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No. 1 Arizona Softball Hosts No. 18 Baylor for Three-Game Set
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/11/2006
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POTENTIAL STARTING LINEUP

                                                   Avg.   Note

1.   Caitlin Lowe               CF   .493    Perfect 13-for-13 SB

2.   Autumn Champion  LF    .400    Leads UA with 23 R

3.   Kristie Fox                  SS    .448    Hitting 94 points better than ’05 AVG

4.   Chelsie Mesa             2B   .386    Leads team with 18 RBI, .737 SLG

5.   Jenae Leles                3B   .273    Leads UA with four HBP

6.   Callista Balko             C     .200    Hit .500 with two HR last weekend

7.   Laine Roth                  DP   .362    Led UA with 10 RBI last weekend

8.   Sam Banister              1B   .237    Tied for UA lead with four HR

9.   Adrienne Acton        RF    .281    Two multi-hit games and two SB last weekend

 

PITCHING

                                        W-L   ERA    Note        

      Alicia Hollowell      11-0  0.22    123 career victories

      Taryne Mowatt        9-1    0.56    New career high in victories

 

THIS WEEK: No. 1 Arizona (20-1) continues its eight-game homestand, as it hosts No. 18 Baylor (16-6), for a three-game series.  UA’s set of contests with the Bears is its first non-tournament action this season.

 

FRIDAY, MARCH 10               vs. Baylor     7 p.m.       

SATURDAY, MARCH 11        vs. Baylor     7 p.m.

SUNDAY, MARCH 12              vs. Baylor     Noon

 

ONLINE: Subscribers to All-Access, Arizona's premium multimedia service, can watch all three games live via a single camera operated from the press box behind home plate. Free statistics are also available.

Live Webcasts
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All-Access Subscription Information ($9/month)

 

NOTING BAYLOR: The Bears are coming off their own tournament victory, as they hosted and won the Compass Bank Invitational last weekend.  Brette Reagan leads a Bears offense which averages 5.5 runs a game.  Reagan boasts a .475 batting average to go along with her five home runs and 22 RBI.  Chelsie Lake also has five home runs and a team-leading 24 RBI.  In the circle, the Bears have five pitchers who have won at least one game, led by Lisa Ferguson.  Ferguson enters the week with a 1.28 ERA and an 8-2 pitching record.     Beyond her, no other Bear hurler has 30.0 innings pitched.  The Baylor pitching staff, which has a 1.87 team ERA, has surrendered only three home runs in 146.0 innings pitched.

 

LAST WEEK RECAP: The top-ranked Arizona softball team won its Hillenbrand Invitational in dominant fashion, going 5-0 over the three-day tournament.  The Wildcats outscored their opponents 50-1, run-ruling the opposition in four of the games.  Due to the run-rule shortened games, Arizona batted in only 24.0 innings, but managed to hit .444 as a team and knock 11 home runs.  

 

Five UA players hit .500 or better in the five games, led by Kristie Fox’s .583 average.  With the exception of slappers Autumn Champion and Adrienne Acton, all UA starters hit at least one home run.

 

UA’s pitchers were just as dominant, as the Wildcat batters, as Alicia Hollowell and Taryne Mowatt faced 90 batters in 27.0 innings, while giving up only one run and seven hits. 

 

TOP CATS: In every year since 1992, Arizona has been ranked No. 1 in the NFCA poll for at least part of the year.

 

RE-WRITING THE RECORD BOOKS: Alicia Hollowell, Arizona’s all-time strikeout and innings pitched record holder, is just a few games from her next major benchmark.  Hollowell currently has 123 career victories, good for second on UA’s all-time list.  The only former Wildcat with more W’s than Hollowell is current assistant coach Nancy Evans (124).

 

For a complete list of Arizona’s all-time record holders, please see page six of the .pdf version of this release, or pages 33-37 of this year’s media guide.

 

OFFENSIVE HISTORY: Junior center fielder Caitlin Lowe joined 15 other Wildcats when she reached the 200-hit plateau, at the Worth Wildcat Invitational on Feb. 19.  Twenty-one games into her junior season, Lowe has 218 hits and could challenge Allison McCutcheon’s (1995-98) 405 career base knocks come spring 2007.

 

Also at the Worth Wildcat, Lowe moved up in the record books in another category.  With 13 stolen bases this year, Lowe has swiped 87 career bases, good for fifth on UA’s all-time list.  If she wants top-billing as Arizona’s best-ever base stealer, McCutcheon stands in her way once again with 148 SB.

 

Autumn Champion moved into sole possession of seventh place in career stolen bases at UA this past weekend.  She has swiped 59 career bases.

 

HOLLOWELL NAMED PAC-10 PITCHER OF THE WEEK (2/6-12; 2/13-19): Alicia Hollowell has named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week twice this year.  Following the Kajikawa Classic (2/6-12), USA Softball named her its first National Player of the Week of the year for her performance in last week’s games.  In three starts, Hollowell tossed no-hitters against No. 15 Northwestern and No. 6 Texas A&M, while surrendering one hit in a 2-0 win over Cal State Fullerton.

 

ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA is in his 21st season at Arizona and carries a career 1,047-204 (.837) record in 20 years in the dugout.  At the time of this release, Candrea’s career winning percentage is the best in NCAA history.  Additionally, he is one of just five coaches to reach the 1,000 Division I victories, and was the fastest to do so (19 years of on-field coaching).  In 2004, Candrea took a year off to coach the USA Olympic softball team to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in Athens in 2004.  Candrea was also awarded the Olympic Shield award, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s most prestigious award, marking the first time in history 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 nine Pac-10 titles.

 

USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR WATCH LIST:  Four Arizona players were named to the USA Softball POY pre-season watch list.  Alicia Hollowell, Caitlin Lowe, Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion are the quartet of Wildcats featured on the 50-name list, which includes players representing 28 schools from 10 conferences.

 

OVERMATCHED IN EVERY SHAPE OF THE WORD: Arizona has manhandled its opponents with nine run-rule games, so far.  Here are a few fun facts to demonstrate UA’s dominance over the opposition.

 

This season...

... Arizona’s hitters have been hit by more pitches (11) than opponents have runs (7)

... Arizona’s first pinch runner off the bench, Kelly Nelson, has as many runs scored (7) as UA opponents (7)

... Arizona has seven players with more RBI and eight players with more runs scored than its opponents have mustered in 130.0 innings

... Arizona has 53 extra-base hits to its opponents’ five

... It took UA batters 21 games to strikeout a combined 100 times.  Its opponents accomplished the dubious feat eight games into the year

... Slap-hitting Caitlin Lowe has as many doubles (7) as opponents have runs (7)

... Caitlin Lowe has as many stolen bases (13) as opponents have walks (13)

... UA’s opponents have 41 hits in 21 games.  Wildcat batters had 48 hits in its first six games

 

This past weekend...

... Arizona outscored its opponents 50-1

... Arizona had more stolen bases (8) than its opponents had hits (7)

... Arizona batters had more home runs (11) than strikeouts (10)

 

AND THEN THERE WERE EIGHT: Okay, here’s the bad news: Arizona returned just eight of its 17 players from 2005.  The good news is that half of the Wildcat returnees are All-Americans (Alicia Hollowell, Caitlin Lowe, Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion) and the other half had significant contributions in 2005, as well.

 

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM: In addition to freshman infielders Laine Roth, Jenae Leles and Sam Banister, and as 2005 NJCAA Player of the Year Chelsie Mesa, UA delved into the rest of the athletic department for additional players.

 

With only 12 rostered players and three weeks to Opening Day, UA brought in senior outfielder Kelly Nelson, freshman outfielder Jill Malina and sophomore infielder Danielle Rodriguez.  Nelson is a four-year letterwinner with UA’s soccer team, Malina was originally slated to be a softball manager, and Rodriguez made the squad in an open tryout.  For more information regarding the three late additions, log on to ArizonaAthletics.com to see their bios.

 

NEWCOMERS CATCH FIRE: Laine Roth, Jenae Leles, Sam Banister and Chelsie Mesa have started all 21 of UA’s games this season.  The quartet of newbies has combined to hit .314, with 14 of UA’s 21 home runs, four of the team’s six triples and 56 percent of Arizona’s RBI.

 

LEADING THE PAC: Arizona’s pitching staff leads the Pac-10 Conference in virtually every major category.  The Wildcat hurlers have the lowest ERA, walks allowed, runs, earned runs and opposing batting average.  They also have the highest number of shutouts, complete games and strikeouts.

 

GOING FOR THREE: Last year, Arizona had a total of five triples in its 57 games, the year before Arizona had only three three-baggers.  Through its first 21 games, Arizona already has six triples, or one in every three and a half games.  Given that the team has averaged 66 games a year over the last decade, UA is on pace for about 19 triples.  The last time an Arizona team had 10 triples was 2000, and school record is 20 three-baggers, which has occurred three times.

 

Autumn Champion’s triple against Texas A&M on Feb. 24 was the first of her career.  Prior to the third-inning hit, Champion had played in 185 games and had 578 at-bats before her first career triple.  The slap hitter had 89 hits as a freshman in 2003 ?- all singles.

 

RBI FOR EVERYONE! Arizona’s offense has seven players who average .5 RBI per game or better.  The list includes all starters but the two set-up slappers, Autumn Champion in the No. 2 hole and Adrienne Acton in the No. 9 slot in the batting order. A year ago, UA’s Kristie Fox led Division I with a 1.12 rate. She and Chelsie Mesa (.86 each), and Sam Banister and Jenae Leles (.81 each), are solid in the middle of the order. Leadoff hitter Caitlin Lowe is on the way toward her best run production season with 11 RBI.

 

Last year, only two players (Kristie Fox and Jackie Coburn) ended the season with RBI-per-game ratios of better than .5. 

 

BALANCE THROUGHOUT THE ORDER: While Arizona does not have any particular leader jumping off the charts in any category, there is considerable parity in run-producing categories.  Arizona has seven players with 11 or more RBI, but no one with 20.  The Wildcats have six players with 13 or more runs scored, but only one has more than 19.

 

MULTI-HIT AND MULTI-RBI GAMES: Every Arizona starter, including the slappers, has at least one multi-RBI game and a minimum of three multi-hit games.  Leading the way with five multi-RBI games apiece are newcomers Laine Roth, Jenae Leles and Chelsie Mesa, along with All-American Kristie Fox.

 

In the multi-hit game category, Caitlin Lowe has a stranglehold over her teammates with 14 games with two or more hits.  Kristie Fox (7), Autumn Champion (6) and Chelsie Mesa (5) round out the top of the list.  All told, UA batters have combined for 49 multi-hit and 32 multi-RBI games.

 

HITTING STREAK: Caitlin Lowe currently leads UA with an eight-game hitting streak.  Chelsie Mesa’s 11-game hitting streak, which was snapped against Ohio State on Feb. 25, is the team’s longest of the year.

 

PITCHER/HITTER/LEFT FIELDER: Entering her sophomore season, Taryne Mowatt was expected to mature from her frosh campaign, in which she went 8-1 with a 1.80 ERA.  She has done that and more. 

 

In the circle, Mowatt is 9-1, with three complete-game shutouts, and her numbers have an uncanny resemblance to three-time All-American Alicia Hollowell.

 

Here are a couple of ratios to compare the two hurlers:

                    ERA     K/7 IP     K:BB        Opp. AVG

Mowatt       0.56    13.3        19.6        .111

Hollowell   0.21    14.2        19.7        .080

 

Three weeks ago, in lieu of Autumn Champion in the lineup, Mowatt also became the first UA pitcher since Wendy Allen to pick up a bat.  The sophomore from Corona, Calif., is still looking for her first hit, but has been productive in her eight plate appearances.  Mowatt has laid down two sacrifice bunts, had an RBI groundout and flied out to right to advance a runner from second to third.  Mowatt has moved the runner over in all four of her plate appearances, in which she has had an opportunity to do so.  When not pitching, she has been perfect in 14.0 innings in left field.

 

STRIKEOUTS ARE NOW DOUBLE THE FUN: When Taryne Mowatt struck out Longhorn first baseman Jacqueline Williams on Feb. 26, she joined Alicia Hollowell as the first Wildcat pitching duo since 2002 to have 100 strikeouts apiece.  In 2002, Jennie Finch and Jenny Gladding both topped the century mark in punch outs.  Entering this weekend, Mowatt has 118 strikeouts on the year.

 

NOBODY EVER GOT ANYTHING FREE FROM UA: Alicia Hollowell and Taryne Mowatt have combined to strikeout 256 opponent hitters in 130.0 innings pitched this season.  What’s more, they have issued a total of 13 walks to opposing hitters.  That’s one walk per 10.0 innings pitched and 19.7 strikeouts to the walk.  In contrast, UA hitters have walked 77 times.

 

LIVE BY THE HOMER, DIE BY THE HOMER: Arizona’s pitchers have given up a miniscule seven runs in 21 games.  Of those seven runs, five have come via solo home run.

 

ACTION ACTON: Adrienne Acton’s speed has put the pressure on opposing defenses all year, as she has reached on an error six times this year, including two four-base scoring plays.  The rest of the Wildcats have combined to reach on an error nine times.

 

FAST STARTS: With three All-Americans occupying the first three spots in the batting order, Arizona has made a living scoring runs in the first frame off the ballgame.  The Wildcats have scored 30 runs in the first inning of games this year, tied for the most of any inning with the third.  Arizona’s best start came on Feb. 11 against No. 6 Texas A&M, when UA tagged All-American Aggie Amanda Scarborough with seven runs, prior to three outs being recorded.

 

TOP OF THE ORDER CLEANS UP: The Wildcats had experienced some difficulty coming through with runners in scoring position... until last weekend.  In the Hillenbrand Invitational, UA hit .500 (26-for-52) with runners in scoring position.  The prolific set upped UA’s RISP numbers from .268 to .327.

 

Leading the way, on the season, with runners in scoring position are Caitlin Lowe (.500, 9-for-18), Autumn Champion (.435, 10-for-23), Kristie Fox (.346, 9-for-26) and Chelsie Mesa (.367, 11-for-30).  Incidentally, those four have been Arizona’s first quartet of hitters in the batting order in 18 of 21 games this season. 

 

PINCH WHAT? Head coach Mike Candrea has yet to send a pinch hitter to the plate this year.

 

JUST LIKE THE GOOD OL’ DAYS: This season, Arizona’s pitchers have lived by the old philosophy that if you start a game, you had better finish it.  In UA’s 21 contests this year, Arizona’s starting pitcher has also been the hurler finishing the game.  There has yet to be a relief pitcher enter into a game for Arizona.

 

EXTRA ALMOST EVERY TIME: Arizona has at least one extra-base hit in 19 of its 21 games this season, for a total of 53.  UA’s opponents, on the other hand, have five extra-base knocks.

 

NOT GOING DOWN QUIETLY, OR QUICKLY: Arizona offense leads the Pac-10 in on-base percentage and has taken advantage of almost every inning and opportunity.  In its 20 victories this season, UA has had at least one runner reach base in 85.3 percent (93-of-109) of its innings.  Arizona’s pitchers, on the other hand, have allowed opponents to reach base in 41.5 percent (51-of-123) of the innings in the score of games.

 

THE OLD RED, WHITE & BLUE: Caitlin Lowe and Alicia Hollowell return to Arizona after a summer with the USA National Team.  With Coach Candrea at the helm, Lowe started 11 of 12 games and hit a combined .357, while scoring six runs and going 4-for-4 on stolen base attempts, during several tournaments.  Hollowell did not give up an earned run in 8.2 innings of work, during which time she struck out 12 batters.  Kristie Fox was invited to numerous USA Softball tryouts, but declined invitations to play over the summer, as she was recovering from surgery on her throwing arm.

 

THROWN INTO THE HOT CORNER: Freshman Jenae Leles is the freshman since Jackie Coburn (2002) and Toni Mascarenas (1998) to start regularly at third base.  Should Leles get moved to another position, fellow frosh Sam Banister waits in the wings to share the left side of the infield with Kristie Fox.

 

A LITTLE HELP HERE? In each of the last three years, Alicia Hollowell has eaten up over 70 percent of UA’s innings pitched.  She should get some help from returning hurlers Leslie Wolfe and Taryne Mowatt.  Wolfe started six of the final 16 games for UA in 2005, after delivering the first pitch in only three of the first 41 contests.  Additionally, a healthy and mature Mowatt should also help out, after winning eight games last season.

 

Thus far, Mowatt has started 10 of UA’s 21 games and tossed 47.8 percent of the innings.

 

THE FIRST TWIN KILLING: In UA’s Feb. 12, 9-1, win over New Mexico, the Wildcats turned their first groundball double play since May 14, 2004 against UCLA.  That’s 462.2 innings pitched between GDP’s.

 

DEFENSE WINS WHAT?: When your pitchers strikeout opponents in 56 percent of their plate appearances, a team’s defense has the pressure taken off it a bit.  Nevertheless, when Arizona puts the sticks down to pick up the leather, its defense has had only 10 errors in its 21 games.  With 10 defensive blemishes in 465 fielding attempts, UA has a Pac-10 leading .978 fielding percentage.  Opponents, on the other hand, have committed 27 errors for a .947 fielding percentage.  UA is error-free in nine games this season.

 

NOT AFRAID OF A CHALLENGE: As always, Arizona will play one of the most challenging schedules in the nation.  Of UA’s 50 scheduled regular season games, 17 are against teams ranked in the top 10 of the pre-season ESPN.com/USA Today Poll.  In addition, another 11 games are against teams ranked 11-25.

 

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