April 26, 2004

Softball Weekly Release

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This Week's Action: The UNC women's softball team (6-24 overall) will close their first season of Division I softball this week with a trio of road trips. The Bears will play at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., on Tuesday at 3 p.m. UNC will continue east on Interstate 80 to take on Creighton University in Omaha, Neb., on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Bears will then finish the season with a four-game set at Montana State-Billings on Saturday and Sunday.

Four Seniors: This week will mark the close of four UNC seniors on this year's team. Brooke Boyer (Huntington Beach, Calif.), Stacey Moon (Arvada, Colo.), Erin Peterson (Great Falls, Mont.) and Angela Rangel (Pueblo, Colo.) will all be making their final appearances for the Bears this week.

Close But No Cigar: Although the Bears have a posted a sub .500 record in 2004, it could have been much better were it for a couple of runs here and there. UNC has a record of 4-13 in games decided by two runs or less.

Bears Fall in Home Finale: The University of Northern Colorado softball squad suffered a 2-1 loss to visiting Montana State-Billings last Wednesday in a cold, steady rain at the UNC softball field. The squad's second game was postponed because of rain and will be made up when the teams meet again in Montana on May 1-2.

Leading Off: Sophomore transfer Shannon Lamport has been a solid lead-off hitter for the Bears in 2004. Lamport ranks fourth on the team in hitting with a .293 average. Lamport has tallied 24 hits and has scored nine runs.

Platten Gives 'Extra' Effort: Junior transfer Whitney Platten has had a tremendous first season with the Bears. Platten ranks second on the squad in hits behind teammate Erin Peterson. Platten has 35 hits in 95 at-bats for a .368 average. Of Platten's 35 hits, 15 have gone for extra bases. Platten has nine doubles and six home runs in 28 games played.

Bears Take 2nd: The Bears placed second overall at the Mean Green/Wells Fargo Classic by winning two contests. The Bears defeated Harvard and New Mexico in the tournament and went 2-3 in the three-day event. UNC tied with Harvard for second place but won the tiebreaker based on a head-to-head matchup.

Four Members of All-Tourney Team: The UNC Bears had four players earn All-Tournament honors at the Mean Green/Wells Fargo Classic in Denton, Texas. Junior Whitney Platten, junior Nicole Martinez, freshman Casey Hogue and senior Erin Peterson all earned all-tourney team honors.

Bears Nab National Honors: Junior Whitney Platten and senior Erin Peterson have each been named NCAA Division I-II Independent Players of the Week the last two weeks. Platten earned the latest honor for her school-record breaking effort against Regis. Platten tallied five hits in five at-bats in a 7-6 nine-inning loss to the Rangers. Peterson earned her national honors the week before as she dismantled the competition at the North Texas Tournament in Denton, Texas.

Bears Return to Division I Status: This season marks the return of Division I softball for the Bears. 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. The 2002-03 sports year marked the last season for the Bears in the North Central Conference and the NCAA Division II level. This season the Bears begin a four-year "reclassification" period before officially becoming a Division I school in 2007. Over the next four years, UNC will be unable to compete in NCAA postseason competition. UNC will be competing as an independent during the 2003-04 school year and will hopefully find conference affiliation before the end of the reclassification period.

Head Coach: Linda Witt is in her fourth season as the head coach of the UNC softball squad. During Witt's tenure as the Bears' leader she has compiled a career record of 59-58 overall entering the 2004 season. 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 her 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) in Greeley.