March 11, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

CIRCLE TIME: The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse softball team has started the season flawlessly with the help of sophomore right-hander Heather Schultz’ outstanding work in the circle.

The native of Annandale, Minn., has not allowed a run in 20.0 innings pitched this season, compiling a 4-0 record as the Eagles began the year with a 6-0 mark.  Schultz opened the year with a 10-0 no-hitter against Minnesota-Morris, and has allowed just 11 hits in her three other appearances.  She has fanned 32 batters on the year, while allowing just one walk.   Schultz garnered Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Week honors for her performances.

The Eagles look to remain unbeaten when they face St. Thomas (Minn.) on March 14.

LAST CHANCE:  Rochester saved the best for last on March 7 as the Yellowjackets downed both Moravian and SUNY Plattsburgh in their final at bats of the respective contests as they improved to 5-1 on the year.

Senior Beth Ameno tossed complete-game wins against both teams, and then added four innings of scoreless relief in a 5-1 loss to Emerson College, earning University Athletic Association Pitcher of the Week honors.  The native of Buffalo, N.Y., has struck out 26 batters and allowed only one earned run in 19.0 innings pitched.

Sophomore Lindsay Macaluso was stellar at the plate with a 4-for-4 outing and the game-winning RBI in a 4-3 victory over then-No. 11 Moravian, earning UAA Player of the Week recognition.

The Yellowjackets remained No. 16 in the latest NFCA Division III poll following the successful week.

‘CATS POUNCE: Louisiana College kept its No. 3 position in the NFCA Division III poll after staying unbeaten with four wins at the American Southwest Conference First Pitch Tournament last weekend.

Senior right-hander McCaslin Carson set the tone for the Lady Wildcats with a 12-0 no-hitter over Sul Ross State, striking out eight batters in the contest.  The native of Monroe, La., also recorded a save with 2.1 scoreless innings in a 4-3 win over Hardin-Simmons.  At the plate, Carson went 7-for-11 with seven RBI.  She was named ASC East Pitcher of the Week for efforts.

The Lady Wildcats improved to 10-0 on the year, and have now won 23 straight games at the league tournament.

FRESH FACE:  Linfield College moved into the latest NFCA Division III Top 25 at No. 25 after starting the season with a perfect 6-0 record with all wins coming against Northwest Conference foes.

The defending league champions swept Whitworth in a four-game series last week behind the smoldering bat of freshman first baseman Emilee Lepp.  The native of Colville, Wash., batted .692 with five RBI and eight runs scored, reaching base safely in 13 of her 16 plate appearances.

Lepp, who was also flawless in the field, earned her first NWC Player of the Week award for her performance.

NOTABLE:  Ohio Northern posted a 10-0 record on the team’s spring trip to Clermont, Fla., to break into the NFCA Division III Top 25 at No. 11 after previously being unranked … Wartburg traveled to the Tucson Invitational and returned with an 11-1 record last week with the help of the dominating pitching duo of seniors Angela Hartwig and Lexy Determan.  Hartwig finished 6-1 with five complete games, three shutouts, a save, and 70 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched. Determan surrendered only one earned run in 28.2 innings for a 4-0 record.  The Knights’ pitching staff combined to post a 0.44 ERA on the trip.