Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 3 Softball Comes Home For ASU Series
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 22, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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This Week
The No. 3 Arizona softball team (31-6 overall, 5-4 Pac-10) will stay at home in Tucson for a pair of games against in-state rival Arizona State. The Wildcats will take on the Sun Devils on Friday, April 22 at 7 p.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium and again on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Audio and Video Broadcasts
Both Friday and Saturday's games will be carried live locally in Tucson on 1290 AM- The Source with the "Voice of the Wildcats", Brian Jeffries calling the action. Subscribers to All-Access, Arizona's premium multimedia service, can hear Brian Jeffries and watch all the action through live audio and video webcasts. Archived video of both games will be available to subscribers, in addition to past softball webcasts. The cost for All-Access is $6 a month for audio only, or $9 a month for audio and video. Click the links to learn more and subscribe to All-Access.

Last Week
The Wildcats dropped to No. 3 in the rankings after suffering a pair of road losses at No. 12 UCLA last weekend. Prior to the Cats’ series with the Bruins, Arizona traveled to Washington for a Friday-night game with the Huskies. After four innings, the game was postponed because of rain with Arizona leading, 3-0. The game will be finished from the point it was stopped when the Huskies come to Tucson on May 7 for a two-game series. The Cats’ statistics for that game will not be counted until the game is completed. In the Cats’ first loss at UCLA last Saturday, Alicia Hollowell and Taryne Mowatt combined to give up nine runs on 11 hits in Arizona’s 9-1 loss in six innings. Kristie Fox scored the Cats’ lone run off a double and a UCLA throwing error. Sunday’s matchup was a much closer contest, though the Bruins still came out on top. Hollowell gave up five runs on eight hits in six innings and only struck out two in the Cats’ 5-4 loss. Offensively, Fox’s bat came back to life with a two-for-four, three-RBI game. Caitlin Lowe went two-for-three and scored a pair of runs, while designated hitter Candace Abrams went two-for-four with an RBI. However, in the Bruins’ half of the seventh and the game tied, UCLA had a single and two walks to load the bases before Emily Zaplatosch singled in the winning run.

The Coach
Head Coach Mike Candrea is in his 20th year with Arizona and carries a career record of 1013-197. Candrea returned to Arizona after taking a year off to coach the U.S. Olympic softball team to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in Athens. Candrea was also awarded the Olympic Shield award, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s most prestigious award, in January. Candrea’s award, given for outstanding service to the USOC and the Olympic movement, marked the first time in history that the award was given to an Olympic coach. Candrea is also an eight-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year and a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He has led Arizona to six national championships and seven Pac-10 titles.

The Coaches
Larry Ray (Idaho State ?'74) took over as head coach for Mike acting assistant head coach this season, and carries an overall  record of 224-112, including five years as head coach of Florida. Associate head coach Nancy Evans is a former Honda Award winner as a player at Arizona. Evans has been an assistant at UA since 1999.

The Rankings
As of April 19, the Cats are No. 3 in the Softball poll.The NFCA/USA Today poll, in which the Cats have been steadily ranked since 1989, will be released on April 20. Arizona was ranked preseason No. 3 in the NFCA poll, behind UCLA and Cal. Softball: 3(4/19), 2(4/12), 2(4/5), 2(3/29), 2(3/22), 1(3/15), 1(3/8), 1(3/1), 1(2/22), 1(2/15)NFCA/USA Today: 2(4/13), 2(4/6), 2(3/30), 2(3/23), 1(3/16), 1(3/9), 1(3/2), 2(2/23), 2(2/16)

Wildcat Softball Quick Notes:

... For the first time this season, all of Arizona’s pitchers have an ERA over 1.00, including Alicia Hollowell. After the Cats’ back-to-back losses to UCLA, Hollowell’s ERA is at 1.01 and Taryne Mowatt’s is at 1.52...

... Though Arizona struggled to score this weekend, plating only five runs to UCLA’s 14, Caitlin Lowe’s bat is still hot. She leads both the Wildcats and the Pac-10 in batting average with a .512 mark. She also leads the Cats and the conference in hits with 65...

... Kristie Fox’s phenomenal RBI production tapered off lately, but Sunday against the Bruins her bat picked up again, driving in three of Arizona’s four runs. She’s second behind Lowe in batting average with a .377 mark, and is second in the Pac-10 in RBI with 46, behind Cal’s Haley Woods (47)...

... The Wildcats’ designated hitters performed well in last weekend’s losses to UCLA. In Saturday’s 9-1 loss, Jen Martinez went two-for-three, and in Sunday’s 5-4 loss, Candace Abrams went two-for-four, including her first homer of the season...

... With last weekend’s losses, Arizona’s total Pac-10 losses (4) has already eclipsed last season’s total Pac-10 losses (3). Along those same lines, the Cats have already tied last season’s total losses (6)...

... Though Hollowell struggled in her outings against the Bruins, she still leads Wildcat pitchers and Pac-10 pitchers in strikeouts with 313. Her next closest competitor is UCLA’s Anjelica Selden, who was on the mound for the Bruins’ 9-1 rout of Arizona on Saturday...

... The Wildcats haven’t been run-ruled since March 22, 2003, when Arizona took a 15-3 lashing from Cal State Fullerton...

... Arizona’s first three hitters in the lineup (Lowe, Autumn Champion and Fox) accounted for seven hits, three runs and three RBIs last weekend...