Tuesday, March 14 at Fresno State (2) 6 p.m. Kia Klassic Tournament Thursday, March 16 vs. NE Louisiana 11 a.m. vs. Cal State-Fullerton 7 p.m. Friday, March 17 vs. Hawaii 1 p.m. TBA TBA Saturday, March 18 TBA TBA Sunday, March 19 Semifinals/Consolation TBA Championship TBAThis Week:
The second-ranked Arizona softball team (27-1), winners of 26 straight, will travel to Fresno State to play a doubleheader with the seventh-ranked Bulldogs on Tues., March 14. The Wildcats won the last meeting between the teams at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Tempe by a score of 3-0 on Feb. 13. Both teams will then travel to Fullerton to participate in the Kia Klassic Softball Tournament, Thurs., March 16 through Sun., March 19. Arizona will face Hawaii, Cal State-Fullerton and NE Louisiana in pool play which will determine the seeds for the championship bracket to begin Friday. The tournament will conclude with the semifinal and championship games on Sunday.
The Kia Klassic Field: In addition to Arizona, nine of the 16 teams in the field are ranked. Those include, No. 1 Washington, No. 4 Arizona State, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 7 Fresno State, No. 10 Oregon State, No. 14 Iowa, No. 21 Hawaii and No. 22 DePaul. The Wildcats have already faced four of the ranked teams in the tournament this season and have a 4-1 record against them.
Last Week: Arizona extended its winning streak to 26 games with a pair of wins over Brigham Young in Tucson on Saturday. Becky Lemke struck out the side six times while recording a school-record 19 strikeouts in her second no-hitter of the season. Jennie Finch once again contributed at the plate with a home run in each game. Her solo shot in the first game off former UA pitcher Meghann Pricer led the Cats to a 2-0 victory, while the second homer added to Arizona's 10 runs in the second game. Finch also allowed just two hits in recording her eighth shutout of the season. National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll Arizona was ranked second in last week's NFCA coaches poll released Wednesday, March 8. Eight Pac-10 schools are ranked in the top-25, including six in the top 10.The poll is available online at www.nfca.org. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.
Swinging for the Fences: This Arizona squad has upheld the Wildcat tradition of socking balls out of the yard as seven Cats have hit the long ball this season. Jennie Finch leads the team with 14 home runs after hitting two more over the weekend, while Lindsey Collins (8) also hit one last weekend. Alison Andrade (6), Toni Mascarenas (3), Lauren Bauer (2) and Chrissy Gil (2) and Nicole Giordano (1) have each joined the fun for a team total of 36.
Toni Mascarenas hit four consecutive doubles during the Hillenbrand Classic, including three against Indiana. She finished with six doubles in five games and has eight on the season. However, Alison Andrade still leads the team with 11 doubles and Lauren Bauer has seven. The Cats have a team total of 50 doubles, which is on pace to challenge the school season record of 111 set by the 1995 squad.
Notes from Left Field
In 28 games, the Wildcats have 289 hits for a team batting average of .400 and have outscored the opposition, 234-14... Arizona has collected ten or more hits in 17 of its 28 contests on the season and ten or more runs in 12 of those... Junior Nicole Giordano leads the team with a .528 average with a team-high 47 hits and 31 runs scored... Junior Alison Andrade has 30 hits on the season, more than half of which (17) have been for extra bases.
Armed and Dangerous
Arizona's pitchers have dominated the opposition in recent years and this season is no exception... Junior Becky Lemke and sophomore Jennie Finch have combined to allow just 11 earned runs in 164 innings spanning 28 games...They have combined to pitch four no-hitters on the season (two apiece). The last time a pair of Arizona pitchers threw no-hitters in the same season was when Carrie Dolan and Nancy Evans each threw two during the 1995 season... Finch lowered her ERA to 0.42 with one shutout last weekend, while Lemke has a 0.51 ERA... Lemke struck out a school-record 19 batters in recording her second no-hitter of the season on Saturday against BYU... Lemke has struck out 142 batters on the season to give her 540 for her career. She remains third on the all-time list behind Evans (733)... Only three teams have managed as much as two runs off either of them in a single game this season (So. Miss., South Carolina and Alabama)... They have given up as much as five hits only three times this season (Lemke twice, Finch once)... Thanks to the live bats in the Arizona lineup, Lemke and Finch have only pitched a combined ten full seven-inning games.
Do Unto Others...
Jennie Finch has managed to do to opposing pitchers what opposing batters have been unable to do to her - get big hits. Finch hit a pair of solo home runs last weekend to bring her season total to 14... She leads the team in home runs and is tied with Collins for the team lead in RBI(35) and her slugging percentage is at 1.026... Add that to her pitching totals and she does pretty much everything but sweep the infield between games... She threw two no-hitters within a week of each other (vs. Tennessee Tech on 2/18 and vs. Drake on 2/25) and the latter was her first career perfect game... She also has three one-hitters on the season.
Pac-10 Weekly Honors
Finch was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 23-29 for her performance at the Bama Bash. It was her second honor of the year. She was also named the Player of the Week Feb. 29 after hitting .643 (9-for-14), including 12 RBI, four home runs, and nine runs scored at the Wildcat Invitational... Additionally, Becky Lemke won Pitcher of the Week honors Feb. 15 for her performance at the Fiesta Bowl Classic, where she had a 3-0 decision over then-No. 3 Fresno State.
2000 Team Nucleus
The 2000 Cats maintain their speed, defensive power and solid hitting ability from last year with the return of all starters. Three juniors were third-team All-Americans -- pitcher Becky Lemke and first team All- Pac-10 outfielders Lauren Bauer and Nicole Giordano. Junior third baseman Toni Mascarenas was named second team All-Pac-10 along with Lemke. Three Cats were honorable mention all-league picks -- senior outfielder Lindsay Robinson, sophomore pitcher Jennie Finch and senior outfielder Chrissy Gil. Other returning letterwinners include junior pitcher Teresa Ayoub, senior second baseman Katie Swan, junior first baseman Erika Hanson and catcher Lindsey Collins. Freshmen Lisha Ribellia (IF), Leneah Manuma (1B) and Lindsey Rice (OF) join junior transfers Allison Andrade (IF) and April Richardson (IF) to round out the squad.
Arizona Coach Mike Candrea
In his 15th season at Arizona, Candrea carries a record of 766-160 (.826). He is the active and all-time winningest Division I coach by percentage and in the top 10 in victories. Last season, Candrea became the eighth Division I coach in history to win 700 games. His players have earned 49 All-America honors and six Academic All-America honors, plus he has coached three players to the Honda Softball Award as national player of the year. He has taken the Wildcats to the College World Series the past 12 consecutive years and has reached the NCAA Championship game in eight of the last 10 seasons.
Cats Depth Chart p B. Lemke, J. Finch c Lindsey Collins 1b Jennie Finch, Erika Hanson, Leneah Manuma (inj.) 2b Katie Swan ss Allison Andrade, April Richardson, Lisha Ribellia 3b Toni Mascarenas, Lindsey Rice lf Lauren Bauer, Lindsay Robinson cf Chrissy Gil rf Nicole Giordano dp Jennie Finch, Erika Hanson, Teresa Ayoub