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Cats' Quest for Nine Begins at Home
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/14/2014
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 WEEK 15 (MAY 16-18): NCAA REGIONAL // Hillenbrand Stadium

#10/11 Arizona Wildcats (41-13, 14-10 Pac-12) // #23/23 LSU Tigers (35-22, 13-11 SEC) //

#RV/N/A Louisville Cardinals (36-20, 14-7 American) // Boston University Terriers (35-19, 13-5 Patriot)

 

THE GAMES

Friday, May 16

Game 1:               5:00 p.m. PDT    LSU vs. Louisville                                              ESPN3

Game 2:               8:00 p.m. PDT    ARIZONA vs. Boston U                                   ESPNU

Saturday, May 17

Game 3:               1:30 p.m. PDT    Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2         ESPN    

Game 4:               4:00 p.m. PDT    Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2                 ESPN

Game 5:               6:30 p.m. PDT    Loser Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4             ESPN

Sunday, May 18

Game 6:               1:30 p.m. PDT    Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5         ESPN2

Game 7:               (if necessary)     Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 5         ESPN2

FOLLOW THE CATS

T.V.: ESPN family of networks (Adam Amin and Amanda Scarborough)

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

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

Tournament Central: http://www.arizonawildcats.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=30700&ATCLID=209491635&utm_source=Website%20&utm_medium=Alert%20Block%20&utm_campaign=Softball%20|%20Tucson%20Regional%20|%205-12-2014|%20Alert%20Box

THIS WEEK: Eleventh-seeded Arizona (41-13, 14-10 Pac-12) begins its quest for the program’s ninth national title as the team will host its 20th NCAA Regional. Arizona is making its 28th straight trip to the postseason, the longest streak in the country. The Wildcats welcome LSU, an at-large selection from the SEC, Louisville, an automatic qualifier from the American Conference, and Boston University, an automatic qualifier from the Patriot League. The winner of the Tucson regional will advance to play the winner of the Lafayette Regional (No. 6 Louisiana Lafayette, Texas, Mississippi State and Texas Southern).

NCAA ACTION IN TUCSON: Arizona has played host to 19 NCAA Regionals along with six Super Regionals. This is the fourth time in the last five years the regional round will be held in Tucson. The Wildcats are 55-4 in NCAA Regionals held in Tucson and have advanced out of 16 of the 17 Regionals they have hosted, only failing to make it out of 2004 pod, when defeats to Oklahoma and Louisiana Lafayette ended Arizona’s season. The 2004 and 2013 clubs are the only teams since 1987 to lose in regionals. Boston U, LSU and Louisville are all making their first appearances in the Tucson Regional. LSU is making its second trip to Tucson for postseason play, though, as the Tigers fell to Arizona in three games in the 2006 Super Regional round. Arizona is 1-0 against both Louisville and Boston in postseason play.

ARIZONA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Wildcats return to NCAA action for the 28th consecutive season. In 27 previous trips, Arizona is 152-47 in tournament play and 79-8 in the regional round. UA went 1-2 at the College Station regional in 2013, dropping two games to Baylor and defeating Penn in eight innings. The Cats have lost just two regional games since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 2005, both in 2013. Arizona has failed to make it out of regionals just twice in the last 26 years (2004 and 2013).

OPPONENTS

LSU: The Tigers (35-22, 13-11 SEC) finished the regular season ranked 23rd by both polls ... LSU is making its 16th trip to the NCAA Tournament ... The Tigers have been to three Women’s College World Series, most recently in 2012 ... The Tigers are hitting .311 as a team and have hit 52 home runs, they are led on that side of the ball by Savanna Jaquish (.335 avg, 13 HR, 9 2B, 48 RBI) and A.J. Andrews (.339 avg, 6 3B, 35 SB) ... In the circle, the team boasts a 2.90 team ERA and has struck out 334 batters; ace Baylee Corbello (17-8, 2.55 ERA, 175 Ks, 176.0 IP) leads the way.

Louisville: The Cardinals (36-20, 14-7 American) earned the American Athletic Conference’s automatic bid by winning the conference tournament ... Louisville is making its 11th postseason appearance ... The Cardinals hit .301 as a team and outscored their opponents 301-179; the team is led by Katie Keller (.402 avg, 19 2B, 6 HR, 34 RBI) ... In the circle, the Cardinals have a 2.88 team ERA, led by Maryssa Becker (13-7, 2.08 ERA, 137 Ks, 138.0 IP).

Boston University: The Terriers (35-19, 13-5 Patriot) are the representatives of the Patriot League after winning the conference tournament last weekend ... BU is making its seventh trip to the NCAA Tournament and first since 2012 ... Boston has the best team ERA in the region at 2.82, led by Melanie Russell (12-3, 2.09 ERA, 106 Ks, 104.0 IP) ... Offensively, the team has stolen 103 bases, led by Jayme Mask (.400 avg, 34 SB).

LEADING OFF

- Arizona is at or near the top of nearly every offensive ranking in the NCAA. Arizona leads the nation in home runs (100), scoring (7.67 runs per game) and slugging percentage (.644). Arizona is second in batting average (.353) and on-base percentage (.439) while its 1.61 doubles per game rank ninth. Arizona’s .644 slugging percentage is on pace to set a new NCAA record.

- UA is getting done on the other side of the ball as well. Arizona’s .973 fielding percentage is 11th in the country.

- Catcher Chelsea Goodacre is third in the NCAA with 22 home runs, one behind the leaders. Freshman outfielder Katiyana Mauga is tied for seventh nationally with 19 homers. Goodacre has 70 RBI, fifth in the country while Kellie Fox’s 59 RBI are 18th in the nation.

- Arizona has one of the best home records in the country at 28-2, including 18 run-rule victories. Arizona is outscoring opponents by an average of 9.77-2.73 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 7.04 run average margin of victory at home. Arizona is hitting .424 at home while batting just .268 on the road.  

- Arizona has hit six grand slams in its last 25 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 25-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 48 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 (.353), slugging percentage (.644), runs scored (414), RBI (392), home runs (100) and total bases (887). Additionally, Arizona has the Pac-12 leader in slugging percentage (Katiyana Mauga - .924), runs scored (Hallie Wilson - 66), RBI (Chelsea Goodacre - 70), doubles (Kelsey Rodriguez - 18), home runs (Chelsea Goodacre - 22), total bases (Chelsea Goodacre - 128), sac bunts (Chelsea Suitos - 8) and opposing batting average (Kenzie Fowler - .144).

- On the season, Arizona has 189 extra-base hits. Its opponents have 259 total hits.

- Opponents are just 12-for-62 (.194) batting with the bases loaded. Meanwhile, Arizona is 27-for-74 (.365) with the bases loaded, including the aforementioned 10 grand slams.

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 1,384-335-2 (.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 dropped its first two games of the season at home as the top-ranked Oregon Ducks took two of three in Tucson during the Wildcats’ senior weekend. Chelsea Goodacre had three extra-base hits in the series, including her 22nd homer of the season off lefty Cheridan Hawkins.

5/8/14 - Cats Drop Game One to Oregon: Arizona committed a season-high-tying three errors, leading to three unearned Oregon runs, as the No. 1 Ducks downed the ninth-ranked Wildcats, 7-3 in the series opener.

A two-run Kelsey Rodriguez home run and two Chelsea Goodacre doubles were not enough as Oregon ace Cheridan Hawkins struck out nine and walked just one in her complete-game effort. The Wildcats managed three runs on six hits against the southpaw.

5/9/14 - Offense Erupts in Thrilling Victory over No. 1 Oregon: Arizona’s offense struck early and often while Shelby Babcock’s brilliance in relief helped cool off a furious comeback attempt from No. 1 Oregon as the Cats downed the Ducks 11-8 in a thrilling game at Hillenbrand Stadium Friday night.

Offensively, the Cats used an 11-hit attack, including homers from Kelsey Rodriguez, Katiyana Mauga and Chelsea Goodacre.

Mauga led the way with three RBI while Mo Mercado and Courtney Rodriguez chipped in two apiece.

5/10/14 - Cats Bested on Senior Day: In the final game of the regular season for both teams, the top-ranked Oregon Ducks defeated No. 9 Arizona softball 14-3 in five innings in the final regular season home game for Arizona’s five seniors: Estela Piñon, Kelsey Rodriguez, Shelby Babcock, Alex Lavine and Kenzie Fowler.

The game was bookended by a pair of special moments for the senior class. Fowler, whose storied career came to an end earlier this week with a diagnoses of thoracic outlet syndrome, threw the first pitch of the game before exiting to a standing ovation. Postgame, the five seniors were honored ceremoniously.

Fowler would be the first of five pitchers used by the Wildcats, trying to combat Oregon’s offensive onslaught. The Ducks scored 14 runs on 16 hits in the contest.

RECENT RESULTS IN THE NCAA REGIONAL: Arizona went 1-2 at the College Station Regional, suffering a pair of defeats to Baylor, the second of which followed Arizona’s victory over Penn to stay alive. Hallie Wilson and Chelsea Goodacre had four hits apiece in the regional while Kelsey Rodriguez batted in three runs.

5/17/13 - Cats Fall in Regional Opener: Arizona allowed four runs in the first inning and was shutout by Baylor pitcher Whitney Canion as Baylor cruised to an NCAA Regional opening victory, 7-0 on Friday at Aggie Softball Complex.

Both Arizona and Baylor scattered six hits in the contest, but UA pitchers issued six walks to BU’s zero. The Wildcats stranded eight runners on base.

5/18/13 - Arizona Eliminated by Baylor: The Arizona softball season came to a close Saturday when it was upended by Baylor 8-4 in an elimination contest in the College Station Regional after the Cats defeated Penn 3-2 in extras to extend its season.

The loss marks the first time that Arizona has failed to make it out of regionals since 2004.

The Cats’ 33 wins on the season mark the fewest since winning 27 games in 1986 while its 26 losses are most in program history.

Against Penn, Down to Arizona’s final out in the bottom of the seventh inning trailing by a run, Hallie Wilson ripped a single through the middle to plate Mandie Perez to extend the game and push it to an extra inning, where UA would walk off. A single and an error put runners at second and third with no one out for Kelsey Rodriguez who hit a sacrifice fly to center to end the game.

ARIZONA AGAINST LSU: Arizona is 8-2 all-time against LSU, including 2-1 against the Tigers in postseason play. Most recently, the Tigers defeated Arizona 3-0 at the 2013 Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic.

2/23/13 - Cats Fall in mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Finale: Despite a solid effort in the circle, 14th-ranked Arizona softball fell in its final game of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, 3-0 to No. 11 LSU. The Wildcats finished the tournament 2-3.

Arizona’s pitching duo of Nancy Bowling and Shelby Babcock held LSU to just three hits on the day, and zero after the second inning. The Tigers had just one baserunner in the final five innings of the game.

However, by then it was too late. LSU took a two-run lead three batters into the game with an Allison Falcon two-run home run and added to the lead with a two-out RBI double in the second inning.

ARIZONA AGAINST LOUISVILLE: Arizona is 3-0 all-time against Lousiville including 1-0 in the postseason. Most recently, Arizona defeated the then-24th ranked Cardinals 11-3 in the 2010 Judi Garman Classic.

3/18/10 - Candrea Gets Win No. 1,200 Against Louisville: Second-ranked Arizona put up a four-run first, then capitalized on three seventh-inning Cardinal miscues to down No. 24 Louisville, 11-3, to start the Judi Garman Classic on Thursday morning.

The win gave Head Coach Mike Candrea his 1,200th career NCAA Division I victory, a mark that only three skippers have officially reached.

ARIZONA AGAINST BOSTON UNIVERSITY: Arizona is 4-0 all-time against the Terriers, including 1-0 in NCAA Tournament play. The Cats and the Terriers met last season for two games when Boston U came to town for the Wildcat Invitational. Arizona won both games.

3/1/13 - Cats’ Bats Awaken in Victory over Boston: Estela Piñon completed six innings in the circle, picking up her fourth win of the season. Piñon allowed three runs on five hits as the Wildcats defeated Boston University, 6-3.

Arizona’s hot offense continued from its first game as the Wildcats struck three in the first inning of play.

Chelsea Goodacre singled in two runs to begin the first. Arizona added a third run when Mandie Perez walked with the bases loaded.

3/2/13 - Arizona Downs Boston University: The Wildcats scored three times in the first four batters to and cruised to a 4-1 victory over Boston in the first game of two on the second day of the Wildcat Invitational.

UA scored four runs on six hits and took advantage of four Terrier errors. Shelby Babcock, who earned the complete-game victory to improve to 7-2 on the season, limited BU to one run on three hits. Babcock walked one and was one shy of her career high with eight strikeouts.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Wildcats are 28-2 this season inside the friendly confines of Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. Since its opening in 1993, Arizona has put up a 610-71 record on the field. That’s a .896 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 18 home dates, the Wildcats are averaging 2,177 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 (414). Here is what Arizona has had out of each spot in the order:

1 - .394 avg, 10 2B, 3 3B, 13 HR, 52 RBI

2 - .380 avg, 9 2B, 7 HR, 24 RBI

3 - .399 avg, 12 2B, 2 3B, 14 HR, 59 RBI

4 - .331 avg, 12 2B, 19 HR, 66 RBI

5 - .419 avg, 15 2B, 2 3B, 16 HR, 60 RBI

6 - .333 avg, 7 2B, 10 HR, 46 RBI

7 - .290 avg, 7 2B, 12 HR, 35 RBI

8 - .319 avg, 12 2B, 8 HR, 34 RBI

9 - .314 avg, 3 2B, 1 HR, 16 RBI

BEATING THE BEST: In the regular season, Arizona played 21 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 10-11 against the top 25, 3-6 against the top 10 and 3-6 against the top five. Since 1994, Arizona is 522-208-1 (.715) against ranked competition, 253-145 (.636) against top-10 teams and 123-99 (.554) against top-five teams.

THE K ZONE: In 1,000 at-bats this season, UA hitters have struck out just 155 times (15.3 percent of at-bats). The .155 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 nine times in 158 at-bats, making her the 84th 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 Tucson regional will take on the winner of the Lafayette regional for a chance to advance to the Women’s College World Series. Should the seeds hold, the Super Regional would be hosted by Louisiana Lafayette, the tournament’s No. 6 seed.

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