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This Week in WAC Softball
Courtesy: WAC

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK – Hawai‘i’s Kate Robinson and Justine Smethurst have been named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. This is the second honor of the season for both Robinson and Smethurst.

Robinson, a junior from Honolulu, O’ahu (Kamehameha Schools), had team-highs in batting average .500 (10-for-20), doubles (2), home runs (3), RBI (10) and slugging percentage (1.050). She also had a .560 on-base percentage and 21 total bases. She is currently on a seven-game hitting streak, which is the longest of her career. She was 4-for-8 (.500) with runners in scoring position, and 7-for-14 (.500) in opportunities to advance runners. On defense, she had a 1.000 fielding percentage in six games played at first base.

Smethurst, a sophomore from Victoria, Australia, (Shelford Girls Grammar), had her best week in terms of wins as a Rainbow Wahine pitcher in her young career. She went 5-0 with five complete games in five starts, including two victories over No.14 Oregon State.  It marks the highest-ranked team she has ever beaten. She had three shutouts (Boston College, Liberty, and Oregon State). She also fired a pair of two-hitters against Oregon State and Boston College. In her five games, she had an ERA of 0.60 in 35.0 innings pitched. She held opponents to a .195 average.

Other hitter of the week nominees included: Fresno State’s Haley Perkins led the Bulldogs in hitting with a .588 batting average ... New Mexico State’s Kristi Randall hit .563 with two doubles and two RBI ... San Jose State’s Sarah Smith hit .444 with eight hits and two home runs with seven RBI.

Other pitcher of the week nominees included: Fresno State’s Robin Mackin went 4-0 with three complete games and 37 strikeouts ... San Jose State’s Roxanne Bejarano went 2-1 with a complete game and 18 strikeouts.

ON DECK – In week five of WAC softball, all seven teams are back in action. Several teams took a brief hiatus last week. Nevada heads to the islands to play in the Bank of Hawai‘i Invitational along with the Rainbow Wahine. Both teams will take on No. 16 Baylor. The Wolf Pack and the Rainbow Wahine will meet in a pre-WAC matchup on March 15. Fresno State has a tough game against No. 3 Arizona State on March 16 at the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton. Utah State will also face ranked teams, taking on No. 16 Oregon and No. 15 Oregon State at the Cascade Clash Invitational. New Mexico State will take on instate rival UTEP and travel to Cali to take on Santa  Barbara. Northern schools are headed to San Jose, as the Spartans have already played Northern Iowa and will face Northern Colorado. After splitting against Southeastern Louisiana, the Lady Techsters round out the week against North Texas on March 15.

HAWAI‘I EARNS TOP 25 RANKING – Hawai‘i is back in the polls this week earning a No. 23 ranking in the USA Today/NFCA Poll. In the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll the Rainbow Wahine are No. 25. Fresno State is on the cusp of breaking back in to the polls. The Bulldogs are No. 27 in the NFCA poll, while they are tied for No. 30 in the USA Softball poll.

AGAINST THE BEST – WAC schools are 7-17 against ranked teams this  season. Hawai‘i is 5-3 with two wins last week against then-No. 14 Oregon State. San Jose and Utah State have both lost to No. 10 California. Fresno State earned two wins against ranked teams defeating California and Nebraska. Nevada is 0-4 against ranked competition.

I-10 RIVALRY 2007 – Wednesday’s meeting between New Mexico State and the University of Texas-El Paso is the 14th meeting all-time between the two schools. The Miners started their softball program in 2004 and the Aggies have owned a 11-3 record in the rivalries’ short existence. NMSU has not lost a game in the seven meetings with UTEP at the NMSU Softball Complex and they have a current three-game winning streak against its I-10 rival. The Aggies are 1-0 already this season against the Miners.

STREAKING SILAGYI  – At the Worth Invitational, sophomore Kym Silagyi set a new career high recording a seven-game hit streak. During the steak, which spanned from February 23-March 2, she recorded 11 hits in seven games including a career-high three hits versus #15 Washington. Sliagyi’s .321 batting average is second on the team among the starters (18-for-58) and her 18 hits this season is also second on the team, behind Tyler Schafer who has 23. Silagyi, who had her seven-game hit streak snapped against Cal State Fullerton, currently has a two-game hit streak. Her previous career long was a six-game hit streak, which she recorded twice during the 2006 season.

FRESNO STATE TO HOST 2007 TOURNAMENT – For the second-straight season, the WAC Softball Tournament will be held in Fresno, Calif. This will be only the second tournament since 1999.  This season, all seven teams will advance to the double-elimination tournament. The tournament will be held at Bulldog Diamond from May 10-12.
  Fourth-seeded Nevada captured its first WAC Tournament last season. The Wolf  Pack defeated third-seeded Hawai‘i twice on the final day to win the tournament. Nevada was led by pitcher Jordan McPherson who pitched all 41 innings of the WAC Tournament without allowing an earned run.

SIGNS OF IMPROVEMENT – Utah State takes an 8-12 record into the weekend, matching last season’s win total (8-38). The Aggies have won four of its last six games, stringing together the program’s first three-game win streak since 2005. In their last action, the Aggies beat Northern Colorado in a doubleheader on March 1 with a pair of one-run victories, 6-5 and 5-4, then drubbed UNC again in the first game of the Colorado State Tournament, 12-4, on March 3. USU got run-ruled by Colorado State, 10-1 in five innings later in the day, only to turn around and avenge that loss with a 3-2 win over the Rams on March 4. The Aggies wrapped up tournament action with a 9-5 loss to Northern Colorado.

WOLF PACK IN CONFERENCE OPENERS – Nevada is 1-3 in conference openers with its win coming in 2005 versus San Jose State.  2007 will mark the second time the Pack will open the conference season against Hawai`i as the Pack also opened the 2003 season versus the Rainbow Wahine.  Nevada has a 2-10 record during their opening weekend with its wins coming versus San Jose is 2005 and against then #23 Fresno State in 2006.  Nevada has opened the conference season against the Bulldogs twice, in 2004 and 2006.   

FRESNO STATE PICKED TO WIN 2006 WAC TITLE – The Western Athletic Conference softball coaches selected Fresno State to win the 2007 WAC regular season crown. Fresno State has been picked to take the preseason crown 11 out of the last 12 years. In 2002, Hawai‘i was chosen to win the title. The coaches also voted on 2007 preseason award winners. For the second-straight season Robin Mackin earned preseason Pitcher of the Year honors. Hawai‘i first baseman Tyleen Tausaga earned preseason Player of the Year honors. The last Rainbow Wahine player to earn preseason Player of the Year honors was shortstop Kate Judd who earned the award before the 2002 and 2003 seasons.

Fresno State edged out Hawai‘i with 35 points to the Rainbow Wahine’s 30. Defending WAC Tournament Champions Nevada was picked to finish third with 28 points. This is the second-straight year that Wolf Pack have been picked third in the preseason. The Bulldogs and the Wolf Pack were the only WAC teams to advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season. Fresno State is the only team in the nation to play in all 25 NCAA Tournaments.

New Mexico State finished fourth with 21 points followed by San Jose State with 14 points. Louisiana Tech was picked to finish sixth with 10 points, while Utah State was picked to finish seventh with nine points.

RETURNING ALL-WAC PLAYERS – The WAC will feature 11 players who were 2006 first team all-WAC performers. Fresno State returns WAC Pitcher and Freshman of the Year, sophomore Robin Mackin. The Bulldogs also return sophomore third baseman Haley Perkins. Hawai‘i returns first baseman Tyleen Tausaga, pitcher Justine Smethurst and outfielder Kaulana Gould. All three Louisiana Tech first-team all-WAC honorees return, including catcher Regan Clark, second baseman Rochelle Sandberg and outfielder Emma Barnes. New Mexico State also returns outfielder Kristi Randall, outfielder Rishelle Gastelum and designated player Stacey Lien. Second team returnees include: 2B Jenna Cervantez, Fresno State; 3B Jessica Elson, Louisiana Tech; OF Shannon Garvin, Fresno State; OF Tanisha Milca, Hawai‘i; OF Mandy Winkley, San Jose State; DP Audrey Andrade, Hawai‘i; 3B Sarah Hunt, Nevada and P Jordan McPherson, Nevada.

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