2-22-2011 National Players of the Week

NATIONAL PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

February 22 2011

Houston’s Gaber Named USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week – The Amateur Softball Association (ASA) of America announced today that Houston’s Reina Gaber (Whittier, Calif.) has been named the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 14-20. The sophomore made two pinch-hit performances to lead Houston to two wins over then-No. 16 LSU, which helped the Cougars to their first ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 ranking of the year.

Facing LSU for the first time in the Hilton Houston Plaza Invitational on Saturday, Gaber, a utility player, was called in to pinch hit in the bottom of the sixth inning. She capped off the Cougars’ battle to overcome a 4-0 deficit when her long sacrifice fly to center field knocked in a run to tie the game 4-4, eventually sending the contest into extra innings. Houston went on to win 5-4 in eight.

“People around the game notice how difficult of a job that is to be the pinch hitter or designated player. To handle that pressure and perform at that level consistently is very difficult,” said Houston Head Coach Kyla Holas. “I’m glad to see people are recognizing her for that.”

When asked to pinch hit again when the Cougars played LSU in the Classic’s finale on Sunday, Gaber shook off the pressure and produced for her team for a second time. With sophomore Ashleigh Jones on third in the bottom of the eighth, Gaber drilled a single to bring Jones home and bust up the no-hitter LSU starter Rachele Fico had kept alive for nearly eight innings. Houston defeated LSU again with a score of 1-0 in eight.

“I’m in shock, but really proud. I couldn’t do the things I do without my team. If my team hadn’t held off LSU and kept it at 0-0 all game, then I never would’ve had the chance to get that hit so it’s a total team effort,” said Gaber. “I hope that this is just one of many awards that brings out program recognition. We beat three ranked teams this weekend and we just want to work on getting better.”

Gaber also posted a flawless 2-for-2 effort against Southern, collecting an RBI and a walk in the process to bring her weekend total to 3-for-4 with three RBI. With the 5-0 record on the weekend, it was announced that Houston is No. 23 in ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Poll.

This is the first-time honor for Gaber.

Florida’s Brombacher Named NFCA Division I National Player of the Week
February 22, 2011

 STARKVILLE, Miss. – Senior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher has been named as the NFCA Division I National Player of the Week for games played Feb. 14-20, the Association announced on Tuesday. 

Brombacher was 3-0 on the week and allowed no runs off of just 10 hits with only three walks and 16 strikeouts over 17 innings of work.

The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native threw two complete game shutouts on the week, with both of them coming against then-No. 22 North Carolina.  In her other appearance last week, Brombacher allowed just one hit over five innings in a mid-week tilt against Jacksonville.

In six appearances so far in the 2011 campaign, Brombacher is 6-0 with just 14 hits, five walks and 35 strikeouts.  She also has not allowed a single run, earned or unearned, this season.

With a three-game sweep of the Tar Heels and the win over Jacksonville last week, the fourth-ranked gators are now 9-0 on the year.  This week, Florida travels to Palm Springs, Calif., for the Cathedral City Classic where they will play five games, including contests against No. 2 UCLA and No. 11 Texas.

Other Top Performances
Hawaii’s Jessica Iwata hit .526 on the week with three home runs vs. No. 17 Stanford… Katelyn Boyd of Arizona St. went 9-for-10 on the week and was perfect at the plate in three of four games… Texas’ Blaire Luna went 3-0 on the week with two shutouts and 32 strikeouts.

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