Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A couple of brief items for tonight:

Probably a week or two ago, I caught the opening few minutes of ABC-TV's "The View," during which it came up that one of the co-hosts, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, played softball for Boston College (BC) and was, in fact, a captain. During her college years, she was known by her maiden name, Filarski. I did a little research on Elisabeth's softball career, and besides the fact that she also was once a contestant on the CBS show "Survivor," here is what I came up with.

This 1998 BC season preview briefly cites Filarski, then a junior, as among the three likely starters in the outfield (implicitly, at least).

In the program history section of the 2006 BC media guide, Filarski is mentioned four times: for winning the team's leadership award in '98; for earning recognition as a Big East "Academic All-Star" in '96, '97, and '99; for being among the recipients of the Athletic Director's Award for Academic Achievement in '97, '98, and '99; and, within the Arts and Communication field, for being a finalist on Survivor.

As for Elisabeth's on-field performance, I honestly can't find much record of it. I clicked every link pertaining to the '97, '98, and '99 seasons on this softball archive page of the BC official athletics site, and never saw her name referenced for any game results. If I find anything more, I'll let everyone know.

***

Alabama (16-0) has moved up in the national rankings, to No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Softball poll and No. 5 in the USA Today/NFCA poll (see links in the right-hand column). As discussants over on the Ultimate College Softball board have pointed out, however, the Crimson Tide has not played any of the other top teams nationally. In fact, if you look at Bama's schedule, the Tide will not play any nationally elite teams in the entire non-conference part of the schedule. It is only in SEC play (starting March 10) that the Tide will start facing some tough opposition.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

As the Palm Springs tournament came to its conclusion, two teams that may have been declining in their visibility compared to past seasons re-asserted themselves, as if to say, "Don't forget about us."

UCLA, having suffered some blowout losses in recent weeks, bounced back today with an 8-6 victory over Northwestern. The big blow for the Bruins was a grand slam by senior shortshop Jodie Legaspi in the bottom of the sixth (the second day in a row she'd hit a grand slam). As shown in this combination box score/play-by-play sheet, Northwestern pitcher Eileen Canney turned in a very "uncanny" performance, exiting after giving up Legaspi's homer and all eight Bruin runs for the game.

The Texas Longhorns are another team that has been getting less attention this year than in the past, presumably because star pitcher Cat Osterman had completed her eligibility last season. The Longhorns entered this weekend's play as the No. 10-ranked team in the USA Today-NFCA poll and today shut out No. 6 Oregon State, 2-0, behind the arm of Meagan Denny. Look for Texas to move up in the polls.

Over in Tucson, Arizona scored a 6-2 victory over Texas A&M to take the three-game series between the two highly ranked teams, two games to one. Callista Balko homered twice for the Wildcats.

Finally, Texas Tech today was able to hold onto a 7-0 lead, besting Illinois to take the Florida Atlantic University tournament in Boca Raton.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Late Night

A few developments stood out to me from today's action in the Palm Springs tournament. For one thing, Northwestern handed No. 2 Arizona State its first loss of the season, with four runs in the top of the seventh propelling the Purple to a 5-2 win (here's a box score; articles should be available at some point on each school's team page).

Also, Oklahoma burst onto my radar screen today, defeating two nationally ranked Pac-10 teams, Oregon State and Cal. The Sooners are undefeated so far this season, but the quality of their opposition prior to Palm Springs was not exactly stellar (game-by-game log).

Elsewhere, Texas A&M rebounded from its opening loss at Arizona in the teams' three-game series, the Aggies winning 4-3 tonight on the strength of a grand-slam homer by Jamie Hinshaw.

Note that, because Northwestern and the University of Arizona are both known as the Wildcats, bringing upon the height of confusion when the two met in the championship round of last June's NCAA Women's College World Series, I try as best as possible to distinguish the two teams. In that regard, I have taken often to calling Northwestern "the Purple," for its distinctive school colors.

In today's most bizarre outcome, Texas Tech held a 7-0 lead over Florida Atlantic as the latter came to bat in the bottom of the seventh in the Boca Raton tournament, only to have FAU come up with eight runs (six after there were two outs) to win 8-7. Texas Tech still qualified, however, for Sunday's championship game against Illinois.

Early Morning

Since Friday's feature games took place in the evening in the Pacific and Mountain Time zones, I didn't have a chance to report these late results last night. Hence, this early morning entry.

In the Palm Springs tournament, No. 1-ranked Tennessee closed out last night's action with a 6-1 thumping of UCLA. Also, Northwestern defeated Oregon State, 2-0. If you go down to my previous posting in which I previewed this tournament and click on the highlighted link that says "information sheet," you can get the scores of completed games. Also, by clicking on the score of a particular game, you can get the box score. Articles and further details can be obtained by visiting the team-specific homepages in the links section on the right-hand side of the present page.

The other focus of interest in the college softball world last night was, of course, the opener of a three-game series in Tucson between Texas A&M and Arizona. As described in this article from the Wildcat athletics site, U of A shut out A&M 5-0 behind a Taryne Mowatt one-hitter. For the Aggies, after some early success, pitcher Amanda Scarborough did not "fare" so well (for those of you too young to get that reference, see here).

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Another big weekend's coming up on the college softball scene.

The Palm Springs tournament will feature six of the eight teams from last year's NCAA Women's College World Series, including the Nos. 1 and 2 teams from the latest USA Today/NFCA Poll, Tennessee (9-0) and Arizona State (13-0). The only missing teams from last series WCWS are Arizona and Alabama.

Twenty-five teams in all will be in Palm Springs. Oregon State, one of the participants, has put together a nice information sheet for the tournament, including a comprehensive schedule if you scroll down a bit after the new page comes up.

Meanwhile, the Nos. 3 and 4 teams in the aforementioned poll, Texas A&M (10-0) and Arizona (9-2), will be playing each other in a three-game series in Tucson. The Aggies have already beaten the Wildcats once this season, a squeaker in the Kajikawa Classic (see the summary of that tournament several entries down).

Both the Palm Springs tournament and the Texas A&M-Arizona series are getting a lot of discussion on the Ultimate College Softball boards (see link in the right-hand column).

Monday, February 19, 2007

As I noted in Sunday night's posting (below), I was in Tucson, Arizona this past weekend attending an academic conference, thus enabling me to attend parts of several games of the Worth Wildcat Classic hosted by U of A. As summarized in this article from the Daily Wildcat, Arizona won the tournament, beating Texas Tech 8-1 in the final; in addition, the Wildcats' Taryne Mowatt no-hit the Red Raiders in the teams' initial meeting of the tournament, a 1-0 U of A victory.

Below are several pictures I took at the tournament. As luck would have it, all four of the games I saw involved Temple, one game each against U of A, Texas Tech, Middle Tennessee St., and Virginia. The Owls lost all four games, giving up an average of 10.5 runs/game (here's a post-tournament article from Temple's official site). Here are the photos (you can click directly on them to enlarge them)...


Arizona, with frosh pitcher Sarah Akamine, the team's No. 2 starter behind Mowatt, in the circle, warms up before the start of the next half-inning in Friday night's game against Temple. Slated to start at 3:00 pm, this game didn't get underway until after 6:00.


The Owls (dark uniforms) got a runner on second in one of the early innings against Arizona, but she didn't score.


Immediately prior to taking on Arizona on Friday, Temple allowed two runs to Middle Tennessee State in the bottom of the seventh, giving MTS the win.




Texas Tech scored (and celebrated) early and often in a 10-2 romp over Temple on Saturday afternoon.


Not to slight the University of Virginia, here's a shot of the Cavaliers' win over Temple (UVA is the fielding team here).

Some trivia: The tournament featured both the Red Raiders (Texas Tech) and the Blue Raiders (Middle Tennessee State).

For some additional pictures of the U of A campus, see this other blog of mine.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Arizona beat Texas Tech, the school where I'm on the faculty, 8-1 today to win the Worth Wildcat tournament at U of A. I happened to be attending an academic conference in Tucson, so I was able to attend parts of several games on Friday and Saturday. I left Tucson early today, so I didn't get to see the championship round in person. However, now that I'm back home, I've gotten caught up on the scores. I took some pictures at the games I attended, which I'll post in the next few days.

Turning to the Las Vegas tournament, which featured a number of highly ranked teams, No. 1 Tennessee won all of its games, thus keeping its record perfect for the year. The quality of opposition the Lady Vols faced was not exactly the toughest they will see this year, but pitcher Monica Abbott threw two no-hitters in the tournament (vs. Florida International and Cal State Northridge), a notable feat under any circumstances.

UCLA defeated Colorado State, Central Florida, UNLV, and Wright St. in Las Vegas, but for the second week in a row, showed some vulnerability. This time, the Bruins suffered an 8-1 loss to unranked Oklahoma State. Northwestern also went 4-1 in the tourney, with the loss coming to Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo), also not ranked.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A couple of brief notes...

As originally posted at Ultimate College Softball:

This Wednesday, from 7-8 CST "The Road to the Women's College World Series" will return to the airwaves and internet. The show focuses exclusively on collegiate softball, and will be aired every Wednesday (unless the Alabama softball team has a game.) The show can be accessed by traveling to www.TheCapstone.ua.edu or by clicking the direct audio link (http://broadcastmonsters.com/Alabama/alabama.asx). It is aired by WVUA-FM, 90.7, the campus radio station of the University of Alabama.

***

The tournament this upcoming weekend with the largest number of "top-shelf" teams appears to be the Louisville Slugger Desert Classic at UNLV. Several teams ranked highly in the pre-season will be appearing, including: Tennesssee, UCLA, Northwestern, Cal, and Oregon St. UCLA may still be reeling from its stunning 13-1 shellacking by New Mexico last weekend.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Texas A&M used a walk-off homer by Megan Gibson in the bottom of the seventh to defeat defending NCAA champion and pre-season No. 1 Arizona, 3-2, on the final day of the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona. As I noted earlier, this was not a traditional tournament in the sense of having brackets and elimination games; rather, each of the 22 participating teams had a predetermined slate of opponents. Having won all five of their games -- against some of the toughest competition -- the Aggies would have to be considered the most impressive team to come out of this weekend.

The Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego was ended prematurely by heavy rains. The San Diego State news release stated that:

No. 10 Cal finished with a 3-1 record and was declared the winner of the tournament. No. 6 Oregon State (2-1) was second, followed by UC Santa Barbara (2-2), No. 23 UMass (2-2-1) and Kansas (2-2-1) and San Diego State (1-4).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Some results from earlier today at the Kajikawa Classic (Tempe, Arizona):

Texas A&M continues its strong play with a 5-4 win over UCLA.

Arizona was upset by Florida, 3-1 in eight innings (seven is the regulation length).

Northwestern defeated fellow top-10 team Stanford, 3-1. The Purple sent frosh pitcher Lauren Delaney to the circle, perhaps to save Eileen Canney for the next game, against Arizona.

[Late night update: Arizona has defeated Northwestern 4-3 in the rematch of last year's College World Series championship round.]

In San Diego State's Campbell/Cartier Classic:

UMass took a 1-0 victory over Cal.

Oregon State routed Kansas, 7-0.

Friday, February 09, 2007

I'm sure many of you have been following the early-season action live via online gametrackers, but if you've missed how the top-ranked teams have done, here's a quick summary.

In the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Arizona...

Texas, with Meagan Denny now the ace of the pitching staff, shut out pre-season national No. 3 UCLA, 1-0. The upset loss marred the debut of Kelly Inouye-Perez as Bruins' head coach.

No less impressive was Texas A&M, which stunned No. 4 Northwestern, 4-3. After the Wildcats had scored twice in the top of the seventh to take a 3-1 lead, the Aggies got a three-run homer from Jamie Hinshaw to grab the win.

Arizona State has won its first two games of the tournament without giving up a run; this includes a no-hitter thrown by freshman pitcher Megan Elliott against Syracuse.

Pre-season No. 1 and defending NCAA champion Arizona won its opener and, as of this writing, was playing its second game without a final score being available.

[Update: Arizona is now 2-0 in the tournament.]

In the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego...

Oregon State, having lost its opener to host San Diego State, bounced back to beat UMass.

Meanwhile, Cal has won its first two games.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


With the 2007 college softball season beginning tonight, I welcome you to Season 2 of the College Softball Blog! In tonight's posting, I preview this weekend's major non-conference tournaments (which generally aren't tournaments in the sense of brackets and elimination rounds, but rather pre-arranged match-ups among the competing teams).

The bulk of the nation’s top teams (four of the top five according to the pre-season polls; see links on the right) are playing in Arizona State’s Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, the schedule for which is here.

Of the 22 schools in the Kajikawa Classic, five are from the Pac-10: host Arizona State, defending NCAA champion University of Arizona, University of Oregon, Stanford, and UCLA.

It appears that each team in the competition plays five games, except the home state ASU and U of A, who each play six. Arguably the signature game of the tournament will be a Saturday rematch of last year's College World Series championship series, the Battle of the Wildcats, Arizona vs. Northwestern.

In my view, Texas A&M and Northwestern may have toughest schedules in the tournament.

As noted in a press release from the official Northwestern athletics website:

“Northwestern opens the season February 9-11 with four-consecutive games against ranked teams, facing No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 21 Fresno State, No. 8 Stanford and No. 1 Arizona at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz.”

In addition to Northwestern (pre-season No. 4 nationally), A&M’s opponents in the Kajikawa include Fresno State, Arizona, and UCLA (No. 3).

Three Big 12 teams from the Lone Star State are in the tournament: the aforementioned Texas A&M (this year's favorite for the conference championship), the Cat Osterman-less Texas (the lanky left-hander having finished her collegiate career at last year's World Series), and the school where I'm on the faculty, Texas Tech. Today's student newspaper, the Daily Toreador, had an article on the Parker twins, Ashley and Heather, who play for the Red Raiders.

***

The tournament this weekend that appears to rank second to the Kajikawa in the cache of its teams is San Diego State’s Campbell/Cartier Classic, which is getting underway tonight. The Campbell/Cartier features California, Kansas, Massachusetts, Oregon State, San Diego State, and UC Santa Barbara. In the two major national pre-season polls, Oregon State and Cal are top 10 teams, and UMass (led by soph pitcher Brandice Balschmiter, who had an amazing debut season in 2006) is in the top 25.

Tennessee, the pre-season No. 2 pick nationally, plays in the University of North Carolina tournament. Volunteers' star pitcher Monica Abbott was featured recently in an ESPN.com article.

To see where other top teams are starting off their seasons, see the team-specific pages in the links section on the right.

I hope you enjoy the blog and visit often during the season!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

As pointed out by someone on the Ultimate College Softball discussion board, ESPN.com has just come out with its 2007 season preview.

I will soon be posting my own preview of this weekend's opening action, highlighted by the Kajikawa Classic tournament at Arizona State. Check back on Thursday night!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Bret Osburn of Go Blue Wolverine reports that University of Michigan junior outfielder Alessandra Giampaolo may redshirt this season, due to back problems.