March 24, 2005

Northern Colorado Softball To Host UTEP on Friday, Saturday

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University of Northern Colorado Bears (8-15)

vs. University of Texas-El Paso Miners (12-22)

Game #24-26 l  Fri.-Sat., March 25-26, 2005  l  Noon & 10 a.m.

Greeley, Colo. l  UNC Softball Field



The University of Northern Colorado Bears' softball squad will return to home action on Friday and Saturday to play the UTEP Miners. The Bears and Miners will play a doubleheader on Friday beginning at Noon, and continuing on Saturday with a single game at 10 a.m.





Northern Colorado took part in the UTEP Tournament on Feb. 25-27 in El Paso and now the Miners will pay a return trip to Greeley as a part of the contract between the two schools. UTEP scored a 14-4 win over the Bears on the opening day of the UTEP tourney on Feb. 25.



Sophomore outfielder Casey Hogue hit .500 (12-for-24) with nine runs and nine RBI in the seven games the Bears played at the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Fla. Hogue hit her first two home runs of the season and stole three bases in Florida. Hogue had at least one hit in each of the seven games and now has a seven-game hitting streak entering the Bears' three-game series with the Miners.



Senior Whitney Platten tied the Bears' single-game record for doubles when she tallied three two-baggers in a 9-4 win over George Mason. Cody Hicks set the record on April 27, 1999 against Colorado College. Platten leads the Bears in doubles this season with 10. The single-season record for doubles is 12, which was set by Erin Peterson in the 2003 season.



University of Northern Colorado freshman Mackenzie Barrett was named NCAA Division I Softball Co-Player of the Week on Wednesday for her efforts at the Rebel Spring Games. Barrett shared honors with Nikki Sheldon of UC Davis. Barrett, a walk-on from Lakewood, Colo. (Alameda HS) hit .381 for the week. Barrett tallied eight hits, six RBI and three home runs in leading the Bears to a 4-3 mark on the week. Barrett launched a pair of home runs in a 6-5 loss to Youngstown State on March 14 at the Rebel Games. Barrett is hitting .293 this season with 17 hits, 10 RBI and three home runs.



Freshman Kati Miller and senior Whitney Platten are each batting over .400 through 23 games this season. Platten is hitting .413 (26-for-63) with 15 RBI, 12 runs, 10 doubles and two home runs. Miller is batting .404 (19-for-47) with six runs, four doubles and four RBI.



Sophomore pitcher Kelsey Dumler tossed her first career collegiate shutout in the Bears' 11-0 win over Rider. Dumler limited Rider to only two hits in the contest. Dumler is 5-8 on the seaosn with a 5.12 ERA in 78 innings pitched.



Sisters senior Stephani Miller and freshman Kati Miller are enjoying spending the season playing together as teammates. Stephani is leading the team with a 3.20 ERA in 65 2/3 innings pitched, while Kati is hitting .404 to rank second on the team.



University of Northern Colorado senior catcher Whitney Platten (Lakewood, Colo.) was named to the preseason NCAA Division I All-Independent team. Platten hit .350 last season with six home runs and tallied 22 runs batted in. Platten also scored 11 runs and was named to the Division I-II All-Independent team in 2004.



After struggling to a 6-32 finish in the 2004 season, the Bears will look to bounce back to the form they had in both the 2002 and 2003 seasons when they averaged 23 wins a season.



Head coach Linda Witt is happy to have a home schedule to talk about this season. With the Bears in the midst of a transition from Division II to Division I it has become increasingly difficult to nail down home games. Witt was able to land home series this season with Regis (March 9), UTEP (March 25-26), Colorado State (March 29) and Utah Valley State (April 23-24).



On May 10, 2002 the UNC Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a move for the UNC intercollegiate athletics program to NCAA Division I. This season is the second of a four-year transition period before officially becoming a Division I school in 2007. UNC will be unable to compete in NCAA postseason competition until the 2007-08 season. UNC will be competing as an independent during the 2004-05 school year and will hopefully find conference affiliation before the end of the reclassification period.



Linda Witt is entering her fifth season as the head coach of the UNC softball squad. During Witt's tenure as the Bears' leader she has compiled a record of 72-104 overall. Witt will be charged with taking the Bears back to Division I softball, a level she is very familiar with at UNC.


"We are going back to Division I and it's exciting because I was a part of the tradition as a player and now I have the opportunity to do it as a coach," Witt said.


Witt was named the Co-Coach of the Year in 2002 after leading the Bears to a 28-18 overall mark and an 11-5 record in league action. Witt has compiled an overall mark of 41-36 in two full seasons as the Bears' head coach. Witt played for the Bears' during here college days and led the squad to the NCAA championship game in 1978 before falling to UCLA, 2-0, in the title contest.


A 1978 graduate of UNC, Linda Witt spent 20 years as a teacher and coach at University High School (UNC Laboratory School). While at University High, Witt coached the girls' gymnastics team (1979-93), girls' track & field team (1979-2000) and boys' track & field team (1984-2000). Her gymnastics' squads captured 10 state championships and five runner-up finishes during her tenure, including several individual state championship performances. In addition, she coached numerous track & field athletes to individual state titles.


Along the way, Witt has garnered many coaching honors, including National High School Athletic Coaches Association - National Coach of the Year Runnerup (1994), NHSACA Regional Coach of the Year (1994), Gatorade "Coach Who Cares" Award (1993), McDonald's Regional Coach of the Year (1992) and Colorado Sportswoman Coach of the Year (1985).


Witt has also been very active in the Northern Colorado softball community. She coached several competitive travel teams from 1989-93 and helped initiate numerous softball tournaments, camps and clinics. From 1995-97, she served as a softball instructor and clinician at the Greg Riddoch Sports Academy.


As a student-athlete at UNC, Witt excelled in field hockey and softball. For her efforts, Witt was inducted into the UNC Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996 and was recognized along with her 1978 softball teammates during the induction of the team at the 1998 ceremony. Witt was also a member of the United States Field Hockey team from 1979-1982.