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This Week in WAC Softball - May 13

This Week in WAC Softball - May 13

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SEATTLE U TO PLAY IN SEATTLE REGIONAL
Seattle U, which won its first-ever WAC Tournament title after going 3-0 and beating NM State 3-2 in the championship game Saturday, will stay in Seattle for the Seattle Regional in the NCAA Championship this Friday.

The Redhawks (39-15) will face Mississippi State (33-21) at 4:30 p.m. (PT) this Friday, May 17. No. 3 and host Washington (45-7) will face Fordham (29-24) on the other side of the bracket in the double elimination regional.

The Redhawks are led by first team All-WAC honoree Ally Choate, who leads the WAC in batting average (.404) and on-base percentage (.462), and second team All-WAC and WAC Tournament Team selection Kaylee Ree, who is hitting .335 with 10 doubles, one triple, four homers and 31 RBIs. WAC Tournament MVP and first team All-WAC selection Carley Nance leads Seattle U in the circle with a 1.97 ERA. She is 17-8 on the season with 99 strikeouts and one save.

The Bulldogs are led by Mia Davidson, a Top 10 finalist for USA Softball Player of the Year, with a .389 batting average and .917 slugging percentage. She has 25 home runs and 62 RBIs on the year. Fa Leilua and Kat Moore were also first team All-SEC selections. Leilua is hitting .367 with 22 homers and 52 RBIs, while Moore has six doubles, four triples, 11 homers and 41 RBIs.

The Redhawks run-ruled Fordham 11-3 and fell 1-0 to the Huskies earlier this season.

SEATTLE U WINS FIRST-EVER WAC TOURNAMENT TITLE
Seattle U won its first-ever WAC Tournament with a 3-0 record last weekend. The top-seeded Redhawks defeated Kansas City 5-4 on a walk-off double in their first game, beat NM State 8-7 on a walk-off grand slam in their second game and defeated the Aggies 3-2 in the championship game.

Carley Nance was named WAC Tournament MVP after hitting both walk-offs and batting .375 with two doubles, a home run and eight RBIs. She also earned the win in the circle in the championship game, holding the Aggies hitless into the fifth inning. She struck out seven and retired nine straight batters. Joining Nance on the all-tournament team were teammates Kaylee Ree and Cherise Silvan.

All-Tournament Team
Ryan Denhart, Grand Canyon
Samaria Diaz, NM State
Maddie Dowdle, Grand Canyon
Sydney Garcia, Kansas City
Kelsey Horton, NM State
Chris Hipa, CSU Bakersfield
Kaylee Ree, Seattle U
Casie Roberto, NM State
Cherise Silvan, Seattle U
Savannah Tourville, Grand Canyon
MVP: Carley Nance, Seattle U

FOUR WAC TOURNAMENT RECORDS TIED OR BROKEN IN PHOENIX
Four WAC Tournament records were either tied or broken last week in Phoenix. The records are listed below.

Most Triples, Game:                       1       tied by Cydney Curran, CSU Bakersfield
                                                            Cherise Silvan, Seattle U
                                                            Savannah Tourville, Grand Canyon
Most Home Runs, Tournament:      5       Kelsey Horton, NM State (four games)

GCU'S SIERRA SMITH NAMED ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT
Grand Canyon senior third baseman Sierra Smith was named to the Google Cloud Academic All-District Team. Selected by CoSIDA, the teams recognize the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom.

Smith graduated in April with a degree in business management. She posted a 3.79 cumulative grade-point average. She is a three-time Academic All-WAC honoree and helped GCU earn the top GPA in the nation in 2016 and 2018. She was also one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award®, given annually to a student-athlete who excels both on and off the field.

On the field, she hit .313 with 57 hits, three doubles, one triple, six home runs and 23 RBIs.

Smith was named second team All-Region in 2018 after posting a team-leading .392 batting average. She was named to the WAC All-Tournament Team after breaking four tournament records in 2018 – most hits in a tournament, most doubles in a game, most doubles in a tournament and most RBIs in a tournament. She was named first team All-WAC in 2017 and is a two-time WAC Hitter of the Week.

NM STATE'S FELDER NAMED NFCA NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK
NM State's Mya Felder was named the Louisville Slugger/National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division I National Player of the Week for games played April 29-May 5. This is the first NFCA honor for a WAC player since the Aggies' Fiana Finau earned the award on March 15, 2016.

A freshman third baseman from Fresno, Calif., Felder hit .706 with a 1.235 slugging percentage and a .700 on-base percentage as the Aggies went 4-1 last week, including a win over No. 17 Texas Tech. She had multiple hits in four of the five games and had a hit in all five contests. Felder was 12-of-17 with three doubles, two home runs and 11 RBIs. In the win over the Red Raiders, she was 3-for-4 with a solo homer. In the series opener at CSU Bakersfield, Felder recorded six of her 11 RBIs for the week as she was 4-for-4 with two doubles and a home run.

NM STATE'S HORTON SETS WAC, PROGRAM RECORDS
NM State senior Kelsey Horton broke the WAC and NM State records for home runs on April 19, posting the 65th long ball of her career. She closed out her career with 72. Horton ended her career ranked first in the Aggie record books in runs (207), RBIs (210), total bases (523), batting average (.378) and slugging percentage (.770), tied for first in doubles (46), second in hits (257), tied for third in on-base percentage (.462), and fifth in both at bats (679) and walks (93). She ranks first in the WAC record books in slugging percentage, second in RBIs and total bases, third in walks, tied for eighth in doubles and tied for 10th in hits.

SEATTLE U WINS FIRST WAC REGULAR-SEASON TITLE
Seattle U swept California Baptist in the final weekend to clinch its first-ever WAC regular-season title. The Redhawks earned the series win in all six WAC series and became the first team since NM State in 2016 to claim three series sweeps in a season of WAC play. Seattle U has won a program   record 39 games this season.

NM STATE PICKS UP FIRST WIN OVER RANKED OPPONENT THIS SEASON
NM State's victory over No. 17 Texas Tech on April 30 was the Aggies' third win over a Power 5 opponent this season (North Carolina, California). The win was also the Aggies' first victory over a ranked opponent this season. Their last such win was over No. 17 Kentucky to open the 2018 campaign.

GRAND CANYON REACHES 30 WINS FOR FOURTH STRAIGHT YEAR
Grand Canyon won two of three games at Kansas City in the final weekend of WAC play to secure a 30-win season for the fourth consecutive year. It marked GCU head coach Ann Pierson's eighth 30-win season at GCU.

NM STATE'S DIAZ EXTENDS PROGRAM SAVES RECORD
NM State junior hurler Samaria Diaz extended her single-season saves record with her seventh save of the year in the first game of a doubleheader against CSU Bakersfield on May 4. Diaz now has 11 saves on her career, tied for first place all-time at NM State and tied for second in the WAC record books. Her 228 strikeouts rank second for strikeouts in a single season in the Aggie record books.

GCU'S AGUILAR TOSSES NO-HITTER AGAINST KANSAS CITY
Grand Canyon junior Brianna Aguilar threw the first no-hitter of her career in an 11-0 shutout of Kansas City on May 4. Only a hit batter kept Aguilar from a perfect game as the WAC leader in ERA for conference play (0.70) did not issue a walk. Ten of her 15 outs came on ground balls and only two UMKC batters hit the ball out of the infield.

SEATTLE U'S LARKINS THROWS NO-HITTER
Seattle U senior Andie Larkins threw the fifth no-hitter in program history on April 20, keeping CSU Bakersfield hitless for five innings in an 8-0 win. Larkins was perfect until allowing a walk with two outs in the top of the fifth. It was the second no-hitter in the WAC this season.

SEATTLE U'S SMITH TIES DI RECORD FOR STRIKEOUTS
Shianne Smith tied the Seattle U single-game record with 12 strikeouts in a two-hit shutout on April 20. Smith had set the Division I program record with 11 strikeouts against North Dakota on March 17 and topped her effort against CSU Bakersfield, retiring eight of the first nine batters via strikeout.

CALIFORNIA BAPTIST'S BABER EARNS 300TH CAREER VICTORY
California Baptist head coach Bill Baber collected his 300th victory as the Lancer skipper, as CBU defeated Utah Valley 9-6 in the series opener on April 19. He has been at the helm of the Lancers since the summer of 2011, posting a 302-119 (.717) record.

CSUB'S CURRAN EXTENDS CONSECUTIVE GAMES STARTED STREAK
CSU Bakersfield junior shortstop Cydney Curran has started every single game since her freshman year. The three-year streak is now 136 straight games.

UMKC REACHES 25 WINS FOR SIXTH TIME
Kansas City finished the season 27-29. It is the sixth time in school history the Roos have reached the 25-win mark and ties with the 2015 and 2012 teams for third-most wins in program history. The 2011 team holds the record with 38 wins.

SEATTLE U'S CATHCART BECOMES PROGRAM DOUBLES LEADER
On April 12, Seattle U junior Madison Cathcart hit a double in the first inning, marking her 41st career two-bagger. In doing so, Cathcart passed Isabella Geronimo for most doubles in Seattle U history. Cathcart now has 46 career doubles to rank tied for eighth all-time in WAC history.

UMKC'S ROLLOW MOVES INTO SEVENTH PLACE IN CAREER HOMERS
Kansas City senior outfielder Maegan Rollow hit a homer against Grand Canyon on May 4 to move into a tie for seventh place in the UMKC career record books with 12 career home runs.

SEATTLE U'S HIRAI RECORDS 100TH CAREER VICTORY
Seattle U Head Coach Geoff Hirai won his 100th career game on April 13 in the series finale over Utah Valley. In his fourth season at the helm, Hirai boasts a 111-103 (.519) overall record. He is 35-28 (.556) in WAC play.

HIPA BECOMES CSUB'S ALL-TIME ASSISTS LEADER
CSU Bakersfield senior Chris Hipa is the program's Division I record holder with 365 career assists. The native of Aiea, Hawai'i also has 15 career home runs, which ranks third in CSUB's Division I history.

FOUR PLAYERS RANK IN WAC CAREER TOP 10
NM State senior Kelsey Horton holds the WAC records for career home runs (72) and slugging percentage (.770), ranks second in RBIs (210) and total bases (523), third in walks (93), tied for eighth in doubles (46) and tied for 10th in hits (257). Seattle U junior Madison Cathcart is also tied for eighth in doubles (46), while CSU Bakersfield's Cydney Curran and Grand Canyon senior Sierra Smith are tied for ninth in triples (13).

SEATTLE U WINS SERIES AGAINST NM STATE FOR FIRST TIME
Seattle U beat NM State in a series for the first time in program history, as Kaylee Ree hit a walk-off single in the 10th inning to lead SU to a victory on March 29 and Madison Cathcart hit a walk-off home run to lift the Redhawks to 4-3 win in eight innings on March 30. Shianne Smith set a Division I program record for strikeouts in a relief appearance with eight in four innings vs. NM State on March 29.

CSUB BREAKS PROGRAM RECORD FOR DOUBLE PLAYS TURNED
On March 30 against Pacific, CSU Bakersfield softball set the Division I single-game program record with four double plays turned in the same game. The previous record was three, accomplished five times most recently at Seattle U on April 13, 2018.

GRAND CANYON'S SIERRA SMITH CANDIDATE FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Grand Canyon's Sierra Smith was one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award®, given annually to a student-athlete who excels both on and off the field. To be eligible, a student-athlete must be a senior and have notable achievements in community, classroom, character and competition.

Smith has volunteered for the Phoenix Children's Hospital 5k run each of the last three years. She went to Rocky Point, Mexico, with teammates to build a house for families in both 2016 and 2017 and volunteered at UMOM New Day Center to help run a Winter Wonderland Festival in 2018. Smith also volunteered at The Miracle League of Arizona and works for a non-profit organization called Sons of Arizona that benefits local charities that support kids.

Smith graduated with a degree in business management on April 25 and has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.79. She is a three-time Academic All-WAC honoree and helped GCU earn the top GPA in the nation in 2016 and 2018.

Smith was named second team All-Region in 2018 after posting a team-leading .392 batting average. She was named to the WAC All-Tournament Team after breaking four tournament records in 2018 – most hits in a tournament, most doubles in a game, most doubles in a tournament and most RBIs in a tournament. She was named first team All-WAC in 2017 and is a two-time WAC Hitter of the Week.

NM STATE TIES PROGRAM WALK RECORD
NM State tied the program single-game record for walks with 12 on March 19 at UTEP. The last time NM State walked that many times was Feb. 11, 2011, against Colorado State.

SEATTLE U SETS PROGRAM RECORDS AGAINST CAL POLY
On March 26, Seattle U swept a doubleheader with Cal Poly, 15-0 and 8-0 in a pair of five-inning contests. The 15 runs in a game set a program record for runs against a Division I foe at Logan Field and the 23 runs in the doubleheader set a DI program record for most runs in a twinbill.

CSUB PLAYS MARATHON RECORD AGAINST SAN DIEGO
On March 17, CSU Bakersfield defeated San Diego 4-3 in 11 innings. The game took 3:21. It tied for the second-longest game in Division I history by innings (12 innings vs. Saint Mary's in 2009) and broke the record for longest game by time (previous record was 3:15 at Pacific on March 12, 2011).

GCU DEFEATS NO. 1 AND PREVIOUSLY UNBEATEN FLORIDA STATE
Grand Canyon softball became GCU's first Division I-era team to beat a team with a No. 1 national ranking on March 6 when it stunned defending national champion and previously unbeaten Florida State 5-3. Yesenia Morrison earned the complete-game win allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk. The Lopes got to Florida State ace Meghan King, whose earned run average of 0.72 ranked 14th in the nation before the loss. The Lopes scored all five runs on seven hits against King in her 5 2/3 innings of work. Savannah Tourville finished the game 2-for-3 with two doubles and two RBIs.

SEATTLE U EARNS FIRST-EVER WIN OVER TOP 25 TEAM
On March 2, Seattle U picked up its first-ever win over a nationally-ranked team, beating No. 25 Illinois, 5-2. The Illini were ranked No. 25 in the USA Softball poll and were the first team outside the Top 25 in the National Fastpitch Coach Association (NFCA) poll.

KANSAS CITY'S PACKARD THROWS FIRST NO-HITTER IN WAC SINCE '17
On Feb. 23, Kansas City freshman right-hander Kailyn Packard threw a no-hitter in a 7-0 win over Grambling State at the Black and Gold Tournament in Montgomery, Ala. Packard tossed all seven innings for the Roos, allowing no hits, while striking out 10. It was the first no-hitter thrown in the WAC since Seattle U's Alyssa Reuble threw a perfect game on March 10, 2017.

CSUB'S CURRAN SETS PROGRAM RECORDS FOR TRIPLES
On Feb. 22 against Santa Clara, CSU Bakersfield junior Cydney Curran hit two triples setting a CSUB Division I single-game record. Curran had 10 triples this season, which ranks her second in the nation and places her first in the CSU Bakersfield Division I single-season record books.

UVU'S HUBBARD PICKS UP 200TH CAREER VICTORY
With his team's 11-3 victory over Seton Hall on Feb. 9, Utah Valley head coach TJ Hubbard picked up his 200th career victory. In his ninth season as a head coach, Hubbard boasts a 213-247-1 (.463) career record. He is 52-86 (.377) in three seasons at Utah Valley.

CSUB'S BUCK-ZIEGLER EARNS 100TH CAREER WIN
CSU Bakersfield head coach Crissy Buck-Ziegler earned her 100th career victory on Feb. 10 when the 'Runners defeated Montana 3-2. In her eighth season at the helm, Buck-Ziegler is 113-275-1 (.292).

NM STATE PICKED TO WIN 2019 WAC TITLE
In a preseason vote of the WAC softball coaches, who could not vote for their own team, NM State was selected as the preseason favorite to win the title. The Aggies took the top spot with 35 points and five first-place votes, while Grand Canyon was just behind in second with 32 points and the other two first-place votes. Seattle U was selected to finish in third place with 25 points, just ahead of Utah Valley in fourth with 21 points. League newcomer California Baptist and Kansas City tied for fifth place with 13 points, while CSU Bakersfield (8) rounded out the poll.

PRESEASON ALL-WAC TEAM
NM State sophomore first baseman Kelsey Horton was selected as the Preseason Player of the Year and teammate Kayla Green was selected as the Preseason Pitcher of the Year in a vote of the league's seven head coaches, who could not vote for their own players. NM State and Seattle U placed the most players on the Preseason All-WAC team with four, while Grand Canyon had three.

Joining Horton and Green on the Preseason All-WAC Team were Brianna Aguilar, Shea Smith and Sierra Smith of Grand Canyon; Peyton Angulo and Lyndsay Steverson of Utah Valley; Nikki Butler and Victoria Castro of NM State; and Madison Cathcart, Ally Choate, Andie Larkins and Carley Nance of Seattle U.

CATHCART, HORTON NAMED TO USA SOFTBALL WATCH LIST
Seattle U's Madison Cathcart and NM State's Kelsey Horton were among the 50 players on the USA Softball Preseason Player of the Year Watch List. The WAC was one of seven conferences to have multiple players honored.

In 2018, Cathcart led the WAC in batting average (.444), on-base percentage (.596) and slugging percentage (.954) and became the first Seattle U player to be named National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Region. She was named first team All-WAC and to the WAC All-Tournament Team. Cathcart set eight single-season school records, including 19 home runs, 20 doubles and 53 walks. She ranked in the top 10 nationally in six statistical categories.

Horton set the NM State program single-season records for home runs (25) and total bases (154) last year, ranking second nationally in homers and home runs per game (0.47), third in RBIs per game (1.21) and total bases, seventh in slugging percentage (.911) and 22nd in runs per game (0.98). She was also named the WAC Player of the Year for a second-straight season and was MVP of the WAC Tournament.

RETURNING ALL-CONFERENCE PLAYERS
Of the 13 first team All-WAC players from last year, eight returned for the 2019 season, including NM State's Nikki Butler, Kayla Green and Kelsey Horton, Seattle U's Madison Cathcart, Ally Choate and Andie Larkins, and Utah Valley's Peyton Angulo and Lyndsay Steverson.

Eight of the second team All-WAC selections returned for 2019, including three from Seattle U (Carley Nance, Kaylee Ree and Bailey Thompson). Also returning are Grand Canyon's Brianna Aguilar and Yesenia Morrison, CSU Bakersfield's Paige Johnson, NM State's Victoria Castro and Utah Valley's and Brianna Moeller.