March 24, 2010
Cats, Lobos Tangle for Weekend Series
March 26-28, 2010 ~ Lobo Softball Field, Albuquerque, N.M.
After going 3-2 for the third straight season in the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., Arizona will look to pick up three wins against New Mexico before the start of conference play.
Arizona and New Mexico faced off in Fullerton last weekend, with UA coming out on top, 9-3, in a Saturday late-night affair.
Team Note as
UNM: Seniors Katie Gilmore (.387) and Cristin Anderson (.386) are the top two hitters for the Lobos (10-16). Anderson has blasted a team-high three home runs, but senior Shaunte Duarte leads the squad with 16 RBI. All three UNM pitchers saw action in the game against Arizona, but freshman Kari Gutierrez (2-4) was charged with the loss. Fellow freshman Kaela DeBroeck (5-6) has pitched the most innings on the squad at 66.2, but sophomore Samantha Gatson (3-6) leads in ERA at 4.02.
New Mexico tallied five hits off Sarah Akamine in the only meeting thus far, with leadoff hitter Anderson scattering a pair and scoring a run.
Last Time Out
Arizona began the Judi Garman Classic against Louisville, jumping out to a 4-0 lead on Stacie Chambers' grand slam. The teams went back and forth after that, but UA exploded for five runs in the seventh and picked up an 11-3 win. Sarah Akamine got the win.
In the second game of a doubleheader, UA was one-hit by Michigan ace Jordan Taylor, and the international tiebreaker rule allowed Michigan to score the only run of the game in the eighth, 1-0 UM. Kenzie Fowler suffered her first loss of the season.
Brittany Lastrapes hit her second walk-off hit of the season as Arizona rallied from a 3-0 deficit to defeat Oklahoma, 4-3. Fowler picked up the win, striking out 12 while allowing two hits.
Arizona had some trouble closing out New Mexico, jumping out to a 8-2 lead but seeing the bats go somewhat silent after that. A late RBI single by Lastrapes gave the Cats their final run and Akamine cruised to a 9-3 win.
Fowler tossed a one-hitter, but Arizona's left 10 on base and couldn't get a timely hit in falling to Virginia, 2-1, in the tournament finale.
Candrea Eclipses 1,200 Victories
With an 11-3 win over Louisville to open Arizona's play in the Judi Garman Classic, Head Coach Mike Candrea picked up his 1,200th career victory, putting him in select company with three other head coaches who have officially reached that mark.
25-3: Not a bad start to the season, indeed. But it's pretty normal for Arizona, which over the past 10 years has posted an average mark of exactly 25-3 through its first 28 games. You might say it's been (another) good decade. Here are the last 10 years through the typical non-conference seasons:
HR Numbers Near the Top
Arizona has hit 49 home runs in 28 games, a clip of 1.75 per game that leads the conference. The numbers are down from last season, when the team had 60 through the first 28. Of Arizona's 210 total RBI, 108 of them have come off of its 49 homers.
UA has scored 224 runs and has a per-game mark of 8, second in the conference behind Arizona State's 8.48. The 2009 squad scored 7.92 runs per game, and these numbers will more than likely drop come Pac-10 season, but it's a notable number for now. The `09 mark was the highest since the 1998 version of the Wildcats scored 569 runs.
Department of Defense
With 23 games under their belts, the Arizona defense is looking more solid. Their .979 fielding percentage is tops in the conference, and looks like the Wildcat defense of old. UA has only committed three errors in its last eight games, far from the early season mark of seven boots through the first eight games.
Kenzie Fowler was named the NFCA D-I National Player of the Week, as well as the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week, giving Arizona a sweep of the weekly conference awards. She was also the first non-senior to be recognized for the NFCA's weekly honor in 2010.
Arizona has picked up 84 two-out RBI, 40 percent of its total RBI output. The usual suspects are doing the damage; Brittany Lastrapes has 16 to her credit while Brigette Del Ponte has 15. To put this stat in perspective, opponents have cashed in 41 total RBI.
The Difference a Year Makes
· At this point last season, Arizona had given up 73 runs. This season: 46
· RBI in 2009: 63. This season: 41
· Doubles in `09: 32. This season: 10
· `09 opponent b/avg.: 239. This season: .169
Walk, Don't Run
Arizona has drawn 163 walks 28 games into the long season. The patient batters have put UA on track to break the all-time walk record of 287, set by the 1995 squad. That same `95 team also set the bar in six other offensive categories.
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 arguable 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.