Wednesday, January 31, 2007
By Mike Ballard
CAMDEN Senior pitcher Michelle Schlichtig (Barrington, NJ/Haddon Heights) put the Rutgers University-Camden softball program in the national spotlight last May when she hurled the Lady Raptors to the NCAA Division III championship.
Schlichtig, a two-time First Team All-American, was honored for her accomplishments Sunday, Jan. 28, by the New Jersey Sports Writers Association. Schlichtig was named "Female Athlete of the Year" at the 71st anniversary banquet, which was held at the Pines Manor in Edison.
During her three years at Rutgers-Camden, Schlichtig practically re-wrote the program's record books. As a senior, she went 32-3 with a 1.03 ERA, 29 complete games, 17 shutouts and 304 strikeouts in 224.2 innings. She allowed only 113 hits, 55 walks and 33 earned runs.
Schlichtig's final win capping a 4-0 performance at the NCAA softball nationals was a 3-2 victory over two-time defending champion St. Thomas (MN) in the title game May 22, giving the Lady Raptors the Division III crown. She was named to the All-Tournament team at both the NCAA Div. III Softball Championship and at the NCAA East Regional.
As a senior, Schlichtig was named to the 2006 National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III All-America First Team. For the second consecutive season, she was one of only two pitchers on the All-American First Team. She is the only NCAA All-America First Team athlete in Rutgers-Camden history.
During her senior season, Schlichtig reeled off an amazing 52 consecutive scoreless innings (April 19-May 6), which tied for the sixth-longest shutout streak in NCAA Division III history. She captured her second consecutive New Jersey Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, adding to the NJAC Player of the Year honor she won as a sophomore. She was an All-NJAC First Team player in each of her three seasons at Rutgers-Camden.
Out of the 11 weekly NJAC honors in 2006, Schlichtig received six NJAC Pitcher of the Week and one NJAC Player of the Week awards. She also earned three honors as the ECAC Metro Div. III Pitcher of the Week and one ECAC Metro Div. III Player of the Week award, capping the year by winning ECAC Metro Div. III all-star honors.
Schlichtig, who holds virtually every major pitching record at Rutgers-Camden, hurled four no-hitters as a senior and seven over her three-year Raptor career, during which she compiled an 82-17 record. Coupled with the 22 wins during her freshman season at Division I Fordham University before transferring to Rutgers-Camden, Schlichtig posted 104 victories as a collegiate pitcher.
Two of Schlichtig’s no-hitters as a senior were perfect games, and she missed a third perfect game by allowing a sixth-inning walk in a no-hitter against William Paterson University during the NJAC tournament May 5, 2006.
Overall, Schlichtig set Rutgers-Camden career pitching records for games (107), starts (94), complete games (84), at bats (2,278), batters faced (2,515), innings (659), wins (82), strikeouts (906), hit batsmen (13), saves (6), walks (166) and shutouts (40). She set the career defensive record for most assists (249) and program offensive marks for total bases (267), RBIs (104) and doubles (39, tied with Sarah O’Malley).
Among single-season pitching records, Schlichtig set marks as a junior in 2005 with 318 strikeouts, 31 innings and six hit batsmen. As a senior in 2006, she set records for wins (32), shutouts (17), games (40), starts (33), complete games (29), at bats (781), saves (4), consecutive shutouts (6) and consecutive shutout innings (52). She set a single-season mark of 92 assists in 2005, and in 2006 she added season offensive records for RBIs (45), total bases (97) and hits (59).
Schlichtig recorded 42 double-digit strikeout games at Rutgers-Camden. Her career high of 17 (against Swarthmore April 8, 2004) is two shy of O’Malley’s single-game school record set against Centenary March 29, 2001.
Schlichtig broke O’Malley’s mark of 11 consecutive strikeouts by fanning the first 14 batters in a five-inning no-hitter against John Jay College March 31, 2006. She recorded all 15 outs on strikeouts and missed a perfect game on a two-out error in the last inning.
Prior to that performance, Schlichtig threw a perfect game and also tied a single-game program mark by drawing four walks against Keystone College on March 25, 2006. She fanned 13 in that five-inning game, including the first nine. When she finally allowed a fourth-inning hit against William Paterson on April 1, it snapped her streak of 14 consecutive no-hit innings. Later in the season over a three-game span, which included a no-hitter of William Paterson May 5, Schlichtig had a streak of 14.1 consecutive no-hit innings (May 2-6).
In addition to all her individual accomplishments, Schlichtig combined with Becky Johnson on the Scarlet Raptors' 2004 pitching staff, which led all NCAA Division III programs in team ERA (0.59).
Schlichtig's Rutgers-Camden statistics:
Michelle Schlichtig's Major Awards
Louisville Slugger/NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) All-America First Team
NFCA (National Fastpitch Coaches Association) All-America First Team
NJAC Player of the Year