Fri., May 12 at Stanford 2 p.m. Sat., May 13 * at California (2) 1 p.m. *Game #1 against Cal will be televised live by Fox Sports Net
The second-ranked Arizona softball team (50-7 overall, 13-4 Pac-10), coming off a home sweep of Washington and UCLA, will conclude the regular season in the Bay Area this weekend. The Wildcats will face No. 9 Stanford (44-14, 8-10) on Fri., May 12 at 2 p.m. and will conclude the season with a doubleheader against No. 10 California (44-20, 5-13) on Sat., May 13 beginning at 1 p.m. The doubleheader was scheduled so the teams could end the season before Sunday's NCAA Tournament selections. Arizona defeated California, 4-1, earlier this season in Tucson and split two games with Stanford, winning 8-4 before dropping a 4-3 decision.
Arizona vs. California on Fox Sports Net: The first game of the doubleheader against Cal will be televised live by Fox Sports Net. Fox televised a game between the Cats and Bears last season in Berkeley, which the UA won, 1-0, in 10 innings.
About Stanford: The Cardinal are in fourth place in the Pac-10 standings due in large part to a current five-game winning streak. They swept the Oregon schools last week and in the process set a school record for wins in a season (44). Sophomore outfielder Jessica Mendoza leads the team in batting and hit .615 in five games last week, including two home runs, three doubles and seven RBI. Freshman pitcher Dana Sorensen leads the team with 22 wins and has pitched 14 complete games.
About Cal: The Bears ended a five-game losing streak last week with three wins over Sacramento State and both Oregon schools. Lisa Iancin leads the team with 67 hits and a .338 average. The Bears have hit 33 homers this season, second-best in school history, and freshman Veronica Nelson has increased her NCAA record total of walks to 78 on the season. When not being walked, Nelson is batting .336 with a school-record 12 home runs and a team-leading 38 RBI.
Taking Care of Business: Arizona claimed sole possession of second place in the Pac-10 with a sweep of UCLA and Washington in Tucson last weekend. The showdown with the Huskies turned out to be as good as advertised as the Cats came back from a 2-0 deficit with three home runs in the last three innings. Jennie Finch began the rally with a solo homer, her 15th of the year but first in Pac-10 play, in the sixth. Finch also held UW to four hits while striking out eight. Allison Andrade tied the game in the seventh with a lead-off homer, her eighth of the year, while Lindsey Collins' 13th homer of the season in the bottom of the eighth gave the Cats their first win over the Huskies in five tries this season. On Saturday night, Lauren Bauer's three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth capped an eight-run comeback as the Cats defeated the Bruins, 12-9. The UA was on the verge of a mercy-rule loss, trailing 9-1 in the fourth, but rallied with two big innings. The UA followed that with a five-inning 9-1 win over the Bruins on Sunday behind a two-hitter from Finch.
Bauer and Finch Pac-10 Player/Pitcher of the Week
Arizona left fielder Lauren Bauer was named Pac-10 Player of the Week and Jennie Finch was named Pitcher of the Week for May 2-8. Bauer was 8-for-13 last weekend, including eight consecutive hits over two games. She was 6-for-6 against UCLA on Saturday with two home runs, a double, three singles and seven RBI. Finch earned two of the three victories on the weekend, one each against Washington and UCLA. She allowed only four hits and struck out eight against the Huskies and threw a two-hitter while striking out three batters in the mercy-rule win over the Bruins on Sunday. It is the first weekly honor for Bauer and the third of the season for Finch.
National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll
Arizona has not budged from the No. 2 spot in the NFCA coaches poll all season. Pac-10 schools occupy the top three spots in the rankings and all eight teams are ranked. Washington is No. 1 followed by Arizona and UCLA. ASU is fifth, Stanford is No. 9, followed by No. 10 California, No. 13 Oregon State and No. 19 Oregon. The poll is available online at www.nfca.org. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.
Breaking Out of a Slump
Before last weekend, Lauren Bauer and Jennie Finch had yet to homer in Pac-10 play and the Cats were batting .270 against the rest of the league with six homers and 49 runs in 14 Pac-10 games. In three games, Bauer and Finch each hit two homers, the team batting average rose to .286 against the Pac-10 and the team hit nine home runs and scored 24 runs.
Selection Show on Fox Sports Net
For the first time, Fox Sports Net will televise the NCAA Division I Softball Selection Show live on Sun., May 14 at 6:30 p.m. The 30-minute show will be hosted by Beth Mowins.
Swinging for the Fences
This Arizona squad has upheld the Wildcat tradition of socking balls out of the yard as seven Cats have hit the long ball this season. Jennie Finch leads the team with 16 home runs, while Lindsey Collins (14) is second on the team. Alison Andrade (9), Chrissy Gil (5), Toni Mascarenas (5), Lauren Bauer (4) Nicole Giordano (1) and Katie Swan (1) have each joined the fun for a team total of 55.
Cats in the National Rankings
Four Wildcats are listed among the national statistical leaders in six categories:
Batting - 9. Nicole Giordano .445 Home Runs - 17. Jennie Finch 0.26 avg/game RBI - 23. Lindsey Collins 0.93 avg/game ERA - 10. Jennie Finch 0.70 Strikeouts per 7 inn. - 7. Becky Lemke 9.4 Victories - 9. Becky Lemke 25
Arizona also leads the nation in team batting average (.339) and fielding percentage (.979). The Wildcats are fifth in team ERA (0.95) and ninth in average scoring with 6.09 runs per game. The UA also has the fourth-best winning pct. (.870) in the nation.
By fanning 12 batters against Oregon two weeks ago, Becky Lemke set a new single-season school strikeout mark. She has recorded 266 strikeouts on the season, which surpasses Susie Parra's 256 K's in 1993. Nancy Evans came close to the record in 1998 with 255 strikeouts. Lemke now has 664 career strikeouts - good for third place on the school charts behind Evans with 733. Parra tops the list with 874 career K's. Lemke also struck out a school-record 19 batters in a no-hitter against BYU on March 11.
Notes from Left Field
Nicole Giordano is second in the Pac-10 with 85 hits on the season and has 255 career hits, which places her eighth among the UA's all-time hits leaders... Lauren Bauer leads the league with 33 stolen bases in 35 attempts. She is in fourth place on the school charts with 90 career stolen bases after picking up four more this weekend. Her two home runs on Saturday matched her season total coming into the game... Arizona can boast the longest winning streak of the season in the Pac-10. The Cats won 34 consecutive games from Feb. 6 through March 19... The Cats are now 5-1 on the season in extra-inning affairs, 2-1 in Pac-10 games after a pair of extra-inning wins last weekend... In 54 games, the Wildcats have 514 hits for a team batting average of .339... The UA has outscored its opponents 353-67 on the season for an average score of 6.2-1.2. Opponents have scored three or more runs just nine times this season and in eight of the last 13 games... Arizona is 4-3 on the road in Pac-10 play and 9-1 at home. The lone home loss was against Stanford.
Armed and Dangerous
Arizona's pitchers have dominated the opposition in recent years and this season is no exception... Junior Becky Lemke and sophomore Jennie Finch have combined to allow just 56 earned runs in 369 innings spanning 57 games...They have combined to pitch four no-hitters on the season (two apiece). The last time a pair of Arizona pitchers threw no-hitters in the same season was when Carrie Dolan and Nancy Evans each threw two during the 1995 season... Finch has an ERA of 0.78, while Lemke has a 1.30 ERA... Finch's ERA against the Pac-10 is 1.51, while Lemke has a 2.65 ERA in conference play. They have a combined 449 strikeouts (including two by Teresa Ayoub). The single-season team record is 451... Lemke is fourth on the UA all-time victories list with a 80-15 record in almost three seasons.
Do Unto Others...
Jennie Finch has managed to do to opposing pitchers what opposing batters have been unable to do to her - get big hits. Finch leads the team with 16 home runs and has 47 RBI... She threw two no-hitters within a week of each other (vs. Tennessee Tech on 2/18 and vs. Drake on 2/25) and the latter was her first career perfect game... She also has three one-hitters on the season.
Arizona Coach Mike Candrea
In his 15th season at Arizona, Candrea carries a record of 766-160 (.826). He is the active and all-time winningest Division I coach by percentage and in the top 10 in victories. Last season, Candrea became the eighth Division I coach in history to win 700 games. His players have earned 49 All-America honors and six Academic All-America honors, plus he has coached three players to the Honda Softball Award as national player of the year. He has taken the Wildcats to the College World Series the past 12 consecutive years and has reached the NCAA Championship game in eight of the last 10 seasons.