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No. 1 Softball Heads to Judi Garman Classic
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/15/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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POTENTIAL STARTING LINEUP

                                                   Avg.   Note

1.   Caitlin Lowe               CF   .506    Ranks second in Pac-10 batting avg.

2.   Autumn Champion  LF    .424    Leads UA with 28 R

3.   Kristie Fox                  SS    .485    Leads UA with .595 OBP

4.   Chelsie Mesa             2B   .388    Leads team with five HR, .731 SLG

5.   Jenae Leles                3B   .254    Batting .318 with two outs

6.   Callista Balko             C     .190    More than half of hits are XBH

7.   Laine Roth                  DP   .371    Two grand slams in last six games

8.   Sam Banister              1B   .224    Has three three-RBI games

9.   Adrienne Acton        RF    .303    Has multi-hit games in 4 of last 6 G

 

                                                                                      PITCHING                                             

                                        W-L   ERA    Note        

      Alicia Hollowell      13-0  0.62    1,507 career strikeouts

      Taryne Mowatt        10-1  0.59    Only one R in last three starts

 

THIS WEEK: No. 1 Arizona (23-1) hits the road for Fullerton, Calif., where it will face some stiff competition in the Judi Garman Classic, formerly known as the Kia Klassic.  The Wildcats will open pool play against UNLV on Thursday, March 16, beginning at 9 a.m. (PST).  In championship or consolation bracket play, Arizona could face opponents such as No. 4 Texas, No. 7 Alabama, No. 9 Michigan, No. 10 Arizona State, No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette, No. 14 Washington and No. 15 Oklahoma

 

THURSDAY, MARCH 16        vs. UNLV                           9 a.m. (PST)

                                                    vs. No. 18 Texas A&M 11 a.m. (PST)

FRIDAY, MARCH 17               vs. CS Northridge           4 p.m. (PST)

SATURDAY, MARCH 18        vs. TBD                             TBA

SUNDAY, MARCH 19              vs. TBD                             TBA

 

For championship and consolation bracket listings, log on to fullertontitans.com and access the softball page and Judi Garman Classic link.

 

NOTING THE OPPONENTS

Arizona has faced two of its three pool play opponents in previous tournaments. 

 

UNLV (13-14): The Rebels were beaten earlier in the week by UCLA, 11-4, prior to playing in the Judi Garman Classic.  Shannon Crisp leads the Rebels with her .371 batting average.  Marissa Nichols, who hit 18 home runs while batting .426 last year, is hitting .300 with no long balls in 2006.  Christine Robinson (4-4, 1.95 ERA) and Shannon Crisp (6-6, 3.32 ERA) lead UNLV in the circle with 19 appearances, apiece. 

 

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: The Wildcats opened their season and the Kajikawa Classic against Cal State Northridge, defeating the Matadors, 8-0, in five innings.  In the meeting, Taryne Mowatt tossed a two-hitter against the Big West squad and Callista Balko and Sam Banister homered in the UA victory.

 

No. 18 TEXAS A&M: UA also run-ruled then-No. 6 Texas A&M, 8-0, in the Kajikawa Classic.  Alicia Hollowell no-hit the Aggies, and the Wildcat offense flexed its muscles by scoring seven runs in the first inning off of All-American Amanda Scarborough.  The two teams met again in the Palm Springs Classic, where Arizona defeated then-No. 8 Texas A&M, 12-0, in five innings.

 

Quick Stats in two games vs. the Aggies:

                            Avg.    OBP     Runs   XBH     ERA    

Texas A&M        .032    .517    20       7          14.00

Arizona              .357    .063    0          0          0.00

 

LAST WEEK RECAP: The top-ranked Arizona softball team swept a three-game series against the visiting Baylor Lady Bears.  UA surrendered a season-high four runs to No. 18 Baylor in its Friday match-up, but the Wildcats more than made up for it with 12 runs of their own.  After a Saturday rainout, the two teams played a Sunday doubleheader, as UA took the first game, 2-1, in nine innings and the second contest, 11-1, in six frames.  

 

The Wildcats hit .388 as a team over the three games, averaging just over eight runs per game and committed just one defensive error in the series.  In 20.0 innings pitched, UA hurlers gave up no walks and struck out the Lady Bears 29 times.

 

In the final game, senior pitcher Alicia Hollowell passed Nancy Evans as the all-time winningest pitcher at Arizona with 125 victories.  During the historic victory, Hollowell also struck out her 1,500th career batter.

 

TOP CATS: In every year since 1992, Arizona has been ranked No. 1 in the NFCA poll for at least part of the year.

 

RE-WRITING THE RECORD BOOKS: As mentioned earlier Alicia Hollowell is now Arizona’s all-time victories, strikeout and innings pitched record holder.  This past weekend, she became just the fourth pitcher in NCAA history with 1,500 career strikeouts.  She currently stands fourth all-time in strikeouts per seven innings. 

 

For a complete list of Arizona’s all-time record holders, please see page six of the .pdf version of this release, or pages 33-37 of this year’s media guide.

 

OFFENSIVE HISTORY: With each passing game, outfielders Caitlin Lowe and Autumn Champion are climbing up the UA record books in several offensive categories, including hits, stolen bases and runs scored.  Additionally, both rank in the top five in career batting average at Arizona.

 

Twenty-four games into her junior season, Lowe has 223 hits and could challenge Allison McCutcheon’s (1995-98) 405 career base knocks come spring 2007.

 

Additionally, with 15 stolen bases this year, Lowe has swiped 89 career bases, good for fifth on UA’s all-time list.  If she wants top-billing as Arizona’s best-ever base stealer, McCutcheon stands in her way once again with 148 SB.

 

Two weeks ago, Autumn Champion moved into sole possession of seventh place in career stolen bases. Entering this week she has swiped 60 career bases.

 

FOX NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kristie Fox was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of March 6-12, for her two home runs, seven RBI and .750 batting average this past weekend.  Fox numbers could have been more gaudy, but they were tapered when the opponent elected not to pitch to her.  After six RBI in game one of the series, Fox saw only two strikes in the second game of the series.  One of those strikes went over the left field wall for a home run and the other came in one of her three walks during the game.  In game three, Fox went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and yet another walk.

 

The honor is the first of Fox’s career.  She was named USA Softball Player of the Week for her season-opening performance the week of Feb. 1-7, 2005.  The Pac-10 did not name any players of the week until Feb. 8-14.

 

HOLLOWELL NAMED PAC-10 PITCHER OF THE WEEK (2/6-12; 2/13-19): Alicia Hollowell has named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week twice this year.  Following the Kajikawa Classic (2/6-12), USA Softball named her its first National Player of the Week of the year for her performance in last week’s games.  In three starts, Hollowell tossed no-hitters against No. 15 Northwestern and No. 6 Texas A&M, while surrendering one hit in a 2-0 win over Cal State Fullerton.

 

ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA is in his 21st season at Arizona and carries a career 1,050-204 (.837) record in 20 years in the dugout.  At the time of this release, Candrea’s career winning percentage is four ten-thousandths behind UCLA’s Sue Enquist for the best in NCAA history.  Additionally, he is one of just five coaches to reach the 1,000 Division I victories, and was the fastest to do so (19 years of on-field coaching).  In 2004, Candrea took a year off to coach the USA Olympic softball team to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in Athens in 2004.  Candrea was also awarded the Olympic Shield award, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s most prestigious award, marking the first time in history 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 nine Pac-10 titles.

 

USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR WATCH LIST:  Four Arizona players were named to the USA Softball POY pre-season watch list.  Alicia Hollowell, Caitlin Lowe, Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion are the quartet of Wildcats featured on the 50-name list, which includes players representing 28 schools from 10 conferences.

 

AND THEN THERE WERE EIGHT: Okay, here’s the bad news: Arizona returned just eight of its 17 players from 2005.  The good news is that half of the Wildcat returnees are All-Americans (Alicia Hollowell, Caitlin Lowe, Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion) and the other half had significant contributions in 2005, as well.

 

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM: In addition to freshman infielders Laine Roth, Jenae Leles and Sam Banister, and as 2005 NJCAA Player of the Year Chelsie Mesa, UA delved into the rest of the athletic department for additional players.

 

With only 12 rostered players and three weeks to Opening Day, UA brought in senior outfielder Kelly Nelson, freshman outfielder Jill Malina and sophomore infielder Danielle Rodriguez.  Nelson is a four-year letterwinner with UA’s soccer team, Malina was originally slated to be a softball manager, and Rodriguez made the squad in an open tryout.  For more information regarding the three late additions, log on to ArizonaAthletics.com to see their bios.

 

NEWCOMERS CATCH FIRE: Laine Roth, Jenae Leles, Sam Banister and Chelsie Mesa have started all 24 of UA’s games this season.  The quartet of newbies has combined to hit .310, with 16 of UA’s 25 home runs, four of the team’s seven triples and 56 percent of Arizona’s RBI.  The newcomers also have all four of Arizona’s grand slams this year, including two this past weekend.

 

LEADING THE PAC: Arizona’s offense lead the Pac-10 Conference in batting average, runs scored and on-base percentage.  The pitching staff surrendered its stranglehold on some of its categories leads, but has given up the fewest runs, is tied with UCLA for the fewest earned runs allowed, has the most strikeouts and has the lowest opponent batting average.

 

GOING FOR THREE: Last year, Arizona had a total of five triples in its 57 games, the year before Arizona had only three three-baggers.  Through its first 24 games, Arizona already has seven triples, or one in every three and a half games.  Given that the team has averaged 66 games a year over the last decade, UA is on pace for about 19 triples.  The last time an Arizona team had 10 triples was 2000, and school record is 20 three-baggers, which has occurred three times.

 

Autumn Champion’s triple against Texas A&M on Feb. 24 was the first of her career.  Prior to the third-inning hit, Champion had played in 185 games and had 578 at-bats before her first career triple.  The slap hitter had 89 hits as a freshman in 2003 ?- all singles.

 

RBI FOR EVERYONE! Arizona’s offense has seven players who average .5 RBI per game or better.  The list includes all starters but the two set-up slappers, Autumn Champion in the No. 2 hole and Adrienne Acton in the No. 9 slot in the batting order. A year ago, UA’s Kristie Fox led Division I with a 1.12 rate.

 

Here’s a breakdown of the Wildcats’ RBI per-game:

(In order of last game’s batting order)

Lowe .58

Champion .21

Fox 1.04

Mesa .96

Leles .75

Banister .71

Balko .54

Acton .21

 

Last year, only two players (Kristie Fox and Jackie Coburn) ended the season with RBI-per-game ratios of better than .5. 

 

BALANCE THROUGHOUT THE ORDER: While Arizona does not have any particular leader jumping off the charts in any category, there is considerable parity in run-producing categories.  Arizona has seven players with 13 or more RBI, but no one with more than 25.  The Wildcats have four players with 20 or more runs scored, but no one with 30.

 

MULTI-HIT AND MULTI-RBI GAMES: Every Arizona starter, including the slappers, has at least one multi-RBI game and a minimum of three multi-hit games.  Leading the way with seven multi-RBI games is Laine Roth.  Chelsie Mesa and Kristie Fox both have a half dozen multi-RBI games, including a five-RBI game for Mesa and a six-RBI contest for Fox last weekend.

 

In the multi-hit game category, Caitlin Lowe has a stranglehold over her teammates with 16 games with two or more hits.  Kristie Fox (9), Autumn Champion (7), Laine Roth (6) and Chelsie Mesa (6) round out the top of the list.  All told, UA batters have combined for 60 multi-hit and 37 multi-RBI games.

 

HITTING STREAK: Caitlin Lowe currently leads UA with an 11-game hitting streak.  Lowe’s streak is tied with Chelsie Mesa’s since-broken 11-game hitting streak, which was snapped against Ohio State on Feb. 25, as the team’s longest of the year.  Lowe’s longest streak of 2005 was a 14-game run.

 

PITCHER/HITTER/LEFT FIELDER: Entering her sophomore season, Taryne Mowatt was expected to mature from her frosh campaign, in which she went 8-1 with a 1.80 ERA.  She has done that and more. 

 

In the circle, Mowatt is 9-1, with three complete-game shutouts, and her numbers have an uncanny resemblance to three-time All-American Alicia Hollowell.

 

Here are a couple of ratios to compare the two hurlers:

                    ERA     K/7 IP     K:BB        Opp. AVG

Mowatt       0.59    12.4        21.0        .113

Hollowell   0.62    14.1        22.7        .109

 

During the Worth Wildcat Invitational, in lieu of Autumn Champion in the lineup, Mowatt also became the first UA pitcher since Wendy Allen to pick up a bat.  The sophomore from Corona, Calif., is still looking for her first hit, but has been productive in her eight plate appearances.  Mowatt has laid down two sacrifice bunts, had an RBI groundout and flied out to right to advance a runner from second to third.  Mowatt has moved the runner over in all four of her plate appearances, in which she has had an opportunity to do so.  When not pitching, she has been perfect in 14.0 innings in left field.

 

STRIKEOUTS ARE NOW DOUBLE THE FUN: When Taryne Mowatt struck out Longhorn first baseman Jacqueline Williams on Feb. 26, she joined Alicia Hollowell as the first Wildcat pitching duo since 2002 to have 100 strikeouts apiece.  In 2002, Jennie Finch and Jenny Gladding both topped the century mark in punch outs.  Entering this weekend, Mowatt has 126 strikeouts on the year.

 

NOBODY EVER GOT ANYTHING FREE FROM UA: Alicia Hollowell and Taryne Mowatt have combined to strikeout 285 opponent hitters in 150.0 innings pitched this season.  What’s more, they have issued a total of 13 walks to opposing hitters.  That’s one walk per 11.5 innings pitched and 21.9 strikeouts to the walk.  In contrast, UA hitters have walked 89 times.

 

LIVE BY THE HOMER, DIE BY THE HOMER: Arizona’s pitchers have given up a miniscule 13 runs in 24 games.  Of those baker’s dozen worth of runs, 10 have come via home run.

 

ACTION ACTON: Adrienne Acton’s speed has put the pressure on opposing defenses all year, as she has reached on an error six times this year, including two four-base scoring plays.  The rest of the Wildcats have combined to reach on an error 10 times.

 

GET AHEAD, STAY AHEAD: When Baylor’s Brett Reagan hit a solo home run in the first inning of the of early Sunday game, Arizona found itself trailing for only the second time all season.  The Wildcats trailed until the fourth inning of the contest, before going on to win in nine innings.  The only other time UA was behind to the opposition was in its only loss of the season.

 

THAT’S WHY THEY’RE ALL-AMERICANS: Arizona has had its ups and downs with runners in scoring position, but three hitters who have thrived in big spots are UA’s three All-American hitters.  Arizona’s top three batters in RISP situations are Caitlin Lowe (.526), Autumn Champion (.481) and Kristie Fox (.452).

 

OTHERS ARE CATCHING ON, TOO: In addition to the All-Americans, other Wildcats have stepped up with runners in scoring position.  Chelsie Mesa (.378), Jenae Leles (.310) and Laine Roth (.308) round out the other UA hitters with RISP averages above .300.

 

TURN YOUR LIFE AROUND! Since Arizona’s loss to Texas, the Wildcats have come up clutch with runners in scoring position.  In the last eight games, UA has hit .511 (45-for-88) with runner in scoring position, after batting .268 (41-for-153) in the first two dozen games in those situations.

 

SO THAT’S HOW HE FILLS OUT THE LINEUP CARD: Not to beat a dead horse, but the way a batter performs with runners in scoring position can decide where she bats in the batting order.  The lineup card that UA head coach Mike Candrea wrote out for Sunday’s nightcap against Baylor followed his players’ performances in RISP situations almost to a T.

 

Beginning with Caitlin Lowe all the way through the seventh hitter in the lineup (Sam Banister, .290), the batting order read the same as the RISP average leaders.

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