Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Arizona Softball Team Ready For Regionals
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: June 22, 2004
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May 15, 2001

Wildcats In NCAA Action Thursday at Hillenbrand Stadium The Games--The No. 1-ranked Arizona softball team (57-4, 19-2 for the Pac-10 title) plays host to a six-team NCAA Region 1 tournament May 17-20, the winner of which will earn a berth in the eight-team Women's College World Series in Oklahoma City, Okla., May 24-28. UA's first-round foe is St. Peter's (42-18), champion of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Action is double-elimination.

Thursday, May 17 Game 2 Cal State Fullerton (46-12, No. 2 seed) vs. Texas Tech (35-22, No. 5 seed) Noon Game 3 Hawai'i (46-16, No. 3 seed) vs. Southwest Texas State (52-10, No. 4 seed) 2:30 p.m. Game 1 Arizona (57-4, No. 1 seed) vs. St. Peter's (42-18, No. 6 seed) 5 p.m. Game 4 Loser Game 2 vs. Loser Game 1 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 18 Game 5 Winner Game 4 vs. Loser Game 3 2:30 Game 6 Winner Game 2 vs. Winner Game 3 5 p.m. Game 7 Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 5 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 19 Game 8 TBA ( Only if Game 7 winner has a loss) Loser Game 6 vs. Loser Game 7 TBA Game 9 Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 6 TBA Game 10 TBA TBA Sunday, May 20 Game 11 TBA 1 p.m. Game 12 TBA, if both teams remaining have a loss 3:30 p.m.

How They Got There--Arizona of the Pacific-10 Conference earned the automatic bid as the league's regular-season champion. St. Peter's is the champion of the MEAC Tournament. Cal State Fullerton is the Big West Conference champion. Southwest Texas State is the Southland Conference champion. Hawai'i of the Western Athletic Conference earned an at-large bid. Texas Tech of the Big 12 Conference earned an at-large berth.

Team Rankings -Arizona is the top-ranked team in the nation in the latest NFCA poll. Cal State Fullerton is No. 10, Southwest Texas State is tied for No. 19, and Hawai'i, Texas Tech and St. Peter's were not ranked.

Pac-10 Flavor in NCAAs-The Pac-10 qualified seven teams for the NCAA tournament, snapping a two-year streak for appearances by all eight teams. Oregon did not get a bid. The selected Pac-10 teams and their seeds and sites are UCLA (1) is a host in Los Angeles, Arizona State (2) travels to baton Rouge, La., Oregon State (3) travels to Tuscaloosa, Ala., Washington (2) travels to Norman, Okla., Stanford (1) is a host in Palo Alto, Calif., and California (2) travels to Tallahassee, Fla.

Arizona's NCAA Appearance--Arizona appears in its 15th consecutive NCAA regional playoff (15th overall) since 1987, all under coach Mike Candrea. Softball became a Division I sport in 1982 and Arizona did not qualify for the first five tourneys. Arizona has won a regional 13 consecutive years. Arizona has been host 10 other times -- 1988, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2000. Arizona has a record of 74-22 in NCAA games including a 38-5 mark in NCAA Regional play. Arizona is 31-2 in regional games played in Tucson -- the only losses were a 1-0 decision to South Carolina in 1988 and a 7-3 loss to Maryland in UA's third of six NCAA regional games in 1999. UA outscored its four opponents last year by a combined score of 36-0 including three mercy-rule victories.

Arizona vs. the Tucson NCAA Field-Arizona did not play any of the teams in the Tucson regional during the regular season. In previous NCAA action, Arizona is 1-0 against Cal State Fullerton (11-0 victory in 1995 CWS) and 1-0 against Southwest Texas State (8-0 in 1999 Tucson Regional).

Arizona vs. Entire NCAA Field-Including its 16-2 record against Pac-10 teams in the NCAA Tournament (losses at UCLA and at Washington), Arizona played to a 30-3 record against teams in the Tournament. The other loss was to Louisiana-Lafayette, 4-3, at the Kia Classic Tournament in Fullerton, Calif. UA beat Florida Atlantic, South Florida, LSU, Nebraska, South Carolina, Pacific, Connecticut, Florida, defending NCAA Champion Oklahoma, San Diego State, Cal State Northridge, North Carolina and twice beat Fresno State this year.

Arizona Coach Mike Candrea-Arizona's mentor takes his 15th consecutive team into post-season play. Seven times he has been named Pac-10 Coach or Co-Coach of the Year, most recently this season. He has led his teams to 13 consecutive NCAA Regional titles and thereby taken Arizona teams to the College World Series each year since 1988. He led UA to NCAA Championships five times in the 1990s (1991, '93, '94, '96, '97) and his teams have won six of the past 10 Pacific-10 Conference titles (1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001) and finished second the other four years. Candrea, 44, became the eighth Division I coach in history to win 800 games last season. He is in his 16th year at Arizona and carries a record of 863-172, a winning percentage of .834. His Division I winning percentage is No. 2 all time and No. 1 among active coaches. Three times he has been named National Coach of the Year (NFCA '94, '96, '97). In all, during his career he has won 14 conference, regional or national coaching honors. He was elected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996. His teams' 67 victories in 1998, 66 victories in 1994 and 64 victories in 1995 are in the top five in the NCAA record book. His players have earned 54 All-America playing honors and six Academic All-America honors, plus he has coached three players to the Honda Softball Award as the national player of the year. His average yearly record to date: 53-10. The Cats played in the NCAA Championship game from 1991 through 1998. Overall Record: 863-172 Pac-10 Record: 264-65 NCAA Games Record: 74-22 NCAA Regionals: 38-5 College Word Series: 36-17

Cats in the Polls--Arizona has been in the top three slots all year in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll and was No. 1 in the final poll last week. The Cats have been ranked steadily since 1988.

Cats Take on Challenges-Arizona played to a 21-2 record against ranked teams. It played a total of 33 games this year against teams in the NCAA field and was 30-3.

All-Pac-10 Honors-Arizona placed eight players on the 2001 All-Pacific-10 Conference Softball Team. Junior pitcher Jennie Finch was named Pitcher of the Year. First-team selections were senior outfielder Lauren Bauer and senior third baseman Toni Mascarenas. Senior outfielder Nicole Giordano, senior pitcher Becky Lemke and freshman first baseman Leneah Manuma earned second-team selection. Senior Lindsey Collins made the honorable mention. Head Coach Mike Candrea was also named Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year.

Attendance--Arizona has a chance to increase its attendance average of 1,518 with some expected good turnout for the NCAA Regional. In 26 dates this year the Cats have drawn 39,468 fans. NCAA regional crowds have been in the 1,600 to 2,100 range. Capacity is about 2,750. UA's season-record attendance average was a 1,592 mark in 1997. The Cats broke the attendance record this season with 3,004 fans to watch the UCLA game on May 11.

Wildcat Notes... ...Normal Lineup: Lauren Bauer-cf, Nicole Giordano-lf, Toni Mascarenas-3b, Leneah Manuma-dh/1b, Lindsey Collins-c, Jennie Finch-1b/p, Mackenzie Vandergeest -rf, Allison Andrade-ss, Lisha Ribellia-2b, Becky Lemke-p. Off the bench: Jenny Gladding-p, Kim Balkan-rf/dh, Erika Hanson-ph/1b, Candace Abrams-ph, Teresa Demeter-p/ph ...Arizona was undefeated at Hillenbrand Stadium this year... The Cats have a 44 home game winning streak dating back to a loss to Stanford on April 9, 2000... The Wildcats hold the longest home game winning streak at 45 games set by the 1997 and 1998 teams... In NCAA regional games at the stadium Arizona is 23-1 with the lone loss coming to Maryland (7-3) in 1999... In 61 games, Arizona has 115 home runs, the NCAA team single-season record. Arizona now holds the top three spots in NCAA history- the 1995 team hit 100 and the 1993 team hit 93...Senior third baseman Toni Mascarenas' 20 home runs are tied for No. 8 on the Arizona season Top 10 chart... She also tied the team high 11 doubles on the year... She leads the team in multiple RBI games with 20... Senior leftfielder Nicole Giordano's 349 career hits are third all-time and she is only the fourth Wildcat to collect over 300 hits in her Arizona career... Her .409 career batting average is sixth all time...Senior pitcher Becky Lemke (17-2) became Arizona's strikeouts leader with 894...She surpassed former UA ace and Honda Award winner Susie Parra's 872 K's from the 1991 to 1994 season. She's averaging 10 strikeouts per game... Lemke's 93 career victories is the No. 4 total in UA history...Junior pitcher Jennie Finch (27-0) has a career 80-10 record, putting her at No. 5 on the career chart ... Her 0.24 ERA is the lowest in the country... She has 18 shutouts on the season and allowed only 9 runs... Opposing batters are hitting .121 against her...At the plate she has 57 hits and 11 home runs, including three grand slams...Teammate Jenny Gladding (13-2) averaged 10.1 strikeouts and added 11 shutouts... Senior centerfielder Lauren Bauer's .442 batting average leads the team and puts her at No. 8 all time... Her career average is .425, which is No. 3... At home she is hitting .491... She leads the team in hits (95) and runs scored (76) and multiple hit games (30)...She has stolen 37 bases in 42 attempts this year, the seventh highest total in UA season history... She is No. 2 all-time with 132 stolen bases behind Allison McCutcheon's 148 for 1995 to 1998... ...Freshman first baseman Leneah Manuma set the freshman home run record with 19, passing Leah Braatz's 18 in 1994...The Wildcats lead the country in team batting average at .363, in team fielding at .976, and team ERA at 0.64...Hitting streaks: Here are the Cats' starters and their current/longest hitting streaks this year: Lauren Bauer (12/13), Toni Mascarenas (1/11), Allison Andrade (3/4), Jennie Finch (11/11), Nicole Giordano (4/14), Lindsey Collins (1/7), Leneah Manuma (0/5)...Pac-10 Players of the Week--Arizona had two honors this season -Leneah Manuma (3/2) and pitcher of the week Jennie Finch (4/9)... Manuma was also named National Fastpitch Coaches Association player of the week (3/2)...Arizona's 57 victories are the seventh highest total in school history...