Fri., April 21 at Arizona State 6 p.m. Sat, April 22 at Arizona State 6 p.m.This Week:
The second-ranked Arizona softball team (44-6 overall, 7-3 Pac-10) travels up the interstate to take on No. 4 Arizona State (36-10 overall, 4-6 Pac-10) in Tempe on Fri. and Sat., April 21-22. Both games will begin at 6 p.m. The Cats won the first meeting this season, 3-1, on April 4 in Tucson. The Sun Devils have lost three of their last four including a 2-0 loss to Washington last Friday and a 5-1 loss to UCLA on Saturday. ASU rebounded to defeat the Bruins on Sunday, 1-0.
New Pac-10 Format
The league voted in the off-season to drop the 28-game home-and-home doubleheader series which had been in effect since the early 1990s and move instead to a 21-game schedule featuring single games. Each Pac-10 team will face each other a total of three times on the season.
Last Week: Arizona defeated Cal State Northridge on Thursday, 6-0, in a game that was rescheduled from a rained-out doubleheader earlier in the season. Five Matador errors resulted in four Wildcat runs. Jennie Finch struck out six and held the Matadors to three hits to improve to 21-0 on the season. Toni Mascarenas and Lauren Bauer were each 2-for-3 from the plate and together accounted for half of UA's runs. Mascarenas had an RBI double and scored two runs. On Friday, the Cats opened their first Pac-10 road trip of the season by handing UCLA its first conference loss. The UA broke a tie with a three-run rally in the top of the sixth on its way to the 6-4 victory. The Cats never trailed after taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Mascarenas was 2-for-3 at the plate with a lead-off double in the third which allowed her to score on a sacrifice fly by Lindsey Collins to make the score 3-1. Becky Lemke gave up a pair of solo home runs but struck out eight while improving to 23-4. Top-ranked Washington's pitchers continued their season-long dominance over the Wildcat bats with a pair of shutouts on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, Jamie Graves held the Cats to just four hits and struck out nine in a complete-game 2-0 victory. UW's Kim DePaul provided the only scoring of the game on a two-out bases-loaded double in the third. Finch suffered her first loss of the season despite giving up just two runs. Jennifer Spediacci led the Huskies to a 7-0 victory on Sunday, striking out 12 Cats and knocking a three-run homer to help her cause. Arizona managed just four hits, while Lemke gave up eight hits and a pair of home runs.
National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll
Arizona remained second in last week's NFCA coaches poll released Wed., April 12. Pac-10 schools occupy the top four spots in the rankings and all eight teams are ranked. Washington is No. 1 followed by Arizona, UCLA and ASU. California is No. 8 followed by Stanford at No. 9, No. 14 Oregon State and No. 23 Oregon. The poll is available online at www.nfca.org. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
UCLA was picked to finish first in the conference by the coaches in their preseason poll. The Bruins received 47 points, including five first-place votes, while Washington picked up three first-place nods to go with 44 total points. Arizona was projected to finish third and received 38 points. The Cats were followed by Arizona State, Stanford, Oregon State, California and Oregon. Washington currently claims sole possession of first place with an 8-1 conference record.
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, while Lindsey Collins (11) is second on the team. Alison Andrade (6), Toni Mascarenas (4), Chrissy Gil (4), Lauren Bauer (2) Nicole Giordano (1) and Katie Swan (1) have each joined the fun for a team total of 43. The Cats have hit just three homers in 10 conference games. Swan, Mascarenas and Collins have each homered once.
Notes from Left Field
Arizona's six losses have all been day games, while the Cats are 16-0 in night games... Arizona is 3-1 on the season in extra-inning affairs, 1-1 in Pac-10 games... In 50 games, the Wildcats have 467 hits for a team batting average of .351. The team is averaging 9.34 hits per game and has been held to less than five hits just four times this season. The Cats won two of those games. The other two were losses to Washington last weekend... The UA has outscored its opponents 322-52 on the season for an average margin of 6.44-1.04. Opponents have scored three or more runs just five times this season. On the other hand, the Cats have been shutout three times on the season. They have yet to score a run in three losses to Washington... Junior Nicole Giordano leads the team with a .462 average and a team-high 79 hits with 42 runs scored... Senior Chrissy Gil has as many triples as home runs (4 each)... Senior Katie Swan leads the team with a .469 batting average (15-for-32) in conference play. She also has a team-high 15 hits and seven runs in 10 Pac-10 games.
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 44 earned runs in 318 innings spanning 50 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 has an ERA of 0.62, while Lemke has a 1.23 ERA... Finch's ERA against the Pac-10 is 1.40 while Lemke has a 3.09 ERA. Lemke struck out a school-record 19 batters in recording her second no-hitter of the season on March 11 against BYU... Lemke has 240 strikeouts on the season to give her 638 for her career. She remains third on the all-time list behind Evans (733)... They have a combined 398 strikeouts (including two by Teresa Ayoub). The single-season team record is 451... Lemke is fourth on the UA all-time victories list with a 77-15 record in two-and-a-half seasons...
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 leads the team with 14 home runs and has 45 RBI, but she has yet to homer in Pac-10 play. She is batting .464 (13-for-28) in conference play with a team-high seven RBI in 10 games... 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.
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