Feb. 21, 2013
DAVIS, Calif. -
LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Feb. 13 vs. No. 9 Cal: L, 7-0
at the Stanford Nike Invitational (Stanford, Calif.)
Feb. 16 vs. Santa Clara: W, 7-2; vs. CSU Bakersfield: L, 2-0
Feb. 17 vs. Santa Clara: W, 14-1 (6); at Stanford: L, 8-0
THIS WEEK'S GAMES
NFCA Leadoff Classic
Eddie C. Moore Complex
Friday, Feb. 22
UC Davis (5-5) vs. Southern Illinois (4-6) - 10 a.m. PT
James Madison (4-1) vs. UC Davis - 3 p.m. PT
Saturday, Feb. 23
UC Davis vs. No. 15/15 Michigan (6-2) - 10 a.m. PT
UC Davis vs. No. 17/14 USF (6-3) - 3 p.m. PT
Sunday, Feb. 24
Illinois State (5-5) vs. UC Davis - 6:30 a.m. PT
Fordham (4-1) vs. UC Davis - 8:30 a.m.
DAVIS, Calif. - Two contests against nationally-ranked competition, and action against five teams with a .500 record or better highlight UC Davis' three-day, six-game schedule at this weekend's NFCA Leadoff Classic in Clearwater, Fla.
Starting with games against Southern Illinois (10 a.m. PT) and James Madison (3 p.m. PT) on Friday, Feb. 22, UC Davis will have one day to acclimate to its surroundings before facing another two nationally-ranked squads on Saturday, Feb. 23.
Ranked No. 15 in both the NFCA/USA Today and ESPN.com/USA Softball polls, Michigan will test the Aggies' mettle in a 10 a.m. (PT) contest on the most challenging day of action in Clearwater. UC Davis will end its afternoon at 3 p.m. (PT) against a No. 17/14 USF squad that possesses a distinct advantage since its fan base needs to travel only 28 miles from campus to support the Bulls' softball team.
Sunday's schedule at the Leadoff Classic will commence with the Aggies' 6:30 a.m. (PT) matchup against Illinois State, with UC Davis concluding its time in Clearwater by remaining on the field to face Fordham at 8:30 a.m. (PT).
A CLOSER LOOK AT...
Last week was a tough one for Southern Illinois as the Salukis posted a 1-4 record throughout its time at the Florida Gulf Coast Tournament. Earning its only win of the weekend against Georgia Southern, the Salukis will compete in their 11th-straight road game in Friday morning's game against UC Davis.
Responsible for three of her team's four victories, right-handed pitcher Brittney Lang has spent the most time in the circle for the Salukis, throwing 39.2 innings this season. Possessing a 3.71 ERA, Lang has gone the distance in five games this season and is responsible for throwing the only shutout of the season for Southern Illinois in a 4-0 contest versus the same Fordham team the Aggies will face in their tournament finale Sunday morning.
Competing in its inaugural games of the season last week at the Cougar Classic in Charleston, S.C., James Madison won four of its five games played last week, defeating Akron, College of Charleston, Towson and Syracuse. Sandwiched between those four victories was a 5-4 loss suffered against East Tennessee St.
Led by senior outfielder Jasmine Butler, one of four players who currently possess a .400 batting average or higher, the Dukes hit .322, recorded 30 RBI and scored 32 runs throughout their inaugural weekend of action.
Expect a lot of action on the basepaths when the Aggies face the Dukes as both teams like to remain as aggressive as possible once runners reach base. Successfully stealing a base in 16 of its 18 attempts, UC Davis will face a James Madison lineup that has swiped a base in all 14 of its attempts.
No. 15/15 Michigan
Returning to Florida for its third consecutive weekend, the Michigan Wolverines are the first of two nationally-ranked teams on UC Davis' Saturday schedule. Michigan suffered one loss in each of its first two tournaments, falling to then-No. 12 USF on Feb. 9, and LIU Brooklyn 2-1 exactly one week later.
Sophomore pitcher Sara Driesenga leads the Wolverines in the circle; allowing five earned runs throughout her 41.0 innings pitched, the right-hander enters Clearwater with a team-low 0.85 ERA. Recording five complete games out of her seven starts, Driesenga has help opposing lineups to a .178 average.
Entering her 29th season in Ann Arbor, head coach Carol Hutchins has won 1,257 games, against 421 losses and four ties at the helm of Michigan's softball team.
No. 17/14 USF
Unlike the Aggies who have competed on the road in nine of their first 10 games played this season, USF has been fortunate enough to host its first nine games of the season in consecutive weekend tournaments. Even though the Bulls' first five road games will take place this weekend at the Leadoff Classic, those events will take place a mere 30-minute drive from campus in nearby Clearwater.
Led by junior shortstop Kourtney Salvarola, six USF starters are hitting .333 or above and are responsible for 49 of the Bulls' 61 hits, 10 of the team's 12 extra-base hits and nearly three-fourths of all runs driven in this season. In addition to Salvarola, USF's lineup is buoyed by catcher/first baseman Morgan Litchfield, first baseman Stephanie Medina, catcher/outfielder Lee Ann Spivey, utility player D'Anna Devine and outfielder Courtney Goff.
Sunday morning's game between Illinois State and UC Davis will mark the second occasion that the two have faced one another; in their previous meeting during the 2009 season, the Aggies fell to the Redbirds by a 3-1 score in a neutral-site game at Stanford.
Led by senior infielder/catcher Elizabeth Kay, Illinois State took three of its five games played last week at the ASU Littlewood Classic in Tempe, Ariz. In addition to sweeping Minnesota, the Redbirds ended their weekend with a 16-8 win over the University of Illinois-Chicago.
Kay finished last week's games with seven hits in her 13 plate appearances, hit two home runs and drove in six RBI to earn Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week recognition.
As was the case with James Madison, Fordham also started its season with a slate of five games at the Dot Richardson Collegiate Invitational in Clermont, Fla. And like the Dukes, the Rams also won four of their five games, including a 14-6 contest in six innings against the same LIU Brooklyn squad that defeated Michigan by one run last week.
At the Dot Richardson Invitational, senior pitcher Jamie LaBovick earned wins in all three of her appearances, fanned 17 batters against four walks and finished with a 1.91 ERA.
LaBovick also helped her own cause by hitting .526 throughout the weekend; one that saw the right-hander also hit a home run and record hits in all four of her at-bats against LIU to earn conference accolades.