Thomas, Wildcats roll this week
Notes: UNLV’s Oliveto tosses back-to-back no-hitters
Louisiana College catcher Amber Thomas has been named the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Player of the Week for games played March 28-April 3. Thomas is the second player from the American Southwest Conference to be honored by the NFCA this season, joining Jordan Berry Concordia (Texas).
Thomas helped the No. 3-ranked Wildcats to a 6-0 week to bring their record to 26-4. The senior went 13-for-20 with three home runs, five doubles and 12 RBI to fuel the perfect week in American Southwest Conference (ASC) East Division play. The six wins included a pair of victories against defending national champion and then-No. 8 East Texas Baptist.
Thomas also scored seven runs, had two sacrifice flies and walked once. She tallied hits and RBIs during the last five games of the weekend, including a 5-for-5 effort and four RBIs against Ozarks.
A Rosepine, La., native, Thomas also was named the ASC East Division and the Louisiana Sportswriters Association Hitter of the Week.
Need to Know
• Arizona sophomore Kenzie Fowler earned USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week honors, leading the Wildcats to a three-game sweep against then-No. 12 Stanford with two wins and a save. Fowler did not allow a run on the weekend, tossing two complete-game shutouts. She allowed just four hits on the weekend, pitching 15.1 of a possible 18 innings. Her Sunday shutout of Stanford was her best outing of the year as she limited the Cardinal to two hits over seven innings, striking out 10. She struck out 17 batters on the weekend, walking just seven. She has not allowed an earned run since a March 18 game vs. Michigan.
• Winona State catcher Kathy Crudo earned NFCA Division II National Player of the Week honors. Crudo hit .647 (11-for-17) with eight runs, nine RBI, one double, one triple, a stolen base and two walks. She also had a .648 on-base percentage and a 1.176 slugging percentage and did not commit an error in 42 chances. She helped lead Winona to a 4-0 record in the opening weekend of Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference play, including a walk-off home run against Minnesota-Crookston
• Junior pitcher Sara Plourde of Massachusetts earned NFCA Division I Player of the Week honors. She went 17.2 innings without giving up a single hit last week, going 3-0 overall with a save, including two no-hitters, 39 K’s and seven walks. She had a 0.00 ERA and opposing batting average of .000. Plourde struck out 16 batters in each of her two no-hitters against Saint Louis and Dartmouth. Her stretch of 17.2 hitless innings broke the previous program record for hitless innings, which was set in 1983.
• The Lone Star Conference has raised $2,200 to help Texas Woman’s University softball player Abby Burns in her fight against leukemia through merchandise sales at the LSC Softball Crossover Tournament in San Angelo, Texas. Burns was in attendance but did not play at the three-day event.
• Torie Bunzell of Quincy earned NFCA Division II Pitcher of the Week honors, her second such honor of the season. Bunzell was nearly perfect last week, allowing just one hit in a mid-week game against Lindenwood last week. Bunzell then tossed her eighth career no-hitter and third perfect game in a Great Lakes Valley Conference doubleheader against Rockhurst, a game that went eight innings. In each of her three appearances of the week, she struck out at least 13 with a high of 17 coming during her no-hitter against Rockhurst.
• After 16 years between no-hitters for the UNLV softball program, Amanda Oliveto has now tossed two in a row. Her second consecutive no-no came on Friday night in UNLV’s 9-0, five-inning win against Seattle. She faced one over the minimum as she walked the first hitter of the fifth inning to lose the perfect game. Oliveto struck out six and walked one in the game. She earned Mountain West Pitcher of the Week honors for her efforts.
• Alabama, Alabama-Huntsville and Linfield remain atop the NFCA Division I, II and III Top 25 polls, respectively.
• Jennifer DeFazio of UC San Diego hit .579 (11-19) at last week’s Tournament of Champions, driving in six runs and stealing five bases in the process.
• UCLA’s Andrea Harrison went 10-for-12 last week with two doubles, two home runs and nine RBI as the Bruins went 5-0.
• Bloomsburg’s Shavaun Fisher picked up five wins and a save in six appearances last week while giving up no earned runs and striking out 39.
• Michelle Moses of Fresno State pitched 16 scoreless innings last week, including a no-hitter, as the Bulldogs swept then-No. 20 Hawaii.
• Natalie Adami of Regis (CO) hit for the cycle last week and turned in a .615 batting average in the Rangers’ four-game sweep of Adams State.
• Kentucky’s Meagan Aull had a double and four home runs in UK’s sweep of then-No. 5 Florida.
• C.W. Post’s Sarah Kiser allowed just two earned runs last week and struck out 31, allowing her to go 4-0 with two shutouts.
• Ellen Renfroe of Tennessee went 2-0 against then-No. 22 Auburn including a 20-strikeout performance in the Lady Vols’ 10-inning win.
• Eastern Michigan’s McKenna Russ recorded 11 consecutive hits last week to finish with 16, 12 RBI, five home runs and four doubles as the Eagles went 5-1 last week.