May 9, 2012
WEEK 15 NOTES (May 10-12): ARIZONA VS. OREGON STATE // Tucson
ARIZONA WILDCATS OREGON STATE BEAVERS Record: 33-16 Record: 33-19 Pac-12: 10-11 Pac-12: 8-12 NFCA Ranking: 17 NFCA Ranking: N/A USA Ranking: 16 USA Ranking: 24 RPI Ranking: 10 RPI Ranking: 23 Head Coach: Mike Candrea; 1,305-293-2 (27th year) Head Coach: Kirk Walker; 591-483-3 (18th year) Streak: W1 Streak: L3 Last 5: 2-3 Last 5: 1-4 Last 10: 5-5 Last 10: 5-5 Last 20: 12-8 Last 20: 9-11 Team Stats (Pac-12 // NCAA) Team Stats (Pac-12 // NCAA) Batting Avg: .297 (7th // 36th) Batting Avg: .275 (9th // 2nd) Home Runs: 69 (4th // 7th) Home Runs: 39 (8th // 3rd) ERA: 2.96 (5th // 87th) ERA: 3.24 (7th // 141st) Fld Percentage: .978 (2nd // 3rd) Fld Percentage: .966 (6th // 84th) Individual Leader (Pac-12 // NCAA) Individual Leader (Pac-12 // NCAA) Batting Avg: Shelby Pendley, .358 (N/A // t197th) Batting Avg: E. Santana, .352 (N/A // 227th) Home Runs: Shelby Pendley, 18 (3rd // t13th) Home Runs: Dani Gilmore, 9 (N/A // t216th) RBI: Shelby Pendley, 51 (6th // 27th) RBI: E. Santana, 34 (N/A // N/A) ERA: Kenzie Fowler, 2.87 (10th // 227th) ERA: Paige Hall, 2.39 (6th // 147th) Strikeouts: Kenzie Fowler, 166 (6th // 32nd) Strikeouts: Marina Demore, 91 (N/A // 145th) Series History All-Time: Arizona, 86-9 2011: Arizona, 2-1 2011 Results (Corvallis): 4.8.11, Oregon State 3-1 // 4.9.11, Arizona 4-1 // 4.10.11, Arizona 6-3 Streak: Arizona, W2
THE GAMES Date Time (PDT) Opponent Location Thursday, May 10 7:00 p.m. Oregon State Hillenbrand Stadium (2,956) Friday, May 11 7:00 p.m. Oregon State Hillenbrand Stadium (2,956) Saturday, May 12 12:00 p.m. Oregon State Hillenbrand Stadium (2,956)
FOLLOW THE GAMES Live Video: http://www.arizonawildcats.com/allaccess/ (paid subscription required) Live Audio: 1290 AM KCUB or http://www.fox1290.com/ Live Stats: Find Gametracker link at arizonawildcats.com Live Updates: Twitter: @UA_Softball (twitter.com/ua_softball) & Facebook: Arizona Athletics (facebook.com/arizonaathletics)
PROBABLE STARTERS No. Name (Bats) Pos. Year Hometown (Last School) GP/GS Avg. HR RBI 17 Hallie Wilson (LH) CF Fr. Santa Ana, Calif. (Foothill H.S.) 49/49 .348 2 26 3 Chelsea Suitos (LH) RF RS Fr. Elk Grove, Calif. (Elk Grove H.S.) 47/47 .316 0 9 4 Brigette Del Ponte (RH) 3B Jr. Peoria, Ariz. (Sunrise Mountain H.S) 49/49 .308 12 45 21 Shelby Pendley (LH) SS Fr. Rio Rancho, N.M. (Rio Rancho H.S.) 49/49 .358 18 51 90 Lini Koria (RH) C Sr. Carson, Calif. (San Pedro H.S.) 49/49 .331 15 32 9 Jessica Spigner (RH) 1B Sr. Santa Clarita, Calif. (Tennessee) 49/49 .265 7 32 77 Chelsea Goodacre (LH) DP Fr. Temecula, Calif. (Temecula Valley H.S.) 47/46 .262 6 21 5 Kristen Arriola (RH) 2B Sr. Garden Grove, Calif. (Pacifica H.S) 47/47 .234 7 24 15 Karissa Buchanan (LH) LF Sr. Tucson, Ariz. (Sabino H.S.) 41/41 .280 0 4
RESERVES No. Name (Bats) Pos. Year Hometown (Last School) GP/GS Avg. HR RBI 00 Nicole Bryan (LH) OF RS Sr. Tucson, Ariz. (Central Arizona) 30/9 .200 0 3 2 Baillie Kirker (RH) DP Jr. La Crescenta, Calif. (Crescenta Valley H.S.) 20/4 .211 1 9 7 Alex Lavine (RH) UT So. Glendale, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge H.S.) 35/4 .136 1 5 88 Samantha Davis (LH) 3B Fr. Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral H.S.) 36/0 .000 0 0
THIS WEEK: As seniors Kristen Arriola, Nicole Bryan, Karissa Buchanan, Lini Koria and Jessica Spigner play their final regular-season series in Hillenbrand Stadium, the Wildcats host Oregon State with postseason seeding and hosting duties potentially on the line. With an RPI ranking of 10, the Wildcats are in a good position to host NCAA Regionals, but could obviously improve on their chances with a series victory against the Beavers. Meanwhile, Oregon State has a bid all but secured with its RPI ranking of 23, but the Beavers, who have not been in the tournament since 2007, hope to eliminate any doubt with a win at Arizona. UA and OSU have met 95 times in what has been a largely one-sided courtship. The Cats have won 86 games to OSU’s nine, and prior to 2011, Arizona had swept Oregon State in each of the previous four seasons.
Oregon State: The Beavers (33-19, 9-9 Pac-12) are unranked by the NFCA and ranked 24th by USA Softball after being swept (9-1, 5;4-2; 4-1) by top-ranked California in Corvallis. Oregon State is led offensively by Elizabeth Santana (.352 avg, 5 HR, 34 RBI, 6 2B, 3 3B) and Dani Gilmore (.297 avg, 9 HR, 32 RBI, 5 2B, 1 3B). In the circle, the Beavers use a quartet of hurlers to get the job done. Paige Hall (88 innings pitched) carries the best ERA (2.39) and record (14-3) but trails both Tina Andreana (108) and Marina Demore (104.1) in innings pitched.
HEAD COACH Mike Candrea: Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is in his 27th year at the helm of the Arizona softball program with a career record of 1,305-293-2 (.819). A winner of eight national championships (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007), Arizona has made 22 trips to the Women’s College World Series under his guidance, missing just twice in the last 24 years (2004, 2011). In 2012, Candrea became the sport’s fastest ever, and second all-time, to reach 1,300 wins. Under Candrea, Arizona has a spectacular postseason record of 148-43. An even 50 All-Americans with a staggering 90 total citations have played in the program since Candrea took over.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona dropped to 17th in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll and to 16th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25. The Wildcats started the season ranked eighth in both polls (its highest ranking of the season) and finished 2011 ranked 11th in both.
RECENT RESULTS: UA fell in its third consecutive Pac-12 series last weekend, dropping two of three to UCLA in Los Angeles. The Cats gave up 10 runs in the sixth inning or later in the series (three innings) and gave up 12 total runs in the first five innings of the three games (15 innings). UA pitchers issued 20 walks in the three games. The middle of the Wildcat order produced, with three and four hitters (Brigette Del Ponte and Shelby Pendley, respectively) combining to go 11-for-21 (.524) with two homers, seven RBI and seven runs scored.
Friday, May 4: Unearned Runs Doom Cats in Loss to UCLA - No. 15 Arizona Softball allowed six UCLA unearned runs to cross the plate in the Bruins’ 10-4 victory in game one the three-game series. In addition to two errors, the Cats gave 17th-ranked UCLA free bases in the form of seven walks, a hit-by-pitch and a defensive miscommunication on an outfield fly ball. The Bruins capitalized and put 10 runs on the board, marking the third game in the last four that Arizona has allowed double-digit runs.
Saturday, May 5: Cats Fall To Bruins, 7-2 - No. 15 Arizona Softball put runners in scoring position in five of the seven innings, four times with less than two out, but managed to score only two runs and UCLA won game two 7-2. The victory secured the series for UCLA and handed Arizona its third straight conference loss and fourth overall. Its 11 conference losses are the most since dropping 12 Western Collegiate Athletic Association games in 1983, the second year of Division I softball.
Sunday, May 6: Arizona Tops UCLA in a Wild Game - No. 15 Arizona Softball (33-16, 10-11 Pac-12) used timely pitching to escape with a 7-6 victory over UCLA (35-16, 11-10 Pac-12) to avoid the sweep in a wild game with plenty of lead changes and momentum shifts. The Cats used a trio of pitchers to notch the W, with Jessica Spigner starting, Shelby Babcock picking up the win and Kenzie Fowler shutting the door for the save.
RECENT RESULTS VS. OREGON STATE: The Cats took the series in Corvallis in 2011 in a rain-altered trip to the pacific northwest. The Cats dropped the first game of the series 3-1 and after the game, it was decided move the scheduled Sunday game to Saturday to avoid forecasted Sunday rain. When the Cats and the Beavers met for two on Saturday, the Cats were on the right side of a pair of three-run games, 4-1 and 6-3. UA slappers enjoyed success in the series with Karissa Buchanan (.600) and departed-senior Lauren Schutzler (.417) leading the Cats in batting average. Brigette Del Ponte had a pair of doubles and a homer against the Beavers.
April 8, 2011: Stranded Runners Doom UA in Loss at OSU - No. 8 Arizona suffered its first conference loss of the season at the hands of Oregon State, 3-1, snapping the Cats’ 14-game winning streak against the Beavers. Arizona outhit the Beavers 8-5, getting a runner in scoring position in each of the seven innings but was unable to get the hits when it needed them. The Cats loaded the bases twice, in the second and fourth innings, and stranded 13 base-runners on the game, including the tying run in the seventh.
April 9, 2011: Cats Sweep Beavers in Double-Dip - No. 8 Arizona will bring home a couple of three-run victories from Oregon State after sweeping Saturday’s doubleheader. Arizona defeated OSU 4-1 in the first game and 6-3 in game two. Shelby Babcock earned both wins, improving to 13-2 on the year. Babcock tossed 12.2 innings on the day and allowed 10 hits and three runs.
NEXT WEEK: The Wildcats will learn of their postseason fate on Sunday, May 13. ESPNU will broadcast the NCAA Softball Championship selection show live at 7:00 p.m. PDT where the entire 64-team field will be announced. NCAA Regionals will be held at 16 sites around the country and take place May 18-May 20.
STARING AT THE STATS: Arizona has 16 regular-season losses for the second consecutive year. It also happened in 2008. You have to go back to 1989 (48-19) to find the only other Mike Candrea season in which UA lost more regular-season contests, 17 … The Cats have won at least 40 games a year since 1986 (27-13-1, Candrea’s first year, and have some work to do to keep it going … UA pitchers appear destined to give up 200 walks for only the second time after the program-high 234 a year ago. They hit the 300-strikeouts plateau for the 15th consecutive year in Westwood. There was an 11-year string of 400+ Ks (1998-2008) including seven years above 500 and three above 600 … Lini Koria has drawn 116 bases on balls in her career, tying former catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest (2001-04) at No. 6 on UA’s all-time list. Jenae Leles (2006-09) is No. 5 with 132 … Koria’s 60 home runs are No. 5 on the Arizona chart behind sluggers Stacie Chambers (87), Laura Espinoza and Leah Braatz (85 each) and Jenny Dalton (76) … Brigette Del Ponte, in just three years, is three shy of the Arizona top 10 for career doubles. She has 45 and Vandergeest is No. 10 with 48 …
THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: Five Wildcats will be playing their final home regular series at beautiful Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium this weekend. Three-year starters Kristen Arriola, Karissa Buchanan and Lini Koria have helped Arizona to a .731 winning percentage over the last four-plus years (174-64), making it the 13th most successful graduating class in the country this season. Transfers Nicole Bryan and Jessica Spigner have spent less time in a Wildcat uniform, but their contributions have been every bit as important as the others. The five graduating Wildcats have spent a combined 785 games in the cardinal and navy, with 691 starts between them.
Kristen Arriola: Held down second base for most of her career as a Wildcat and was a model for consistency, stability, leadership and countless other traits that do not show up on the statline. Her numbers aren’t too shabby either: A career .257 hitter, Arrioa has hit 25 homers iwth 26 doubles and a pair of triples while driving in 119 runs in her career. “Boo” has focused tremendously on improving her defense, where she’s been a rock this season. Arriola has committed only two errors, helping her to a .985 fielding percentage, 27 points higher than her career figure entering 2012. Arriola
Nicole Bryan: A transfer from JUCO power Central Arizona, Bryan has spent three years with the Wildcats. A tucson native, Bryan has played in 30 games each of the past two seasons while bringing offensive assets off the bench and also earning 20 starts in her career. Bryan is a career .220 hitter with 22 runs scored and seven career RBI.
Karissa Buchanan: A four-year starter in the outfield, seeing time at all three slots in her career, Buchanan has turned in a fine career at the dish. Buchanan hit .405 as a sophomore and .398 as a junior and has a career average of .352 while spending most of her time in the nine-hole. Buchanan fits Coach Candrea’s mold for high-average hitters batting in the last slot in the batting order.
Lini Koria: Will graduate as the fifth-best home run hitter in program history. Koria has 60 homers in her career and has been a consistent force all the way around with her batting average hovering near .300 in all four seasons with 12-plus home runs, six-plus doubles and RBI figures near 40 all four seasons in an Arizona uniform. Koria’s 116 drawn walks are currently tied for sixth in Arizona history.
Jessica Spigner: Spent just one season at Arizona after transferring from SEC power Tennessee, but her impact has been immeasurable. Spigner brought over unique experience to share with the UA underclassmen. The Santa Clarita, Calif., has been a strong presence in the middle of the UA order all year wth seven homers and 32 RBI as well as a much-needed third piece to the Wildcats’ pitching staff; Spigner is 2-0 on the season with a 2.88 ERA.
BALL FOUR, PLUNK, BOOT: This is unscientific but possibly makes sense. Arizona has drawn 16 walks in its last two Pac-12 series. Okay. In the same span UA pitchers issued 35 bases on balls. They also hit five batters and the Cats committed 10 errors. That’s a total of 50 extra at-bats or extra bases in the six games, and Oregon and UCLA were able to take advantage of them to win four of the six contests. There were 17 home runs in the games (UA-8, opponents 9), so who was likely to most benefit by the extra base runners? The Ducks and Bruins drove in 23 runs with yard balls; UA drove in 13. In the six games 21 opposing runners who reached base on a walk or a UA error eventually scored.
Lini Koria: Hit her 60th career home run in style in Los Angeles with a fourth-inning, game-one, approximately 275 feet destruction of a 3-1 pitch to drive home two runs. With the hom run, Koria became just the fifth Cat in Arizona history to reach 60 homers and passed Mackenzie Vandergeest (59) on the career charts.
Shelby Pendley: Hit her 18th home run of the season in game one against UCLA. The figure is already good for t19th on Arizona’s all-time list. Pendley needs four more to break the freshman homer record, set by Brigette Del Ponte (21) in 2010.
Brigette Del Ponte: Slugged .900 against UCLA thanks to a double and a home run. Del Ponte’s extra-base power has helped her to 27 extra base hits (14 2B, 1 3B, 12 HR) while she has hit just 21 singles on the season. For her career, Del Ponte has 96 XBH (45 2B, 1 3B, 50 HR) and only 73 singles. Just a junior, Del Ponte already vaulted herself into the career top-10 list in home runs with her 50th career long-ball against UCLA. Additionally, Del Ponte, who set the single-season record with 23 doubles in 2011, is three shy of breaking the top-10 in two-baggers as well.
LEARNING QUICKLY: Arizona has four freshmen in its starting lineup and all four have been imperative to the Wildcats’ offensive success. First-year players Shelby Pendley (.358), Hallie Wilson (.348) and Chelsea Suitos (.316) are first, second and fourth, respectively, on the team in batting average. The last time a freshman led Arizona in batting average was in 2008 when Brittany Lastrapes paced the Cats at .364.
MAKING THE PLAYS: The Wildcats boast a fielding percentage of .978, which would be tied for third best in school history if kept up. Only two other clubs fielded better than the current Cats for a whole season: the 2001 National Champions (.981) and the 1995 squad (.979). That said, the Wildcats have had trouble on that side of the ball recently. The Cats have committed 10 errors in the past six games. That is nearly half of the total errors Arizona had in the previous 43 games (19). Still, UA has committed only 29 total errors on the season, which is on track to beat the 2001 program-low of 34 errors committed.
SUCCESSFUL SWIPES: Arizona has collected 47 stolen bases on 51 attempts this season, a 92% success rate. The 47 swipes are already more than the last four seasons when the Cats stole 37 bases in 2011, 36 in 2010, 29 in 2009 and 43 in 2008. Forty-seven will not touch the school record of 136 set in 1998, but still a high number in the current context. The only four caught-stealings has the potential to set a Wildcat record for fewest CS’s. The 2009 (29-for-36) and 1986 (11-for-18) squads were each caught seven times. The four runners caught stealing are best in the conference. Karissa Buchanan (16-for-16) leads the team and is sixth in the conference.
BASES JUICED: The Wildcats are hitting just .203 with the bases loaded. It is not unusual to hit for a lower average with a force at any base, but the disconcerting stat is that the opposition is allowed to hit .299 with the bases loaded. Opponents have 20 hits with the bases loaded including five grand slams. The Wildcats have just 12 hits with the bases loaded and only three grand slams (two by Kristen Arriola). Arizona’s last grand slam came on March 2 vs. College of Charleston; its pitchers gave up two to Oregon just six games ago alone.