Feb. 13, 2008
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -
The Indians softball team gets the 2008 season underway on Friday at the Campbell-Cartier Tournament in San Diego, Calif., hosted by San Diego State University. Below are notes on the Hoosiers and the other four teams competing at the tournament.
OUT OF THE BOX
The Hoosiers will look to improve on their 21-12-1 all-time in season openers after picking up a 3-0 win over Centenary last season. Indiana is also 1-1 all-time in season openers agaisnt schools from the state of California. IU suffered a 1-0 loss at the hands of Cal State Northridge to start the 2005 season and defeated San Jose State, 4-2, in the 2003 season opener.
The last time IU opened a season in the state of California was 1999 when the Hoosiers traveled to Sunnyvale, Calif. Indiana won its first four games at the tournament, two against Adelphi and Texas A&M before splitting with Kansas.
Redshirt senior Tory Yamaguchi has been a terror at the plate throughout her career in Bloomington. In her three previous seasons, Yamaguchi slugged 33 home runs, just five shy of the career home run mark of 38 set by Monica Armendarez (1995-98). Each season, the native of Woodland Hills, Calif., has increased her home run total. After hitting 10 as a redshirt freshman in 2004, she followed that up with 11 in 2005 before hitting 12 in 2007. That total from a year ago tied two other Hoosiers for the third most in a single season in IU history. The all-time single season record is 16 set by Michelle Venturella in 1994.
Under fourth year head coach Stacey Phillips, the Hoosiers have improved their defensive fielding percentage each year, culminating with the all-time Indiana mark of .973 last year. The 2007 Hoosiers also committed a school-record low 43 errors in 55 games.
TO (NOT) CATCH A THIEF
RETURNING TO THE PLATE
Senior outfielder Julia Hamilton has caused headaches for opposing defenses ever since putting on the Indiana uniform for the first time in 2005. In her career, she has stolen 43 bases in 47 attempts. As a freshman, the Lincolnshire, Ill., product stole nine bases in 10 attempts before swiping 17-of-19 each of the past two seasons.
The 43 career stolen bases ranks her eighth all-time. With another season similar to the past two, Hamilton would finish in the top five all-time, but will have a tough time catching the all-time leader, Aimee Lonigro's 90 career thefts.
The Indiana offense will have some familiar hitters stepping into the box this year, as the top four batters from last year are returning this year, led by senior third baseman Jennilee Huddleston
, who hit .335 with six home runs and 25 RBI. Yamaguchi was just shy of the .300 mark, batting .295 with 12 home runs and 32 runs batted in. Rounding out the top four are Sarah Padove
(.284) and Julia Hamilton
EXPERIENCE IN THE CIRCLE
IU will return over 92 percent of their innings pitched from the 2007 season this year. Junior Monica Wright threw 241.2 innings out of a possible 350.0 last season and will be looked upon to once again carry the load in 2008. Wright made 31 starts and completed 25 of those games on her way to 14 wins and 148 strikeouts.
WHO NEEDS A BREAK?
Jennilee Huddleston has been a staple in the IU lineup over the past two seasons, starting each of the last 111 games for the Hoosiers. Of those 111 games, all but one has been at third base. On March 9 against Northern Illinios, Huddleston shifted to shortstop while Kari Bettenbrock got the start at third.
Huddleston not only led the Hoosiers on the field, she also set the pace in the classroom. The Peachtree City, Ga., native earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District V honors for having at least a 3.20 cumulative GPA.
In addition to that, Huddleston was one of ten Hoosiers to be named Academic All-Big Ten, tying Penn State for the most in the conference. In her three seasons as head coach of the Hoosiers, a total 25 Academic All-Big Ten awards have been handed out to IU softball players. On top of all those accomplishments, six Hoosiers were also given the honor of being named NFCA Academic All-Americans for 2007.
A year ago, Indiana got off to a fast start over Spring Break in Florida. First, they won the Bronze Bracket of the USF adidas Invitational. Tory Yamaguchi went 4-for-4 in the title game to provide Indiana with all the offense necessary.
Three days later, the Hoosiers once again celebrated a tournament title in the Tampa, Fla., area. Behind the second consecutive shutout from Monica Wright, Indiana secured the USF Spring Break Tournament crown with a 1-0 win over USF in the championship game. Huddleston once again provided the punch at the plate, lacing a double to left field that allowed Julia Hamilton to score the game's only run.
The victory was also the seventh in a row for IU, the longest since the 1997 season. The Hoosiers would extend the streak to nine games before a loss to Boston University ended the run.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS
San Diego State
The San Diego State softball team enters their tournament 4-1 thus far on the season, with their only loss coming at the hands of No. 22/21 Mississippi State. Leading the way in the circle, All-American candidate Christina Ross recorded her 18th career shutout last weekend while the offense is led by All-American junior Erin Floros, who enters the tournament batting .375 with a game changing three-run homer against UC Davis on February 9th.
Coming off an Opening Day sweep against University of the Pacific, Fresno State enters the tournament 2-0. Freshman pitcher Megan Melloh is 2-0 with 16 strikeouts through two games for the Bulldogs. Senior Jenna Cervantez leads the offense, scoring the teams first runs of the season off a home run against University of the Pacific.
UC Santa Barbara
Entering the tournament 1-4, with two losses coming to ranked teams in Oklahoma and UCLA, the Gauchos rely on the strong offensive presence of junior Christine Ramos. Last season, Ramos led the offense with a .359 average while posting a team high in hits (66) and runs (33).
The Aggies are 0-5 on the season, but two of their losses are to teams currently ranked in the top 25, Tennessee and Texas A&M. Emily Reilly leads the Utah State offense with a .308 average while Simone Hubbard has hit the only home run for the Aggies this season. Lindsey Benson has started four the five games this year for USU against the tough competition and opponents are batting .271 against her.
The Golden Hurricanes are 2-2 so far this season, splitting two games with North Texas, defeating Texas State and losing to Creighton. Brooke Smart is pacing the offense early this season, hitting .462 with a home run and four RBI. Lauren Lindsay has two home runs and four RBI to round out a Tulsa offense that has been outscored by its opponents, 18-17 so far. In the circle, Jackie Lawrence has been lights out in her two starts, picking up the win and going in the distance in both while giving up just two earned runs.