Franchi Named Northwest Conference Softball Pitcher of the Week

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

(SOFTBALL) SALEM, ORE. -- Sophomore pitcher Nikki Franchi (RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) of Willamette University has been named Softball Pitcher of the Week by the Northwest Conference for the week ending March 12, 2007. Franchi earned a 3-0 record and one save in four pitching opportunities as the Bearcats went 5-1 and advanced to the championship game of the 2007 National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Leadoff Classic, March 10-12 in Panama City, Fla.

Franchi pitched 21 1/3 innings against several of the top teams in Division III. She recorded 23 strikeouts for an average of 7.5 strikeouts per seven innings. She registered an earned run average of 1.97 for the weekend, while throwing complete games against Central College (Iowa) and Chapman University (Calif.). She also threw the first six inning against William Paterson University (N.J.) in Willamette’s tournament opener.

WU defeated William Paterson, 9-1, downed Central, 12-4 in six innings on the run rule, and claimed a solid 8-1 win over Chapman in the semifinals. Franchi also threw 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to earn a save in Willamette’s 13-7 win over Wheaton College (Mass.) in the quarterfinals. The Bearcats were leading 9-7 when Franchi entered the game in the fifth inning.

Franchi also played on offense throughout the tournament. She hit .476 (10 of 21) with five runs scored and eight RBIs. She pounded out five doubles andone home run. She was one of three Willamette athletes and one of 13 players overall named to the Leadoff Classic All-Tournament Team.

Willamette’s tournament results in games not involving Franchi as a pitcher were an 8-4 win over the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in pool play and a 4-0 loss to the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) in the championship game. St. Thomas suffered a loss in pool play, before winning the tournament with a 5-1 overall record.

Nikki Franchi

Nikki Franchi