April 1, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

Stanford senior pitcher Missy Penna became the first player in school history to sweep the national weekly awards as she was named USA Softball National Player of the Week and Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week, as well Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for her spectacular performance in the circle last week.

The native of Miami, Fla., struck out 45 batters in 34.1 innings as she compiled a 3-1 record against three nationally-ranked opponents, including a pair of victories over then-No. 2 Washington.  Penna held the Huskies scoreless for 18 straight innings, winning a pair of pitcher’s duels against ace Danielle Lawrie.  She began the week by striking out a school-record 19 batters in a 10-inning victory over then-No. Cal Poly.

Penna tied the school record for career wins (105) during the week, and improved her school shutout mark to 45 by holding the Huskies scoreless for two games.

Stanford is No. 2 in the latest USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25, despite a 7-4 loss to then-No. 5 UCLA March 27, which snapped their nation’s longest winning streak at 28 games.

DEBUTANTES:  Texas made its season debut in the national poll at No. 25 after turning in a 3-0 mark last week, including a sweep of then-No. 6 Oklahoma to move into first place in the Big 12 Conference standings.

Sophomore pitcher/designated player Brittany Barnhill was outstanding at the plate, batting .700 with 10 RBI, four extra base hits and a 1.400 slugging percentage.  The native of Rhome, Texas, went 4-for-4 with a career-high six RBI, including a game-tying home run and game-winning two-run double in a 9-7 win over the Sooners.

Barnhill also picked up a pair of wins in the circle to improve to 14-6 on the season, earning Big 12 Player of the Week honors.

PERFECT AT THE PLATE:  Arizona State’s Kaitlin Cochran posted a perfect 1.000 batting average in three games against Oregon and Oregon State to spark the Sun Devils to a run-rule sweep in Pac-10 play last weekend.

The senior outfielder from Loma Linda, Calif., went 5-for-5 with three home runs and a double, and walked seven times during the three games.  Cochran also scored eight runs as she collected Pac-10 Player of the Week for the fifth time of her career. 

Cochran, who leads active Pac-10 players with 64 career homers, also paces the league with a 1.138 slugging percentage, and ranks second with a .475 batting average.

NOTABLE:  North Carolina’s Danielle Spaulding picked up her fourth Atlantic Coast Conference Pitcher of the Week honor this season as she compiled a 3-0 mark, allowing just four hits in 20 innings pitched.  The junior from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., struck out 43 batters for the week, including a school-record 19 against Campbell.  She also was hot at the plate, belting three home runs to help her own cause … Fordham freshman Jen Mineau was flawless in five appearances, record a 5-0 mark and a 0.27 ERA as she helped the Rams to a 6-0 week, which included four wins over Atlantic-10 foes.  The native of Schaghticoke, N.Y., surrendered just one earned run with 32 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched, earning the league’s Pitcher and Rookie of the Week honors … No. 6 Georgia’s nine-game winning streak has propelled the Bulldogs to their highest national ranking since 2004 when the program reach fifth.  Senior Christie Hamilton went 3-0 in the Bulldogs’ four games last week, posting a 1.24 ERA and 16 strikeouts in 17 innings, and was named SEC Pitcher of the Week for her efforts.