March 1, 2012
THE GAMES Date Time Opponent Location Friday, March 2 6:00 p.m. College of Charleston Hillenbrand Stadium Saturday, March 3 4:30 p.m. College of Charleston Hillenbrand Stadium 6:30 p.m. Arizona Alumni vs. Wounded Warriors Hillenbrand Stadium Sunday, March 4 1:00 p.m. College of Charleston Hillenbrand Stadium
FOLLOW THE CATS
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- Following Saturday's game, Arizona alumni will take on the Wounded Warriors.
- Arizona is set to engage in its first non-tournament action of the season.
- No Wildcat has recorded a hit coming off the bench this season (0-for-12).
- The UA defense has not committed an error in 13 of its past 14 games, including 10 consecutive; Arizona leads the conference with a .986 fielding percentage.
- This three-game series marks the first time Arizona and College of Charleston have squared off on the softball diamond.
- Kenzie Fowler did not allow a run and went 3-0 with a save in 21 innings at the Cathedral City Classic.
- The Wildcats outscored their opponent 29-5 at the Cathedral City Classic.
- UA has not lost while wearing white pants (8-0).
- Six Cats have registered double digit RBI on the year, led by Shelby Pendley with 22.
- Through 17 games last season, Arizona was 15-2. In its two losses in that span, the 2011 club was outscored by 18. In its four losses this season, UA has been outscored by six total runs.
- Arizona has used the same batting average for the past 11 games. The current order features a string of four consecutive righties (3-6) followed by five consecutive lefties (7-2).
- Despite not hitting a double at the Cathedral City Classic, Hallie Wilson continues to lead the Pac-12 in two-baggers with eight.
College of Charleston: The Cougars (9-4) went 1-3 at the CofC Cougar Classic after a midweek sweep of Charleston Southern to finish the week 2-3. Stephanie Saylors was named SoCon Pitcher of the Week after posting a 1.09 ERA in four appearances which included a perfect game against Wagner. College of Charleston is coached by Shelly Hoerner in her seventh season at CofC; Hoerner carries a 187-167. Kelsey Hodgson leads the Cougars at the dish with a .500 batting average to go along with four doubles, three homers and eight RBI. This will be the first ever meeting between Arizona and College of Charleston. Series History: N/A // First Meeting: N/A // Last Meeting: N/A
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 1,285-281-2 (.820). 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 2010, Candrea became the fastest coach in NCAA Division I softball to earn 1,200 wins, and, providing the squad wins 28 games this season, he will be the fastest to 1,300. 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 15th the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Preseason Poll and improved to 14th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25. UA was ranked 15th in the NFCA poll and 16th in the USA Softball poll the previous week. The Wildcats finished 2011 ranked 11th in both rankings.
LAST TIME OUT
Arizona went 5-1 at the Cathedral City Classic and earned four shutout victories in the process. Its sole loss of the week came to Georgia, which is now ranked seventh in the country. UA got its first Top-25 win of the season in Palm Springs, Calif., when it defeated No. 21 Oklahoma State, 8-0, in six innings.
Thursday: Arizona Splits its First Two at Cathedral City
Arizona 9, Fresno State 0 (6 innings): Jessica Spigner drove in four runs, including a walk-off, two-run bomb in the sixth inning, to pace Arizona's offense, as Arizona blanked Fresno State (8-3), 9-0 in six.
Georgia 3, Arizona 0: Thirteenth-ranked Georgia (9-1) got a two-hitter from Morgan Montemayor as the Bulldogs shutout Arizona, 3-0.
Friday: Freshmen Lead Cats in Rout of Oklahoma State
Arizona 8, Oklahoma State 0 (6 innings): After posting four scoreless innings, Arizona's bats came alive in the fifth as the Wildcats mercied 21st-ranked Oklahoma State, 8-0 in six innings.
Saturday: Softball Drops Fordham, Syracuse in Sweep
Arizona 3, Fordham 2: The Wildcats slipped past the Rams, 3-2, in the early game despite being outhit by Fordham, 7-6.
Arizona 5, Syracuse 0: Fowler recorded her third-consecutive complete-game shutout at the Cathedral City Classic as the Wildcats beat Syracuse, 5-0 in the nightcap.
Sunday: Babcock Shines in Softball's 4-0 Victory
Arizona 4, Long Beach State 0: Fifteenth-ranked Arizona got a stellar outing from sophomore Shelby Babcock and took advantage of three Long Beach State (6-9) errors in the Wildcats' 4-0 win over the 49ers to conclude the Cathedral City Classic.
AGAINST COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON:
Last Meeting: N/A
Brigette Del Ponte: Earned Pac-12 Player of the Week (2/20-2/26) for her dominance of the Cathedral City Classic. The junior hit .571 with a double, two home runs and eight RBI. Del Ponte slugged 1.071 and posted an OBP of .632 on the weekend.
Kenzie Fowler: Did not allow a run to cross the plate in 21 innings of work at the Cathedral City Classic. Fowler recorded complete-game shutouts of Fresno State, Oklahoma State and Syracuse and picked up a save vs. Fordham.
Shelby Babcock: Pitched one of the best weeks of her career, going 2-1 with a 1.84 ERA at the Cathedral City Classic. The sophomore posted a K/BB ratio of 20/9 in 19 innings pitched while allowing 15 hits.
Chelsea Suitos: Second on the team with a .375 batting average at the Cathedral City Classic where she doubled her RBI total (2-to-4). The redshirt freshman hit her first career double in the weekend.
Chelsea Goodacre: Made great contact and slugged .647 at the Cathedral City Classic. The freshman hit home runs in consecutive at-bats against Oklahoma State, a game in which she notched a career-high three RBI.
ALUMNI-WOUNDED WARRIORS: Saturday night figures to be a special spectacle at Hillenbrand Stadium. Following the 4:30 matchup between Arizona and College of Charleston, former Wildcat Alumni will take on the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team. The Wounded Warriors return for their second consecutive game at Hillenbrand Stadium, but this marks the first time the Wounded Warriors will square off against Wildcat Alumni.
STARING AT THE STATS: Kenzie Fowler threw three shutouts for victories and picked up a save with two shutout innings of relief last weekend. She threw 21 total innings, struck out 25 and gave up 11 hits in the four appearances. She's still working out some control issues and walked 11 batters. She and Shelby Babcock (2-1, 19 innings pitched, 20K, a shutout in last game), however, helped Arizona overcome a team .241 batting effort for a 5-1 mark in the six games in Cathedral City. On the year, UA has seven shutouts... The Cats had 10 extra-base hits last weekend for a modest .393 slugging percentage, but also drew 26 bases on balls... Arizona has drawn 77 bases on balls this year led by Jessica Spigner's 16. The team average of 4.5 per currently makes it potentially one of the walking-est teams in UA history behind the 4.8 BBs per game (320 in 66 games) by the 2010 Cats. No Wildcat has been intentionally walked yet this year... UA has hit home runs in all but six games this year and had season-highs of four yard-balls against Nebraska and Oklahoma State... Six Cats have stolen bases led by Karissa Buchanan's team-best 8-for-8 effort. The team is 17 for 19 and that pace would translate to the most team SBs since the Caitline Lowe/Chelsie Mesa/Adrienne Acton-led squad swiped 101 in UA's 2007 NCAA title year. Still, this club shouldn't crack the UA's top 15 historical SB chart... UA does appear to have enough long-ball power to hit the top 10 season home run chart, with 24 so far. The team title is up for grabs among Shelby Pendley (6), Spigner (5), Brigette Del Ponte (5), Lini Koria (4) and Chelsea Goodacre (3). Koria, a senior, needs one more to tie Jennie Finch at No. 10 on the UA career list with 50 homers. Del Ponte, a junior, has 43 and is tied for No. 13... He's hard to please in this category but the Wildcats have only six errors and sport a .986 fielding percentage, thanks to errorless ball in the last 10 games. The percentage would be Arizona's best-ever in 32 seasons of Division I softball. Last year's .969 mark was below Candrea's acceptable range.
DOUBLE VISION: The Cats have 26 doubles on the early campaign, an early season indication that there are enough players with gap power to challenge the school mark of 111 two-baggers. (1995). Eight players have hit a double, but clearly freshman Hallie Wilson with eight is leading the way. That's helped push her slugging percentage to .419 without a home run, and she has home run power, too, it just hasn't worked out yet. Brigette Del Ponte set the UA single-season mark with 23 doubles last year and Wilson has the stick to challenge that one. Lini Koria and Shelby Pendley have four apiece.
TURNING TURNSTILES: A trickle-in-and-out, all-day effect plus the fact of the home-opening action helped push attendance for the three home dates at the Hillenbrand Invitational to an average of 2,503 per game. The Friday crowd of 2,657 was outside the Rita Hillenbrand Stadium top 30, but impressive nonetheless. UA has averaged more than 2,400 per game the last three seasons and it looks like there's a great chance to continue the string in 2012.
HOME SWEET HOME: One reason for the attendance is the usual result. Arizona is 544-57 in games played at the Rita since it opened in 1993. That's a 91 percent mark for winning in the venue. That stacks up against any sport at any school.
SO CLOSE: Arizona's four losses have come by a total of six runs, however, in its wins, UA's run differential is plus-89 (100-11). Arizona has lost three one-run games this season; in 2011 Arizona lost just one game by one run (Baylor; 3/17/11; 3-2).
FOUR BALLING: Arizona has walked 77 times in 17 games. In a 60-game season that's about 272 bases on balls, third-most in UA history. Unlikely to continue, but it shows some early-season patience. A couple of Cats have used it to advantage, notably Kristen Arriola (12) to help her get her normal batting eye back. She's hitting .214 but has an on-base percentage of .400 thanks to the good eyes. Jessica Spigner, meantime, has 16 free passes because it's smart to work carefully with a .368 hitter.
RBI RAMPAGE: Freshman shotstop Shelby Pendley has 22 RBI through 17 games, thanks to an 8-spot against North Dakota, Feb 17, when she had two home runs. She has five multiple-RBI games and would need a bunch more to make it historical. Cracking the single-season RBI chart at Arizona is one of the toughest of all records at the school. Brigette Del Ponte did it in 2010 with 80 for the No. 10 spot, and other than Stacie Chambers' 96 in 2009 all other occupants on the list pre-date 2001 - various seasons by Laura Espinoza (128, 95), Jenny Dalton (109, 98, 91), Leah Braatz (100), Lety Pineda (96) and Toni Mascarenas (84).
STATE DEPARTMENT VISIT: The Sports Diplomacy program, U.S. Department of State, will bring a visiting Filipino softball/baseball group to Hillenbrand Stadium toward the end of Friday's game. (Also visiting the UA baseball game). The visitors were nominated by the U.S. Embassy in the Phillippines and are brought to the U.S. for technical sports training, sports management, conflict resolution training and exposure to valuable sports contacts, and then are encouraged to return to conduct in-country clinics for youth with their newly learned skills overseas face today. The Filipino delegation will include 12 coaches.