Tuesday, Feb. 22 Simon Fraser (exhibition) 3 p.m. 2000 'Bama Bash, Tuscaloosa, Ala. Friday, Feb. 25 vs. No. 14 DePaul 12 p.m. vs. Drake 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26 vs. Alabama 12 p.m. vs. Georgia Tech 6 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27 TBA, elimination rounds TBA TBA, semifinal and title games TBA
Fourth-ranked Arizona will play host to Simon Fraser, the defending NAIA National Champions, in an exhibition game at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 22 before traveling to Tuscaloosa, Ala. to take part in the 2000 'Bama Bash hosted by the University of Alabama.
Simon Fraser has the only varsity softball program in Canada and plays in the NCAA Division II Pac West Conference which combines NCAA D-II schools with several NAIA programs. The Clan participates in NAIA postseason play and won the championship last season for the first time since the softball program began in 1991. In addition to Arizona, the 'Bama Bash will include one other team ranked in the NFCA preseason poll, #14 DePaul, who the Wildcats will face on the first day. The tournament will begin with a round-robin format the first two days and will conclude with elimination rounds and a title game on Sunday.
Arizona won the title of its own Wildcat Classic last weekend after finishing with a 5-0 record in the round-robin tournament. The Cats outscored their opponents, 55-1, while outhitting the competition, 61-13. After ending Arizona's opening 9-0 victory over Penn State with a two-run home run in the fifth inning, Jennie Finch pitched her first no-hitter of the season in leading the Cats to a 15-0 victory over Tennessee Tech. She went on to bat .643 (9-for-14) with four home runs on the weekend and pitched two shutouts in improving to 5-0 on the year. The Cats had nine home runs as a team, including Alison Andrade's first career grand slam in an 11-run second inning against New Mexico on Saturday. Arizona played one seven-inning contest - a 6-0 win over Oklahoma.
Swinging for the Fences
This Arizona squad has upheld the Wildcat tradition of socking balls out of the yard as six Cats have hit the long ball this season. Jennie Finch leads the team with seven home runs after hitting four over the weekend, while Lindsey Collins and Alison Andrade each have four on the season. Chrissy Gil, Toni Mascarenas and Lauren Bauer have one apiece.
National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll
Arizona is ranked fourth in the preseason NFCA coaches poll released which was released Wednesday, Jan. 26. The poll is available online at www.nfca.org The first weekly rankings will be released Feb. 23 and every week thereafter through the season. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.
Notes from Left Field
In 14 games, the Wildcats have 147 hits for a team batting average of .419 and have outscored the opposition, 120-9... Arizona has played only five seven-inning games on the season, compared to eight five-inning contests and one six-inning affair. The Cats have played just one full seven-inning game in their past six contests... Arizona has collected ten or more hits in its last six consecutive games and has done so in 10 of its 14 contests on the season... Senior Chrissy Gil had six hits last weekend, three of which were for extra bases, including a pair of triples... Junior Lauren Bauer leads the team with 11 stolen bases in as many attempts. She got five of those steals last weekend. She now has 68 career steals - No. 4 on the all-time list - but still needs 45 more to catch current assistant coach Amy Chellevold who is third with 113... Junior Nicole Giordano leads the team with a .550 batting average (22-for-40) and 13 walks and has struck out just three times... In her first collegiate start, freshman Lisha Ribellia (Moses Lake, Wash.) set a school single-game record with a pair of triples in consecutive at-bats in the third and fifth innings of UA's 10-2 victory over So. Miss.
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 eight earned runs in 15 appearances covering 80 innings... They have each pitched a no-hitter this season (Lemke vs. Southern Miss. on 2/4 and Finch vs. Tenn. Tech on 2/18). 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... Lemke has an ERA of 0.65, while Finch is close behind her with a 0.81 ERA... During the Wildcat Classic last weekend, Finch allowed just one hit, one walk and no runs while striking out 18 in 10 innings of work...Only two teams have managed as much as two runs off either of them in a single game this season (So. Miss. and South Carolina).
Do Unto Others...
Sophomore Jennie Finch has managed to do to opposing pitchers what opposing batters have been unable to do to her - get big hits. Over the weekend, Finch led the team in batting average (.643), runs scored (9), hits (9), home runs (4), RBI (12) and total bases (22). Add that to her pitching totals and she did pretty much everything but sweep the infield between games. Her seven home runs on the season are a team-high as are her 21 RBI, while her slugging percentage rests at a comfortable 1.081.
Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week
Becky Lemke was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for the week of Feb. 8-14 after picking up four wins at the Fiesta Bowl Classic in Tempe. She posted two shutouts, including a 3-0 decision over third-ranked Fresno State, and allowed just three earned runs on 12 hits while striking out 25 batters in her four appearances.
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 761-160 (.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