Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 1 Softball Heads to UNLV Tournament
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 09, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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This Week

The No. 1 Arizona softball team will travel to Las Vegas for the Eller Media Stadium Classic from March 11-14.  Beginning Friday, Arizona will take on UNLV, fresh off its defeat of No. 14 Washington, before playing Bowling Green Saturday, North Carolina State and Miami-Ohio on Sunday, and wrapping up against Long Island on Monday.


Arizona’s Schedule for Eller Media Stadium Classic Hosted by UNLV

3-11      at UNLV                     8:15 p.m.           

3-12      Bowling Green            8:15 p.m.           

3-13      N.C. State                  3:45 p.m.           

3-13      Miami-Ohio                 8:15 p.m.

3-14      Long Island                1 p.m.


Last Week

Arizona swept Eastern Michigan in a pair of games at Hillenbrand Stadium.


Friday’s 15-0 victory saw UA send 24 batters to the plate in the first two innings.  Of Arizona’s first 23 batters, 20 reached base, resulting in 13 runs in the first two frames.  Prior to the win, the Wildcats had not scored more than eight runs in any of their 13 previous games on the year.  Things weren’t any easier on the Eagles at the plate, where junior Alicia Hollowell no-hit her opponents, striking out 13 of the 17 batters she faced.  The only two batters to reach base for EMU did so by virtue of a dropped third strike.


Saturday’s contest was much closer, as EMU had Arizona on the ropes late in the game.  Arizona trailed for just the second time this year, when EMU held a 2-1 lead after three and a half innings of play.  In the bottom of the sixth inning, freshman catcher Callista Balko knocked in her third round-tripper of the year over the center field fence to tie the game. With the game at two apiece, Hollowell came in to relieve freshman Tarnye Mowatt, who gave up one earned run in six innings of work, striking out 10.  Hollowell retired the side in order, striking out two batters and priming the Wildcats for a victory.  Playing for one run, UA’s Jen Martinez led off the bottom of the seventh with a single to center, before freshman Adrienne Acton came in to pinch run for the Wildcat senior.  Junior Shelly Schultz followed by driving the ball to right center field, where EMU outfielder Stephanie Sabo was unable to make the running catch.  Acton scored all the way from first off of Sabo’s error to end the game.


The Coach

Head Coach Mike Candrea is in his 20th year with Arizona and carries a career record of 997-191. 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 member 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 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 March 8, the Cats are No. 1  in the Softball poll.The NFCA/USA Today poll, in which the Cats have been steadily ranked since 1989, will be released on March 9. Arizona was ranked preseason No. 3 in the NFCA poll, behind UCLA and Cal. Softball: 1 (3/8) 1(3/1), 1(2/22), 1(2/15)

NFCA/USA Today: 1(3/2), 2(2/23), 2(2/16)


Wildcat Softball Quick Notes:

K Queen: Alicia Hollowell officially took over the title of Arizona’s all-time career strikeouts leader on Feb. 27, when she struck out 15 Baylor Bears to put her career total at 1,029, eclipsing Jennie Finch’s previous mark of 1,028...


No-No Numbers: Hollowell’s no-hitter against Eastern Michigan was her fifth of the year, and her third in four starts ... The no-no is the ninth of Hollowell’s career, surpassing Jennie Finch’s eight hitless games for the most ever for a Wildcat ... Arizona greats Nancy Evans and Susie Parra racked up five and seven no-hitters, respectively ... Hollowell has allowed just seven hits in her last 50.2 innings of work ... She currently holds a 10-0 record with a 0.31 ERA.

Nothing’s Free: Hollowell’s 142 strikeouts against 12 walks give her a strikeout:walk ratio of 11.8, a figure significantly higher than the ratios posted by Nancy Evans and Jennie Finch in their combined three National Player of the Year seasons.  Evans had 6.4 strikeouts to the walk in 1998, while Finch had 4.5 and 6.2 in 2001 and 2002, respectively ...

Care to Compare?: To compare, the 15 hits that Hollowell has given up in her 67.2 innings of work this year is one less than the 16 hits UA had in four innings against EMU Friday ...

A Stellar No. 2: With four wins under her belt, Taryne Mowatt has an ERA of 0.51, with 40 strikeouts against five walks in 26.1 innings of work ...

A Stingy Staff: Arizona’s three pitchers combine for a miniscule 0.55 ERA, while the Cats’ offense has touched up opposing pitchers enough to drive their combined ERAs to 4.43, more than eight times higher than that of the UA hurlers ...

Where There are Runs, a Fox is Near: Of Arizona’s 80 runs on the season, Kristie Fox has either driven in the run or scored it herself 36 times.  Thus, Fox has been directly involved with 45% of the team’s runs ... She also leads the team with nine two-out RBI, and is hitting .632 with runners in scoring position ...


Hitting Stride: Callista Balko’s team-high,  seven-game hit streak was snapped when she drew two walks and hit a sac fly in Friday’s win ... After beginning her collegiate career 2-for-16 (.125), Balko homered to invoke the mercy rule against Tennesee-Chattanooga.  Since the home run, Balko is hitting a blistering .370 (10-27) with three homers and nine RBI in 10 games ...


Saving the Best for Last: In her senior campaign, Crystal Farley has accumulated the second-most singles of any Wildcat with 15, bringing her batting average to .457, good for third on the squad ... The .457 average is over 100 points higher than her career-high, which came in 2003 (.356) ...


Leading Off: Sophomore Caitlin Lowe still reigns at the top of the batting average list, with a .479 mark.   She has stolen a perfect 11-of-11 bases this year, also to lead the team.  Lowe is tied with Kristie Fox for the team lead in runs scored with 15 ...


Clutching Up: Kristie Fox has had the game-winning RBI, or has scored the winning run in eight of the Wildcats’ 15 victories ...


Stealing Bases: The Cats are 26-for-28 (.928) in stolen bases this year, as compared to Arizona’s opponents, which have stolen three.  The top of the order for the Cats (Caitlin Lowe, Autumn Champion and Kristie Fox) has combined to steal 21 bags in 22 attempts ...


If Someone Gets On: Kristie Fox holds a .615 (16-26) batting average with runners on base, but drops to .278 (5-18) with the bases empty ...


All-Time Victories: Alicia Hollowell currently ranks sixth on Arizona’s all-time list with 89 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.


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.


This Week’s Opponents:


UNLV: The 13-9 Rebels are hot off of a 7-5 upset of No. 14 Washington.  UNLV has faced stiff competition this year, losing to No. 11 Oklahoma and No. 2 California, both by a single run.  Marissa Nichols leads the team wit her .456 batting average and 19 RBI.  Her five home runs, five triples, and five doubles also lead the team, as do her perfect 14 stolen bases.  In the circle, Jacque Kerrigan has started 16 of the team’s 22 games, appearing in 19.  She holds a 9-8 record with a 2.03 ERA, while freshman Shannon Crisp has a nearly identical ERA of 2.04, with a 4-0.


Bowling Green: The Falcons have struggled to a 1-9 record this year, but have kept games close, never losing by more than five or surrendering more than seven runs in a game.


North Carolina State: The Wolfpack are fresh off of a doubleheader split against No. 20 Florida State.  NC State has endured ups and downs in its 22-10 season, slumping in a three game losing-skid, then coming out several games later with a six game winning-streak.  Despite not having a hitter batting over .333, NC State has won with pitching.  The staff, led by Abbie Sims and Shaina Ervin, posts a 1.35 ERA.  Errors have killed the Pack this year, as the team has allowed 40 unearned runs to score as a result of 35 errors. 


Miami-Ohio: The RedHawks just snapped out of a five game losing-streak with a 5-2 win over Utah at the Texas A&M Invitational. The 6-8 RedHawks do not have a single player with more than five RBI.  Comparatively, UA’s Kristie Fox drove in five runs in Friday night’s 15-0 win.


Long Island University: The Blackbirds have yet to win a game after seven contests.  In games against Pac-10 teams, LIU has lost to Oregon State 12-1 and Arizona State 14-0.