Feb. 11, 2009
THIS WEEKEND'S SCHEDULE
Friday, February 13
6 p.m. - UNLV vs. #4 UCLA
8:15 p.m. - #11 Northwestern vs. #4 UCLA
Saturday, February 14
1:30 p.m. - #5 Michigan vs. #4 UCLA
3:45 p.m. - Kentucky vs. #4 UCLA
Sunday, February 15
11:15 a.m. - South Dakota State vs. #4 UCLA
First team listed in third-base dugout, home team in bold
Gametracker available for all games at UCLABruins.com
Friday and Saturday games at UNLV's Eller Media Stadium
Sunday's game at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park Field 3 in Henderson, Nev.
FIRST ROAD TRIP OF THE YEAR TAKES BRUINS TO LAS VEGAS
The fourth-ranked Bruins (3-1) travel to the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic this weekend for five games, including a pair of matchups against Top 15 teams. On Friday, UCLA faces UNLV (3-1) at 6 p.m. before taking on #11 Northwestern (2-2) at 8:15 p.m. On Saturday, fifth-ranked Michigan (4-1) awaits the Bruins at 1:30 p.m., followed by a 3:45 p.m. matchup against Kentucky (0-0). UCLA concludes the weekend on Sunday with an 11:15 a.m. game against South Dakota State (1-3). Friday and Saturday's games will be played at UNLV's Eller Media Stadium, while Sunday's contest will be at Stephanie Lynn Craig Park Field 3 in Henderson. All games will feature Gametracker on UCLABruins.com.
BRUINS IN THE POLLS
The Bruins remained at fourth in both the USA Today/NFCA and ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Preseason polls. UCLA maintained its spots despite losing points in both rankings. The Bruins were also selected first in the Pac-10 Preseason Coaches poll, earning 43 points and three first-place votes.
BRUINS ON THE WEB
Fans can follow UCLA all season long on UCLABruins.com. Gametracker will be featured for all Bruin contests, while live audio with Darren Preston at the call will be available for all home games (except 2/17) on UCLA's website.
BRUINS ON THE TUBE
The Pac-10 softball television schedule has been released and the Bruins will be featured once against Arizona State on Friday, April 3 at 1 p.m. at Easton Stadium. The broadcast will be tape delayed and more information regarding showtimes will be announced at a later date.
VIVA LAS VEGAS
UCLA is making its third straight appearance at the UNLV Louisville Slugger Desert Classic, going 4-1 in each of its last two trips. Last year, the Bruins defeated Missouri, South Carolina, Portland State and Wisconsin, while falling to Illinois.
THREE BRUINS NAMED TO PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCH LIST
Senior Amanda Kamekona, junior Megan Langenfeld and sophomore GiOnna DiSalvatore have been named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List, as announced by the Amateur Softball Association on Wednesday (Jan. 28).
The pre-season watch list is comprised of 50 players. The ASA will announce the 25 finalists on April 1. A player does not have to appear on the initial watch list to be considered a top 25 finalist. However, once the top 25 finalists are named the winner of the award will come from that list. Freshmen qualify for the top 25 list once they have competed at the collegiate level.
Just days before the start of the postseason, a list of 10 finalists will be named and released on May 6. The final three finalists will be announced on May 20, while the winner of the USA Softball Player of the Year Award will be announced prior to the start of the NCAA Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City.
DiSalvatore, Kamekona and Langenfeld all earned NFCA All-American honors last year, with DiSalvatore being named to the first team and Kamekona and Langenfeld receiving third-team accolades. All three were also recognized on the All-Pacific Region (DiSalvatore, Langenfeld - first team, Kamekona - third team) and All-Pacific-10 Conference teams (Kamekona - first team, DiSalvatore, Langenfeld - second team).
SCOUTING THE REBELS
UNLV got off to a successful start to its 2009 campaign at its home tournament last weekend, beating Marshall, Illinois-Chicago and Seton Hall before falling to Seton Hall in the second game of a doubleheader on Sunday. Junior shortstop Jaci Hull was one of two Rebels to hit over .500, batting .545 with four runs batted in. Junior Alyssia De La Toree hit .538 with two homers and four RBI, while junior Kendall Fearn had three home runs and nine runs batted in. In the circle, sophomore Traci Odegard threw 11 shutout innings in two starts, going 2-0 with 13 strikeouts. Pete Manarino is in his first year as UNLV's head coach. He is 846-509-2 in 23 previous seasons of coaching. The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Rebels 22-1 and have won eight in a row. Last year on March 5 at Easton Stadium, Anjelica Selden fanned 13 and Julie Burney drove in the game's only run in the fifth inning to give the Bruins a 1-0 victory. UCLA is 9-0 all-time at UNLV, including an 8-0, five-inning win in its last visit on Feb. 17, 2007 at the Desert Classic. The Rebels' lone triumph in the series came on May 21, 1994 (1-0 in nine innings) at the NCAA Regionals.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Northwestern split four games at last weekend's Arizona State Kajikawa Classic, beating Cal State Bakersfield and #7 Arizona, while losing to #23 Nevada and Kansas. Senior Tammy Williams led the Wildcats' offense with a .385 average, while sisters Erin and Kelly Dyer each hit a pair of home runs. In the circle, junior Lauren Delaney pitched in all four games, starting three, and posting a 0.82 earned run average and 27 strikeouts in 25 2/3 innings of work. Kate Drohan is in her eighth year as Northwestern's head coach and holds a 280-121-1 record. The Bruins have won three straight against the Wildcats, including a pair of wins last year. UCLA defeated Northwestern 6-2 on Feb. 24 at the Palm Springs Classic and 2-0 on March 9 at the Long Beach State Invitational. In the first matchup, Anjelica Selden struck out a career-high 17, while a five-run fourth inning was keyed by a pair of two-run homers by Julie Burney and Amanda Kamekona. In the second meeting, it was another career effort by a Bruin pitcher, this time by Donna Kerr, who fanned a season-best 15. Megan Langenfeld hit a 250-foot, two-run homer to provide the only offense the Bruins needed. The Wildcats last beat the Bruins at the 2006 Women's College World Series (June 4) by a score of 3-1 in eight innings. UCLA leads the all-time series 10-3 and is 7-1 in neutral-site contests.
SCOUTING THE WOLVERINES
Michigan started off the 2009 season with a 4-1 record at the Florida Atlantic Kick-Off Classic, beating Pittsburgh, Long Island, Maryland and FAU before completing the weekend with a 1-0 loss to Massachusetts. Freshman Amanda Chidester had a great collegiate debut, batting .563 with six runs batted in. The Wolverines hit .279 as a team. In the circle, sophomore Jordan Taylor started three games and went 2-1 with a 0.40 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings, while junior Nikki Nemitz went 2-0 in 16 2/3 innings with a 0.84 earned run average and 29 strikeouts. Carol Hutchins is in her 25th year at Michigan and owns a record of 1064-382-4 in Ann Arbor. She holds a career mark of 1087-393-4. The Bruins lead the all-time series with the Wolverines 9-4-1. The most memorable games between the two teams came in the 2005 Women's College World Series Championship Series. UCLA won the first game 5-0, but Michigan came back to win the next two, 5-2 and 4-1 in 10 innings, to claim its first national title. The Bruins exacted a small bit of revenge the following year, defeating the Wolverines 6-4 in 10 innings at Easton Stadium (March 15, 2006). The Bruins are 4-3-1 against Michigan in neutral-site contests.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
The second meeting for UCLA this weekend against a team nicknamed the Wildcats comes against Kentucky, which is starting its 2009 season in Las Vegas after not playing last weekend. The Wildcats went 17-37 a year ago, finishing 11th in the Southeastern Conference with a 3-25 record. Kentucky returns 10 letterwinners and seven starters from that team in 2009. The top offensive returner is junior Molly Johnson, who led the team with a .401 average, six home runs, 40 runs batted in and 17 stolen bases. In the circle, junior Amber Matousek went 11-19 with a 5.41 earned run average and 111 strikeouts in 189 2/3 innings. Rachel Lawson is in her second year at Kentucky and holds a 109-121 record in four seasons of coaching. The Bruins have never met Kentucky.
SCOUTING THE JACKRABBITS
South Dakota State went 1-3 during its opening weekend at the Northern Iowa Dome Tournament, beating North Dakota, but losing to Northern Iowa, Dayton and Nebraska. Senior Brittany Postma led the Jackrabbits with a .583 average last weekend, as the team hit .307. In the circle, SDSU posted a 7.80 team earned run average. Senior Jenna Marston pitched the most, posting a 7.64 ERA and nine strikeouts in 11 innings. Joanna Lane is in her second year at South Dakota State after leading the Jackrabbits to a 17-27 record a year ago and a 9-9 finish in the Summit League, which was tied for fourth. The Bruins and the Jackrabbits have never met.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
The fourth-ranked Bruins hosted the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament last weekend and went 3-1 to start the 2009 season. After Friday's games were washed away by rain, UCLA opened its campaign with a 2-1 loss to Purdue. But the Bruins rebounded with a 10-2, five-inning victory against Indiana later Saturday night. On Sunday, UCLA bested Cal Poly 6-1 before coming back to beat #25 San Diego State 6-2 in nine innings.
Against Purdue, sophomore Donna Kerr struck out 10, allowing only one hit and one walk. But both of those came in the fifth inning, as a two-run bloop single gave the Boilermakers the only runs they would need. Sophomore Katie Schroeder kept the Bruins from getting shut out, belting her first collegiate home run with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning.
In Saturday's nightcap against Indiana, the Bruins scored in all five innings, including four in the fifth to invoke the mercy rule. Senior Amanda Kamekona and freshman Andrea Harrison picked up RBI in a two-run first inning and Schroeder launched her second homer of the evening in the second to make it 3-0. The Bruins added another in the third on an RBI double by junior Kaila Shull and scored two more in the fourth on a two-run, two-out single by junior Megan Langenfeld. After Indiana scored twice in the top of the fifth, UCLA tacked on four runs in the bottom of the frame. An RBI single by Schroeder and a two-run base knock by sophomore GiOnna DiSalvatore put the Bruins up 9-2 and the clinching run came across when Kamekona reached on an error to plate Schroeder. UCLA pounded out 12 hits, including two each for Schroeder, Shull, junior Julie Burney and freshman Dani Yudin. In the circle, junior Whitney Baker earned the win, striking out six in five innings and allowing four hits, two runs and four walks.
On Sunday against Cal Poly, the Bruins broke a scoreless game open with four in the bottom of the third. DiSalvatore and Langenfeld drove in UCLA's first two runs on a single and double, respectively, and a two-out, two-run double by Shull made it 4-0. The Bruins added single runs in the fourth and fifth. In the fourth, Schroeder's third home run in as many games made it 5-0, and one inning later, back-to-back doubles by Shull and Yudin put the Bruins ahead 6-0. Cal Poly scored in the top of the sixth, but Kerr finished up the complete-game victory, striking out 10 and giving up just three hits and one walk. For the second game in a row, the Bruins had 12 hits, as Burney, DiSalvatore, Langenfeld, Schroeder and Shull each had two.
In the final game of the tournament against 25th-ranked San Diego State, neither team scored in regulation, sending the game to extra innings. With the international tiebreaker rule in effect, the Aztecs scored twice in the top of the eighth. But UCLA came back to tie it in the bottom of the inning, as Andrea Harrison belted her first collegiate home run with one out and one on to even the game at two. After San Diego State was turned away in the top of the ninth, the Bruins loaded the bases with nobody out and Shull ended things with a walk-off grand slam to give UCLA the 6-2 win. Harrison had two hits for the Bruins, who had seven as a team. Langenfeld started in the circle and gave up two unearned runs and two hits in 7 1/3 innings with eight strikeouts. Kerr picked up the win in relief, allowing nothing in 1 2/3 innings with two strikeouts.
I'VE GOT THE POWER
In baseball parlance, a five-tool player is one who has great speed, has a great throwing arm, is excellent defensively, hits for average and hits for power. Until last weekend, sophomore Katie Schroeder had displayed four of those tools during her freshman campaign. But the last tool on the list showed itself during the opening weekend of 2009, as Schroeder belted three home runs at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament. After going homerless in her first 188 collegiate at-bats (185 in 2008 and her first three this year), the sophomore hit her first career home run in the bottom of the seventh inning against Purdue last Saturday. Not to be outdone, Schroeder launched another one over the fence two at-bats later in the second inning of a win against Indiana. The home run barrage continued on Sunday when Schroeder hit a solo shot in the fourth against Cal Poly. All told, the All-Pac-10 honorable mention honoree from a year ago batted .462 during the opening weekend with five runs scored and four runs batted in. Schroeder scored twice in UCLA's victories over Indiana and Cal Poly, also accruing a pair of hits in both contests. She had a hit and reached base twice in the other two games last weekend. Through one weekend of play, Schroeder finds her name in the Pac-10 Top 10 in seven offensive categories, including tied for first in home runs, third in slugging percentage (1.154) and tied for third in total bases (15). The terrific start to her sophomore season comes after Schroeder was third on the team with a .362 average in 2008. She also tied for first in stolen bases with eight, was second in hits (67) and multiple-hit games (19), tied for second in on base percentage (.434) and third in runs scored (34) and walks (23).
Donna Kerr was another sophomore who started her 2009 season on a high note. Kerr recorded two of the Bruins' three victories last weekend and fanned 10 in each of her two starts. The sophomore opened the season with a 10-strikeout performance against Purdue on Saturday, allowing only one hit and one walk. However both were allowed in the fifth inning, including a bloop, two-run single that gave the Boilermakers a 2-0 lead and eventually a win. Kerr got into the win column the next day, as she fanned 10 again, giving up three hits, one run and one walk against Cal Poly. The Bruin offense would not let their pitcher down this time, scoring six times in the victory. To round out the weekend, Kerr picked up a win in relief against 25th-ranked San Diego State, tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out two. The sophomore totaled a 1.34 earned run average, a 2-1 record and 22 strikeouts in 15 2/3 innings, limiting opposing hitters to an .083 batting average. Kerr enters the second weekend of competition ranked tied for first in the Pac-10 with teammate Megan Langenfeld in opposing batting average. She is also fourth in strikeouts, tied for fourth in wins and eighth in ERA. Last season, Kerr led the Bruins in earned run average (0.93), posting a 14-2 record and 132 strikeouts in 105 2/3 innings. For her efforts, she was named to the All-Pac-10 honorable mention and All-Pac-10 Freshman teams. Kerr was seventh in the nation in ERA and fewest hits allowed per seven innings a year ago. She was also second among conference hurlers in ERA and third in opposing batting average (.153). Kerr tossed the 16th perfect game in UCLA history on March 2 against Saint Peter's and set a career-best with 15 strikeouts against Northwestern on March 9 at the Long Beach State Invitational.
At last year's Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament, the Bruins had a dramatic victory against UC Santa Barbara on a walk-off home run by Kaila Shull. One year later, Shull did it again, hitting a game-ending grand slam against 25th-ranked San Diego State to give the Bruins a 6-2, nine-inning win. The similarities between both games are stunning. One inning prior to Shull's heroics, the Bruins tied the game on a home run by a freshman. Last year it was then-rookie GiOnna DiSalvatore and this season it was a bomb by Andrea Harrison. It was the completion of an outstanding weekend for Shull, who hit .385 with three doubles and seven runs batted in. The junior went 2-for-3 with an RBI double in the Bruins' victory over Indiana Saturday night and continued her hot hitting into Sunday. Shull had two more hits to go along with a pair of doubles in a win against Cal Poly. She drove in a pair with her first double in the third and came around to score following her second two-bagger in the fifth. In Sunday's nightcap against San Diego State, Shull was hitless in her first three at-bats until she powered an 0-2 pitch over the left-center field wall for her first career grand slam. The junior started the first three games behind home plate and was the starting designated player for the first five innings against the Aztecs before switching to catcher for the last four frames. Along with her prowess on offense, Shull sparkled defensively, throwing out two baserunners against Indiana and Cal Poly. Shull played sparingly last year, appearing in only 22 games. But in her freshman campaign of 2007, she garnered All-Pac-10 honorable mention accolades after recording a .274 batting average with seven home runs, 26 runs batted in and 31 runs scored.
As evidenced by the opening weekend of the 2009 season, opposing pitchers are not letting the 5-foot-2 frame of senior Amanda Kamekona fool them anymore. Kamekona went 3-for-10 with three runs scored at the Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament, but also drew five walks, with four of them coming when she had runners on base. In her five at-bats that resulted in walks, Kamekona saw 25 pitches, 20 of which were outside of the strike zone. During her junior season in 2008, in which she earned first-team All-Pac-10, second-team All-Pacific Region and third-team All-American honors, Kamekona drew only 15 walks. When she did get a chance to hit the ball last weekend, the senior had three hits, including an RBI single in a win over Indiana on Saturday. She also had singles against Purdue and San Diego State. A year ago, Kamekona led the Bruins in home runs (14), runs batted in (46), runs scored (47), doubles (17) and slugging percentage (.663). She also ranked in the Pac-10 Top 10 in eight offensive categories, including tied for third in doubles, sixth in slugging and tied for ninth in homers and RBI. Prior to the start of this season, Kamekona was one of the Bruins named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List.
Junior Megan Langenfeld contributed in a variety of ways during the opening weekend of the 2009 season, both at the plate, in the circle and defensively at first base. In the circle, Langenfeld allowed no earned runs in 7 1/3 innings on Sunday against 25th-ranked San Diego State, giving up just two hits and no walks while striking out eight. At the plate, the junior had three hits in 12 at-bats (.250), scoring three runs and driving in three. Langenfeld drove in a pair of runs on a two-out single against Indiana on Saturday and then went 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI double in a win over Cal Poly on Sunday. Defensively, Langenfeld started three games at first base, making 10 putouts with no errors. Langenfeld is coming off a sophomore season in which she earned first-team All-Pacific Region, second-team All-Pac-10 and third-team NFCA All-American honors. She was first on the team in on base percentage (.482), multiple-RBI games (12), hit by pitches (7) and saves (5), also placing second in home runs (5) and walks (34) and third in RBI (41). As a batter, she hit .349, and as a pitcher, she was 8-2 with a 1.58 ERA. Already a two-time All-Pac-10 and All-Region honoree, Langenfeld was honored prior to the start of the 2009 season by being named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List.
Sophomore GiOnna DiSalvatore started the 2009 season right where she left off in 2008, hitting .308 (4-for-13) with four runs scored, three runs batted in and two doubles. Named to the USA Softball Player of the Year Watch List prior to the start of the season, DiSalvatore had hits in each of the final three games of the opening weekend Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament. Against Indiana on Saturday, DiSalvatore went 1-for-4 with two runs scored and two runs batted in, driving in a pair of runs on a single in the fifth inning. On Sunday, the sophomore had two hits against Cal Poly, posting a double in the first inning and an RBI single in the third. DiSalvatore concluded the weekend with a 1-for-4 performance against San Diego State, recording a double, as well as scoring the lead run on Kaila Shull's walk-off grand slam in the ninth inning. DiSalvatore has already displayed one of her best attributes in 2009 and that is her versatility. She started three games in right field and one at first base last weekend. As a freshman, DiSalvatore started at four different positions (first, second, third and designated player). In 2008, she was one of three Bruins to start all 60 games and earned first-team NFCA All-American and All-Pacific Region honors. She was first on the team in hits with 68, second in runs batted in (45) and total bases (100), third in slugging (.532) and tied for third with a .362 batting average. DiSalvatore also led the Bruins in multiple-hit games with 20 and game-winning RBI with 11.
Freshmen Andrea Harrison and Dani Yudin both started all four games last weekend, making an impact with their bats. Yudin batted .300 (3-for-10) with a double and an RBI, while Harrison had a pair of hits against San Diego State, including a game-tying, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth. The starting left fielder began her collegiate career hitless in her first nine at-bats, but broke out of the slump with a single in the fifth inning against SDSU. Three innings later, Harrison launched her first career home run to tie the game at two in a contest the Bruins eventually won 6-2. Yudin started at designated player for the first three games before earning her first start behind the plate against San Diego State. The freshman had a pair of singles against Indiana on Saturday and drove in her first collegiate run on a fifth-inning double against Cal Poly on Sunday. Freshman Marti Reed appeared in the Indiana game as a pinch-runner, scoring a run in the fifth inning, while newcomer Brooke Finley did not play during the opening weekend.
NEWS AND NOTES
Junior Julie Burney finished the opening weekend with a .417 batting average, recording five hits in 12 at-bats. Burney had a pair of hits against Indiana and Cal Poly, scoring a run against the Hoosiers. She also added a single against #25 San Diego State on Sunday. Burney has appeared in 98 games over the last two seasons, sporting a .206 career average with eight home runs and 29 runs batted in ... junior Whitney Baker made her first appearance since the opening weekend of the 2008 season on Saturday against Indiana. Baker tossed all five innings against the Hoosiers, earning the win. She struck out six and gave up four hits, two runs and four walks. Baker pitched just 40 innings over her first two seasons due to injuries. Having pitched only three frames in 2008, Baker applied for a medical redshirt, and if granted will receive another year of eligibility ... the Bruins have added junior transfer Katie Colln to the roster. The right-handed hitting infielder will wear #13. Colln transferred to UCLA after spending two seasons at Cerritos College, where she played in 97 games (2007-08) and hit .253 with 28 runs scored, six doubles, 14 runs batted in and 10 stolen bases. Colln helped the Falcons to a State Championship in 2008 ... sophomore Samantha Camuso underwent surgery for a torn labrum in her right shoulder and will miss the entire season. Camuso, who was one of three Bruins to start all 60 games last year, led the team with a .366 batting average as a freshman in earning second-team All-Pacific Region and All-Pac-10 honors. She plans to apply for a medical redshirt and return as a third-year sophomore in 2010 ... senior Jennifer Schroeder is currently not with the team for an undisclosed violation of a team rule.