Tuesday, Feb. 1 Central Arizona College (2) 2 p.m. - exhibition *Friday, Feb. 4 Southern Mississippi 2 p.m. *Saturday, Feb. 5 Washington (non-conference) 2 p.m. *Sunday, Feb. 6 Southern Mississippi 2 p.m. *Arizona Softball Classic: Friday: SoMiss-UW 12 p.m. Saturday: SoMiss-UW 12 p.m. All games at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on campus.Softball Media Day:
Arizona coach Mike Candrea and the 2000 UA softball team will be available for photos and interviews at annual media activities at 3 p.m. Friday, Jan. 28 on the Hillenbrand Stadium field.
Arizona softball season tickets are available through the McKale Center Ticket Office (520-621-2287) at varying prices for seat locations, with discounts for children and seniors. Single-game tickets will be sold beginning Monday, January 31 at McKale and at the stadium box office on game days.
Arizona finished the season 53-16 overall and 19-9 for second place in the Pac-10. The Cats won their 12th straight NCAA Regional to advance to the CWS for the 12th consecutive season, the longest active streak of appearances. However, for the first time since 1990, Arizona did not reach the NCAA Championship title game. After winning their first CWS game (3-0 vs. California), the Cats lost their next two contests (3-0 to Washington and 1-0 to DePaul) to fall short of the title game. Arizona captured five NCAA Championships in the 1990s (1991, '93, '94, '96, '97).
Arizona won 50 games in a season for the ninth time in school history and the ninth time in coach Mike Candrea's 14 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.
National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll
The first NFCA coaches poll will be released on Wednesday, Jan. 26. It is available online at www.nfca.org The first weekly rankings will be released March 1 and every week thereafter through the season. Arizona was No. 2 in the 1999 preseason poll and for a number of weeks, then No. 3 throughout the rest of the year until its final No. 6 ranking. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.
The Wildcats lost five players from last year's roster including senior Michelle Churnock to graduation. Meghann Pricer transfered to BYU to play softball in their first-year program while Felecity Willis, Amy Baray, and Tammy Acuna decided not to play.
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 was 53-16 in 1999 with a 33-5 home record, a 20-11 record on the road (9-7 at "away" venues), a neutral field record of 11-4 and a mark of 34-15 against ranked teams.
Arizona Coach Mike Candrea
After 14 seasons at Arizona, Candrea carries a record of 747-159 (.825) into this season. 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 (injured)
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