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Top-Ranked Softball Hosts Worth Wildcat Invitational
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/18/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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This Week

The No. 1 Arizona softball team will play host to Hawaii, Marshall and Northern Iowa at the 2005 Worth Wildcat Invitational from Feb. 18-20 at Hillenbrand Stadium. On Friday in Arizona’s tournament opener, the Cats will face Marshall at 4 p.m. and Northern Iowa at 6 p.m. In Saturday’s action, Arizona will play Northern Iowa again at 4 p.m. and Marshall at 6 p.m. On Sunday the Wildcats will play back-to-back games against Hawaii at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

ArizonaAthletics.com Coverage

Live game statistics will be available for all Arizona games. Subscribers to All-Access, Arizona's premium audio/video service, can listen to live radio broadcasts of Arizona's games against Northern Iowa on Friday at 6 p.m. (approximate) and Saturday at 4 p.m. (approximate), with Brian Jeffries calling the action.

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Worth Wildcat Invitational Schedule

 

Day

Time

Visitor

Home

Friday 3-18

12 noon

Northern Iowa

Hawai’I

 

2 p.m.

Hawaii

Marshall

 

4 p.m.

Arizona

Marshall

 

6 p.m.

Northern Iowa

Arizona

Saturday 3-19

10 a.m.

Northern Iowa

Marshall

 

12 noon

Hawaii

Northern Iowa

 

2 p.m.

Marshall

Hawaii

 

4 p.m.

Arizona

Northern Iowa

 

6 p.m.

Marshall

Arizona

Sunday 3-20

9 a.m.

Marshall

Northern Iowa

 

11 a.m.

Arizona

Hawaii

 

1 p.m.

Hawaii

Arizona

Last Week

Top-ranked Arizona softball took its show on the road last week to Tempe to compete in the Kajikawa Classic hosted by Arizona State. The Cats were set to face Tennessee-Chattanooga and Sacramento State on Friday, followed by South Carolina and Cal State Northridge on Saturday. Arizona’s final game was scheduled against Cal State Fullerton on Sunday. However, rainy weather intervened and cancelled all games on Friday and Saturday. Cal State Fullerton left the tournament early after the two-day rainout, so after a schedule shuffle, Arizona played one game in the Kajikawa against Tennessee-Chattanooga on Sunday. Junior pitcher Alicia Hollowell pitched a perfect game over five innings, shutting out the Mocs, 8-0. Hollowell struck out 11 of 15 batters to put her season K total at 46. Sophomore shortstop Kristie Fox, named USA Softball National Player of the Week last week, continued her heroics against Tennessee-Chattanooga, going two-for-three with a double, a homer and three RBI. Senior Jen Martinez had an RBI pinch-hit double, as did senior Candace Abrams. The Cats’ win puts them at 6-0 on the season.

The Coach

Head Coach Mike Candrea is in his 20th year with Arizona and carries a career record of 988-191. 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 menber 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 Candrea in 2004 and led the Wildcats to a 55-6 record and another Pac-10 title. He set the all-time Arizona record for the best start with a 34-0 mark through March 20 last season. Ray is 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 Feb. 15, the Cats have sole occupancy of the No. 1 spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.The NFCA/USA Today poll, in which the Cats have been steadily ranked since 1989, will be released on Feb. 16. Arizona was ranked preseason No. 3 in the NFCA poll, behind UCLA and Cal.

Wildcat Softball Quick Notes

...Sophomore Kristie Fox continued her heroics at the plate in the Cats’ Tennessee-Chattanooga game, going two-for-three with a double, a two-run homer and three RBI. Fox’s season batting average is .688, with 11 hits in 16 at-bats, 10 runs, 12 RBI and three homers...

...Sophomore All-American Caitlin Lowe is third on the team in batting average behind Fox and senior Crystal Farley with a .429 mark. Hitting in the leadoff spot again this year, Lowe is nine-for-21 at the plate, with five runs and seven stolen bases...

...In her second week back since an ACL injury last season, junior Autumn Champion upped her average at the plate after a slow opening-weekend start. Champion went two-for-two against Tennessee-Chattanooga on Sunday, with a run, a pair of singles and a stolen base. Her season average is up to .333...

...Senior Crystal Farley boasts the second-best average on the team behind Fox, with a mark of .545. Farley is six-for-11 at the plate with four runs. She also has a perfect fielding percentage at first base and is second in putouts with 30...

...Junior All-American pitcher Alicia Hollowell got her third win of the season Sunday against the Mocs at the Kajikawa. She threw her second career perfect game and her fifth career no-hitter with an 11-K performance. Hollowell’s career strikeouts now tally 948...

...With her win over Tennessee-Chattanooga, Hollowell took back the team ERA lead from freshman pitcher Taryne Mowatt, who had a 0.70 mark after a pair of wins in the Pepsi Classic. Hollowell’s season ERA is 0.58. She has allowed eight hits and two earned runs in 24 innings of work...

...Hollowell’s efforts against the Mocs on Sunday were enough to earn her 11th career Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week award for Feb. 7-14...

 

The Fox Trot: Kristie Fox has a team-leading three home runs through her first 16 at-bats after hitting just nine last season.  Fox’s current pace puts her on track to hit 33 long balls on the season, should she have the same number of at-bats (175) as she did in 2004.  Arizona’s season-record holder is Laura Espinosa with 37 bombs in 1995.

 

All-Around Offensive Threat: Fox has proven herself to be more than just a home run hitter, as she leads the team in batting average, runs scored, hits, doubles, RBI, total bases, slugging and on-base percentage, multi-hit games, and walks.  In addition, Fox’s team-leading numbers in each of those categories is at least double of her next closest teammate with the exception of batting average, hits, walks, and on-base percentage.

 

Not Leaving Anything Out: Through six games, Fox has not stranded a single runner.

 

Lowe Impact: In her 21 plate appearances, Caitlin Lowe has reached base nine times, each time by base hit.  Once on base, Lowe has stolen seven bases on seven attempts, and has come around to score five times, for just under one-sixth of the team’s total runs.

 

Beware, Southpaws: Lowe is four-for-five when facing left-handed pitching.

 

Hitting Streaks: Lowe and Crystal Farley have season-long six-game hitting streaks.

 

Stealing the Show: The Wildcats are 17-for-17 in stolen base attempts this year, while opponents have stolen just a single base.

 

Clutch Seniors: Seniors Candace Abrams and Jen Martinez have combined to come through for three hits in four pinch-hit opportunities.  In two-out situations, the two are a combined two-for-three with two RBI.

 

Leading Off: Despite struggling with a .125 batting average, Callista Balko has an on-base percentage of .500 (4-8) when leading off an inning.

 

Almost Error Free: If pitching and defense win championships, Arizona is well on its way to a great season.  The Cats have committed just two errors in 155 chances for a .987 team fielding percentage.  In the same number of chances, opponents have committed five times as many errors with 10.

 

If You’re not Leading Off, Forget It: Alicia Hollowell has dominated opponents this year, garnering an opposing batting average of .101 and an ERA of 0.75, along with 46 strikeouts against just six walks.  However, if there is a chink in the junior’s armor it is that seven of 22 (.318) have reached base.  The on-base percentage of hitters not leading off is a miniscule .125.

 

All-Time Victories: Alicia Hollowell currently ranks sixth on Arizona’s all-time list with 84 victories.  All five former Wildcats ahead of her have won over 100 games.  Current Assistant Coach Nancy Evans is the all-time leader with 124.  Hollowell needs 43 wins this year to catch Evans, after having 41 and 40 win seasons the last two years, respectively.  Hollowell’s last two 40-win seasons were firsts for any UA pitcher.

 

Historical with a K: Hollowell moved into the books as the Wildcat with the second-most strikeouts after the Arizona Pepsi Classic with 948 for her career.  Hollowell trails only Jennie Finch who had 1028 punch-outs in her career. 

 

More Hollowell History: After pitching the second and third-most innings for any UA pitcher in a season, Hollowell will eclipse the six former Wildcats ahead of her on the career list, should she pitch 287 innings this year.  That number is six innings less than she threw last year, and ten less than her freshman season.

 

Conference of Champions: In the last ten years, eight of the National Champions have come from the Pacific-10 Conference.  This week, four of the top six ranked teams compete in the Pac-10, while Nos. 11 and 17 do, as well.

 

 

This Week’s Opponents

Hawaii: Through seven games the Warriors have a 4-3 record and have played two Pac-10 opponents. Hawaii lost to Oregon 10-2, before defeating Washington 7-6. Hawaii won the 2003 Western Athletic Conference championship.

 

Hawaii’s Kristi Yoshizawa was named the Western Athletic Conference Player of the Week, last week. Yoshizawa earned all-tournament honors for the Oceanic Time Warner Cable

Paradise Classic. She hit the game-tying, two-run double in the top of the seventh inning against No. 9 Washington. She also scored the game-winning run on a passed ball. She ended the rain-shortened tournament, batting .500 with five hits and two runs scored.

 

Northern Iowa: The 3-2 Panthers feature senior Tracy Davis who leads the team with a .438 batting average, seven RBIs and an .875 slugging percenteage. Freshman Amanda Hess opened her collegiate career last week by throwing 15 innings without surrendering an earned run.

 

Marshall: The Thundering Herd won five of its first six games, but have dropped three of its lasts four contests. Rachel Folden’s .533 batting average, two home runs, and 11 RBIs all lead the team. In the circle, Abigail Harter has eaten up the majority of the innings for Marshall, leading the team with a 3-1 record and a 1.80 ERA.

 

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