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Monday, March 14, 2016

Weekend Roundup

NEWS:
  • Florida head coach Tim Walton earned his 700th career win on Saturday.
  • Marshall head coach Shonda Stanton earned her 500th career win on Sunday.
  • Oregon head coach Mike White earned his 300th career win on Saturday.
  • Alabama sophomore second baseman Demi Turner was injured during Saturday's game vs. LSU. She sustained an elbow injury and will be out "a few weeks", according to Patrick Murphy. More testing is currently being conducted to determine the exact extent of the injury.
  • Congratulations to this week's members of the No-No Express- 
    • Abby Barker, Elon (Perfect Game - 6.0 IP, 3 SO, vs. Niagara)
    • Sara Groenewegen, Minnesota (Perfect Game - 7.0 IP, 12 SO, vs. FAU)
    • Meghan King, Florida State (Perfect Game - 6.0 IP, 5 SO, vs. Tulsa)
    • Cheridan Hawkins, Oregon (5.0 IP, 13 SO, vs. Pacific)
    • Delanie Gourley, Florida (5.0 IP, 9 SO, vs. South Dakota)
    • Paige Parker, Oklahoma (5.0 IP, 11 SO, vs. BYU)
    • Brenna Nation, Maryland (5.0 IP, 2 SO, vs. St. Louis)
    • Nicole Doyle, Southern Illinois (7.0 IP, 7 SO, vs. Hartford)
    • Alicia Bazonski, UNCG (7.0 IP, 5 SO, vs. Presbyterian)


 KELSEY STEWART HIT TRACKER:
The Florida Gators' second baseman comes into this season 113 hits away from the career NCAA record. We will track her progress weekly.
Original photo: Tim Casey / Florida Communications

UPSET ALERT: Ranked teams that suffered losses this week.
- #3 Auburn - Lost to #1 Florida 6-3; lost to #1 Florida 8-5
- #4 Alabama - Lost to #6 LSU 6-2; lost to #6 LSU 8-1
- #6 LSU - Lost to #4 Alabama 10-3
- #8 James Madison - lost to NR Nebraska 8-4
- #12 Georgia - Lost to NR College of Charleston 2-1
- #13 Missouri - Lost to NR Ole Miss 9-5
- #17 Minnesota - Lost to NR Robert Morris 4-1; Lost to NR Mercer 5-2
- #18 Arizona State - Lost to #8 James Madison 2-1 (8); Lost to NR Ohio State 11-5
- #20 Arizona - Lost to #8 James Madison 6-1
- #22 Fresno State - Lost to #7 Washington 12-3
- #25 Texas - Lost to #20 Arizona 3-2


MY TAKE:
East Carolina is hardly a softball powerhouse; with a circus of coaches coming and going over recent years and rarely higher standing than mid-pack in the season's final conference standings, Greenville softball fans haven't had too much fun over the years. Their pitching has been a high point at intervals, and one pitcher currently in Pirate purple is the latest to fit that bill.

Lydia Ritchie was a seldom-used freshman pitcher, a righty that saw fifteen innings of work. As a sophomore, her workload increased a bit, as she saw time in seventeen games and pitched seven complete games. Then came 2016 and new Pirates head coach Courtney Oliver.

Oliver, the first-year head coach and a former Division 1 pitcher at Hofstra and pitching coach at North Carolina State and elsewhere, must be credited for maximizing Ritchie's talent from the beginning of her time leading the purple and yellow. The junior currently sports a 1.35 ERA with a 10-3 record in twenty-two appearances, just six behind her career *total* before this season.

She's given up more than five runs on just three occasions, in each of the three losses on her record, two of which came against Power Five opponents Arizona State and Illinois. She's amassed 102 strikeouts, averaging more than one per inning.

Effective and reliable if not stellar, Lydia Ritchie is well-worth keeping an eye on for all-conference honors after the season and a possible NPF draft selection in 2017 with a strong finish to this year and a continued stellar performance in her senior year.

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