Bearcats are Tied for #15 in NCAA Division III Softball Poll

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University is tied for #15 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Division III Top 25 released on Wednesday, April 22. The Bearcats finished the regular season with a 29-6 overall record, including 22-6 in the Northwest Conference.

NWC rival Linfield College moved up one spot to regain the #1 ranking in the nation this week. Linfield was ranked #2 a week ago. The Wildcats are 36-4 overall and are 26-2 in the NWC.

Willamette pitcher Nikki Franchi (Sr., RHP, Los Gatos, CA/Saratoga HS) gave Linfield one of its two losses in NWC play when she tossed a one-hitter at the Wildcats in a 2-0 win on Sunday (April 26). Franchi also blasted a two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning to drive in the winning runs. Linfield won the other three games in the series.

With five of the six first place votes, Linfield received 194 points in this week's poll. Central College (Iowa), 35-5, and East Texas Baptist University, also 35-5, tied for #2 with 188 points. Central received the final first place vote. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, 32-3, was ranked #4 with 158 points. Tufts University (Mass.), 34-0, followed at #5 with 156 points.

The NCAA will announce selections for the NCAA Division III Tournament on Monday, May 4. A total of 59 teams will be selected to open NCAA Tournament play in five seven-team first-round brackets and three eight-team first-round brackets.

NFCA Division III Top 25
Released on April 29, 2009
Nikki Franchi threw a one-hitter and smacked a two-run homer in WU's 2-0 win over Linfield.

Nikki Franchi threw a one-hitter and smacked a two-run homer in WU's 2-0 win over Linfield.