one as a reliever. She finished the series with a 1.11 ERA while holding the Aggies to a .129 team batting average ... Tanisha Milca led UH with a .500 batting average with five hits, four runs, two homers and four RBI ... A freshman, Ricketts is now 15-7 on the season with 144 strikeouts, which ranks fifth all-time for a single season at Hawai‘i ... Milca ranks fourth in the Hawai‘i career record books in runs scored (125) and home runs (29). She is also fifth all-time in walks (59) ... The Rainbow Wahine rank 31st nationally in home runs per game (0.93) ... The Rainbow Wahine play a three-game series at San Jose State this weekend.
Louisiana Tech Techsters (21-18, 5-6 WAC)
The Lady Techsters went 2-2 last week, defeating Northwestern State 4-1 in eight innings before going 1-2 (0-7, 0-3 and 1-0) vs. Fresno State ... Wanda Malone posted a 0.55 ERA and a .140 opponent batting average on the week ... In her first start of the season, Malone earned her first victory of the year by pitching a 1-0 shutout of Fresno State. In the extra inning win, Malone pitched a career-high 10.0 innings allowing only two hits and one walk ... It was the longest appearance by a Tech pitcher since Marla Pinkston pitched 10.0 innings in a 2-1 win over Tulsa on April 5, 2003 ... Kylie Bassett, who had hit two home runs all season entering the week, hit two long balls last week ... Tech plays a doubleheader at North Texas on Wednesday before traveling to Logan for a three-game series at Utah State this weekend.
Nevada Wolf Pack (29-12, 9-2 WAC)
The Wolf Pack went 3-1 last week, falling 8-3 at UC Davis on Wednesday, before sweeping Boise State, 5-0, 8-0 and 8-1 ... Brittany Puzey, the WAC’s top hitter in league games, hit .545 for the week with a double, a home run and four RBI ... Puzey extended her school record hitting streak to 20 games. The streak is also the longest known streak in the WAC ... During her hitting streak, Puzey is batting .542 with 16 runs, 28 RBI, six doubles, eight home runs and eight stolen bases ... Katie Holverson was 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA in three appearances ... Holverson has won 12 straight games overall and 17 straight WAC games dating back to the 2007 season ... The Wolf Pack travel to Fresno to play a three-game series at second-place Fresno State this weekend.
New Mexico State Aggies (24-14, 4-4 WAC)
The Aggies went 3-0 against San Jose State last week, earning their first WAC sweep of the season, 14-4 (five innings), 6-0 and 16-7 (six innings) ... As a team, the Aggies posted a .460 batting average with 40 hits, including nine home runs and four doubles ... In the 87 at-bats, NM State only struck out eight times and walked 12 times ... Angie Ortega hit three homers and had 10 RBI on the week ... Kim Watson went 3-0, gave up just one earned run, posted a 0.41 ERA and had 20 strikeouts on the week ... Watson broke the NM State career strikeout record, a record that previously stood for 26 years, in the first game of the series. She now has 607 career strikeouts, good for ninth all-time in WAC history ... The Aggies host Boise State for a three-game series this weekend.
San Jose State Spartans (17-27, 4-8 WAC)
The Spartans went 0-3 last week, losing all three games of the series at New Mexico State by the scores of 4-14, 0-6 and 7-16 ... In the series finale, the Spartans hit three successive home runs for the first time in the 24-year history of San Jose State softball ... SJSU led 7-0 in that game before giving up 16 unanswered runs ... Sarah Taylor hit .600 with two long balls and drove in three runs over the three games ... Taylor ranks 10th nationally with 0.14 triples per game ... As a team, San Jose State ranks 18th nationally in triples per game (0.32) and 49th in double plays per game (0.36) ... In the SJSU career record books, Taylor, a junior, is fourth in runs (101) and tied for sixth in triples (13) ... The Spartans host Hawai‘i for a three-game series this weekend.
Utah State Aggies (8-28, 1-8 WAC)
The Aggies went 0-6 last week, losing three times to Utah (0-1, 5-9 and 2-8) and dropping all three games at Hawai‘i (1-9, 3-4 and 2-3) ... Rayna Bradshaw led USU with a .400 batting average and two doubles ... The Aggies gave up 11 home runs while hitting just one ... USU was 8-for-11 on stolen bases last week and ranks fourth in the WAC with 37 this season ... Lindsey Benson struck out 21 batters in 25.1 innings pitched last week ... Jasmine Harris leads the Aggies in total bases this season with 52. She’s also second in batting average (.292) ... Nicole Rupp and Aubrie Stroman have started all 36 games, while Bradshaw and Emily Reilly have started 35 ... The Aggies host Utah Valley for a twinbill on Tuesday before welcoming Louisiana Tech for a three-game series this weekend.