Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 2 Softball Travels to Oregon and No. 7 OSU
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: April 29, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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This Week

The No. 2 Arizona softball team will hit the road to take on the Oregon schools on April 29-May 1. The Cats will face Oregon on Friday at 4 p.m. in Eugene. Arizona took a pair of games from the Ducks earlier this month at Hillenbrand, winning by a score of 8-1 in both games. The Wildcats will then travel to Corvallis to face No. 7 Oregon State, who beat Arizona, 1-0, on April 8 in Tucson. The Cats will play the Beavers on Saturday at 1 p.m. and again Sunday at 1 p.m. OSU currently leads the Pac-10 with a 10-2 record, while Arizona is tied for third with a 7-4 mark.

Last Week

The Wildcats improved their Pac-10 record last weekend with a pair of home wins over Arizona State. Arizona got a 3-1 win over the Sundevils last Friday with Alicia Hollowell on the mound, who struck out eight and allowed six hits and one run. The ?'Devils lone run came in the top of the first off a leadoff double by Bridgette Caron and an RBI single by catcher Heidi Knabe. ASU stayed in the lead until the bottom of the fifth, when Arizona plated a pair of runs. Autumn Champion led off with a bunt single and Kristie Fox walked, followed by an RBI single by Jackie Coburn to tie the game after ASU switched pitchers for the second time in the game. Fox then scored from third on a wild pitch to give the Cats the edge. In Saturday’s 10-3 win, junior pitcher Leslie Wolfe relieved Taryne Mowatt after two innings and proceeded to strike out 10 ASU hitters and allow just three hits in five innings of work. The Cats again trailed early, after the Sundevils got a pair of runs in the first. Trailing 2-1 after an inning, Arizona touched up pitcher Katie Burkhart for four runs and five hits in the bottom of the second to pull into the lead.

The Coach

Head Coach Mike Candrea is in his 20th year with Arizona and carries a career record of 1015-197. Candrea returned to Arizona after taking a year off to coach the U.S. Olympic softball team to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in Athens. Candrea was also awarded the Olympic Shield award, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s most prestigious award, in January. Candrea’s award, given for outstanding service to the USOC and the Olympic movement, marked the first time in history that 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 seven Pac-10 titles.

The Coaches

Larry Ray (Idaho State ?'74) took over as head coach for Mike acting assistant head coach this season, and carries an overall  record of 224-112, including five years as head coach of Florida.  Associate head coach Nancy Evans is a former Honda Award winner as a player at Arizona. Evans has been an assistant at UA since 1999.

The Rankings

As of April 26, the Cats are No. 2 in the Softball poll.The NFCA/USA Today poll, in which the Cats have been steadily ranked since 1989, will be released on April 27. Arizona was ranked preseason No. 3 in the NFCA poll, behind UCLA and Cal. Softball: 2(4/26), 3(4/19), 2(4/12), 2(4/5), 2(3/29), 2(3/22), 1(3/15), 1(3/8), 1(3/1), 1(2/22), 1(2/15)

NFCA/USA Today: 4(4/20), 2(4/13), 2(4/6), 2(3/30), 2(3/23), 1(3/16), 1(3/9), 1(3/2), 2(2/23), 2(2/16)

Wildcat Softball Quick Notes:

... Caitlin Lowe is still leading both the Wildcats and the Pac-10 in batting average with a .519 mark. Last weekend against ASU, Lowe went four-for-six, including a pair of triples on Saturday, with three runs, two RBI and a stolen base...

... Basically there’s no good time to face Lowe, as she hits .556 against lefties, .513 against righties, .500 with runners on, .532 with the bases empty, .429 with the bases loaded and .559 when leading off...

... Kristie Fox had a stellar game against ASU on Saturday, going two-for-four with one run and five RBI. Fox still has second place on the team in batting average, with a .375 mark, and she leads UA with 54 RBI, which is 23 more than the next closest player (Coburn, 31)...

... Autumn Champion hit .500 last weekend against the Sundevils, scoring two runs. On the season she is hitting .362, third behind Lowe and Fox. She also has two doubles this year, which matches her total doubles from her previous two seasons combined...

... Alicia Hollowell tossed her 22nd win of the season on Friday against ASU. She allowed just one run on six hits while striking out eight. Her season strikeouts total 321, which puts her career total at 1,223. With just nine regular-season games left this year, it is unlikely she will meet last year’s K tally of 508, but she could eclipse her freshman year total of 394...

... Either Lowe or Fox leads Arizona in 18 offensive categories, including batting average, hits, slugging percentage, homers and RBIs...

... Arizona’s hitters seem to have a knack for hitting with two out, as five Wildcat starters hit over .300 in that category: Champion (.310), Farley (.333), Fox (.424), Lowe (.447) and VonLiechtenstein (.348)...

... Though all of Arizona’s pitchers have ERAs over 1.00, the Cats’ offense has driven opponent pitchers’ ERAs to over 4.00...