Tough Schedule Awaits Huskies In Fullerton
March 13, 2013
SEATTLE - In the final pre-season tune-up before Pac-12 play begins, the Washington softball team heads to the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., Thursday-Sunday.
Riding a 14-game winning streak, the Huskies (19-5) moved up one spot to 18 in the USA Today/NFCA Poll and remained at No. 16 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll. Last week, the UW won the Husky Softball Classic with five wins in mercy rule fashion over Ohio, Bradley, Yale, New Mexico and Seattle U.
An even tougher test awaits the Huskies this week in Southern California as they face off against No. 9/10 Texas, No. 15/14 Michigan, DePaul, Pacific and Penn State.
On Thursday the Huskies will play twice, first against No. 15/14 Michigan at 11 a.m. The Wolverines are 17-6 overall and went 2-1 last weekend at the Red and Black Tournament in Louisville. They defeated Miami (Ohio) 2-0 and Illinois State 2-1, and fell to No. 13 Louisville 5-4. Sara Driesenga leads the team with a 13-5 record and a 1.52 ERA in 110.0 innings. At the plate, Michigan is hitting .317 as a team with 116 RBI. Washington leads the all-time series 8-7 and won the last meeting on March 13, 2009, 1-0.
Washington will face DePaul at 1:30 p.m. DePaul is 12-8 on the year and had last weekend off. March 1-3 they competed at the Eller Media Stadium Classic in Las Vegas and went 4-1 with wins over New Mexico State, Weber State, UNLV and CSUN. Kirsten Verdun is a lethal pitcher/hitter with a .333 batting average, two home runs and 14 RBI. In the circle, she is 8-4 with a 1.87 ERA in 75.0 innings. The Huskies are 11-3 against the Blue Demons and won 9-1 last season in the same tournament.
Each of the last three days of the tournament the Huskies will play just once. On Friday, its No. 9/10 Texas at 7 p.m. The Longhorns are 23-3 on the year and have won four in a row. Last week they defeated Texas State and Louisiana-Lafayette twice each. Texas is batting an impressive .340 with five players hitting over .400. They have 157 RBI on the year and 26 home runs. Taylor Hoagland is the team leader with a .469 average, eight doubles, six home runs, 23 RBI and 28 walks. Blaire Luna is a perfect 11-0 in the circle with a 0.99 ERA. Washington leads the all-time series 13-6. The last meeting was at this tournament in 2011 and Texas handed the UW its first loss of the season.
Penn State is the opponent on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. and enters the tournament with a 6-12 record. The Nittany Lions went 3-2 in the Under Armour Showcase last weekend, falling to Loyola Marymount, Western Michigan and South Carolina and earning wins over Toledo and Maine. Cassidy Bell is hitting an impressive .463 with 10 home runs and 25 RBI. In the circle, Macy Jones has pitched 54.2 innings and is 5-5 with a 3.59 ERA. This will be just the fifth meeting between Washington and Penn State. The Huskies lead the series 3-1 and won the last meeting in 2009, 14-13.
The final opponent on Sunday at 10 a.m. will be the Pacific Tigers. With a 14-11 overall record, the Tigers are led by Nikki Armagost in the circle, boasting an 8-3 record and 1.51 ERA. Armagost is also the RBI leader with 20 and three home runs. They lost a tight 2-0 game at Stanford last weekend and also dropped close games to Minnesota and Florida Gulf Coast. The Huskies lead the series 13-7 and won the last meeting in 2001, 14-2.
Live stats will be available for all games except the DePaul game on www.gohuskies.com.