The Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, Calif.
Apr 28, 2002
(Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles
Times 2002 Allrights reserved)
Stacey Nuveman makes her home behind the plate, but
it's what UCLA's catcher does in the batter's box that
has generated the most attention.
Nuveman, a 6-foot senior from La Verne, on Saturday
tied the NCAA softball career home run record, shared
by former Arizona players Leah Braatz and Laura
Espinoza. Her two-run shot in the third inning off
Stanford's Maureen LeCocq was the 85th in her career
and her 15th of the season, and it helped the Bruins
(43-6, 11-3 in conference play) to a 13-2 Pacific 10
Nuveman knew the record was within her reach. After
all, she hit 20 home runs her freshman season, 31 as a
sophomore and 19 last season. But after hitting only
eight home runs in 35 nonconference games this year,
the milestone didn't appear much closer.
Since the start of Pac-10 play, however, Nuveman has
seven home runs in 14 conference games.
UCLA's top slugger is also a disciplined hitter who
leads the team with a .537 batting average.
Her patience at the plate paid off against Washington
earlier this week. In the bottom of the sixth, UCLA
trailed, 3-0, when Nuveman came up with the bases
loaded. But instead of trying to clear them with one
swing, Nuveman drilled a two-strike pitch up the
middle to drive in a run.
Two batters later, sophomore Claire Sua became the
day's hero with a grand slam over the center-field
fence. Nuveman cheered the loudest.
"A lot of kids would have been hacking for the fence,
but [Nuveman] really stayed within herself," Coach Sue
Enquist said. "That was very impressive. Those are the
things that are going to get us to the end."
Asked what she is most proud of as a softball player
and Nuveman will talk about the 2000 Olympics. Not the
gold medal she won as a member of the U.S. team, but
of the perspective and focus she gained from the
"Talk about pressure and a big game--it doesn't get
any bigger than that," Nuveman said.
"Perspective-wise, it's helped a lot because I've been
on the biggest stage and I know what it feels like.
Now, when I come out here, I take the game for what
it's worth and not let things get too big."
Though her name is in the record book, records are
made to be broken, and Nuveman is fine with that.
"If I break both knees tomorrow and softball's over
for me, I know I've developed the person," she said,
"and that's something that goes beyond the white
lines. That will take me lot farther than a home run