UCLA Finishes Non-Conference Slate

March 13, 2002

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The non-conference season is winding down for the Bruins, with just two non-conference dates left on the schedule, and exam week in between. UCLA, which is on an academic quarter system, will play a doubleheader at Easton Stadium on Wednesday against UC Santa Barbara before taking a 12-day break for final exams. The Bruins will then return to action on Monday, March 25 with a 1 pm doubleheader against No. 10 Fresno State, again at Easton Stadium, before traveling to Washington to begin Pac-10 play.

Sophomore pitcher Keira Goerl pitched more than half of UCLA 's innings at the NIST last weekend, recording 36 strikeouts in 23.0 innings in the circle. Opponents hit a measly .067 against Goerl, who threw her fourth no-hitter of the season on Friday against No. 17 Iowa, striking out 12 and walking two. She had a 2-1 record for the tournament, with the loss coming in a the pitchers-duel game between the Bruins and Hawkeyes on Saturday, a 1-0 UCLA loss. In that game, Goerl struck out eight, walking one, and allowed just three hits. Goerl would have added a third victory to her week 's stats, but pitched one inning shy of the minimum in UCLA 's six-inning run-rule win over UNC Greensboro. Goerl pitched three innings against the Spartans, allowing one hit, striking out seven and walking two before Claire Sua came in to earn the win in relief. A pitcher must throw four innings in a six-inning game, but the minimum is three for a five-inning game. UCLA was leading 6-0 when Goerl left the game.

Two Bruin no-hitters headlined UCLA 's performance at the National Invitational Softball Tournament last weekend, as the Bruins went 3-0 in pool play on Friday, defeating Long Beach State and UNC Greensboro before Keira Goerl posted a 12 strikeout no-hitter against No. 17 Iowa to close out Friday 's play. On Saturday, Amanda Freed countered with a no-hitter of her own, this time it was a 10-strikeout performance against Virginia. The Bruins came out on the short end of a 1-0 pitchers duel between Goerl and Iowa 's Kristi Hanks in the team 's second game on Saturday, but stayed alive in the bottom half of the consolation bracket with a 3-0 win over Virginia. Sunday 's play was called off due to overnight rains that left the playing fields soaked. Arizona State was declared the tournament champion, as the Sun Devils were the only remaining undefeated team in the championship bracket. As a team, the Bruins hit eight triples on the weekend, led by four from junior Tairia Mims Several, if not all, of those triples would have been home runs had the field at the Pleasanton Sports Complex not been a cavernous 280-300 feet, compared to the NCAA standard of 190-220 feet.

The 2002 season marks Sue Enquist 's 14th campaign as head coach of the Bruin softball program. It is her 23rd year as part of UCLA 's softball coaching staff and her 27th year of involvement with the program as either a coach or player. Enquist has a 669-124-1 (. 843)coaching record and 1, 096 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.

Through the first six weeks of the 2002 season, Bruin pitchers have combined for six no-hitters, the highest total for a Bruin squad since Dee Dee Weiman and B 'Ann Burns combined for 10 no- nos during the 1994 season. So far this year, sophomore Keira Goerl has posted four no-hitters, while senior Amanda Freed has two. In 1994, Weiman had five no-hitters, Burns had three, and two no-hitters were shared between the two pitchers.

With eight home runs this season, Bruin slugger Stacey Nuveman currently has 78 career home runs, giving her third place on the NCAA 's all-time list. Nuveman now has the best career home run total of any non-Arizona player, and is quickly approaching the NCAA career record of 85 home runs, held by Arizona 's Leah Braatz and Laura Espinoza. She needs seven home runs to tie and eight to break the NCAA career home run record.

Although Cal junior Veronica Nelson has broken the previous NCAA record for walks (Nelson has 224 through Mar. 10), Nuveman is close on her heels. Nuveman enters the UCSB double- header with 201 career walks. Finally, Nuveman ranks fourth on the NCAA 's Division I career RBI list with 271. Once again, she is the top non-Arizona player on that list, and needs 45 RBI to move up to third (#3 Espinoza had 315 RBI).

With three stolen bases in game one against Purdue on March 2, junior All-America shortstop Natasha Watley became the first Bruin in history to record 100 stolen bases in her UCLA career. Watley currently has 108 career swipes, ranking sixth on the Pac-10 's career list. In addition, she has posted another impressive streak, having hit safely in UCLA 's first 29 games during the 2002 season. With a 1-for-3 performance in last May 's NCAA Championship game, Watley now has two hitting streaks of 30 or more games in as many seasons. She recorded a Pac- 10 record 32-game streak a year ago (March 2-May 2). Last year 's streak is tied for the fifth-longest in on the NCAA Division I list, while the 2002 version is tied for seventh-best in NCAA history

As Crash Davis said to Nuke La Loosh in the movie Bull Durham, "Strikeouts are boring, besides that, they 're fascist. Throw some ground balls, it 's more democratic. " Bruin pitchers Amanda Freed and Keira Goerl could be given that same piece of advice.

In 2001, each had one double-figure strikeout performance, with Goerl 's coming in a 14-inning game. Freed had one game with nine K 's, while Goerl had two. This year, however, strikeouts have been the popular path to outs, as Goerl has six double-figure srikeout games with two 9-K performances, while Freed had a 12K day against Cal State Fullerton on Feb. 27, a 10K no-hitter against Virginia on March 9, and has three 9K performances. Both have impressive strikeout-to- walk ratios in the circle, with Freed checking in at 5:1 (90K, 18 BB)and Goerl at over 5. 5:1 (143K, 26BB). In relation to innings pitched, Goerl is picking up nearly 1. 5 strikeouts per inning (96. 0 IP)this season, while Freed is just over one K/IP.

Five current and two former UCLA softball players have been chosen by USA Softball as members of its 22-player core group of athletes to move on to its upcoming World Championships camp in May/June 2002. Current players include Toria Auelua, Amanda Freed, Stacey Nuveman, Tairia Mims and Natasha Watley while volunteer assistant coach Lisa Fernandez and 2001 senior Courtney Dale round out the Bruin contingent. USA Softball will be going for its fifth consecutive World Championship at the 2002 ISF World Championships in July in Saskatoon, Canada. The USA will also be looking to qualify as the top seed for the 2004 Olympic Games for the third consecutive time.

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