April 9, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

St. Thomas University inched up two spots to No. 2 in the latest NFCA Division III Top 25 after improving to 20-2 on the season behind the hot hitting of Alison Wright.

The outfielder from Pewaukee, Wis., batted .579 with two home runs, 14 RBI and seven runs scored during the Tommies’ 6-0 week to earn Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division III National Player of the Week honors.

The Tommies returned to the field on April 7 to sweep Bethel and stretched their winning streak to 10 games.  Wright continued her offensive onslaught with a pair of RBI-singles in the first game to extend her school-record hitting streak to 34 games.  Wright’s streak was finally snapped in the second contest with an 0-for-3 outing, but it ended as the third-longest streak in Division III softball history.

Wright entered the week slugging 1.000 percent, which ranks fourth in the nation and with the nation’s sixth-best on-base percentage at .600.

TERRIFIC TIGERS: East Texas Baptist University vaulted nine spots to No. 4 in the latest NFCA Division III Top 25 after knocking off previously No. 1-ranked Texas-Tyler in a doubleheader on April 3.  It is the Lady Tigers’ highest ranking since finishing the 2004 regular season at No. 1.

Freshmen Alicia Wright and Brooke Martin were named American Southwest Conference East Pitcher and Player of the Week, respectively, for their contributions last week.

Wright, a native of Wylie, Texas, tossed a no-hitter against Texas-Dallas on April 5, striking out 13 batters in the outing.  Martin, of Lindale, Texas, batted .429 with a home run, two doubles and two RBI in a pair of ASC East sweeps against Texas-Tyler and UTD as the Lady Tigers improved to 26-4 on the year and moved into first place in the divisional standings.  They are currently riding a 10-game winning streak.

The ASC East Division boasts three of the nation’s top five ranked teams this week, including No. 1 Louisiana College.

STRIKEOUT LEADER: SUNY Cortland’s Katie Finch became the school’s all-time leader in strikeouts despite suffering her first loss of the season as the Red Dragons ended a 17-game winning streak with a 1-0 loss to then-No. 19 Rochester.

The junior from fanned nine batters in the first game, and then struck out seven more in four innings of the second contest to earn a save.  Finch now has 560 career strikeouts.

Finch leads the nation with a 0.36 ERA, and ranks second with 11.2 strikeouts per seven innings.  The ninth-ranked Red Dragons are now 18-2 on the year.

NOTABLE:  Rhode Island College broke into the latest NFCA Division III Top 25 at No. 23 after extending its winning streak to 14 games with a doubleheader sweep of Johnson & Wales on April 7.  The Anchorwomen have not lost since returning from their spring trip … Top-ranked Louisiana College stretched its winning streak to 10 games with an American Southwest Conference sweep of LeTourneau with help from Rene’ Schwartzenburg, who threw her fifth complete-game shutout of the season.  Schwartzenburg fanned 13 batters in the one-hitter to improve to 8-0 on the year … No. 13 Luther College moved into first place in the Iowa Conference standings with a sweep of Simpson  Kim Hess collected four hits in the doubleheader, and needs just one hit to tie the all-time school record of 176.