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No. 3 Arizona Softball Hosts Worth Wildcat Invitational
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/17/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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POTENTIAL STARTING LINEUP

                                                   Avg.   Note

1.   Caitlin Lowe               CF   .526    Perfect 7-for-7 in stolen bases

2.   Autumn Champion  LF    .294    In 2-hole for 121 of 124 games last 3 years

3.   Kristie Fox                  SS    .412    Hit .692 with 9 RBI in first home tourney of ?'05

4.   Chelsie Mesa             2B   .308    Led UA with 6 walks in Kajikawa

5.   Sam Banister              1B   .467    Led UA with 2 HR and 9 RBI in Kajikawa

6.   Callista Balko             C     .067    Hit UA’s first HR of the year

7.   Laine Roth                  DP   .615    Leads UA in batting average

8.   Jenae Leles                3B   .250    Had both RBI in 2-0 win over Fullerton

9.   Adrienne Acton        RF    .200    Just one strikeout in 16 PA this year

PITCHING

                                        W-L*  ERA    Note        

      Alicia Hollowell      3-0    0.00    Has allowed one hit in 18.0 IP

      Taryne Mowatt        3-0    0.41    Surrendered just one run in 17.0 IP

      Leslie Wolfe            0-0    0.00    0 ER in 9.0 IP in ?'05 postseason

 

THIS WEEK: No. 3 Arizona (6-0) opens its home schedule this Friday, as it hosts the Worth Wildcat Invitational. Five teams will join the Wildcats and play a round-robin schedule for the three-day event.

 

FRIDAY, FEB. 17

9 a.m.     North Carolina State vs. Pacific

11 a.m.   Texas Tech vs. Pacific

1 p.m.     Texas Tech vs. Tennessee Tech

4 p.m.    Arizona vs. Tennessee Tech

6 p.m.    Arizona vs. Missouri

8 p.m.     North Carolina State vs. Missouri     

 

SATURDAY, FEB. 18

9 a.m.     Tennessee Tech vs. Pacific

11 a.m.   Missouri vs. Pacific

1 p.m.     Missouri vs. Texas Tech

4 p.m.    Arizona vs. Texas Tech

6 p.m.    Arizona vs. North Carolina State

8 p.m.     Tennessee Tech vs. North Carolina State

 

SUNDAY, FEB. 19

9 a.m.     North Carolina State vs. Texas Tech

11 a.m.   Missouri vs. Tennessee Tech

1 p.m.    Arizona vs. Pacific

 

NOTING THE OPPONENTS:

 

FRIDAY, FEB. 17

TENNESSEE TECH (1-1) ?- The Golden Eagles are the reigning Ohio Valley Conference champs and have been picked by its conference’s coaches to finish second in the OVC this year.  Head coach Troy Acheson is in his eighth year at the helm at Tennessee Tech.

 

No. 18 MISSOURI (2-1) ?- In their season-opening series, the Tigers took two out of three games at No. 24 Georgia Tech.  Sophomore first baseman Amanda Renth is hitting .700, slugging 1.400 and has hit two home runs in the Tigers’ three games this year.

 

SATURDAY, FEB. 18

TEXAS TECH (2-4) ?- Entering the week, the Red Raiders are caught in a four-game losing skid.  At the Triple Crown Classic in Jacksonville, Fla., Texas Tech defeated Jacksonville twice prior to losing the four contests.  The Red Raiders kept all games close, losing to Southern Illinois, 3-0 and 3-2, while their losses to Central Florida came by 4-2 and 4-1 finals.  The Red Raider offense is led by freshman infielder Brooke Neuman from Gilbert, Ariz.  Neuman is hitting .429 with three stolen bases in six games this year.  Texas Tech gets its power from 5-foot-2 Jennifer Bowers, who has two home runs on the year.  The Red Raiders are led by second-year head coach Teresa Wilson.  Prior to going to Lubbock, Texas, Wilson took the Washington softball program to six WCWS appearances.     

 

NORTH CAROLINA STATE (2-3) ?- The Wolfpack are led in the circle by pitcher Abbie Sims.  A junior from Artesia, N.M., Sims holds a 2-1 record and a 1.01 ERA.  She has thrown complete games in all three of her starts this year, and has struck out 29 opposing hitters in 20.0 innings pitched.  Offensively, the Wolfpack have scored eight runs in five games.  They are still searching for their first home run and are hitting .159 as a team.

 

SUNDAY, FEB. 19

PACIFIC (2-0) ?- Entering the week, both of the Tigers’ games were home victories against Santa Clara.  Before heading to Tucson, Pacific will play a pair of games at Fresno State.  In this very young season, the Tigers have showed a potent offense.  UOP has averaged eight runs, while striking out just four times as a team in their two games.  In the circle, freshman Briana Santos threw a complete-game shutout in the only start of her career.

 

LAST WEEK RECAP: The fifth-ranked Wildcats opened their season in Tempe, Ariz., with ASU’s Kajikawa Classic.  UA won all six of its games, including contests against No. 15 Northwestern, No. 5 Texas and No. 6 Texas A&M.  UA run-ruled four of its half dozen opponents, outscoring the other teams by a combined 36-1 tally.

 

Alicia Hollowell tossed her 14th and 15th career no-hitters, while coming up five outs shy of being the first Wildcat hurler to throw three consecutive no-no’s.  UA’s only rostered underclassman in the circle, Taryne Mowatt, looked comfortable, as well.  Mowatt tossed two complete-game, two-hit shutouts, and got “touched up” for one run in her third victory of the year.

 

WILDCATS IN THE WORTH WILDCAT INVITATIONAL: Arizona went 3-0 in the rain-marred Worth Wildcat Tournament last season.  UA defeated Marshall, 7-0, and defeated Hawai’i by 4-0 and 2-1 (8 innings) margins.  In the latter game against the Rainbow Wahine, the Wildcats played won their second extra-inning affair of the year.

 

HOLLOWELL NAMED NATIONAL PITCHER OF THE WEEK: USA Softball named Alicia Hollowell its first National Pitcher of the Week of the year for her performance in last week’s games.  In three starts, Hollowell tossed no-hitters against No. 15 Northwestern and No. 6 Texas A&M, while surrendering one hit in a 2-0 win over Cal State Fullerton.  In 18

 

ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA is in his 21st season at Arizona and carries a career 1,033-203 (.836) record in 20 years in the dugout.  At the time of this release, Candrea’s career winning percentage is the best in NCAA history.  Additionally, he is one of just five coaches to reach the 1,000 Division I victories, and was the fastest to do so (19 years of on-field coaching).  In 2004, Candrea took a year off to coach the USA Olympic softball team to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in Athens in 2004.  Candrea was also awarded the Olympic Shield award, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s most prestigious award, marking the first time in history 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 nine Pac-10 titles.

 

USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR WATCH LIST:  Four Arizona players were named to the USA Softball POY pre-season watch list.  Alicia Hollowell, Caitlin Lowe, Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion are the quartet of Wildcats featured on the 50-name list, which includes players representing 28 schools from 10 conferences.

 

AND THEN THERE WERE EIGHT: Okay, here’s the bad news: Arizona returns just eight of its 17 players from 2005.  The good news is that half of the Wildcat returnees are All-Americans (Alicia Hollowell, Caitlin Lowe, Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion) and the other half had significant contributions in 2005, as well.

 

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM: In addition to freshman infielders Laine Roth, Jenae Leles and Sam Banister, and as 2005 NJCAA Player of the Year Chelsie Mesa, UA delved into the rest of the athletic department for additional players.

 

With only 12 rostered players and three weeks to Opening Day, UA brought in senior outfielder Kelly Nelson, freshman outfielder Jill Malina and sophomore infielder Danielle Rodriguez.  Nelson is a four-year letterwinner with UA’s soccer team, Malina was originally slated to be a softball manager, and Rodriguez made the squad in an open tryout.  For more information regarding the three late additions, log on to ArizonaAthletics.com to see their bios.

 

INSTANT CONTRIBUTORS: Laine Roth, Jenae Leles, Sam Banister and Chelsie Mesa all started and contributed in their first weekend as Wildcats.  The quartet of infielders combined to hit .415, with four of UA’s five home runs and 17 of the team’s 31 RBI.

 

It's a nice sign for a team that last year had only five home runs by newcomers -- all by then-freshman Callista Balko.  Balko was the only returning player to hit a home run last week.

 

A LITTLE POWER NEVER HURT ANYBODY: UA’s five home runs in six games is a nice start, after hitting just 33 in 57 games last season.  The 33 roundtrippers in 2005 was Arizona’s lowest output in 14 years.

 

NOBODY’S PERFECT, BUT THEY’RE AWFULLY CLOSE: In its first 35.0 innings pitched of the season, the Wildcat pitching staff combined to allow a 0.20 ERA, .071 batting average and strikeout 68 opposing hitters, all while issuing just two walks.  An abbreviated pitching line for last week’s half dozen games would go something like this:

 

Cal State Northridge        5.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 12 K, 0 BB, 17 BF

No. 15 Northwestern       6.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 16 K, BB, 19 BF

No. 5 Texas                       7.0 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 14 K, BB, 24 BF

No. 6 Texas A&M             5.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 9 K, 0 BB (1 HBP), 16 BF

New Mexico                      5.0 IP, R, 3 H, 6 K, 0 BB, 17 BF

Cal State Fullerton           7.0 IP, 0 R, H, 11 K, 0 BB, 22 BF

 

STILL USING A SHARPIE: With only five position players returning, one may think that Coach Candrea has a tough time filling out his lineup card.  Although that may or may not be true, he doesn’t have to worry too much about the top three spots.  For each of UA’s last 63 games, the top three spots of the Wildcat batting order have read:

 

1.       Caitlin Lowe

2.       Autumn Champion

3.       Kristie Fox

 

START IT UP RIGHT: Leadoff hitter Caitlin Lowe has reached base to start games in five of UA’s six contests.  She has reached scoring position all five times and scored three times.

 

SHE COULD LEAD OFF, TOO: Laine Roth has a perfect 1.000 (3-for-3) on-base percentage when she is leading off an inning.

 

SPEAKING OF FAST STARTS... With All-Americans occupying the first three spots in the batting order, Arizona has made a living scoring runs in the first frame off the ballgame.  The Wildcats have scored 13 runs in the first inning of games this year (2.2 R/1st inning); tied with the sixth inning as the most runs scored in a frame.  Arizona’s best start came against No. 6 Texas A&M, when UA tagged All-American Aggie Amanda Scarborough with seven runs, prior to three outs being recorded.

 

SO YOUNG, YET SO CLUTCH: In the young season, UA’s team batting average with runners in scoring position is .276, as opposed to .410 without a RISP.  Freshmen Sam Banister (5-for-10) and Jenae Leles (2-for-4), however, are both hitting .500 in those situations.  Their clutch hitting has paid off for the team, as Banister leads UA with nine RBI and Leles is tied for second with five.

 

OH, NOW I UNDERSTAND: Through Arizona’s first four games of the year, Jenae Leles’ batting average read .000 on the stat sheet.  A few columns over on the stat sheet, however, one could see her on-base percentage stood at a respectable .455, to go along with three runs scored and an RBI.

 

In UA’s final two games of the Kajikawa, the hits started falling for Leles... including one over the outfield fencing.  Leles hit .500 (3-for-6 ) with a double, a home run and four RBI, including both ribbies in UA’s 2-0 win over Fullerton.  She is now hitting .250, with a .583 on-base percentage.

 

ALWAYS A BALANCING ACT: One virtue Arizona’s offense lacked last year was balance throughout the order.  Though not perfect, here’s how each third of the lineup broke down through its first half dozen games.

               

 

AVG

R

RBI

1-3

.415

14

9

4-6

.279

11

15

7-9

.350

10

7

 

 

DEFINITION OF WORKHORSE:  Alicia Hollowell cemented her name a bit deeper into the record book last week when she passed Jennie Finch as UA’s all-time leader in innings pitched.  Hollowell already holds the record for strikeouts in a career at UA, and is inching her way towards having the victories record, as well.  Entering this week, Hollowell currently stands third with 115 wins, while Finch (119) and Nancy Evans (124) are the only former Wildcats left in her way.

 

THE 200-HIT CLUB: Caitlin Lowe's 10-hit weekend moved her closer to the career 200-hit level with 193. Not bad in two years and six games. Only 15 Wildcats have reached that level, including No. 13 on the list, current senior outfielder Autumn Champion (237).

 

Immediately ahead of Lowe are fellow All-Americans in Julie Jones at 15th, (201 hits; 1989-91) and Brandi Shriver at 14th (206; 1994-97). Others above 200 but not in the top 10, also All-Americans, are Krista Gomez at No. 11 (240 from 1993-96) and Kristin Gauthier at No. 12 (234 from 1988-90). Lowe has averaged 91 hits per year and would reach the No. 10 position with a similar season -- displacing current assistant coach Nancy Evans (268 hits from 1994-98).

 

For the complete Top 10 Career Hit Leaders in Arizona softball, please see page 6 in the .pdf of this release.  The list as it stood prior to the 2006 season can be found on page 33 of this year’s media guide.  

 

THE OLD RED, WHITE & BLUE: Caitlin Lowe and Alicia Hollowell return to Arizona after a summer with the USA National Team.  With Coach Candrea at the helm, Lowe started 11 of 12 games and hit a combined .357, while scoring six runs and going 4-for-4 on stolen base attempts, during several tournaments.  Hollowell did not give up an earned run in 8.2 innings of work, during which time she struck out 12 batters.  Kristie Fox was invited to numerous USA Softball tryouts, but declined invitations to play over the summer, as she was recovering from surgery on her throwing arm.

 

THROWN INTO THE HOT CORNER: Last week, Jenae Leles became the first freshman since Jackie Coburn (2002) and Toni Mascarenas (1998) to start regularly at third base.  Should Leles get moved to another position, fellow frosh Sam Banister waits in the wings to share the left side of the infield with Kristie Fox.

 

A LITTLE HELP HERE?: In each of the last three years, Alicia Hollowell has eaten up over 70 percent of UA’s innings pitched.  She should get some help from returning hurlers Leslie Wolfe and Taryne Mowatt.  Wolfe started six of the final 16 games for UA in 2005, after delivering the first pitch in only three of the first 41 contests.  Additionally, a healthy and mature Mowatt should also help out, after winning eight games last season.

 

Thus far, Mowatt has started half of UA’s games and tossed 49 percent of the innings.

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