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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/21/2014
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WEEK 7 (MARCH 22-24): OREGON STATE // Tucson

 

#7/9 Arizona Wildcats (25-6, 0-3 Pac-12) vs. Oregon State (11-14, 2-1 Pac-12)

THE GAMES

Date                                      Time (PDT)          Opponent           Location

Saturday, March 22           3:30 p.m.             Oregon State     Hillenbrand Stadium

Sunday, March 23             5:00 p.m.             Oregon State     Hillenbrand Stadium

Monday, March 24             12:00 p.m.           Oregon State     Hillenbrand Stadium

FOLLOW THE CATS

T.V.: Pac-12 Network

Live Stats: arizonalivestats.com

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

THIS WEEK: Seventh-ranked Arizona (25-6) swept a doubleheader with UNLV on Wednesday and now returns home after a 10-game road swing to face Oregon State in a three-game series to resume Pac-12 play. The Cats and the Beavers meet for a Saturday at 3:30, Sunday at 5:00 and Monday at noon PDT. The Wildcats will look to get back on track after being swept by third-ranked UCLA in Los Angeles last weekend while simultaneously cooling off the Beavers, who won their Pac-12-opening series against No. 7 Arizona State in Corvallis.

ARIZONA AGAINST OREGON STATE: The Wildcats own a 88-13 all-time record vs. Oregon State and have lost just two series against the Beavers (2005, 2013). Oregon State has won just three games all-time at Hillenbrand Stadium, most recently in 2012. Oregon State swept Arizona in 2013, earning a trio of 2-1 victories in Corvallis, the final of which came in eight innings.

 

LEADING OFF

- Despite having just 23 hits in its most recent five-game road trip at UCLA and UNLV, Arizona continues to lead the country with a .351 team batting average.

- The Cats are second in the country in home runs with 44 big flies. Catcher Chelsea Goodacre is tied for NCAA lead with 11 home runs. Shortstop Kellie Fox is not far behind with 10 homers, which is tied for sixth nationally. Goodacre has 41 RBI, second in the country, while Fox’s 40 RBI rank second.

- Katiyana Mauga has hit three grand slams this season, including one against UNLV on Wednesday. The Cats have five total grand slams this season in 31 games. Last season (59 games) UA had a total of two grand slams.

- 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 16 opponents on the season in just 31 chances after run-ruling eight opponents in 59 games in 2013.

- Arizona is just completed a 10-game road swing, its longest regular-season road swing since an 11-gamer in 2010. The Cats went 5-5 on the swing after starting the season 20-1. The Cats return home where they are 16-0 this season.

- Arizona is the only team in the country that ranks in the top 16 in the country in batting average (1st - .351), ERA (16th - 1.51) and fielding percentage (9th - .978).

- Arizona’s pitching staff has allowed just 40 earned runs this season in 31 games and has a 1.51 ERA. In 29 games this year, Arizona has tossed 11 shutouts. In 59 games in 2013, UA threw just three shutouts. UA pitchers have thrown five 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 (.351), slugging percentage (.606), on-base percentage (.454), runs scored (234), RBI (219), home runs (44), walks (137) and fielding percentage (.978).

- With Pac-12 play just beginning, it will be difficult to keep these figures up, but as of right now, Arizona’s .364 average would be the best since 1998 (.385) while its 1.51 ERA would be the best since the 2006 team’s 1.10 ERA. Also, the Wildcats’ .978 fielding percentage would be tied for third best in school history.

- On the season, Arizona has 95 extra-base hits. Its opponents have 120 total hits.

- Hallie Wilson was named Pac-12 Player of the Week in week 5, marking the second consecutive week that an Arizona player received the recognition (Kelsey Rodriguez - week 4). Wilson hit .650 with seven extra-base hits during the week, including three triples, after entering the week with just a single triple in her career.

- Opponents are just 2-for-22 (.091) batting with the bases loaded. Meanwhile, Arizona is 17-for-50 (.340) with the bases loaded, including the aforementioned five grand slams.

OPPONENT

Oregon State: The Beavers (11-14) enter the weekend coming off of a huge series victory over then No. 7 Arizona State in Corvallis. OSU and ASU split the first two games before Oregon State defeated the Devils in the rubber match 3-1. Amanda Najdek earned both victories, helping her to win the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. On the season, Najdek is 7-8 with a 2.87 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 90.1 innings pitched. Offensively, Dani Gilmore (.386 avg, 4 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 17 RBI) leads an offense which has been outscored 104-116 through 25 games this season.

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 1,368-328-2 (.806). 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 moved down one spot to seventh in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll and sixth 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 swept a doubleheader with UNLV on Wednesday, withstanding a pair of seventh-inning comeback bids from the Rebels in the process. Arizona defeated UNLV 3-2 in game one before needing extras to down the Rebels 7-5 in game two. Katiyana Mauga hit two homers on the day, including a grand slam while Mo Mercado’s two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning propelled UA to victory in game two.

RECENT RESULTS AGAINST OREGON STATE: Arizona was swept by Oregon State in three consecutive 2-1 games, all of which came down to a play at the plate to end the game. Arizona stranded an amazing 34 runners in the three-game series and hit just .188 with runners in scoring position. The pitching staff threw back-to-back three-hitters in games two and three, including a complete game gem by Shelby Babcock on Sunday. Babcock compiled a 1.02 ERA in 13.2 innings while taking two losses.

4/26/13 - Cats Fall in Pitcher’s Duel: Twenty-third-ranked Arizona softball stranded 10 runners as Shelby Babcock was outdueled by Tina Andreana in a 2-1 Oregon State victory.

Arizona appeared to be poised to tie the game in the top of the seventh when Lauren Young ripped a two-out single up the middle with two on. OSU second baseman Ya Garcia dove to her right to knock down the single and tossed the ball to catcher Ally Kutz to try and cut down Chelsea Suitos, attempting to score from second. Home plate umpire Calvin Walker ruled the tag in time to end the game.

The Wildcats had plenty of opportunities in a game which it registered just five hits. In both the fifth and sixth innings, the Wildcats had runners at third with less than two out and could not score. Arizona left nine runners on base in the final four innings after having just one base runner in the first three frames.

Babcock allowed just one earned run in six innings with five strikeouts and three walks.

4/27/13 - UA Suffers Second Consecutive One-Run Defeat: Twenty-third-ranked Arizona softball suffered its second consecutive 2-1 defeat at the hands of Oregon State at the OSU Softball Complex, Saturday.

UA recorded just three hits, its fewest hits in a seven inning game since registering three against Oklahoma on March 16. Despite allowing only three hits, OSU pitcher Marina Demore struck out just one batter in seven innings.

While the offense struggled, the pitching staff shined, allowing just three Beaver base hits and recording 10 strikeouts, marking the third time this season that the Wildcats have tallied double-digit strikeouts.

4/28/13 - Babcock’s Three-Hitter Not Enough: Twenty-third-ranked Arizona softball (28-22, 5-13 Pac-12) fell in extra innings to Oregon State (30-17, 7-11 Pac-12) despite a gem from starter Shelby Babcock.

Babcock (15-9) allowed just three hits over eight innings with six strikeouts and three walks but was let down by her offense and defense.

The Arizona offense, after stranding 20 total runners in the first two games, stranded 14 more today, totaling a mind-blowing 34 in three games. Arizona scored just one run on seven hits.

PLAYER NOTES

Hallie Wilson: After her batting average bottomed out a season-low .289 Feb. 25 against UTEP, Wilson has gone 22-for-her-last-47 (.468) over her last 16 games. In that span, she has eight multi-hit games. Also in that span, Wilson has walked 14 times, helping her to a .597 on-base percentage in her last 16 games. Wilson leads the Pac-12 with 37 runs scored.

Cynthia Pelayo: The junior has made the most of her nine plate appearances this season, producing in eight of them. Pelayo has five hits in six at-bats (.833 avg) plus has been hit by a pitch, walked and registered one sacrifice bunt. One of her five hits was a home run. She has four RBI on the season.

Kelsey Rodriguez: In the first 72 games of her Arizona career (58 games in 2013, first 14 games of 2014), Rodriguez hit 12 total doubles, (.167 2B/G). In her last 15 games, Rodriguez has hit eight doubles (.533 2B/G). The senior leads Arizona (and is third in the Pac-12) with a .457 average and is second in the conference with a .558 on-base percentage.

Courtney Rodriguez: After recording just eight hits in 36 starts as a freshman, C-Rod has more than tripled that in 31 games this season. Rodriguez is 26-for-71 (.366) on the year, good for fifth on the team. Rodriguez is second on the team with eight doubles and has 12 RBI after having just one and three, respectively, in 2013. She is batting .239 points better than last season.

Estela Piñon: The senior leads the team and is seventh in the Pac-12 with a 1.25 ERA this season, having allowed just 10 earned runs in 56.0 innings pitched. In her last 78.1 innings pitched, dating back to last season, Piñon has allowed a total of 12 earned runs (1.07 ERA), with 78 strikeouts.

Kellie Fox: The junior leads the Pac-12 in two different offensive categories and is second in four more. She leads the conference in slugging percentage on-base percentage (.561) and total bases (71). She is second to teammate Chelsea Goodacre in RBI (40) and home runs (10), second to teammate Hallie Wilson in runs scored (32) and second in slugging percentage (.888).

Kenzie Fowler: In her last 14 innings pitched, including 11 against second-ranked UCLA last weekend, Fowler has allowed just two earned runs (both in a complete-game two hitter vs. UCLA on 3/17), good for an even 1.00 ERA. In that span, Fowler has allowed only just four hits, good for a .095 batting average against. The senior has struck out 15 in the time frame.

NEARING THE CENTURY MARK: Kenzie Fowler has 83 career wins, eighth most in program history. With 21 wins in 2014, Fowler would become the eighth pitcher in Wildcat history to reach the 100-win milestone (Alicia Hollowell - 134, Nancy Evans - 124, Jennie Finch - 119, Carrie Dolan - 103, Becky Lemke - 103, Susie Parra - 101 and Taryne Mowatt - 100). Fowler is also on pace to become the fourth pitcher in school history to strike out one thousand batters.

 

HOME SWEET HOME: The Wildcats are a perfect 16-0 this season inside the friendly confines of Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. Since its opening in 1993, Arizona has put up a 599-69 record on the field. That’s a .897 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 12 home dates, the Wildcats are averaging 2,108 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 second in the country in runs scored (220). Here is what Arizona has had out of each spot in the order:

1 - .379 avg, 7 2B, 3 3B, 3 HR, 24 RBI

2 - .389 avg, 2 2B, 2 HR, 12 RBI

3 - .407 avg, 4 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 40 RBI

4 - .310 avg, 6 2B, 8 HR, 37 RBI

5 - .432 avg, 9 2B, 1 3B, 6 HR, 28 RBI

6 - .247 avg, 2 2B, 4 HR, 20 RBI

7 - .318 avg, 4 2B, 6 HR, 23 RBI

8 - .366 avg, 8 2B, 5 HR, 24 RBI

9 - .325 avg, 3 2B, 10 RBI

DEADLY D: One of Arizona’s strengths in 2014 will surely be its defense. With athleticism at every infield position, head coach Mike Candrea has stated that this may his best infield D since he arrived at Arizona in 1987. The Cats own a .978 fielding percentage on the year, the top mark in the conference.

BEATING THE BEST: In 2014, Arizona is scheduled to play 21 games against teams currently ranked in the NFCA Top 25, including 13 against the top 10 and seven against the top five. This year, UA is 4-5 against the top 25, 2-4 against the top 10 and 2-4 against the top five. Since 1994, Arizona is 516-202-1 (.718) against ranked competition, 251-141 (.640) against top-10 teams and 122-97 (.557) against top-five teams.

THE K ZONE: In 741 at-bats this season, UA hitters have struck out just 101 times (14 percent of at-bats). On the other side of the ball, Arizona pitchers have struck out 189 batters in 185.2 innings pitched. Twenty-nine percent of opponent at-bats have resulted in strikeouts. The Wildcats have not had a positive K/IP ratio since Arizona pitchers struck out 492 hitters in 392.2 innings in 2008. Offensively, the .136 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 once in 85 at-bats, making her the 12th hardest batter to strikeout in the country.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Arizona is scheduled to play 21 games against ranked competition. In the nonconference schedule, the Cats played six games against ranked opponents, three of those coming against top-five competition. UA is 4-5 against ranked teams so far this season. The Pac-12 has three teams ranked in the top five in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25. Arizona will play two of those three series on the road this season, starting last weekend at second-ranked UCLA, plus a meeting with 11th-ranked Arizona State on the road next weekend.

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 Wildcats head to Tempe to take on 11th-ranked Arizona State, March 28-30.

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