April 22, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

Northwestern’s Adrienne Monka exploded at the plate with a .765 batting average and 1.706 slugging percentage last week to lead the Wildcats to a 4-1 record, including a doubleheader sweep of then-No. 23 Iowa.

The freshman first baseman knocked in 13 RBI, and put together a stretch of hits in eight straight at bats – the ninth-longest stretch in NCAA Division I history. 

Monka started the week with a three-run home run in the first win against the Hawkeyes, and capped off the day by going 4-for-4 with a grand slam and seven RBI in the second contest.  She added home runs against Loyola and Purdue, bumping her season total to 15 to set the school’s freshman home run record.

Monka garnered Louisville Slugger/NFCA National Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week honors for her outstanding play.  The No. 11 Wildcats, who are one game behind first-place Ohio State in the Big Ten standings in the loss column, will continue league action at Illinois April 25.

GATOR BAIT:  Top-ranked Florida clinched its second straight Southeastern Conference regular season title behind the stellar pitching of senior Stacey Nelson, who posted 13 scoreless innings against then-No. 18 LSU last weekend.  The Tigers had entered the series averaging 5.12 runs per game in league action.

The native of Los Alamito, Calif., went 2-0 with a save against the Tigers, striking out 15 batters in three appearances to earn SEC Pitcher of the Week honors for the third time this season.

Nelson moved into ninth place on the all-time NCAA wins list, and second on the SEC all-time wins list.

PIRATE PANACHE:  East Carolina sophomore Toni Paisley collected her Conference USA-record seventh Pitcher of the Week award after notching each of the Pirates’ five victories last week.

The native of Lakewood, Calif., compiled a 0.76 earned run average and struck out 41 batters on the week, highlighted by a shutout of Memphis and a 14-strikeout performance against NC State. 

ECU improved to 17-4 in C-USA play with its sweep of Memphis last weekend as the team tied the 2005 squad for most league wins in a single season.  The Pirates, who had their eight-game winning streak snapped in a 1-0 loss to No. 13 North Carolina on April 21, will host UNC Greensboro Wednesday before returning to league play at Marshall April 25.

NOTABLE:  Texas moved back into the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 at No. 25 after posting a 3-0 in Big 12 action.  Sophomore Brittany Barnhill picked up all of the Longhorns’ victories last week, including three complete games and two shutouts to earn Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors.  She held opponents to a 0.33 ERA and struck out 14 batters in 21 innings … Iowa senior Brittany Weil became the first Hawkeye pitcher, and eighth in Big Ten history, to record 1,000 career strikeouts as she accomplished the feat in a 10-inning 4-3 win over Michigan State last weekend.  Weil is already Iowa's all-time strikeout leader, and after striking out six in four innings of relief in a 5-3 win over Northern Iowa April 21, she has 1,013 for her career.