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Pac-10 Status Report


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#1
SpartanIlliniCub

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As we are now roughly 30 games into the college softball season nationwide, it is time to see how the dust is settling and give a preview of the teams we will likely be watching in the 2010 Women's College World Series. Any conversation about college softball starts with its #1 power conference: the Pac-10. This is a transition year fpr the Pac-10; Danielle Lawrie is the only senior standout pitcher, but a host of underclassmen are stepping up and making big contributions to their teams. Here is a look at the best in the Pac-10:

Washington Huskies
The defending national champions are even better this year. Danielle Lawrie is already having a monster year from both the mound and from the plate. Lawrie is continuing her statistical dominance in all major pitching categories with a 22-1 record, 155.1 innings pitched, 249 strikeouts, 1.6 strikeouts per inning, and a 0.90 ERA. Her sensational 1.6 strikeouts per inning ratio means that she accounts for fully one-half of the Huskies' defense by herself. At slightly under halfway through the season, Lawrie is positioned to surpass her 2009 numbers, especially in strikeouts (521), wins (42), and innings pitched (315).

If that isn't enough, Lawrie is also one of the premier hitters in the Pac-10. She posts a .337 batting average, 41 RBI, and 11 home runs; her home run total is good enough for #2 overall in the Pac-10. Very few pitchers are good hitters, and very few hitting pitchers have poweróLawrie is in a super-elite club of power-hitting pitchers.

The Huskies also have a solid offense anchored by junior Jenn Salling, who has hit for a .382 average, 6 home-runs, 27 RBI, and 9 stolen bases. Freshman Shawna Wright is also making major contributions to the offense with a .296 average, 8 home-runs and 32 RBI.

The key to the Huskies' success is continued excellence from Lawrie and a serviceable offense that can put at least one run on the board per game. But if Lawrie keeps up her pitching and hitting numbers she can win the title by herself. Washington is easily the favorite to win the title in 2010.

Stanford Cardinals
Stanford is another team making waves in the Pac-10 this season with a 4-1 record in conference and a 30-5 record overall. One reason for its early success is the play of freshman pitcher Teagan Gerhart. In 180 innings pitched so far this season, Gerhart has amassed a 22-4 record, 166 strikeouts, .9 strikeouts per inning, and a 1.36 ERA. Gerhart has exceeded expectations in her first year as Stanford's ace pitcher, but the true strength of this team is its offense.

Stanford is led by senior table-setter Alissa Haber, who has an eye-popping .468 average, 5 home runs, and 13 stolen bases. She has also accumulated 52 hitsógood enough for #2 in the entire Pac-10. Haber's ability to get on base and get in scoring position has really helped the team in the wins column. The Cardinals also have a gem in big bopping freshman Jenna Rich, whose .348 average, 10 home runs and 36 RBI have accounted for the majority of Stanford's scoring.

The key to the Cardinals' success this season is to maintain its offensive production and get quality outings from Gerhart. If Gerhart can maintain her composure during conference play and the offense can consistently score 2+ runs per game, then the Cardinals have a shot at winning the Pac-10.

Oregon Ducks
The Ducks may not have much of a softball tradition, but they do have the best overall hitter in the Pac-10. Freshman Sam Pappas has exceptional numbers in four major hitting categories, including a Pac-10-leading .482 average. In addition to her stellar batting average, Pappas has hit 10 home runs, knocked in 37 RBI and stolen 8 bases. Pappas's bat has propelled the Ducks to a 4-1 conference record and a 28-6 overall record. The Ducks also have an excellent supporting cast of hitters: two Ducks are hitting over .400 and three more are over .300. With a load of table-setters and a masher like Pappas hitting clean-up, Oregon won't leave many "Ducks on the pond."

The Ducks also have a platoon of solid underclassmen pitchers in Jessica Moore and Sam Skillingstad. Moore has struck out 151 batters in 108.1 innings and has a 12-2 record with a 1.03 ERA and a 1.4 strikeouts-per-inning ratio. Skillingstad has 92 strikeouts in 71.1 innings, a 9-4 record, a 1.96 ERA and a 1.3 strikeouts-per-inning ratio. These numbers aren't spectacular, especially when compared to other elite pitchers in the Pac-10, but the Ducks powerful offense will more than make up for the difference.

The key to the Ducks' success is consistency from their hitters; the Ducks have to avoid putting up 10 runs in the first game and 0 in the second. But their hitters are certainly capable of consistently scoring runs. Oregon will also need its young pitching staff to keep up their high strikeout-per-inning ratios and keep other Pac-10 offenses from getting hot.

Arizona Wildcats
The Wildcats have not achieved the Pac-10 success they are normally accustomed to so far this season. With a sub .500 conference record the Wildcats have to be dissapointed. But Arizona has something no other Pac-10 team has: the next Danielle Lawrie. Lawrie may be on top right now, but Arizona freshman Kenzie Fowler could potentially take over the #1 spot this season. No one has numbers closer to Lawrie than Fowler, who in 142.2 innings struck out 200 batters, earned a 21-4 record, 0.98 ERA and struck out an average of 1.4 batters per inning. Fowler's extraordinary abilities could propel Arizona to the top of the Pac-10 standings before the season ends. As a freshman, her true test will be whether she can mentally rise to the challenge of being a Pac-10 ace, but she easily has the talent to take the Wildcats back to the promised land.

The key to the Wildcats success this year is whether Fowler can mentally stand up to the rigors of the Pac-10 season and keep her composure in the WCWS playoffs.

It should be an exciting season!

#2
KCSoftball

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As you can see 7 of the 8 teams in the Pac-10 are in the top 20. USC & Washington State don't field softball teams. The playoffs will be fun!
-----------------------------------------
ESPN.COM/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25
(Records through April 12, 2010)
TEAM PTS PVS
---- --- ---
1. WASHINGTON (25) (33-3) 500 1
2. MICHIGAN (30-5) 475 3
3. ARIZONA (32-7) 453 2
4. FLORIDA (30-4) 442 5
5. ALABAMA (31-9) 412 7
6. ARIZONA ST (35-6) 396 10
7. GEORGIA TECH (35-6) 387 6
8. UCLA (27-9) 350 4
9. OKLAHOMA ST (36-7) 336 11
10. STANFORD (30-6) 322 9
11. GEORGIA (31-8) 300 12
12. OKLAHOMA (31-9) 281 13
13. LSU (32-9) 243 14
14. MISSOURI (27-8) 242 8
15. TEXAS (34-9) 225 17
16. FLORIDA ST (36-9) 182 16
17. OREGON (28-6) 173 21
18. TENNESSEE (33-8) 158 18
19. CALIFORNIA (30-11) 157 15
20. ILLINOIS (27-5) 116 19
21. TEXAS A&M (32-11) 108 20
22. MASSACHUSETTS (25-7) 47 25
23. NORTH CAROLINA (31-13) 45 24
24. OHIO ST (22-11) 40 22
25. HAWAII (33-11) 31 NR

#3
SpartanIlliniCub

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Playoffs are only a little more than one month away!

#4
KCSoftball

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Depending on how the NCAA seeds the teams we could see a final 8 WCWS with only PAC-10 & SEC teams.

#5
SpartanIlliniCub

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Why doesn't USC have a softball team? That is such a huge sports school. I wonder why they don't have one.

#6
KCSoftball

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USC can't stand to lose to UCLA in anything! Even tiddlywinks!

#7
SpartanIlliniCub

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10 games into conference play Washington has the lead in the Pac-10 with an 8-2 record. Following Washington is Arizona at 6-4 and Oregon at 6-4. UCLA has a weak 5-5 record. Ouch!




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