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No. 4 Softball Heads to No. 9 Arizona State for a Pair of Games
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/11/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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THIS WEEK: No. 4 Arizona (31-6, 2-3) begins an eight-game road stretch this weekend with a pair of games at No. 9 Arizona State (38-5, 2-2) on Friday and Saturday.

 

FRIDAY, APRIL 14                  at ARIZONA STATE         7 p.m. (MST)

SATURDAY, APRIL 15            at ARIZONA STATE         7 p.m. (MST)

 

NOTING THE SUN DEVILS: Just like its in-state counterpart, Arizona State went 1-2 last weekend, with the lone win coming against Washington.  ASU fell, 7-4, to UCLA on Friday, before splitting a pair of extra-inning affairs with UW.

 

With first-year head coach Clint Myers at the helm, the Sun Devils, who finished at the bottom of the Pac-10 with only four conference wins last year, have been ranked in the top 10 of the national polls for several weeks. 

 

Kaitlin Cochran leads the Sun Devils offensively, with her .492 batting average and 51 RBI.  Mindy Cowles, who brought home ASU’s first Pac-10 player of the week honor for this season last week, has 13 home runs and 39 RBI on the year.  In the circle, Desiree Serrano (15-2) and Katie Burkhart (17-3) have started all but four games and have combined for 14 shutouts.

 

LAST WEEK RECAP: Arizona played its first Pac-10 home games of the year, with a victory over Washington on Friday, before dropping a pair of games to UCLA on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Arizona 1, Washington 0: Alicia Hollowell turned in a dominating performance in Friday’s win over the Huskies, as she tossed a complete-game shutout, striking out 14 of the 23 opposing hitters she faced.  The three-time All-American hurler pitched to just two batters over the minimum and did not allow a Husky to reach second base.

 

Arizona had at least two runners reach base in four of its six innings at the plate, but failed to score an earned run.  Callista Balko led off UA’s half of the second inning with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on an Adrienne Acton single that UW second baseman Dominique Lastrapes deflected into the outfield with a dive.

 

UCLA 2, Arizona 1: On Saturday, the Bruins jumped on Hollowell for four hits and one run in the first inning.  The inning was catalyzed by a leadoff double.  In the top of the fourth, UCLA hit another leadoff double led to another run.  The much-needed insurance run proved to be the difference, as UA scored its lone run of the game on a Callista Balko solo homer in the bottom of the sixth.

 

UCLA 8, Arizona 3:  With Taryne Mowatt in the circle for UA, the Bruins scored early once again.  Andrea Duran led off the game with a line drive home run, and a hit batter later, Caitlin Benyi went yard, giving UCLA a 3-0 advantage.  In the bottom of the second, the Wildcats had a pair of runners reach base via hit-by-pitch and then Mowatt helped her own cause with her first career home run; a game-tying, three-run shot.

 

In the top of the third, Mowatt allowed a leadoff single, prompting UA head coach Mike Candrea to call on Hollowell out of the pen.  A sacrifice bunt, two singles and an error later, UA found itself on the wrong side of a 5-3 game.  UCLA would tack on a pair of unearned runs in the fourth and a solo home run in the fifth, bringing the game to its final 8-3 margin.

 

USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR FINALISTS:  Caitlin Lowe and Alicia Hollowell were named to the USA Softball POY list of 25 finalists last week.  USA Softball cut its initial list of 50 candidates in half, and will narrow the list down to three finalists before the Women’s College World Series.  Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion had been named to the pre-season watch list.

 

ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA is in his 21st season at Arizona and carries a career 1,058-209 (.835) record in 20 years in the dugout.  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.

 

MESA (3/20-26) AND FOX (3/6-12) NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Chelsie Mesa was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her performance against No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette from March 24-26.  Mesa batted .636 (7-11), with five RBI and four runs scored in three games.  She went 4-for-4 on Sunday, missing the cycle by a home run.  Kristie Fox was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of March 6-12, for her two home runs, seven RBI and .750 batting average.  Fox’s numbers could have been more gaudy, but they were tapered when the opponent elected not to pitch to her.  After six RBI in game one of the series, Fox saw only two strikes in the second game of the series.  One of those strikes went over the left field wall for a home run and the other came in one of her three walks during the game.  In game three, Fox went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and yet another walk.

 

MOWATT (3/13-19, 3/20-26) AND HOLLOWELL (2/6-12; 2/13-19) NAMED PAC-10 PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Taryne Mowatt was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for two consecutive weeks from March 13-26.  From March 24-26 against Louisiana-Lafayette, Mowatt became the first pitcher all year to shut out the prolific Ragin’ Cajun offense.  Over the weekend she pitched 16.0 innings and gave up one run.  The week before, Mowatt tossed a no-hitter and a perfect game at the Judi Garman Classic.  In two games, Mowatt struck out 28 of the 37 opposing batters she faced.  Alicia Hollowell has been 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.

 

 

A DAY OF FIRSTS: Arizona’s 8-3 loss to UCLA on Sunday marked a number of “firsts” or rarities for the Wildcats.  Here are a few:

- Second time in 164 career pitching appearances Alicia Hollowell has not registered a strikeout.  Only other occurrence was on May 1, 2005 in 0.2 IP versus Oregon State

- Sophomore infielder Danielle Rodriguez’s first career plate appearance

- First action freshman infielder Laine Roth has seen in the field all season.  She has started all 37 games at DP for Arizona

- UCLA’s eight runs double the previous high for an Arizona opponent this year.  Baylor scored four in UA’s March 10 victory

- First time an opponent had more than eight hits against UA pitching (UCLA had 12)

- UCLA scored three unearned runs.  Prior to the game, Arizona had allowed only one unearned run in 230.2 innings

- First time an opponent hit three home runs, and just the second time UA gave up multiple homers.  Arizona has 10 multi-home run games.

- First time Arizona has lost by more than one run

- First time Arizona has scored more than one run and lost

- Second time Arizona has hit a home run and lost

- Second time Arizona has used a pinch hitter

- Entering the game, UA pitchers had combined for two relief appearances all year.  The Wildcats used two relievers against UCLA

 

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 is now Arizona’s all-time victories, strikeout and innings pitched record holder.  She currently stands fourth all-time in strikeouts per seven innings. 

 

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: With each passing game, outfielders Caitlin Lowe and Autumn Champion are climbing up the UA record books in several offensive categories, including hits, stolen bases and runs scored.  Additionally, both rank in the top five in career batting average at Arizona.

 

In the March 31 loss to Oregon State, Champion passed current UA assistant coach Nancy Evans, placing her in sole possession of 10th place on UA’s all-time hits list.

 

This weekend, with five runs scored Champion could also crack the top 10 for runs in a career.  The Tustin, Calif., native has touched home 168 times thus far.  Champion has been stuck at 168 for five games.  Perhaps the trip up to Tempe will do the trick.  She scored four runs in six games during UA’s half dozen victories at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe to open the season.  In the last two years, Champion has scored two runs in three games at ASU.

 

Lowe has 230 career hits and could challenge Allison McCutcheon’s (1995-98) 405 career base knocks come spring 2007.

 

Additionally, with 19 stolen bases this year, Lowe has swiped 93 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.

 

Earlier in the season, Autumn Champion moved into sole possession of seventh place in career stolen bases. Entering this week, she has swiped 60 career bases.

 

THESE CATS DIG THE LONG BALL: Callista Balko’s solo home run against UCLA on April 8 brought UA’s team total to 34 homers in 37 games.  Last year, the Wildcats hit 33 round-trippers all season (57 games); the team’s lowest output since 1992.

 

THEY LIKE TRIPLES TOO: 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 37 games, Arizona already has 11 triples, or one in every three games or so.  Given that the team has averaged 66 games a year over the last decade, UA is on pace for 20 triples.  The last time an Arizona team had 10 triples was 2000, and school record (in NCAA play) 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.

 

BALKO GOES FROM SLUMPING TO STREAKING: Callista Balko has experienced her share of struggles at the plate this year, but seems to be coming into her own.  Balko leads the Wildcats with a .429 conference batting average, and leads the team with a .579 on-base percentage over the last half-dozen games.

 

From March 26 against Louisiana-Lafayette through April 7 versus Washington (four games), Balko had a seven at-bat stretch, in which, she went 6-for-7.  The run is especially notable because it took sophomore backstop Arizona’s first 17 games to collect her first six hits of the season.

 

As if all that were not enough, Balko has been behind the plate for all 237.2 innings this year while UA has been in the field.

 

SOPHOMORES STEPPING UP: For most of the year, UA’s freshmen were lauded for their added pop to the lineup, the junior class consisted of two All-Americans and last year’s best junior college player in the country and the only senior hitter has a pair of All-American citations to her name.  That left the sophomore class as the forgotten ones.  Until conference play started.

 

Here’s a breakdown of batting average by class in non-conference and conference play.

 

 

Fr.

So.

Jr.

Sr.

Non-Conf.

.288

.253

.428

.424

Pac-10

.146

.333

.212

.333

Diff.

-.142

+.080

-.216

-.091

 

Also, after combining for four of Arizona’s 32 home runs in non-conference play (12.5 percent), the sophs have two of the three Wildcat homers (67 percent) in conference play.

 

IF WE HOMER, WE WIN... EXCEPT AGAINST UCLA: Through 35 games, UA held a 19-0 record in games in which it homered and 12-4 clip when the ball stayed within the outfield fencing.  A somewhat significant note, until Arizona went yard in both losses to the Bruins this past weekend.

 

NEWCOMERS MUSCLE UP: Aside from last minute roster additions Kelly Nelson, Jill Malina and Danielle Rodriguez, UA had brought in four new players this year who have helped to fix last year’s power problem.

 

Chelsie Mesa, Laine Roth, Jenae Leles and Sam Banister have started all 37 games this year and have had a noticeable impact on the UA offense.  Those four have 22 of Arizona’s 35 home runs and 53 percent of the team’s RBI.

 

THREE FOR THE MONEY: Caitlin Lowe moved into a four-way tie on Arizona’s all-time triples list, when she had her fourth three-bagger of the year and ninth of her career on March 18 against CSUN.  Among the names Lowe had been tied with when she had eight career triples: UA senior associate athletics director Kathleen “Rocky” LaRose.

 

Lowe tied her career-high for most triples in a season with four.

 

LEADING THE PAC: Arizona leads the nation’s toughest conference in team batting average (.329), pitching ERA (0.80), and is second in fielding percentage (.980).  The Wildcats also lead the conference in on-base percentage (.411), opposing batting average (.133),

 

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 and Adrienne Acton, as well as Callista Balko.  A year ago, UA’s Kristie Fox led Division I with a 1.12 rate.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the Wildcats’ RBI per-game:  Mesa, .81, Fox .78, Roth .70, Leles .65, Mowatt .64*, Lowe .62 and Banister .54.

 

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

 

*Mowatt’s games played do not include contests in which she pitched but did not hit.

 

ARIZONA, RBI, TRIVIA... WHAT COULD BE BETTER? Question: What Arizona player has the most RBI per at-bat? Answer: Taryne Mowatt.  The sophomore, who did not have a single plate appearance last year, has nine ribbies in 30 at-bats this season, giving her .3 RBI/AB. 

 

MULTI-HIT AND MULTI-RBI GAMES: Every Arizona starter with the exception of Taryne Mowatt who has only 30 at-bats on the year, has at least one multi-RBI game and a minimum of four multi-hit games.  Leading the way with nine multi-RBI games are Laine Roth and Chelsie Mesa.  Kristie Fox and Jenae Leles both have a half dozen multi-RBI games, including a five-RBI game for Mesa and a six-RBI contest for Fox in the Baylor series.

 

In the multi-hit game category, Caitlin Lowe has a stranglehold over her teammates with 19 games with two or more hits.  Kristie Fox (12), Autumn Champion (12), Chelsie Mesa (9) and Laine Roth (8) round out the top of the list.  All told, UA batters have combined for 84 multi-hit and 50 multi-RBI games.

 

HITTING STREAK: Caitlin Lowe’s career-high 15-game hit streak was snapped in UA’s March 19 loss to Texas.  Taryne Mowatt currently leads Arizona with a four-game streak.

 

WINNING STREAKS: Speaking of streaks, UA’s longest winning streak this year is 15 games, which were its first 15 contests of the year.  The Wildcats’ March 16 loss to Texas A&M snapped a nine-game run.  Arizona was riding a 24-game home winning streak, dating back to May 7, 2005, until UCLA broke up the two dozen game run on Saturday, April 8.

 

PERFECTO! Taryne Mowatt’s no-hitter against UNLV and perfect game against Cal State Northridge were both firsts in her career.  Mowatt became the 20th pitcher in Arizona softball history, and 10th since 1991 to no-hit an opponent.  Mowatt’s perfect made her the just the third pitcher in UA history to retire every batter faced.

 

NO-NO: Alicia Hollowell has 16 career no-hitters.  To put that figure in perspective, you can take any other two Wildcat hurlers (Susie Parra, Jennie Finch, Nancy Evans, Becky Lemke or Teresa Cherry, et al), combine their no-hit totals and they still will not amount to Hollowell’s total.  As for UA’s other current pitchers, Taryne Mowatt and Leslie Wolfe have two and one career no-no’s, respectively.

 

ACE IN THE HOLE: With opponents fearful of facing three-time All-American Alicia Hollowell, some may feel relieved when they see Taryne Mowatt’s name next to position ?'1’ on the UA lineup card.  Given Mowatt’s performance in her 16 starts, they should feel no such ease.

 

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

                    ERA     K/7 IP     K:BB        Opp. AVG

Mowatt       0.89    12.3        14.8*      .130

Hollowell

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