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Women's College World Series Berth on the Line in Lafayette
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/20/2014
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WEEK 16 (MAY 23-24): NCAA SUPER REGIONAL // Lafayette, La.

 

#10/11 Arizona Wildcats (44-14) // #11/12 Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (47-8-1)

THE GAMES

Date Time (CDT) (Rank) Opponent Location T.V.
Friday, May 23 8:00 p.m. (11) Louisiana-Lafayette Alfred and Helen Lamson Park ESPNU
Saturday, May 24 2:00 p.m. (11) Louisiana-Lafayette Alfred and Helen Lamson Park ESPNU
Saturday, May 24 (If necessary) (11) Louisiana-Lafayette Alfred and Helen Lamson Park ESPNU

 

FOLLOW THE CATS

T.V.: ESPNU (Melissa Lee and Jennie Finch)

Live Stats: http://www.ncaa.com/scoreboard/softball/d1/2014/05/16

Live Updates: Twitter: @UA_Softball (twitter.com/ua_softball)

Interactive Bracket: http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/softball/d1

LEADING OFF

- The Wildcats have advanced to nine of the 10 super regionals since they began in 2005, with their only miss coming in 2013. Arizona is 12-7 in the round and has advanced out six of its previous eight trips, but none since 2010. Five of Arizona’s seven losses in super regionals have been to Oklahoma, which has handed UA its only two eliminations in the round (2011 and 2012).

- The Wildcats are looking to advance to their 23rd Women’s College World Series and first since 2010. Overall, Arizona is 155-48 in postseason play including eight national championships (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007).

- The Lafayette Super Regional will be a matchup of two of the most powerful offenses in the country. Arizona leads the country with 1.83 home runs per game while Louisiana Lafayette is second at 1.52. The two teams are in the top 11 in slugging percentage as well. Arizona leads the nation with a .645 slugging percentage while the Ragin’ Cajuns are 11th at .522.

- Arizona is at or near the top of nearly every offensive ranking in the NCAA. Arizona leads the nation in home runs (106), scoring (7.69 runs per game) and slugging percentage (.645). Arizona is second in batting average (.355) while its 1.62 doubles per game rank sixth. Arizona’s .645 slugging percentage is on pace to set a new NCAA record.

- UA is getting it done on the other side of the ball as well. Arizona’s .974 fielding percentage is 11th in the country.

- Catcher Chelsea Goodacre is tied for third in the NCAA with 22 home runs, one behind the leaders. Freshman outfielder Katiyana Mauga is tied for ninth nationally with 19 homers.

- Four Wildcats rank in the top 30 in the country in runs batted in per game: Chelsea Goodacre - 9th (1.24 PG), Hallie Wilson - 25th (1.05 PG), Kellie Fox - 26th (1.02) and Katiyana Mauga - 30th (1.02). No other school has more than two players in the top 30 in the category.

- Arizona just completed one of its best home seasons in history at 31-3, including 19 run-rule victories. Arizona outscored opponents by an average of 9.56-3.12 at home. On the road (neutral plus away games), Arizona is 13-11 with just three mercy wins. On the road, Arizona’s average margin of victory is just 1.5 runs, compared to the 6.44 run average margin of victory at home. Arizona is hitting .420 at home while batting just .268 on the road.  

- Arizona has hit six grand slams in its last 29 games: Katiyana Mauga vs. UNLV (game 2), Hallie Wilson vs. Oregon State (game 1), Chelsea Goodacre vs. Oregon State (game 3), Katiyana Mauga vs. Stanford (game 1), Mo Mercado vs. Stanford (game 1) and Hallie Wilson vs. New Mexico State (game 1). The six grand slams in the 29-game span betters Arizona’s entire 59-game total from 2013, when UA hit two grand slams. On the season, Arizona has hit 10 grand slams. Mauga has hit four grand slams this season, third most grand slams in a season in NCAA history, while Wilson has hit three, seventh most in NCAA history.

- From Feb. 22 to March 4, Arizona run-ruled eight consecutive opponents, setting a school record. The previous record was six straight mercy wins, accomplished thrice (2003, 2001 and 1994). The Cats have run-ruled 21 opponents on the season in just 54 chances after run-ruling eight opponents in 59 games in 2013.

- Katiyana Mauga became the first freshman to sweep national weekly awards when she was named USA Softball and NFCA National Player of the Week for her performance against Stanford in week 9. Mauga was 5-for-8 with four home runs and 11 RBI, which included a walkoff homer in the series finale.

- Arizona has had three players named Pac-12 Player of the Week this season - Kelsey Rodriguez (week 4), Hallie Wilson (week 5) and Wilson (week 12). Most recently, Wilson hit five home runs, batted .533 and drove in nine runs, helping lead Arizona to a perfect 5-0 week with sweeps of New Mexico State and Utah.

- In 58 games this year, Arizona has tossed 13 shutouts, and has allowed just one run 11 times. In 59 games in 2013, UA allowed one run or fewer seven total times, including three shutouts. UA pitchers have thrown six one-hitters this season and one no-hitter (Estela Piñon and Kenzie Fowler, Feb. 9 vs. Southern Miss).

- Arizona leads the conference in batting average (.355), slugging percentage (.645), runs scored (446), RBI (423), home runs (106) and total bases (952). Additionally, Arizona has the Pac-12 leader in slugging percentage (Katiyana Mauga - .879), runs scored (Hallie Wilson - 72), RBI (Chelsea Goodacre - 72), doubles (Kelsey Rodriguez - 20), home runs (Chelsea Goodacre - 22), total bases (Hallie Wilson - 134) and opposing batting average (Kenzie Fowler - .144).

THIS WEEK: After winning its 25th regional title, eleventh-seeded Arizona (44-14) continues its quest for the program’s ninth national title in Lafayette, La., where the Wildcats will take on sixth-seeded Louisiana Lafayette, which advanced out of the Lafayette Regional. It is the ninth trip to super regionals for Arizona, which is making its 28th straight trip to the postseason, the longest streak in the country. The Wildcats will take on Louisiana Lafayette on Friday (8 p.m. CDT) and Saturday (potential doubleheader beginning at 2:00 CDT) in a best two-out-of-three series. A trip to the Women’s College World Series, where Arizona has been 22 times before, but not since 2010, is on the line. The Lafayette Super Regional will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.

ARIZONA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Wildcats return to NCAA action for the 28th consecutive season. In 27 previous trips plus last weekend’s Tucson Regional, Arizona is 155-48 in tournament play and 82-9 in the regional round. In supers, Arizona is 12-7, including six series victories

OPPONENT

Louisiana Lafayette: The sixth-seeded Ragin’ Cajuns (47-8-1) went a perfect 3-0 at the Lafayette Regional last weekend. The Ragin’ Cajuns defeated Texas Southern before knocking off Texas two times. ULL owns a .308 team batting average with 85 home runs, while its pitching staff boasts a 2.81 team ERA. The Ragin’ Cajuns won both the Sun Belt regular season and tournament titles. Natalie Fernandez leads the squad with a .434 batting average, while Christina Hamilton leads the team in the circle with a 27-2 record and a .153 ERA.

HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA: Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is in his 29th year at the helm of the Arizona softball program with a career record of 1,387-336-2 (.805). A winner of eight national championships (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007), Arizona has made 22 trips to the Women’s College World Series under his guidance, missing just four times in the last 26 years (2004, 2011, 2012, 2013). In 2012, Candrea became the sport’s fastest ever, and second all-time, to reach 1,300 wins. Under Candrea, Arizona has a spectacular postseason record of 152-47. An even 50 All-Americans with a staggering 90 total citations have played in the program since Candrea took over.

THE RANKINGS: Arizona dropped one spot to 10th in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll and moved down two spots to 11th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25. UA began the season unranked, marking the first time since the NFCA began publishing polls in the early 90s that Arizona was unranked in the preseason poll.

RECENT RESULTS: Arizona advanced out of the Tucson Regional, going 3-1 and downing LSU in a must-win game 7 of the regional. The Wildcats, who won the first two games of the regional over Boston U and LSU, advanced to the regional final, needing just one win to move on. LSU forced an elimination game 7 by winning Sunday’s first game 5-1, but Arizona mercied the Tigers in game 2, 13-5 thanks to Mo Mercado’s walkoff two-run bomb in the fifth. Hallie Wilson led Arizona offensively with seven hits in 11 at-bats (including three home runs), nine RBI and drew five walks, helping her to a .750 OBP in the regional.

5/18/14 - Arizona Downs Boston, Advances to Winner’s Bracket: Estela Pinon struck out eight to win in in four innings of relief and help lead host Arizona to a 9-6 victory over Boston University. It put the Wildcats in the winner’s bracket of the NCAA Softball Championships regional here at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.

Arizona collected 11 hits and was aided by a pair of miscues that cost the Terriers. Kelsey Rodriguez drove in three runs, with Chelsea Suitos knocking in a pair. Pinon improved to 18-7 on the year. Pinon allowed two runs on three hits, walking a pair.

5/17/14 - Cats on to Regional Final: An infrequent 5-3-6 double play in the seventh inning helped Arizona overcome another late charge by LSU and the Wildcats beat the Tigers, 9-8, in nail-biting NCAA Softball Championships winner’s bracket action to move into the regional championship game on Sunday.

Arizona first baseman Hallie Wilson -- whose two home runs and six RBI led the Cats at the plate -- took a throw from third baseman Lauren Young and returned a gun to shortstop Kellie Fox at third to nail Sandra Simmons, who represented the game’s tying run, for the third and final out in the game.

UA’s Estela Pinon won with her ninth complete game to improve to 19-7, but not without drama and struggle. She gave up eight hits, walked four, hit two batters and struck out four. All the runs were earned. Baylee Corbello took the loss in her 23rd complete game. She also was not in top form, allowing 10 hits, hitting a batter, walking seven and striking out three.

5/18/14 - Arizona Advances to Super Regional with Mercy Victory: Arizona rebounded from a loss to the Tigers earlier in the day and got to LSU pitching for a 13-5 walk-off victory that earned the Wildcats the NCAA Championships regional title in Game 7 and a berth in next week’s Super Regionals.

Shelby Babcock (6-0) pitched a solid six-hitter and Arizona clouted 14 hits, including a walk-off, two-run home run by Mo Mercado in the bottom of the fifth.

The Wildcats earned their ninth Super Regional berth in 10 tries since the format began the two-team second-weekend format for the Championships.

This came after LSU’s Baylee Corbello tossed a three-hitter to lead the Tigers to a 5-1 victory the Cats.

RECENT RESULTS IN THE NCAA SUPER REGIONAL: The Cats were swept by the Sooners in the 2012 Norman Super Regional, falling to host Oklahoma 6-0 and 7-1 in the two games.

5/12/12 - Cats Drop Game One to Oklahoma: Thirteenth-seeded Arizona will have to sweep Saturday’s doubleheader to continue its season after fourth-seeded Oklahoma beat the Cats 6-0 on Friday.

Arizona recorded seven hits and had runners in scoring position in each of the first three innings but could not score. UA did not have an extra-base hit in the game.

OU hurler Keilani Ricketts dealt the complete-game shutout that included nine strikeouts and just one walk.

5/13/13 - Arizona Eliminated by Oklahoma: Fourth-seeded Oklahoma routed 13th-seeded Arizona to get to the Women’s College World Series for the second consecutive season, leaving Arizona home in June for just the third time in the last 25 years.

The Sooners plated five runs in the first inning and cruised to a 7-1 win in game two of the NCAA Super Regional.

Arizona fell short of the 40-win mark for just the first time since 1986 with the loss.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Wildcats are 31-3 this season inside the friendly confines of Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. Since its opening in 1993, Arizona has put up a 613-72 record on the field. That’s a .895 winning percentage at home in the last 20-plus years. Hillenbrand has led the nation in attendance nine times since 1994 and set the NCAA record in attendance in 2011 when 77,129 fans turned the turnstiles (since broken by Alabama). For the sixth consecutive season, Arizona is drawing over 2,000 fans per game in 2014. In 29 home dates, the Wildcats are averaging 2,117 per contest.

PICK YOUR POISON: The Wildcats have had production 1-through-9 in the order this season and boast a lineup that, for the most part, is void of any holes. This offensive balance is the reason Arizona is first in the country in runs scored (446). Here is what Arizona has had out of each spot in the order:

1 - .409 avg, 10 2B, 3 3B, 16 HR, 61 RBI

2 - .390 avg, 11 2B, 9 HR, 30 RBI

3 - .388 avg, 15 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 60 RBI

4 - .329 avg, 12 2B, 19 HR, 68 RBI

5 - .405 avg, 16 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 61 RBI

6 - .331 avg, 7 2B, 11 HR, 51 RBI

7 - .294 avg, 8 2B, 12 HR, 36 RBI

8 - .331 avg, 12 2B, 8 HR, 36 RBI

9 - .320 avg, 3 2B, 1 HR, 19 RBI

BEATING THE BEST: So far this season, Arizona played 24 games against teams ranked in the NFCA Top 25, including nine against the top 10 and nine against the top five. This year, UA is 12-12 against the top 25, 3-6 against the top 10 and 3-6 against the top five. Since 1994, Arizona is 524-209-1 (.715) against ranked competition, 253-145 (.636) against top-10 teams and 123-99 (.554) against top-five teams.

THE K ZONE: In 1,476 at-bats this season, UA hitters have struck out just 222 times (15.0 percent of at-bats). The .150 strikeout rate would be the best since 1995 when it posted a .100 strikeout rate. In the leadoff spot, Hallie Wilson has struck out just 10 times in 169 at-bats, making her the 88th hardest batter to strike out in the country.

FRESH FACES: The 2014 Arizona roster features nine newcomers. Five of the nine newbies are transfers -- Nikki Dunlap (Texas Tech), Payton Kornfeind (Colorado at Colorado Springs), Cynthia Pelayo (Pima College), Siera Phillips (Dixie State) and Erika Tapia (Paradise Valley Community College) -- and four are freshmen -- Michelle Floyd (San Marino, Calif.), Katiyana Mauga (San Diego, Calif.), Mo Mercado (Temecula, Calif.) and Eva Watson (Victoria, Va.).

FAMILY TIES: Prior to last season, head coach Mike Candrea had never had sisters come through the program, in 2014, he has two pairs. Siblings Kelsey and Courtney Rodriguez are the first pair of sisters to ever be on the same Wildcat team. UCLA transfer Kellie Fox is the sister of former Wildcat shortstop and two-time national champion Kristie Fox (04-07). Additionally, third baseman Lauren Young’s brother Brandon is one of the team’s managers.

FOLLOW THE TEAM: Be sure to follow the Wildcats on their various social media platforms. To stay up-to-date on all the latest happenings with the team, follow Arizona softball on Twitter (@UA_Softball) and for behind-the-scenes photos and infographics, follow the team on Instagram (@UA_Softball).

UP NEXT: The winner of the Lafayette Super Regional will advance to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.

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