Nicholson Claims Valley Pitcher of the Week Honor
Senior pitcher Shannon Nicholson
Senior pitcher Shannon Nicholson

March 5, 2007

NORMAL, Ill. - After helping the Illinois State softball team to a 4-1 record over the weekend, Redbird senior Shannon Nicholson has been named this week's Missouri Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week, the league office announced Monday. The weekly honor is the first for the `Birds this season and is the second such honor of Nicholson's career.

Nicholson went 3-0 on the weekend for Illinois State, picking up a pair of wins in the circle over No. 17 Florida and Sunday's 8-5 win over Long Beach State. The senior co-captain pitched 20.2 innings last weekend in four games, starting three, and recorded a 1.02 ERA. Striking out 14 batters, the right-hander gave up 18 hits but allowed only three runs to cross.

Against the Gators on Friday, March 2, Nicholson allowed just one hit in the second inning before retiring 17 straight batters from the second to the seventh innings. A defensive error robbed Nicholson of the complete game shutout, as she was replaced after six and two-thirds innings by fellow senior pitcher Stacy Birk.

"Shannon certainly came out strong against Florida on Friday and then again on Sunday," said Illinois State head coach Melinda Fischer. "On Sunday, she came on in relief for Stacy and helped us come away with that win. I thought she had a good mix of pitches this weekend. She was in command of her pitches and kept batters off balance in the box. Just looking at her stats from this past weekend, I thought the thing that was really impressive was that Shannon didn't have a lot of walks and struck out 14 batters. Shannon came up with key pitches in pressure situations and I was proud of the way she responded."

Nicholson currently sits atop several conference leader boards, as she is first in wins (9), innings pitched (72.2) and games started (11). The senior is also second in appearances (16) and shutouts (2).