May 25, 2010
Cats, Cougars Battle in the Desert
May 28-29, Hillenbrand Stadium, Tucson, Ariz.
All surface lots are metered until 5 p.m. on weekdays. Cherry and 2nd St. Garages are available on a pay-per-hour rate.
Arizona will take on Brigham Young University in a best-of-three Super Regional series to be held in Tucson. The winner will advance to the Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City beginning next Thursday.
Tucson, Ariz. Super Regional Schedule
Day Time Game
May 28 4 p.m. Arizona (H) vs. BYU (V)
May 29 1:30 p.m. BYU (H) vs. Arizona (V)
4 p.m. Arizona vs. BYU (If necessary)*
* Home team will be determined by a coin toss.
BYU: The Cougars (46-11) are led by two players hitting above the .400 mark, J.C. Clayton (.430) and Angeline Quiocho (.420). The senior Quiocho leads the nation in RBI with 90 and has 28 home runs on the season. BYU has already hit 84 home runs on the season, but Quiocho and Andrea Ramirez (19) have a majority of them. The Cougars boast three players that have 50+ RBI. Junior Paige Affleck (32-8) touts a 2.30 ERA with 221 strikeouts in 240 innings, a majority of the work this season. Senior Christie Zinanti (10-2) has appeared in 26 games, compiling a 3.29 ERA in 93.2 innings pitched.
Last Time Out (Tucson Regional)
Arizona won the Tucson Regional in three games over Cornell, and Hofstra twice - with the Regional finale lasting 12 innings before Arizona pulled out a come-from-behind win on a grand slam by Lini Koria.
Arizona banged out 12 hits and got solid pitching from freshman ace Kenzie Fowler to take a 9-0 victory over Cornell in first-round Regional action in the NCAA Softball Championships here at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium Friday night.
Kenzie Fowler tossed a one-hit, complete-game shutout and Arizona collected 12 hits to beat Hofstra, 6-0, Saturday afternoon to send the Wildcats to the Regional championship game Sunday in the Division I NCAA Softball Championships.
A two-run triple by K'Lee Arredondo tied it in the bottom of the 12th, and a grand slam home run by Lini Koria closed it out moments later to give Arizona an improbable 10-6 victory over Hofstra and the NCAA Regional title.
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.
Arizona and BYU played a number of common opponents this year and recorded similar records. UA beat New Mexico four times, BYU beat the Lobos three times. UA was 2-1 against ASU, BYU 0-1. Washington beat BYU, and beat UA three times. BYU beat Oregon, and UA was 2-1 vs. the Ducks. Both clubs beat Illinois-Chicago, Cal State Fullerton and Northern Colorado. BYU beat Stanford, UA beat Stanford three times. It adds up to 8-2 for BYU and 14-5 for Arizona against common opponents in 2010.
Arizona (and Hofstra, Oklahoma State and Cornell) drew a total of 7,074 fans for the three dates of the Regional last weekend. That's an average of 2,358 with the high crowd (as expected) of 2,557 for the Friday night game.
The Cats and Pride of Hofstra played a 12-inning contest in the finale on Sunday, UA's 16th extra-inning game in its NCAA Championships history. The Wildcats went 13-3 in those games, some pretty good heritage of clutch play when things are tight.
Trips in Duo
Arizona went 56 games this season and had five triples, then picked up two of them in one game with Brittany Lastrapes and K'Lee Arredondo legging out a pair against Hofstra on Sunday. Stacie Chambers leads the club with three, while Arredondo's was her second and Lastrapes' her first of the year. All are gap hitters with power both ways and good speed -- what it takes to stick one in a hole long enough to reach third.
Hats Off To Hofstra
Arizona's had some serious and momentous games in its postseason history, to be sure. But the Hofstra University Pride, a youngster in NCAA play by some standards, took Arizona to the wall Sunday, one-upping the Cats at every turn until the very last in UA's 10-6 come-from-behind victory. Hofstra wrung every last pitch (204 of them) from Wildcat freshman ace Kenzie Fowler, hit the ball (11), ran the bases, was resilient and made plays. Only some performances of which legends are made -- a pinch-hit home run by Matte Haack, a two-run triple by K'Lee Arredondo, a walk-off homer by Lini Koria -- saved Arizona from a second match against an eager and confident Pride. Who knows what might have happened in a second game, but the team from Hempstead would have had some serious momentum.
Arizona and Brigette Del Ponte, No. 2 in the nation in runs batted in per game, will welcome the nation's RBI leader in BYU's Angeline Quiocho to Tucson this weekend. Del Ponte needs just one more RBI to become UA's all-time freshman RBI leader, passing Leah Braatz' mark of 75 in 1994. Quiocho has slugged 28 home runs and 90 RBI to lead the Cougars to the second round.
Arizona hit the 100 home runs level over the weekend, its fourth season in history that it clipped the century mark. The 2009 club set the record with 134 a year ago, the 2001 team hit 126 and the 1994 team was the first in NCAA history to reach the level with 102. This week the Cats face a power club in its own right, with BYU checking it with 84 clouts, led by Angeline Quiocho with 28 (and 90 RBI) and Andrea Ramirez with 19 four-baggers.
Not that it has any bearing on this weekend's action, but Arizona has scored 72 runs in its 13 Super Regional games, an average of 5.5 runs per game, with a high of 14 in a 14-5 win over LSU in Tucson in 2006 and a low of 0 against Oklahoma in Tucson in 2008.
Arizona and BYU have not met in NCAA play. In fact the Wildcats have played only Colorado State (beat the Rams 11-1 in a 2003 Tucson Regional) and UNLV (beat the Rebels 1-0 in 13 innings in the 1991 Women's College World Series and 8-0 in six innings in the 1995 WCWS).
Arizona Historically Against the NCAA Field
Arizona has played previous NCAA games against 27 teams picked for the 2010 championships in its 23 previous appearances. UA compiled an 81-25 mark in that span of action.
Arizona in the Polls
Arizona has been ranked steadily in the NFCA/USA Today poll since 1989, and in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll since its inception in the early 2000s. This year the Cats were as high as No. 2 for five weeks. UA finished the season ranked third by the NFCA and sixth by USA Softball.
Cats Return To NCAAs
The University of Arizona softball team (43-11) makes it 24th consecutive NCAA Championships appearance, dating to 1987. That's among the top three streaks and top five total appearances in the nation. Fresno State leads with 29 consecutive and 29 total, followed by California with 25 straight and Arizona's 24. Cal State Fullerton has in 25 but did not make the field this year. UCLA has appeared in 27 total NCAAs. All of Arizona's trips came under current head coach Mike Candrea, although assistant Larry Ray took over in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic years when Candrea was head coach of the U.S. National Team. Softball became a Division I sport in 1982 and UA missed the first five tournaments, but has appeared thereafter. This year Arizona earned the appearance as an at-large selection. The Cats have earned an automatic bid as Pac-10 champion 10 times, most recently in 2007.
Arizona's NCAA Venue
For the 15th time in its 24-year participation, Arizona remained at home for initial rounds play in the Championships. The Wildcats have been a host for initial rounds 14 times, and later for Super Regionals four times. The Cats have been shipped to Tempe, Ariz. (1987 and 1989), Tallahassee, Fla. (1996), Minneapolis (2002), Hempstead, N.Y. (2008) and Louisville, Ky. (2009) for Regionals.
Arizona Overall in the NCAAs
Arizona has a 137-40 mark in NCAA play in its 23 seasons of competition from 1987-2009. The Cats are 70-8 in Regional play and 10-3 in Super Regionals (since 2005). UA is 57-29 in Women's College World Series play.
Arizona vs. the Entire NCAA Field
UA played to a 18-11 mark in 2010 against the teams selected for the NCAA Championships. UA played 17 teams selected, including its 9-8 mark against the seven Pac-10 teams picked to participate.
One thing gained by appearing in the NCAA tournament with frequency is the fact you play games with players who have experienced the do-or-die nature of the event. Arizona has nine players who've seen NCAA action - pitcher Sarah Akamine, second baseman Kristen Arriola, shortstop K'Lee Arredondo, right fielder Karissa Buchanan, reserve infielder Victoria Kemp, catcher Stacie Chambers, center fielder Lauren Schutzler, left fielder Brittany Lastrapes and designated player Lini Koria. That's a good nucleus to help along the newcomers who will be making initial appearances - pitcher Kenzie Fowler, third baseman Brigette Del Ponte and first baseman Baillie Kirker, among others. Arredondo has played in 29 NCAA games to lead all Wildcats. In fact, she has 28 postseason hits in 87 at-bats in her three years of Regionals, Super Regionals and WCWS games. That's a .321 batting average against the best pitching there is, and a good starting point for team leadership in any 2010 run.