Franchi Selected First Team All-West Region by NFCA

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University right-handed pitcher and designated player Nikki Franchi (Jr., Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) has been named First Team All-West Region for the 2008 season, as selected by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA). Franchi was chosen as a utility player due to her outstanding hitting and pitching statistics. Katie Peterson (So., Independence, OR/Central HS) of Willamette, who played right field for the Bearcats, was named Second Team All-Region.

The NFCA All-West Region team for NCAA Division III honored 45 athletes. A total of 15 players were selected First Team All-Region, with 15 players named to the Second Team and 15 on the Third Team.

First Team All-West Region

Nikki FranchiNikki Franchi (Jr., RHP/DP) achieved a .518 batting average and set a Willamette record with 10 home runs. She also contributed 10 doubles and four triples to Willamette's offense, helping the Bearcats score 7.1 runs per game. She established a school record with a .955 slugging percentage.

She scored 46 runs to tie a new school record and also set a record with 45 RBIs. She started all 36 games during the season.

As a pitcher, Franchi finished the year with a 19-4 record and a 1.85 earned run average. She struck out 203 batters to set a Willamette record and held opponents to a .198 batting average. She registered three complete-game shutouts and one combined shutout. She pitched a total of 147 2/3 innings.

She ranks eighth nationally in NCAA Division III in batting average and is eighth in slugging percentage. She is ninth in on-base percentage (.588) and is 14th in runs batted in per game (1.25). She is 15th in pitching wins and strikeouts per game (9.6).

With a year of eligibility remaining, Franchi has set several career records at Willamette. On offense, her records include a .439 batting average, a .753 slugging percentage, a .509 on-base percentage and 14 home runs.

Her career pitching records include total strikeouts (401) and strikeouts per game (8.2). She has thrown 340 2/3 innings and owns a 34-16 career win-loss record.

Franchi is in her second year as an All-West Region selection after earning Third Team All-Region honors in 2007. She recently was named First Team All-Northwest Conference for the second consecutive season.

Second Team All-West Region

Katie PetersonKatie Peterson (So., RF) excelled at the plate with a .415 batting average and eight home runs. She smacked a team-high 11 doubles and tied for second on the team with 36 RBIs. She scored 22 runs and was 10 of 15 on stolen bases.

She connected for 19 extra-base hits on her way to a .809 slugging percentage and a .491 on-base percentage. On defense, she recorded 33 putouts and three assists to go with a .973 fielding percentage. She started all 36 games and has played in 63 games (59 starts) in two seasons with the Bearcats.

Peterson owns an impressive .386 career batting average. Her career statistics also include 26 runs scored and 40 RBIs. She has a .972 career fielding percentage, with 126 putouts, 14 assists and four errors.

It was Peterson's first time on the All-West Region Team. She was named First Team All-Northwest Conference for the first time this season.

The Willamette University Softball Season

Willamette achieved a 25-11 record this spring. The Bearcats went 19-9 in the NWC to finish in third place. WU players combined to hit 45 home runs in 36 games (1.25 avg., 4th in NCAA Division III). WU also ranked sixth in the nation in slugging percentage (.548) and was eighth in stolen bases per game (2.58 avg.).

The Bearcats earned a .324 team batting average this season. Willamette scored 256 runs, belted 113 extra-base hits and stole 93 bases. WU batters received 83 walks and were hit by pitches 51 times.

2008 NFCA All-West Region Team for NCAA Division III: Complete Listing
Willamette's All-West Region Selections: Career Statistics

Nikki Franchi has been named First Team All-West Region. She was Third Team All-Region in 2007.

Nikki Franchi has been named First Team All-West Region. She was Third Team All-Region in 2007.