March 2, 2010
Arizona Preps for First Week of Homestand
March 3-8, 2010 ~ Hillenbrand Stadium, Tucson, Ariz.
After going 5-0 at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., the Wildcats will put their 12-1 record up against the New Mexico State Aggies in a doubleheader on Wednesday, then a single game on Thursday against Northern Iowa before a Sunday and Monday doubleheader against St. John's and Idaho State.
The Cats will play seven games in six days, beginning with New Mexico State on Wednesday in a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. Then, Arizona will take on Northern Iowa in a single game at the same time on Thursday, before having Friday and Saturday off. A doubleheader with St. John's and Idaho State on Sunday, and another doubleheader with SJU on Monday will conclude a hectic week for UA.
NMSU: The Aggies (9-4) are the reigning NCAA batting champions who hit two percentage points better than Arizona in 2009. Junior Hoku Nohara leads the squad with six home runs and a .500 average at the dish. Senior pitcher Torrey Schroeder (4-2) has appeared in 10 games thus far, starting in eight of them. Freshman Carissa Theis (3-2) should also see time in the circle.
UNI: The Panthers (8-2) are led by senior Jen Larsen with her .556 batting average and .629 on-base percentage. Larsen also touts a 4-0 record in the circle with a 1.06 ERA.
SJU: Junior Kacee Cox leads the Red Storm (6-3) with a .581 average at the plate, knocking in a team-high 11 runs while smashing three long balls. She also leads the team in hits, doubles and total bases. Junior Linzee Sumrall (3-2) touts a 3.71 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 26.2 innings. Junior Kat Lawrence (3-1) will more than likely see time against the Wildcats as well, having compiled a 4.91 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched.
Idaho State: The young Bengals (3-4) squad are led by freshman Desirae Hoffman, who hits for .522 at the dish. Junior Kandis Clesson (3-2) holds a 4.30 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched, and has walked 19 but struck out 23.
The Wildcats swept their five games at the Cathedral City Classic, knocking out five teams who were either ranked or receiving votes. Kenzie Fowler racked up five wins, including a win in relief against Cal Poly.
Catch the Action
Go to arizonawildcats.com for live GameTracker stats, sponsored by Tucson Electric Power. Fans can watch all home games on All-Access, and most home games will be broadcast in-stadium on 103.3 FM with David Kelly and former UA softball player Erika Barnes describing the game action.
Top of the Line Coaching
Arizona's coaching staff includes three mentors who have taken a combined 28 different teams to the Women's College World Series as head coaches -- Mike Candrea's 20, one by assistant Larry Ray (filling in for Candrea during the 2009 Olympic year) and seven by assistant Teresa Wilson. That's a whole lot of teaching at the top level of the game. It's as good a staff as exists in collegiate softball, and arguably the best. Candrea's leadership and strategy (notably defense), Ray's short game, bat work and base-running fundamentals and Wilson's pitching expertise give Arizona the full compliment.
A New Star Rising
In her 11 games played in this season, which include seven starts at third base, freshman Brigette Del Ponte has hit .462 at the dish, good for third on a team that's hitting a combined .317. It's a mark that rivals any first-year batting average at this point in the season. Through 13 games in 2008, then-freshman Lauren Schutzler led the team with a .478 average. Schutzler finished that season batting .353. Through Caitlin Lowe's first baker's dozen of collegiate games, she hit an even .500, and concluded the season with a .437 mark. Del Ponte is the only underclassman that currently has an average above the .250 mark.
Road Warriors, Version 2.0
Mike Candrea has led his squad to a perfect 11-0 record away from Hillenbrand Stadium so far this season. Candrea's 2009 team, dubbed the postseason Road Warriors, played eight games outside of Tucson during the NCAA Tournament, posting a 5-3 record. Come this weekend, UA will have played 19 of its last 21 games on the road dating back to last season, touting a 16-3 record.
Arizona has hit 19 home runs in 13 games, up two from last year's numbers at this point in the season. Three players (Stacie Chambers, Baillie Kirker and Lini Koria) account for most of the bomb-dropping with four apiece, while Brittany Lastrapes (3), Brigette Del Ponte (2), Kristen Arriola and Matte Haack have each chipped in.
Big, Young Bats
· Arizona's lone senior bat, K'Lee Arredondo, has yet to hit a HR
· Juniors have tagged seven home runs on the season
· Sophomores hit five over the fence so far
· Freshman account for seven bombs
The Cats have knocked in 44 of their 98 total runs on home runs alone, accounting for 45 percent of the team's scoring. Without the long ball UA surely would have put some of those runs on the board, but that's some quick-strike plating. The way UA swung the bats in Palm Springs, Calif. (9 home runs), and with Arizona's historic home field advantage, who knows where that number will be come the end of this 12-game homestand.
A Tale of Two Defenses (Updated)
Arizona seemed to have some early-season defensive issues before going error-less this past weekend. Still, here are some numbers regarding the defense surrounding both pitchers:
· When Kenzie Fowler starts, the defense is fielding .989 with two errors.
· When Akamine starts, the defense fields at a .966 clip with five errors, including two in the outfield.
In Arizona's last national championship season of 2007, the outfield committed two errors all season.
With two outs, Arizona has cashed in 39 runs on the season. That is 12 more than the total runs that UA has given up. Sophomore Lini Koria has belted in eight two-out ribbies, followed by freshman Brigette Del Ponte's seven. Junior Brittany Lastrapes and freshman Baillie Kirker have each knocked in a handful of two-out runs.
Hitting from the two-hole, Lauren Schutzler is a perfect 6-for-6 when leading off an inning. K'Lee Arredondo is also perfect in three opportunities to get the Cats started, while Brigette Del Ponte is hitting .667 leading off an inning. Brittany Lastrapes hits .636 from a leadoff position, going 14-for-22 in the young season. The junior holds a career .598 average when leading off an inning.
With 1,189 wins to his credit, Mike Candrea is 11 wins shy of 1,200 for his illustrious career. He will become only the fifth coach in NCAA history to do so.