May 6, 2002
Next up for the Cats The Wildcat softball team (48-7, 15-3) completes conference and regular season play this week when they hit the road to face No. 1 UCLA (47-6, 15-3) on Friday at 2 p.m. Arizona plays No. 6 Washington (41-16, 10-8) on Saturday, May 11, in a 2 p.m. doubleheader.
Pac-10 Title Showdown Arizona and UCLA have identical15-3 league records, and one of the teams will be the 2002-conference champion. Arizona meets UCLA and Washington this weekend, while UCLA plays Arizona and Arizona State. The winner of Friday's game would have a tiebreaker with a 2-1 head-to-head series record. The winner would get the league's automatic NCAA bid should a tie occur. Arizona won the crown last year and in 1992, 1994, 1995, 1997 and 1998. UCLA has also six titles since league play started in 1987.
The field of 48 teams for the 2002 NCAA Division 1 Women's Softball Championship will be announced on a selection show at 6 p.m., Sunday May 12.
Home Sweep Arizona won the battle of the desert, 5-3, when No. 4 Arizona State traveled to Tucson last Tuesday. On Friday against No. 5 California, junior Lovie Jung and sophomore Leneah Manuma both hit home runs to help the Cats to a 3-0 victory. The win marked senior Jennie Finch's 17th shutout. In one of the most exciting games of the season, Arizona pulled off a 3-2 victory over No. 8 Stanford. After trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Manuma hit her second home run of the weekend and sophomore Mackenzie Vandergeest hit a home run to tie the game on Saturday. Arizona finished the weekend with a 6-1 victory over Stanford on Sunday. Freshman Jackie Coburn and sophomores Jenny Gladding and Vandergeest all hit home runs.
The Coach Arizona=s Mike Candrea carries a career record of 920-179 (.837), accomplished in 16+ years with the Wildcats. The 2001 Pac-10 co-Coach of the Year has led UA to six national titles and six Pacific-10 Conference championships. He is only the fifth coach in history to win 900 Division I games. During his tenure Wildcat student-athletes have earned All-America honors 59 times and won the Honda Softball Award four times (Susie Parra-1994, Jenny Dalton-1996, Nancy EvansB1998 and Jennie Finch-2001). Candrea=s Arizona teams have played in 15 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and 14 consecutive College World Series. Assistant coaches Nancy Evans and Larry Ray join Candrea.
Home Sweet Home UA finished 33-1 at home this year. A loss to UCLA on April 7 ended the Cats' 70-game home-winning streak, dating to a loss in Hillenbrand Stadium on April 9, 2000, to No. 9 Stanford, 4-3, in eight innings. Incidentally, the Cats are 9-4 on the road this year. The home-winning streak broke the previous school record of 45 games (May 1996 to March 1998).
The Rankings Arizona is ranked No. 2 in the latest USA/NFCA poll behind top-ranked UCLA. UA was No. 2 in the April 24 poll, No. 1 in the No. 17 poll, No. 1 in the April 10 poll, No. 2 in the April 3 poll, No. 2 in the March 27 poll, No. 3 in the March 20 poll, No. 2 in the March 14 poll, No. 2 in the March 6 poll, and No. 3 in the February 27 poll and No. 1 in the preseason poll. UA has been ranked steadily since 1988. The next USA/NFCA poll comes out May 8.
Pac-10 Honors Senior Jennie Finch was recognized for the second time this season as Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week. Over the weekend, against No. 4 Arizona State, No. 5 California and No. 8 Stanford, Finch was 3-0. She finished the weekend with a 0.67 ERA, one shutout and 18 strikeouts. Finch also was named Pitcher of the Week on March 25th. Finch will be on ESPN Radio (KFFN-AM, 1490) at 7 p.m. on May 6th.
Finch on Fire UA senior All-American -- and 2001 Honda Softball Award winner -- Jennie Finch had her consecutive winning streak snapped at 60 games on April 7 against UCLA. The previous record was 50, set by Rebecca Aase of Florida State from 1991 to 1993. Finch broke the record on Feb. 24 with her 51st. The remarkable streak is all the more so because it spans considerable Pac-10 play and NCAA regional and WCWS action. She was 32-0 last year, another NCAA record for single-season perfection. Finch is 29-2 with an earned run average of 0.78 and has 293 strikeouts in 206.2 innings pitched. Finch set the UA record for strikeouts in a game when she struck out 19 batters on April 17 against Oklahoma. She now has 955 career strikeouts, No. 1 on the all-time UA list, ahead of Becky Lemke with 916. Among her 17 shutouts, she has three no-hitters this year (eight in her career, tied with Susie Parra). Her career record is 114-12, which moves her to No. 2 on the all-time UA record chart, passing Carrie Dolan.
Lovie Leads the Way UA's leading hitter, junior shortstop Lovieanne Jung, gives the Cats a leadoff hitter with more power than any such batter in Arizona history. She has 15 home runs and 39 RBI out of the top of the order, plus 12 doubles and two triples for a .753 slugging percentage. Her on-base percentage is .500 -- not too shabby. Her .386 average tops the club, so do her 58 runs and 64 hits...
Leneah Goes Long Sophomore first baseman and designated player Leneah Manuma leads UA with 19 home runs, tying her single-season high from a year ago. Her 65 RBI leads the club. She's No. 7 on Arizona's career home run list with 38 and another homer would put her in the single-season top 10. Manuma has hit plenty of balls over the Gittings Gym roof facade 40 feet beyond the fence (and 30 feet up) in right and right-center field.
Mackenzie Matters Sophomore catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest has been on a tear of late to push her batting average above .300, plus has shown the power which saw her hit 20 home runs a year ago. She has 12 homers this season, plus 11 doubles. Better yet, she's thrown out 25 runners attempting to steal (11 thefts in 36 attempts), and has only three errors in 525 chances. Her .994 fielding percentage ranks with some of the historical bests in UA history by former All-Americans Jodie Pruitt, Leah Braatz and Lindsey Collins...
Bangin' Them Silly Among one of the seemingly unassailable records UA set in 2001 was the team's 126 home runs in 69 games. This year a powerful UA club has whacked 87 dingers in 55 games - a pace (1.6 per game) close to last year's effort. Leneah Manuma leads the team with 19 homers and needs one more to top her freshman-year high of 19 a year ago. Arizona also has hit 13 grand slams this year. The team slugging percentage is .538.
USA Softball The Amateur Softball Association announced 25 finalists for the inaugural USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The award recognizes the outstanding athletic achievement by softball players across the country. Jennie Finch, Lovie Jung and Leneah Manuma were all named finalists for the award. The first round of selections was announced on May 3, and senior Jennie Finch was named one of the finalists. The finalists will be narrowed down to three on May 31. The winner will be announced on June 7.
World Championship Team USA Softball has announced its latest group of invitees to the National Team Camp in Chula Vista, Calif. Joining Jennie Finch are Mackenzie Vandergeest, Lovie Jung and Leneah Manuma as potential prospects for the 2002 World Championship Team. Former Cats already in the U.S. Team mix include Olympic gold medalist Leah O'Brien Amico, Lauren Bauer andNicole Giordano. These athletes hope to be selected to the 2004 Olympics.
Wildcat Softball Notes
*Vandergeest has 471 putouts on the season and is now No. 6 on the UA record for putouts in a season
*Manuma has 65 RBI in 137 at-bats. She has a crack at the UA top 10 chart on which No. 10 is former catcher Leah Braatz 75 RBI in 1994
*Finch has 49 career home runs which moves her to No. 5 on the UA top 10 chart... Finch has 293 strikeouts this season, which is No. 2 on the UA chart
*Manuma's 38 career homers are No. 7 on the UA charts - in only two-plus seasons... She is also No. 11 on the home runs in a season... Catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest is No. 8 on the career chart with 32
*Leadoff hitter Lovie Jung continues to lead the team in runs scored (58), at-bats (166), hits (64), walks (37)
*Arizona has 317 RBI to opponents 67
*In the strongest pitching conference, Vandergeest is hitting .348, which is 45 points higher than her season average... ...Inning leadoff hitters are hitting .422 combined... Lovie Jung is hitting .522 as a leadoff hitter... The bases have been loaded 84 times, and Arizona hits .381 when bases are loaded... Coburn is hitting .583, and Finch is hitting .462 with bases loaded... With runners in scoring position, Manuma is hitting .433... With runners on third and less than two outs, Arizona is hitting .604 as a team