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Cats Meet Bruins in Key Conference Series
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/02/2012
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May 2, 2012

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ARIZONA WILDCATS					UCLA BRUINS
Record: 	32-14					Record: 	33-15
Pac-12: 	9-9					Pac-12: 	9-9
NFCA Ranking: 	15					NFCA Ranking: 	17
USA Ranking:	13					USA Ranking:	17
RPI Ranking:	10					RPI Ranking:	13
Head Coach:	Mike Candrea; 1,304-291-2 (27th year)	Head Coach: 	Kelly Inouye-Perez; 252-80 (sixth year)
Streak:	W1						Streak:	L3
Last 5:	3-2						Last 5:	2-3
Last 10:	6-4					Last 10:	6-4
Last 20:	13-7					Last 20:	11-9
Team Stats (Pac-12 // NCAA)				Team Stats (Pac-12 // NCAA)
Batting Avg:	.300 (7th // 36th) 			Batting Avg: 	.350 (1st // 2nd)
Home Runs:	65 (4th // 7th)				Home Runs: 	75 (1st // 3rd)
ERA:	2.75 (5th // 87th)				ERA: 	3.31 (7th // 141st)
Fld Percentage:	.980 (2nd // 3rd)			Fld Percentage:	.963 (7th // 84th)
Individual Leader (Pac-12 // NCAA)			Individual Leader (Pac-12 // NCAA)
Batting Avg: 	Hallie Wilson, .357 (N/A // t216th)	Batting Avg: 	S. LaRosa, .459 (1st // 5th)
Home Runs:	Shelby Pendley, 17 (3rd // t10th)	Home Runs: 	S. LaRosa, 15 (4th // t21st)
RBI:	Shelby Pendley, 47 (6th // 26th)		RBI: 	S. LaRosa, 57 (t2nd // 10th)
ERA:	Kenzie Fowler, 2.80 (10th // 193rd)		ERA: 	Jessica Hall, 3.05 (N/A // 221st)
Strikeouts:	Kenzie Fowler, 158 (6th // N/A)		Strikeouts:  	Jessica Hall, 173 (5th // N/A)
Series History
All-Time: UCLA, 64-53
2011: Arizona, 2-1
2011 Results (Los Angeles): 5.6.11, Arizona 5-1 // 5.7.11, Arizona 7-1 // 5.8.11, UCLA 5-1
Streak: UCLA, W1

THE GAMES Date Time (PDT) Opponent Location Friday, May 4 7:00 p.m. No. 17 UCLA Easton Stadium (1,328) Saturday, May 5 6:00 p.m. No. 17 UCLA Easton Stadium (1,328) Sunday, May 6 12:00 p.m. No. 17 UCLA Easton Stadium (1,328)

PROBABLE STARTERS No. Name (Bats) Pos. Year Hometown (Last School) GP/GS Avg. HR RBI 17 Hallie Wilson (LH) CF Fr. Santa Ana, Calif. (Foothill H.S.) 46/46 .357 2 26 3 Chelsea Suitos (LH) RF RS Fr. Elk Grove, Calif. (Elk Grove H.S.) 45/45 .328 0 9 4 Brigette Del Ponte (RH) 3B Jr. Peoria, Ariz. (Sunrise Mountain H.S) 46/46 .295 11 41 21 Shelby Pendley (LH) SS Fr. Rio Rancho, N.M. (Rio Rancho H.S.) 46/46 .343 17 47 90 Lini Koria (RH) DP Sr. Carson, Calif. (San Pedro H.S.) 46/46 .341 14 29 9 Jessica Spigner (RH) 1B Sr. Santa Clarita, Calif. (Tennessee) 46/46 .282 7 32 77 Chelsea Goodacre (LH) C Fr. Temecula, Calif. (Temecula Valley H.S.) 44/43 .274 6 21 5 Kristen Arriola (RH) 2B Sr. Garden Grove, Calif. (Pacifica H.S) 44/44 .227 6 22 15 Karissa Buchanan (LH) LF Sr. Tucson, Ariz. (Sabino H.S.) 38/38 .271 0 4

RESERVES No. Name (Bats) Pos. Year Hometown (Last School) GP/GS Avg. HR RBI 00 Nicole Bryan (LH) OF RS Sr. Tucson, Ariz. (Central Arizona) 28/8 .227 0 3 2 Baillie Kirker (RH) DP Jr. La Crescenta, Calif. (Crescenta Valley H.S.) 19/4 .222 1 9 7 Alex Lavine (RH) UT So. Glendale, Ariz. (Mountain Ridge H.S.) 32/4 .143 1 5 88 Samantha Davis (LH) 3B Fr. Scottsdale, Ariz. (Chaparral H.S.) 36/0 .000 0 0

PITCHERS No. Name Pos. Year W-L ERA BAA SO IP 19 Kenzie Fowler RHP Jr. 14-6 2.80 .191 158 130.0 12 Shelby Babcock RHP So. 16-8 2.82 .234 122 151.2 9 Jessica Spigner RHP Sr. 2-0 1.75 .233 4 16.0

FOLLOW THE GAMES

Video: Fox Sports Net will show Friday's game on a tape delay on Saturday. Check local listings.

Live Audio: ustream.tv/channel/ua-athletics

Live Stats: Find Gametracker link at arizonawildcats.com

Live Updates: Twitter: @UA_Softball (twitter.com/ua_softball) & Facebook: Arizona Athletics (facebook.com/arizonaathletics)

 

THIS WEEK: No. 15 Arizona and 17th-ranked UCLA battle for sole possession of fourth place in the Pac-12 as the teams jockey for conference and postseason positioning. The teams enter after dropping their last Pac-12 series, Arizona 2-to-1 to No. 16 Oregon, and UCLA 3-to-0 to top-ranked California. The Bruins are one of only two teams (Weber State) to hold the all-time series advantage over Arizona; UCLA holds a 64-53 advantage over Arizona in that department. The Wildcats took two games from the Bruins in L.A. last season, but that was on the heels of UCLA taking six of the previous seven from Arizona, including both games in the 2010 Women's College World Series championship series. Prior to 2011, Arizona had not taken a series from the Bruins since 2004.

 

OPPONENT

UCLA: The Bruins (33-15, 9-9 Pac-12) are ranked 17th by both the NFCA and USA Softball after being swept (3-0; 8-0, 6; 10-3) by top-ranked California in Berkeley. The Cats and the Bruins enter with identical 9-9 conference records, making this a very important series for Pac-12 positioning. The Bruins are near the top of the Pac-12 in nearly every offensive statistic while it struggles from time to time in the circle. Freshman Stephany LaRosa leads the team in batting average (.459), home runs (15), RBI (57), total bases (133) and slugging percentage (.847). Ten Bruins have hit home runs, including five with double-digit long balls.

 

HEAD COACH Mike Candrea: Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is in his 27th year at the helm of the Arizona softball program with a career record of 1,304-291-2 (.819). A winner of eight national championships (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007), Arizona has made 22 trips to the Women's College World Series under his guidance, missing just twice in the last 24 years (2004, 2011). In 2012, Candrea became the sport's fastest ever, and second all-time, to reach 1,300 wins. Under Candrea, Arizona has a spectacular postseason record of 148-43. An even 50 All-Americans with a staggering 90 total citations have played in the program since Candrea took over.

 

THE RANKINGS: Arizona remained 13th in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll and improved to 11th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25. The Wildcats started the season ranked eighth in both polls (its highest ranking of the season) and finished 2011 ranked 11th in both.

 

RECENT RESULTS: The Cats dropped their series with 16th-ranked Oregon over the weekend two games to one despite scoring 19 runs on 33 hits in the series. Arizona's pitching and defense let the team down, allowing the Ducks to put up 27 runs on 35 hits while the defense committed six errors. Wildcat pitchers allowed five home runs, including two grand slams in the three games. Lini Koria batted .545 in the series with thre home runs. 

Friday, April 27: Ducks Slam Their Way Past Cats - In front of the 2,579 fans at Hillenbrand Stadium, Oregon put two grand slams into the packed Candrea's Corner in the first three innings, helping the 16th-ranked Ducks to an 11-7 win over No. 13 Arizona.

Saturday, April 28: Oregon Clinches Series with 12-7 Victory - Thirteenth-ranked Arizona Softball dropped its second consecutive decision to No. 16 Oregon 12-7 and dropped its second consecutive series to the Ducks in Tucson.

Sunday, April 29: Arizona Wins Game Three on Wilson's Walk-off - No. 13 Arizona Softball (32-14, 9-9 Pac-12) did not lead the 16th-ranked Oregon Ducks (34-12, 11-8 Pac-12) until the bottom of the eighth inning when Hallie Wilson broke a 4-4 tie with a two-out single to center field in the bottom of the eighth that scored Chelsea Goodacre from third.

 

RECENT RESULTS VS. UCLA: The Cats took the first two games from UCLA in Los Angeles in 2011, 5-1 and 7-1, but could not complete the sweep as UCLA took game three 5-1. The series marked the return of Kenzie Fowler, who had missed the previous two weeks with a concussion sustained when she was struck by a foul ball while sitting in the dugout. Fowler was excellent in her return; the then-sophomore pitched 10 innings and gave up just one run on four hits while striking out 15 batters. Brigette Del Ponte led Arizona offensively; Del Ponte went 5-for-10 (.500) with a double, a home run and three RBI.

May 6, 2011: Cats Beat Bruins in Fowler's Return - Kenzie Fowler struck out 11 Bruin batters in her return to action after suffering a concussion more than two weeks ago. No. 11 Arizona handed 12th-ranked UCLA its fifth consecutive loss with a 5-1 over the Bruins.

May 7, 2011: UA Cruises in Series-Clinching Victory - Eleventh-ranked Arizona got six runs in the third and cruised from there, beating No. 12 UCLA 7-1 and taking its first series since 2004 against UCLA.

May 8, 2011: Arizona Falls to UCLA in Series Finale - No. 12 UCLA broke a six-game losing streak by taking it to 11th-ranked Arizona 5-1 on UCLA's senior day.

 

NEXT WEEK: Arizona wraps up the regular season with a visit from Oregon State, May 10-12. Seniors Kristen Arriola, Nicole Bryan, Karissa Buchanan, Lini Koria and Jessica Spigner will be playing their final regular season games at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Cats will look to close out the up-and-down regular season with a sweep of the Beavers, something they have done four of the last five years.

 

STARING AT THE STATS: ... Rub it off: Arizona has been hit by pitches 34 times so far this year, fourth-most in its history behind 47 by the 2009 club, 43 by the 2003 Cats and 34 in 2008... The Cats' RBI race appears to be down to a two-player race between shortstop Shelby Pendley (47) and third baseman Brigette Del Ponte (42). First baseman Jessica Spigner is 10 back at 32. Slugger Stacie Chambers led the squad with 71 a year ago, Del Ponte had 80 as a freshman in 2010 and Chambers had 96 as a soph in 2009... The Cats kicked it around some last week against Oregon but still have a .980 fielding average, which would stack up as second best in its Division I history behind the 2001 club's .981 mark. Arizona has finished above .975, a mark of note, 10 seasons in its D-I years...

 

HITS, WALKS AND Ks: Hallie Wilson's walk-off single to win the final Oregon game last week gave UA a team batting average of .300 for the year. It's the Cats' lowest since the 2008 club hit .304, after the 2007 NCAA titlists finished at .289. It's good enough to win games as long as pitching comes through. Therein lies the rub. UA carries a team earned run average of 2.75, its third-highest historical mark in 31 years of its Division I play, bettering only 2011's 2.99 mark and 2009's 2.98 clip. UA has been above the 2.19 figure in each of the past four seasons (including this one), its only 2.00+ seasons in history. Part of that surely is issuing bases on balls, as UA will finish above 200 walks by opposing batters for only the second time in its history (234 in 2011), while dominance through strikeouts also has dipped this year. Kenzie Fowler (158) and Shelby Babcock (122) have struck out 284 hitters. UA pitchers averaged 575 Ks per year from 2000 to 2008, before dipping into the 300s each of the past three seasons entering this one.

 

PLAYER NOTES

Lini Koria: Has five home runs in her last five games to go along with a double and 10 RBI in the stretch. Koria struggled some in the middle of the Pac-12 slate when her average bottomed out at .314, April 13 against Cal. Since then, the senior is 10 for her last 21 (.476), with half of her hits landing past the fence. 

Hallie Wilson: Has reached base in 20 consecutive games, a streak dating back to March 25. During the stretch, Wilson has 24 hits, nine walks and two HBP, contributing to a .387 batting average and a .473 on-base percentage. Wilson's 20-game streak is the team's longest this season. 

Shelby Pendley: Has hit 17 home runs on the season, but was held homer-less against Oregon. The figure is already good for t20th on Arizona's all-time list. Pendley needs five more to break the freshman homer record, set by Brigette Del Ponte (21) in 2010. The freshman has more extra base hits (24 - 17 HR, 7 2B) than singles (23).

Brigette Del Ponte: Speaking of "more extra base hits than singles", Del Ponte is the queen of the statistic. Del Ponte has 25 extra base hits (13 2B, 1 3B, 11 HR) and only has 18 singles on the season. On her career, Del Ponte has 94 XBH (44 2B, 1 3B, 49 HR) and only 70 singles.

Chelsea Goodacre: Is hitting 90 points better in Pac-12 play than non-conference contests. Curious, obviously, given the typical prowess of Pac-12 pitching. Goodacre has 13 hits in her last 31 at-bats (.419) with four RBI and two home runs.

Nicole Bryan: Had one hit in her first 15 at-bats of the season (.067), but in her last seven, has four (.571). Filling in for an ill Kristen Arriola in the final two games of the Oregon series, Bryan went 3-for-6 with an RBI.

 

LEARNING QUICKLY: Arizona has four freshmen in its starting lineup and all four have been imperative to the Wildcats' offensive success. First-year players Hallie Wilson (.357), Shelby Pendley (.343) and Chelsea Suitos (.328) are first, second and fourth, respectively, on the team in batting average. Three freshmen lead the team in conference batting average, impressive, obviously, given the fact that Pac-12 pitchers are generally immeasurably better than what they see in high school as well as many non-conference pitchers (Wilson - .368, Goodacre - .333, Pendley - .310). The last time a freshman led Arizona in batting average was in 2008 when Brittany Lastrapes paced the Cats at .364.

 

MAKING THE PLAYS: The Wildcats boast a fielding percentage of .980, which would be second in school history if kept up. Only one other club posted a figure above .980, the 2001 National Champions (.981). That said, the Wildcats had trouble defensively against Oregon this weekend. The Cats committed six errors (including a season-worst five on Saturday). That is nearly one-third of the total errors Arizona had in the previous 43 games (19). Still, UA has committed only 25 total errors on the season, which is on track to beat the 2001 program-low of 34 errors committed.

 

SUCCESSFUL SWIPES: Arizona has collected 45 stolen bases on 49 attempts this season, a 92% success rate. The 45 swipes are already more than the last four seasons when the Cats stole 37 bases in 2011, 36 in 2010, 29 in 2009 and 43 in 2008. Forty-five will not touch the school record of 136 set in 1998, but still a high number in the current context. The only four caught-stealings has the potential to set a Wildcat record for fewest CS's. The 2009 (29-for-36) and 1986 (11-for-18) squads were each caught seven times. The four runners caught stealing are best in the conference. Karissa Buchanan (15-for-15) leads the team and is sixth in the conference.

 

SOUTHPAW SUCCESS: Arizona has not seen many lefty pitchers this season (only 82 of the team's 1,195 at bats), but in the tiny sample size, the Cats have hit lefties well. UA is hitting southpaws at a .366 clip, 71 points better than righties. Naturally, righties Jessica Spigner (.556), Brigette Del Ponte (.455) and Kristen Arriola (.429) are hitting lefties well, but lefties Chelsea Suitos (.545), Chelsea Goodacre (.375) and Karissa Buchanan (.333) are all hitting lefties better than righties. The Wildcats' two best hitters (by batting average) really struggle against left-handed pitching; lefties Hallie Wilson (.100) and Shelby Pendley (.182) are a combined 3-for-21. This is especially relevant this week as UCLA's No. 1 (Jessica Hall) and No. 3 (Destiny Rodino) pitchers are both lefty slingers.

On the opposite side of the ball, Arizona's all-righty pitching staff allows lefties to hit 48 points better than right-handed batters. Kenzie Fowler shuts down righties to just a .159 batting average against, but allows lefties to hit .243.

 

BASES JUICED: The Wildcats are hitting just .190 with the bases loaded. It is not unusual to hit for a lower average with a force at any base, but the disconcerting stat is that the opposition is allowed to hit .300 with the bases loaded. Opponents have 18 hits with the bases loaded including five grand slams. The Wildcats have just 11 hits with the bases loaded and only three grand slams (two by Kristen Arriola). Arizona's last grand slam came on March 2 vs. College of Charleston; its pitchers gave up two to Oregon on Friday night alone.

 

IN THE SIXTH: Eight of Arizona's games this season have ended before the sixth innings, but still, Arizona does most of its damage in the sixth frame. The Wildcats have scored 49 times in the sixth inning, meaning the team scores 1.29 runs per sixth. The Cats are 17-0 when leading after the sixth inning.

 

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