May 5, 2009

By Amy Farnum Novin

University of Michigan sophomore pitcher Jordan Taylor was practically perfect last week, tossing back-to-back two-hitters in Big Ten victories over Indiana and Iowa as the Wolverines remained in contention for the league title.

Taylor struck out 29 batters in 14 scoreless innings, including a career-high 16 strikeouts against then-No. 25 Iowa.  The native of Valencia, Calif., improved her season shutout mark to seven, and picked up her first Big Ten Pitcher of the Week award for her efforts.

The eighth-ranked Wolverines are tied with Ohio State for first place in the league standings, and will host the Buckeyes in a doubleheader on May 6 before concluding the regular season against Michigan State this weekend.

TECH ON TOP:  Georgia Tech got stellar performances from Jen Yee at the plate and Tiffany Johnson in the circle as the Yellow Jackets wrapped up the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season title with a two-game sweep of Maryland last week.

Yee, a junior from North Delta, British Columbia, collected three hits, including two homers, while driving in and scoring five runs.  She reached base safely in eight of her nine plate appearances, including five walks to earn ACC Player of the Week honors.

Johnson, a native of Atlanta, Ga., recorded the first perfect game by a Yellow Jacket pitcher since 2005, as she struck out nine batters in the five-inning contest.  The senior was tabbed ACC Pitcher of the Week for her impressive effort.
The No. 21 Yellow Jackets will travel to Raleigh, N.C., for the ACC Championship, beginning with a game against eighth-seeded Virginia May 8.

SENIOR MOMENT:  Stanford University has reeled off six straight Pac-10 victories, including last weekend’s sweep of the Arizona schools, as the Cardinal made its presence known as a title contender in the ultra-competitive conference.

Senior Missy Penna led the Cardinal to its first weekend sweep against the Arizona schools in program history, as she held Arizona State and Arizona to a combined one run on three hits in 14 innings pitched.  The native of Miami, Fla., became the first pitcher since Feb. 22 to shutout Arizona State as she fanned 11 batters in the contest.  She also became the first pitcher in the nation with 1,200 career strikeouts.

Penna followed it up with a one-hitter versus Arizona -- the nation’s most potent offense – along with 13 strikeouts.  For the week, she compiled a 0.50 ERA and .065 opponent batting average, and was selected Louisville Slugger/NFCA Division I National Player of the Week for her outstanding play.

Stanford now enters the final weekend of Pac-10 play in a first-place tie with UCLA.  The two squads will conclude the regular season slate at UCLA May 8-9.  The Cardinal’s only Pac-10 title came in 2005.

NOTABLE:  Louisville junior catcher Melissa Roth picked up her fourth Big East Player of the Week award after batting .545 with two home runs, six runs scored and five RBI.  The native of Long Beach, Calif., is the school’s single-season record-holder with 62 runs, and needs just won homer to match the season mark of 17 set by Courtney Moore in 2005.  The No. 17 Cardinals are the third seed in the conference tournament beginning May 7 and face Connecticut in the quarterfinals…Fresno State worked its way into the latest NFCA/USA Today Top 25 in the No. 25 spot after claiming its first Western Athletic Conference title since 2006.  The top-seeded Bulldogs will host the WAC Championship beginning May 6.