Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats Host Pepsi Arizona Softball Classic This Weekend
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 13, 2001
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The Tournament:
No. 3 Arizona (10-0) hosts the Pepsi Arizona Softball Classic on Friday Feb. 16 through Sunday Feb. 18 at Hillenbrand Stadium. The tournament will be a round-robin format. This will be the season opener for Bowling Green. Kentucky (1-2) and Oklahoma State (2-3) both competed in the Texas-Arlington Tournament last weekend. New Mexico State (3-8) also played in the Fiesta Bowl Classic with Arizona but did not compete against the Cats. Pacific is 2-2 on the season and is playing California Tuesday Feb. 13 in a make-up game.

Last Time The Cats Played
Wildcat senior Toni Mascarenas helped lead Arizona to six victories at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Tempe, improving to 10-0 on the season. Mascarenas collected 11 hits in 16 at bats, including five homeruns, three doubles and 15 runs batted in. Arizona allowed only four runs in six games- all by Nebraska - the only runs surrendered by the Arizona pitching staff this season. UA beat Georgia (8-0), Texas (14-0), LSU (10-0), Nebraska (11-4), South Carolina (8-0) and Missouri (8-0).

Nifty Fifty
Arizona won 50 games in a season for the 10th time in school history and in coach Mike Candrea's 15 seasons at the helm. Candrea has recorded four seasons with 60+ victories - 66-6 in 1995, 64-3 in 1994, 61-5 in 1997 and an NCAA-record 67-4 mark in 1998. Arizona's winning percentage is .868.

National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll
The first NFCA coaches poll was released on Wednesday, January 24. It is available online at Arizona was No. 2 the entire 2000 season and finished No. 3 behind NCAA champion Oklahoma and runner-up UCLA. In this season's preseason ranking UCLA is ranked No. 1 and Oklahoma No. 2. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.

2001 Team Nucleus
Arizona returns eight starters in 2001 and five All-Americans. Junior pitcher Jennie Finch was a first-team at-large selection, three seniors were second-team picks... outfielders Nicole Giordano and Lauren Bauer and third-baseman Toni Mascarenas. Catcher Lindsey Collins was a third-team pick. Six players were placed on the All-Pacific-10 team ...First team Giordano and Finch. Second-team picks were senior shortstop Allison Andrade, senior pitcher Becky Lemke, Mascarenas and Swan. Honorable mention honors went to Bauer and Collins. Other returning letterwinners include senior outfielder Erika Hanson, senior pitcher Teresa (Ayoub) Demeter and sophomore infielder Lisha Ribellia. Redshirt freshman Leneah Manuma (1b) joins freshmen Jenny Gladding (p), Kim Balkan (of), Candace Abrams (inf) and Mackenzie Vandergeest (inf) to round out this year's squad.

Record Breakdown
The Wildcats were 59-9 in 2000 with a 28-3 home record, a 27-7 record on the road(12-3 at "away" venues), 18-3 at neutral sites and 31-8 against ranked teams.

Arizona Head Coach Mike Candrea
After 15 seasons at Arizona, Candrea carries a record of 806-168. His Division I winning percentage (.830) is No. 2 all-time and No. 1 among active coaches. Candrea was named Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year, his sixth time. Last season, he won his 800th game, only the eighth NCAA softball coach in history to do so. His players have earned 54 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 13 years and reached the championship game in eight of the last 11 years.

Friday, Feb. 16    Bowling Green   3 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 16    Oklahoma St.    5 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 17  Kentucky        3 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 17  New Mexico St.  5 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 18    Pacific         1 p.m.

Also: Fri.: New Mexico St. vs. Kentucky, 9 a.m., Pacific vs. Kentucky, 11 a.m., Pacific vs. Bowling Green, 1 p.m, New Mexico St. vs. Oklahoma St., 7 p.m. Sat.: Pacific vs. Oklahoma St., 9 a.m., Bowling Green vs. Oklahoma St., 11 a.m., Bowling Green vs. Kentucky, 1 p.m., Pacific vs. New Mexico St., 7 p.m. Sun.: New Mexico St. vs. Bowling Green, 9 a.m., Kentucky vs. Oklahoma St., 11 a.m.