March 1, 2001
The top-ranked Bruins start their last non-conference homestand this Friday, when UCLA plays host to one of the two Easton Classic tournament sites. The remaining tournament games will be played at Cal State Northridge. UCLA is scheduled to play Colorado State, South Florida and UNLV during the Easton Classic. The Bruins defeated the Rams in their only previous meeting, 4-0 in 1987. Against South Florida, UCLA holds a 5-0 series advantage and the softball Bruins have never played UNLV.
UCLA Quick Facts
2001 Overall Record: 21-0
2000 Pac-10 Record: 14-7 (third)
NFCA Ranking: No. 1
Head Coach: Sue Enquist
Career Record: 600-115-1 (13th season)
Bruins Earn Texas Invitational Title, Sweep Southwest Texas St.
UCLA posted a 6-0 record last week, winning the Texas Invitational with a 4-0 record over the weekend, then sweeping a doubleheader at Southwest Texas State on Monday afternoon.
At the Texas Invitational, the Bruins accumulated four home runs, including the fifth of the year for Stacey Nuveman, the first for freshman Stephanie Ramos, ninth for Tairia Mims (matching her 2000 season total) and an impressive performance by sophomore 3B/C Toria Auelua. Auelua went 4-for-4 in UCLA's eight-inning win over the host Longhorns, including a solo shot in the top of the eighth inning, which proved to be the game-winning RBI. For the Invitational, Auelua hit a team-best .538, going 7-for-13 with a home run, four RBI and a run scored.
Although the Bruins earned two victories at Southwest Texas State on Monday, they came with a high price. Auelua was listed as the game's starting catcher, batting eighth. When Auelua went out in the bottom of the first inning to catch Courtney Dale's warm-up pitches, she felt a "pop" in her knee, and was carried from the field. Dale pitched her longest outing of the season, throwing seven innings before being replaced by Stephanie Swenson. The Bruins were up 2-0 after four and a half innings, but the Bobcats scored in the bottom of the fifth to make it 2-1. In the bottom of the seventh, a leadoff single, two walks and an RBI single by Stephanie Hughes tied the game at 2-2.
In the top of the ninth, with Monique Mejia as the tiebreak runner for the Bruins, Nuveman advanced Mejia to third on an E6, bringing Dale to the plate. Dale fouled the first pitch off of her mouth, splitting her upper lip, chipping a tooth, and requiring eight stitches. Junior Crissy Buck completed the at-bat, and recorded the first out of the inning on a called third strike.
Both teams scored runs in the ninth inning. Ramos was UCLA's tiebreak runner, and was advanced to third base on a sacrifice bunt by Lupe Brambila. Amanda Freed posted the critical RBI single to score Ramos. In the bottom of the frame, Swenson forced the Bobcats into two groundouts, eliminating the tiebreak runner on a pickoff play in between to end the game.
Game two was not as dramatic, as freshman Keira Goerl allowed a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning before retiring 10 straight batters. The Bobcats would have just two base runners for the remainder of the game. Home runs by Freed and Brambila gave UCLA two of their three runs in the 3-1 win.
She's Baaack!: Nuveman Moves Up NCAA Career HRs List
With five home runs this season, Bruin slugger Stacey Nuveman currently has 56 career home runs, moving her into fifth place on the NCAA's all-time list. Nuveman needs two home runs to pass Akron's Kelli Metzger (57 HR, 1996-99) for fourth place, and the best career home run total of any non-Arizona player. Through 21 games, Nuveman has walked 28 times, equivalent to 35% of her total plate appearances and a 1.33 per-game average.
Worth noting is that Nuveman has accumulated her 56 HRs in just 153 games played. Nebraska's Ali Viola (53 HR, 1995-98) played in 209 games during her career, while Metzger had 206 career games played. The top-three players on the NCAA's all-time list all played for the Arizona Wildcats: Leah Braatz (1994-95, 97-98, 85 HR, 271 GP), Laura Espinoza (1992-95, 85 HR, 241 GP) and Jenny Dalton (1993-96, 76 HR, 251 GP).
Nuveman returns to the Bruins in 2001 after missing the 2000 collegiate season in order to play for the U.S. Olympic Team. Despite the fact that she is in her fifth year as a Bruin, Nuveman has remaining collegiate eligibility for the 2001 and 2002 seasons, and is considered an athletic junior in 2001.
Head Coach Sue Enquist
The 2001 season marks Sue Enquist's 13th campaign as head coach of the Bruin softball program. It is her 22nd year as part of UCLA's softball coaching staff and her 26th year of involvement with the program as either a coach or player. Enquist has a 600-115-1 (.839) coaching record and 1,027 wins in her Bruin softball career as a player, assistant coach and head coach, combined. As a player from 1975-78, Enquist became UCLA's first All-American while establishing the Bruin career batting average record of .401. She is still the only UCLA player to complete her career with a batting average over .400.
Five Bruin starters currently own season batting averages of .400 or above: Nuveman (.462), freshman Claire Sua (.459), sophomore Tairia Mims (.435), freshman Stephanie Ramos (.417) and sophomore Natasha Watley (.412). The Bruins have scored 177 runs while allowing just 18. UCLA's offensive power is evident in the team pitching stats, as UCLA has a team ERA of 0.73 while the Bruins have hit their opponents into a 7.53 team ERA.
Nine of UCLA's 21 victories to date have not required a full seven innings of play, including seven games that were five-inning mercy rule wins.
Freed Continues Domination in the Circle
Junior P/OF Amanda Freed spent her summer as a traveling alternate with the U.S. Olympic Team, and has returned to the Bruins as the same dominant pitcher who tossed UCLA to last year's NCAA Championship Game. Freed leads the Bruins with 56.0 innings in the circle and a 9-0 record with one save. She has struck out 62 and walked seven, good for a stunning K:BB ratio that is nearly 9:1! The Bruins have allowed just three runs, one earned, with Freed in the circle for a 0.13 ERA. Offensively, Freed is hitting .368 with one home run, three doubles and a triple. She has stolen nine bases on 10 tries.
Elementary, My Dear Watley!
Even the masterful detective Sherlock Holmes wouldn't be able to stop Bruin sophomore All-American shortstop Natasha Watley, who became the most prolific base stealer in UCLA history after just one season. Watley's record-setting freshman campaign included team highs of a .426 batting average and stealing 32 bases on 37 attempts. In addition to setting a new Bruin single-season record for stolen bases and taking over the UCLA career lead in that category, Watley set an NCAA Division I postseason record with four steals against Canisius in UCLA's postseason opener on May 18, 2000. So far this season, Watley has 19 swipes on 21 tries, giving her 51 career steals.
Forget Waldo, Where's Tairia?
Sophomore Tairia Mims is on the field and producing impressive offensive numbers from the No. 3 spot in the lineup, but you never know where you'll find her on the field defensively.
Mims has started 13 games in right field, four games at first base, and four games behind the plate. She has also played third base, most recently in a first-inning defensive switch in game one at Southwest Texas State. UCLA's starting first baseman a year ago, Mims was a catcher and third baseman in high school and ASA ball. Since coming to UCLA, she has learned first base and right field, making her one of Sue Enquist's most versatile athletes defensively.
On offense, Mims currently has a .435 average, going 30-for-69 with five doubles, 10 home runs, 38 RBI, 26 runs scored and seven walks, for a .524 on-base percentage and a .942 slugging percentage. During her freshman season in 2000, Mims totalled nine home runs 32 RBI, eight doubles and a .519 slugging percentage. Mims was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for Feb. 12-18 after hitting six home runs with 19 RBI during that stretch.
Two freshmen, Stephanie Ramos and Claire Sua, have jumped right into the Bruin starting lineup, and are making significant contributions. Both are hitting over .400, as Ramos checks in with a .417 average, going 25-for-60 with six doubles, 10 RBI and 17 runs scored. Defensively, she has started every game in either left field or center field and has 12 putouts and an assist.
Sua is hitting .459, going 28-for-61 with three home runs ? including a grand slam on Feb. 10 vs. San Diego ? 23 RBI and eight runs scored. Sua entered the lineup as the designated player in UCLA's first five games (at the Early Bird Classic) before making her defensive debut at first base in the doubleheader at Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 7.
Pitcher Keira Goerl has pitched in seven of UCLA's games and has a 1.66 ERA with 15 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched. Batters are hitting .146 against Goerl through February. Goerl is 6-0 on the 2001 season and has pitched one shutout and two combined shutouts. She is second on the team in innings pitched with 38.0 to Amanda Freed's 56.0.
Baserunning specialists Amanda Simpson and Julie Hoshizaki both have seen game action, with Simpson stealing one base on as many attempts with seven runs scored. She has appeared as a pinch runner 19 of UCLA's 21 games. Hoshizaki has pinch-run in 13 games with six runs scored. Marcel Torres earned a single in her first collegiate at-bat, entering the game as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning in the first game of the Cal State Fullerton doubleheader. She went 1-for-1 with an RBI against San Diego, and made her defensive debut at third base. Torres hit her first career home run on Feb. 16 against Portland State, and is hitting .500 with seven games played going 4-for-8 at the plate.
Schedule Changes Abound
The Bruins 2001 schedule has undergone numerous changes since the poster and schedule cards went to press, and changes to UCLA's schedule have been made as recently as last week. The following is a rundown of the changes to UCLA's upcoming schedule:
UCLA's Alumni Game has been moved from January to March 24.
Sophomore C/3B Toria Auelua tore the meniscus in her right knee while warming up pitcher Courtney Dale in game one of UCLA's doubleheader at Southwest Texas State on Feb. 26. Auelua is scheduled for surgery on Wed., Feb. 28, and is expected to be out for a minimum of 6-8 weeks. Senior P/DP Courtney Dale fouled a ball off of her mouth in that same game, and has eight stitches in her upper lip and a chipped lower tooth. Her playing status for this weekend's Easton Classic will be a game-time decision.