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This Week in WAC Softball
Courtesy: WAC

ON DECK – In week seven of WAC softball, all seven teams will be in action. Hawai‘i looks to extend its six-game conference winning streak on the road at San Jose State. Utah State will play its 2007 WAC opener in Fresno against the Bulldogs.  New Mexico State looks to remain perfect in WAC action on the road at Louisiana Tech, while the Lady Techsters look for their first conference win. Nevada will step out of conference with a doubleheader on Thursday,  March 29 against Sacramento State, The Wolf Pack will also play their first games at the brand new Christina Hixson Softball Complex. Nevada will then host the Nevada Tournament over the weekend.

NFCA Top 25 Poll
USA Softball Top 25 Poll

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK – Fresno State’s Kristin Sylvester and New Mexico State’s Kim Watson have been named the Western Athletic Conference Hitter and Pitcher of the Week, respectively. This is the first honor of the season for both.

Sylvester, a junior from Big Bear City, Calif. (Lumen Christi) had a solid week at the plate this past week for the Bulldogs. The junior helped lead Fresno State to a 4-1 mark with a .563 batting average. In five games, she went 9-for-16 with four home runs and eight RBI. Sylvester hit two home runs in the same inning against Ohio on Tuesday night and hit two home runs on Saturday, one in the first game, followed by one in the second game against Nevada. Sylvester had an unbelievable 1.313 slugging percentage, got hit three times and had a .632 on base percentage. Sylvester also scored seven runs in five games.

Watson, a sophomore from Spokane, Wash. (Mead) went 3-0 last week with a minuscule 1.05 ERA. In her 20.0 innings of work, Watson struck out 20 batters, gave up only four runs and just three earned runs and allowed only just 15 hits. She also walked only five batters and her opposing batters hit just .211 off of her. In the Aggies 3-0 win over St. Mary’s on March 19, Watson pitched a complete game shutout, striking out eight batters and allowed just four hits. Watson currently ranks second in the conference in wins (14) and in strikeouts (126) while having the fifth best ERA (2.29) with the third most innings pitched. The Spokane, Wash. native has allowed just 0.460 runs per inning on the year and has thrown 12 complete ball games.

Other hitter of the week nominees included: Hawai‘i’s Kate Robinson hit .471 with three home runs ...Louisiana Tech’s Rochelle Sandberg hit .429 with six hits ... Nevada’s Sam Bias hit .417 with four RBI ... New Mexico State’s Ashley Roszkos hit .533 with 5five RBI as the Aggies swept San Jose State.

Other pitcher of the week nominees included: Fresno State’s Robin Mackin went 3-0 for the Bulldogs last week ... Hawai‘i’s Kate Robinson went 3-0 as the Rainbow Wahine start the WAC season 6-0 ... Nevada’s Katie Holverson had two complete games with eight strikeouts.

NO SOPHOMORE SLUMP – Fresno State sophomore Robin Mackin has shown no signs of a sophomore slump. She leads the WAC in pitching with a 1.12 earned run and a 19-7 record. Mackin has recorded 231 strikeouts in 181 2/3 innings pitched. Kristin Sylvester ranks second in the WAC in doubles, having recorded 10 on the season, two back of the leader. Haley Perkins ranks fourth in hits and runs scored against WAC competition as well. Perkins has 45 hits and 32 runs scored.

HAWAI‘I REMAINS IN THE POLLS – Hawai‘i i remains in the polls this week, earning a No. 21 ranking in both the USA Today/NFCA Poll and the Softball poll. The Rainbow Wahine are still the only team in the WAC ranked. Fresno State is on the cusp of breaking back in to the top 25. The Bulldogs are No. 26 in the NFCA poll and are tied for No. 27 in the USA Softball poll.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES – The Aggies have topped last year’s season totals for home runs (21 this season/18 last year) and stolen bases (32 this season/13 last year), and are closing fast on RBI (85 this season/95 last year) and the pitching staff has nearly surpassed last season’s strikeout total, currently with 125 K’s, after USU pitchers logged 142 strikeouts last year.

SILAGYI EXTENDS HITTING STREAK – Nevada’s Kym Silagyi extended her hit streak to 14 games over the weekend versus Fresno State, giving her the program’s all-time longest hit streak.  Silagyi’s current streak started on March 3 versus Cal Poly and she has recorded 15 hits in 14 games.  Her 14 games passed Brittany Lorenzen (2003-06), who recorded a 12-game hit streak in 2003, for the longest streak in program history.  The second-longest streak of the 2007 season was 10 games recorded by Tyler Schafer from March 3-20. 

Nevada’s Longest Hit Steaks By Year
2007: 14 games, Kym Silagyi (current)
2006: 8 games, Brittany Lorenzen
2005: 8 games, Candice Rainwater and Amanda Wise
2004: 9 games, Stacy Mueller
2003: 12 games, Brittany Lorenzen

 OUT OF THE PARK –-Hawai‘i has hit 49 home runs in 37 games. Last season, the Rainbow Wahine hit a school-record 42 in 54 games. Hawai‘i has 176 RBI thus far this season. Six of the homers were grand slams, two by Brandi Peiler and one each by Kaulana Gould, Alana Power, Valana Manuma, and Tyleen Tausaga. Thirty have been multiple RBI home runs (20 two-run home runs, four three-run home runs and six grand slams. The highest total for the team in a game is six (at LMU - 2-Tanisha Milca, Peiler, Manuma, Gail Matsushima and Amanda Tauali`i). Three players have hit two homers in one game: Robinson twice (vs. Colorado State and vs. Southern Utah); Milca at LMU and Peiler vs. UOP.

NEW HOME FOR WOLFPACK – Nevada will play its first game at the Christina M. Hixson Softball Park this Thursday, hosting Sacramento State in a doubleheader followed by the fourth annual Nevada Tournament. This week, the Pack will step out of conference play to face Sacramento State on Thursday in the longest series in Nevada program history at  60 games.  Starting on Friday, Nevada will host the three-team Nevada Tournament featuring the University of Utah, St. Mary’s and host Nevada.  Each team will play four games in the Tournament, with the Pack opening Tournament action versus Utah on Friday at 2 p.m. Beginning with the 2007 season, the University of Nevada softball team has a new home facility. 
  Christina Hixson Softball Complex was named after the benefactor whose donation allowed Nevada to purchase the land for the softball complex.  The land for the facility was purchased from Bishop Manogue Catholic High School and is located adjacent to campus. The 23-acre site is also home to the field events for Wolf Pack women’s track and field. The softball facility has 168 permanent chair backs behind home plate. The facility can hold up to 1,000 fans comfortably with room for lawn chairs on the burms behind the first and third base lines. 

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.

WAC LEADERS – Hawai‘i’s Clare Warwick leads the WAC in hits with 53. Her teammate, Kate Robinson, leads the conference in RBI with 40. New Mexico State’s Stephanie Herrera currently leads the WAC in hitting, batting .410. Hawai‘i’s Warwick is second, hitting .402.
  In the circle, Fresno State’s Robin Mackin leads the conference with a 19-7 record. Mackin already has 231 strikeouts. Last season, Mackin set a WAC record with 400 strikeouts during her rookie campaign. The Bulldog All-America also leads the conference in ERA (1.12) and saves (4).
FRESNO STATE PICKED TO WIN 2007 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 advance 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.

Fresno State Bulldogs (26-13, 3-1 WAC)
Fresno State junior Kristin Sylvester had a solid week  at the plate this past week for the Bulldogs ... the junior helped lead Fresno State to a 4-1 mark with a .563 batting average ... in five games she went 9-for-16 with four home runs and eight RBI ... Fresno State as a team leads the WAC in pitching and fielding. The Bulldogs have a combined 1.76 earned run average and have struck out 274 batters in 254 1/3 innings pitched ... defensively the Bulldogs have a .975 fielding percentage and have committed 28 errors in 38 games.

Hawai‘i Rainbow Wahine (33-7, 6-0 WAC)
Last week, UH batters hit .411 while their pitching and defense held opponents ti a .196 average ... the pitching staff had an ERA of 1.44 over the six games. Hawai‘i continues to shatter their school home record, which now stands at 52. Robinson leads the team with eight doubles, 12 home runs, and 40 RBI on the year ... she is also 10-0 as a pitcher with an ERA of 1.49 and 10 complete games, eight of them shut-outs.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (16-19, 0-3 WAC)
Fourth-ranked Alabama (33-3) swept a softball doubleheader from Louisiana Tech (16-19) 12-4 and 15-0 Tuesday ... the contests were the fourth and fifth straight road games in five days against Top 25 teams for Tech as the Lady Techsters were swept against Hawai‘i this past weekend ... now the Lady Techsters will host New Mexico State on Friday and Saturday with a doubleheader to be played on March 31.

Nevada Wolf Pack (8-24, 1-5 WAC)
Nevada picked up its first conference win over the weekend versus Fresno State, who received voted in both of the week’s national softball polls ... the Pack posted its second run-rule win of the season versus Fresno State with the other coming against Penn State ... Nevada will open at its new softball facility, the Christina Hixson Softball Complex, this Thursday hosting Sacramento State ... as a team in overall games, the Pack is seventh in team batting average (.232), fifth in team ERA (4.19) and fifth in team fielding (.946%)  ... individually, Brittany Puzey is third in doubles with nine.

New Mexico State (21-15, 3-0 WAC)
The Aggies had a current four-game winning streak broken by New Mexico ... junior Stephanie Herrera currently sports a 18-game hitting streak ... in the last three games (all conference wins), NMSU has scored 20 runs off of 29 hits ... NMSU has hit more doubles and triples than they did for the entire season a year ago and they have scored 171 runs in 34 games where in 2006 they scored 185 runs in 49 total games ... the Aggies travel to Ruston, La. to face Louisiana Tech for a three-game series.

San Jose State Spartans (15-16, 0-3 WAC)
The Spartans snapped their four-game losing streak on a split with Santa Clara University in a mid-week non-conference doubleheader ...  San Jose State took the first game, 13-3, in six innings ...  Santa Clara edged the Spartans in the second game, 4-3, following a sixth inning tie-breaking run ...  the spilt brings the Spartans’ record to 15-16 on the season while the Broncos improve to 6-30.

Utah State Aggies (9-17, 0-0 WAC)
Utah State is 10-14 all-time vs. Fresno State ... the Bulldogs swept the Aggies last year, winning both games of the weather-shortened series at Logan on March 31 in USU’s home opener ... Fresno State won 3-2 in 8 innings, in game one, before winning 10-2 in 5 innings in the nightcap.  Prior to last season, the two teams had not met since 2001, when USU won 4-1 at the Cal State Fullerton Tournament ... USU is 9-17 on the season, topping last season’s win total (8-38), when the Aggies upset then No. 15 Oregon State, 2-0, on Saturday, at Corvallis, Ore., the Beavers’ first shutout loss at home to an unranked team since April 29, 2005.

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