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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 01/27/2003
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Jan. 27, 2003

The Cats The Arizona Wildcats opened the 2003 softball season with an exhibition doubleheader sweep against Phoenix College on Friday. The Cats had a 9-0 five-inning victory in the first game and a 6-2 win in the second game. In the first game, junior Mackenzie Vandergeest hit two home runs and drove in five runs. Senior Lisha Ribellia and freshman Shelly Schultz each had home runs. In the second game, Phoenix College jumped to an early 2-0 lead. The Wildcats tied the score off an RBI single by junior Wendy Allen and a run-scoring double by Jackie Coburn. Senior Lovie Jung also added to the score with a home run. Arizona had six home runs and 24 hits in the two games.

Arizona Softball Media Day The Wildcat softball team and staff will be available for annual Media Day activities at 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28 in the Lohse Room at McKale Center.

Alumni Weekend A number of former Wildcats were at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium on Saturday for the 2003 Alumni game. All-Americans such as Susie Parra, Leah Braatz and Leah O'Brien along with others were all on hand. The current Cats walked away with a 6-0 victory over former Cats. Vandergeest hit two home runs, one off of Susie Parra and another off of Nancy Evans.

2002 Recap Arizona ended the 2002 season with a 55-12 record and a 15-6 mark in the Pac-10. The team had a .291 batting average. The Cats hit 93 home runs and had 342 RBIs. Lovieanne Jung led the team in five categories, including batting average (.364), at-bats (206), runs (64), hits (75) and walks (44). The Wildcats lost in the championship game in the College World Series to California, 6-0. Arizona has an 89-24 overall record in NCAA Tournament games and a 43-18 record in NCAA College World Series games.

Scouting the Pitching In the first game against Phoenix College on Friday, freshman Alicia Hollowell pitched five innings and gave up two hits. Hollowell struck out 10 batters and walked none. In the second game, junior transfer Wendy Allen pitched seven innings and gave up four hits. Allen struck out seven batters and walked one. Allen, a transfer from Ohio State, was Big Ten Player of the Year last season.

The Coach Arizona's Mike Candrea carries a career record of 926-184 (.834), accomplished in 17 years with the Wildcats. The 2002 Pac-10 co-Coach of the Year has led UA to six national titles and six Pacific-10 Conference championships. Last season he became only the third Division I coach in history to win 900 games. During his tenure, Wildcat student-athletes have won the Honda Softball Award fives times (Susie Parra-1994, Jenny Dalton-1996, Nancy Evans-1998, Jennie Finch-2001, 2002). Candrea's Arizona teams have played in 16 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and 15 consecutive College World Series. Last season, Candrea's team made it to the College World Series Championship game before losing to California, 6-0. Candrea is joined by assistant coaches Nancy Evans and Larry Ray.

Squad Chemistry Arizona returns eight letterwinners in seniors Lovieanne Jung and Lisha Ribellia, junior Mackenzie Vandergeest, sophomores Courtney Fossatti, Allyson Von Liechtenstein, Candace Abrams, Jackie Coburn and Crystal Farley. Candrea adds five freshman and three junior transfers.

Seniors: 2
Juniors: 5
Sophomores: 5
Freshmen: 5

Returning With Honors Senior Shortstop Lovieanne Jung - First-team All-Pac-10, Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year Junior Catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest- All-Region 2 Team, Second-team All-Pacific-10. Sophomore Third baseman Jackie Coburn- WCWS All-Tournament, Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors Sophomore Left fielder Courtney Fossatti- All-Region 2 Team

Hillenbrand Stadium UA's home field, Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium, has been a friendly place for the Cats to play. UA carries a record of 310-18 in the ballpark. The Cats had an average attendance of 1,755 and drew in a total of 49,140 in 2002. Arizona set an attendance record of 3,161 fans on April 9, 2002 against UCLA. Arizona had a three-season 70-game home winning streak snapped by UCLA on April 7, 2002.

Pac-10 Rankings In the 2003 coaches' poll, the Wildcats were picked to finish second in the Pac-10. UCLA finished first in the conference last season and was selected to finish first in 2003. Arizona finished second in the Pac-10 last season with an overall record of 55-12 and 15-6 in the conference.

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