Monday, March 28, 2016

Weekend Roundup

  • Ohio State head coach Kelly Kovach-Schoenly earned her 300th career victory Sunday vs. Maryland
  • Lamar sophomore pitcher Laura Napoli tied the program's career wins record with her 25th career victory on Saturday.
  • North Dakota State co-head coach Jamie Trachsel earned the 200th victory of her career over Iowa State on Saturday.
  • The first-ever games were played in Oregon's new ballpark, Jane Sanders Stadium.
  • UMSL senior ace pitcher Hannah Perryman broke the Division II career record with her ninth career perfect game on Wednesday in an 11-0 downing of Lindenwood. It was Perryman's second perfect game of the year and her fifth no-hitter.
  • South Alabama sophomore Devin Brown came within one walk of two perfect games in one week's time, throwing a no-hitter against Appalachian State on Saturday, which followed a five-inning perfect game last Sunday against Louisiana-Monroe.

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.
- #2 Michigan - Lost to NR Northwestern 13-12
- #4 Texas A&M - SWEPT by #12 Georgia 6-3, 9-1, 7-3
- #6 LSU - SWEPT by #1 Florida 3-0, 3-0 (9), 6-2
- #8 Alabama - Lost to #15 Missouri 7-3
- #10 Washington - Lost to #7 Oregon 16-4 (6), Lost to #16 UCLA 10-8
- #15 Missouri - Lost to #8 Alabama 9-1 (5) 
- #16 UCLA - Lost to #10 Washington 9-0 (6); Lost to #10 Washington 6-5
- #17 Notre Dame - Lost to NR Syracuse 5-2; Lost to NR Syracuse 6-4
- #18 Arizona - Lost to NR Utah 7-3 (9)
#23 Fresno State - Lost to NR Cal State Fullerton 5-0
- #24 Oregon State - Lost to NR Utah 9-5; Lost to NR Cal 4-0; Lost to NR Cal 4-3
- #25 Mississippi State - Lost to NR Central Arkansas 1-0; SWEPT by #19 Tennessee 6-2, 
                                       8-5, 9-4

  • Jade Rhodes, Auburn - After a slow and mediocre start to the season, the senior first baseman has heated up as conference play has begun. She hit .600 in  her squad's weekend sweep of South Carolina, parking a home run over the fence in two of the three games and never recording an official at-bat in the third thanks to a trio of walks. A home run in a midweek tilt vs. Georgia State leaves her with a weeklong stat line of .625/3/6 and four free passes via the walk.
  • Erika Piancastelli, McNeese State - The freshman wonder of Lake Charles from a year ago set out this year to prove her impressive numbers of 2015 were no one-year fluke, and she's done a good job of that thus-far. She posted another weekend of plus-side statistics this week, batting .500 and knocking three home runs over the fence, while driving in five and taking a base-on-balls four times.
  • Holly Speers, Kent State - The sophomore infielder continued her team-leading offensive prowess and etched her name into the NCAA record books while she was at. The former all-MAC Freshman clubbed a home run in five consecutive at-bats, across four games, setting a new Division I all-time mark. After the weekend, in which she also was walked six times and drove in nine runs in all, her season's stat line now sits at .431/9/20, with a 1.020 slugging percentage. 

Outside of a four-game stretch at the end of April/beginning of May that will see Florida on the road against Texas A&M and Florida State, Tim Walton's Gators have a particularly favorable schedule the rest of the season. Their toughest test, a three-game stretch against Alabama next weekend, will feature the home-field advantage of the Swamp, as will a three-game set against Louisiana-Lafayette in mid-April. 

The Gators have clicked on all cylinders most of the season, with the exception of the 7th inning against Auburn on March 14, the only mark in the "L" column for the Gators this year.

As a team, the Gators are hitting .336, with four players hitting above .350 and senior Kirsti Merritt and sophomore Nicole DeWitt within .002 of that mark, at .349 and .348, respectively. Sophomore Kayli Kvistad is slugging .710 and is one of five players with forty-seven or more total bases to her credit. 

Solid on every side of the ball, the Gators boast five starters with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage, including veteran catcher Aubree Munro.

Not to be forgotten, the Gators' pitching staff: Absent Lauren Haeger, it was wondered how big of a drop-off there may be in the circle, but any such doubts were put to rest in quick order once the season began. As it stands now, sophomore Aleshia Ocasio leads the nation with her 0.36 ERA, while Delanie Gourley is third in the nation with a 0.78 mark. Freshman Kelly Barnhill "brings up the rear", all the way back in 15th place in the country with a 1.26 number. Departing from the strategy of past seasons, all three have fairly evenly split the innings of work this season. 

Opponents are hitting just .150 against the Gators' staff, while opposing pitchers give up nearly seven runs per game on average. Since the defeat at Auburn, the Gators have shut out their opponent five times in seven games, including LSU and Tennessee, both top-25 teams.

Suffice it to say, the Gators are proving over and over again why they are the best in the game and, as they have their sights set on a third consecutive championship, they may be an unstoppable force en route to Oklahoma City.

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