UA softball coach Mike Candrea knew he'd have a powerful offense entering 2001.
Thirty-seven home runs in 14 games maybe he didn't expect.
Arizona enters its game Sunday against Pacific in the Pepsi Softball Classic with a total of 12 home runs in the four weekend games, led by designated player/first baseman Leneah Manuma's four. Three others have two each -- freshman rightfielder/catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest, senior third baseman Toni Mascarenas and senior centerfielder Lauren Bauer -- plus his set-up bat-control slapper Nicole Giordano has a grandslam as does pitcher/first baseman Jennie Finch. Mascarenas leads the club with nine this season. Manuma has seven.
UA pressbox folks play a couple of tunes after home runs -- an Irish drinking song called 'Bog Down in the Valley' or John Williams' theme from 'Star Wars,' but they've taken to spinning Williams' 'Superman' theme after Manuma's blasts. Her latest hit the top of the wall surrounding the P.E. swimming pool 40 feet beyond deep center, so it makes some sense.
The Cats set an NCAA season record with 100 team homers in the mid '90s when the club featured NCAA career record holder Laura Espinoza and a couple of other key players like 1996 National Player of the Year Jenny Dalton.
Quite possibly, with 37 homers in 14 games, the 2001 club is on an odyssey which could eclipse that mark.
Still, UA pitching is as big a story. While the team has outscored opponents 140-6, the people in the pitching circle have been a huge key -- senior Becky Lemke (6-0), junior Finch (4-0) and freshman Jenny Gladding (4-0) have kept the other team off the bases.
Four UA hitters have 20 or more hits, while the other teams have combined to collect only 33 hits in the 14 games, an average of slightly more than two per outing.