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Softball: Farber commits record number of thefts

Senior sets steals mark, team to face Stanford, Cal

 by Kyle Odegard
 published on Friday, April 30, 2004

Senior center fielder Kristin Farber hangs out around Farrington Stadium on Thursday afternoon after practice. Farber recently broke ASU´s record for steals in a single season./issues/sports/676149
Senior center fielder Kristin Farber hangs out around Farrington Stadium on Thursday afternoon after practice. Farber recently broke ASU´s record for steals in a single season.
 

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Kristin Farber's preseason goals were to get on board and steal bases.

Mission accomplished.

During Sunday's game against Oregon State, the senior center fielder stole her 32nd base of the year for the ASU softball team, passing Lisa Dacquisto for first place on the school's single season stolen base list.

"I wasn't expecting to do that, but it feels really nice to get some sort of record at ASU," Farber said.

The 32 steals has moved Farber from a tie for fourth place, to sole possession of second on the Sun Devils' career stolen base list. She has 79 steals in her four years at ASU, trailing only Dacquisto's 102.

"She has such great speed and a great jump that you're pretty secure (in her abilities)," Wells said. "If she thinks she can take the base, then she can take the base. [Farber] can get down the line as quick as just about anybody."

Based on her experience and overall speed, Farber has the green light to steal whenever she gets on first base. When she does go, she is supremely confident it will be a success.

"There's never really any doubt," Farber said. "I'm pretty confident on stealing."

vDevils face Stanford, Cal

After seven games and nearly three weeks on the road, the ASU softball team is glad to finally be back in the comfort of its own surroundings.

The Sun Devils will begin a six-game, two-week homestand today when they host No. 10 Stanford at Farrington Stadium, before following that up with games against No. 4 California on Saturday and Sunday.

"I love playing at home," Farber said. "You're familiar with all of your surroundings, and you know people in the stands. It's just nice playing on your home field."

ASU has faced the Cardinal twice and the Golden Bears once on the year, dropping all three games. Stanford won both matchups handily, defeating ASU 7-0 and 4-0, while Cal sneaked by with a 1-0 win. The three games were part of the recently completed road trip.

The Sun Devils hope to capitalize on the experience learned from playing the teams just two weeks ago.

"We know how to play the batters (defensively) and their basic pitching, so we know what to expect," freshman shortstop Kristin Crenshaw said.

Stanford enters the series on a four-game win streak, moving them up to second place in the Pac-10, two and a half games behind UA. The Cardinal are currently tied with Oregon at 8-4 in the conference.

Cal has had a tougher time, winning just five of its 12 conference games. The Golden Bears are tied with UCLA for fourth in the Pac-10, five and a half games behind the Wildcats.

The Sun Devils (31-24, 1-10) are looking to rebound after a rough road trip that saw the team finish with just one victory in the seven games, a 7-2 victory over Oregon State on April 25.

ASU is coming off of a close loss to No. 1 UA in Tucson on Wednesday. The Sun Devils held tough, falling by a 3-1 margin.

"We held our own," Crenshaw said. "They're the No. 1 team in the nation, and we gave them a game."

The Sun Devils did allow three runs in the first two innings, something the team was not proud of.

"I was a little disappointed that we didn't get a better start," ASU coach Linda Wells said. "We were kind of slow out of the box and gave them those two runs. But I was pleased that (senior third baseman) Phelan (Wright) came right back and got us a run -- we played pretty strong after that."

Wright hit a solo home run in the second inning, tying her with junior left fielder Valerie Sevilla for the team lead at 13.

The loss dropped the Sun Devils to 1-10 in the Pac-10, nine games behind UA and one and a half behind seventh-place Oregon State.

Freshmen adjusting to Pac-10

Four freshmen are getting significant playing time for the Sun Devils, and all are making steady improvement as the conference season wears on.

Infielders Mita Hixson, Sharee Zaleski and Crenshaw and catcher Heidi Knabe have all had to make adjustments in the conference season.

"They've each made their own justifiable contributions to the team," Wells said. "Knabe has been so good behind the plate. Both she and Zaleski have brought their hitting along. And then both Mita and Crenshaw have gone in and given us really good defensive innings."

The conference season is a significant change from non-conference action, as ASU faces a ranked team every time out in the Pac-10. In addition to the stronger competition, the crowds are bigger and there is more at stake.

"[The Pac-10] is a lot different," Crenshaw said. "It's really high intensity the whole time."

The conference is also home to many of the nation's top pitchers.

"You don't get many good pitches, so you really have to capitalize when they bring it in," Crenshaw said.

McCard out

Sophomore second baseman Jen McCard is likely out for the year after a second X-ray on her injured wrist came back positive. McCard was injured after being hit by a pitch, but continued to play after a preliminary X-ray came back negative. Hixson and Crenshaw will likely split time at second base in McCard's absence.

Reach the reporter at kyle.odegard@asu.edu.



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