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Arizona Softball WCWS Guide
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/31/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Arizona continues its quest for a seventh national title with its 18th trip to the Women’s College World Series in the last 19 years.  The Wildcats will face Pac-10 foe Oregon State in the opening round, with in-state rival Arizona State or fellow powerhouse Texas waiting in the wings for a second round date.  All WCWS games will be live televised on either ESPN or ESPN2 with Beth Mowins and Lisa Fernandez or Tracy Warren and Stacey Nuveman calling the action.

 

Arizona’s schedule:

 

Thursday, June 1                Arizona vs. Oregon State                10 a.m. (Tucson time)       ESPN2

 

If Arizona wins,

Friday, June 2                Arizona vs. Winner of Arizona State/Texas                4 p.m. (Tucson time)       ESPN2

 

If Arizona loses,

Saturday, June 3                Arizona vs. Loser of Arizona State/Texas game      9 a..m. (Tucson time)       ESPN

 

For the complete Women’s College World Series bracket, refer to page 50of the guide.

 

How they got to Oklahoma City

 

All eight teams to qualify for the WCWS hosted a super regional and were among the top eight seeds when the NCAA announced the field of 64 on May 14.  Additionally, each team in Oklahoma City this week, with the exception of Arizona State hosted a regional, as well.

 

Right side of bracket

 

No. 2 seed Arizona (49-10, 15-6 Pac-10) knocked out a pair of SEC squads to reach OKC.  In the regional, the Wildcats defeated MAAC champion Marist (9-0, 6 innings), Ohio State (6-3) and Auburn (4-2) to advance to the super regional round.

 

In the super regional, UA took two out of three games from LSU.

 

Game 1: Arizona 5, LSU 0 Scoring against Alicia Hollowell and keeping the Wildcat offense in check is a tough enough task for any team, let alone one whose shortstop commits four errors in one game, which is just what Andrea Smith did.  Needless to say, Hollowell turned in a four-hit, 11-strikeout shutout of the Tigers, Autumn Champion went 4-for-4 with three runs scored and two stolen bases, and freshman Jenae Leles snapped out of a 5-for-50 slump (19 games, dating back to April 14) in a big way with a trio of RBI singles.  Among Hollowell’s victims: All-American outfielder Leslie Klein, who went down swinging in all three of her at-bats. 

 

Game 2: LSU 3, Arizona 2 For the first time in 14 tries while playing in Tucson, Arizona was unable to advance to the WCWS when it was one win away.  LSU broke a scoreless tie in the second inning with a two-run homer by LSU Lauren Delahoussaye.  With the score still 2-0 in the fourth inning, the only Tiger with a 13-letter surname stepped up again.  Delahoussaye singled Klein in from second base, increasing LSU’s lead to 3-0.  That margin would hold until the top of the seventh, when the top of Arizona’s lineup came up with one out.  The Wildcats’ trio of All-American hitters came through with three consecutive singles.  Caitlin Lowe started the rally with a base knock up the middle, followed by an Autumn Champion bunt hit and a Kristie Fox liner to left to plate Lowe.  Down 3-1 with two runners in scoring position, Callista Balko skied a fly ball to center field, but just got under it -- Arizona was down to its last out.  Upon Emily Turner’s full count offering, Jenae Leles hit a bb to new LSU shortstop Delahoussaye, who was unable to secure the ball, allowing Champion to score and moving Fox to third.  With the game-tying run 60 feet away and the go-ahead runner on, Chelsie Mesa flied out to centerfield, prompting a third game.  UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt threw a complete game, giving up three earned runs on six hits.

 

Game 3: Arizona 14, LSU 5 (5 innings) Thirty minutes after having their 14-game win streak snapped, the Wildcats showed resiliency and an ability to end an opponents season with their biggest offensive outburst of the season.  The Wildcats hammered out a season-high 18 hits, including three or four-hit performances by four different players.  The night, however, belonged to Kristie Fox who went 3-for-3 with two home runs and eight RBI.  The first long ball came in the first inning, when she drove in Autumn Champion with a two-run blast to centerfield.  The shortstop from San Diego came up the very next inning and one-upped herself with a grand slam.  Earlier in the inning, Chelsie Mesa clubbed an apparent home run, which was ruled foul by the first base umpire.  Unfazed, Mesa drove the next pitch off the centerfield wall for a triple, her fourth of the year.  Next up, Taryne Mowatt, who did not hit in the previous game, had her first hit ofthe night to drive in Mesa.  Mowatt, who had never had a three-hit game doubled up on her career high with four base knocks in the super-regional clincher.  Champion would go on to match her Game 1 performance of four hits and three runs in the rout, while leadoff hitter Caitlin Lowe went 3-for-4 with three runs.  Although Alicia Hollowell gave up an uncharacteristic five runs, tying her season high, she did grab some of the spotlight.  The senior joined Cat Osterman and Courtney Blades as the only three pitchers in Div. I history to strikeout 1,700 batters.

 

No. 7 seed Oregon State (43-14, 10-10 Pac-10) makes its first ever WCWS appearance, and earned the trip with a three-game dogfight against Pac-10 foe Cal in the Corvallis Super Regional.  The Beavers won their regional with a 2-1 victory over Nevada and 5-3 and 3-1 decisions over Baylor.  OSU then dropped the super regional opener to Cal, 2-1, before coming back to win the next two games with 3-0 and 1-0 victories.  For more information on the Beavers, log on to osubeavers.com.

 

No. 3 seed Texas (54-7, 15-2 Big 12) breezed through regional and super regional play the same way it has four of the last five years: on the left arm of Cat Osterman.  The Longhorns came off a two-and-out performance in the Big 12 Tournament with a sweep of regional opponents UT-San Antonio (4-0), Indiana (3-0) and Utah (3-0).  UT then eliminated Washington with 1-0 and 9-1 victories over the Huskies.  The Longhorns are averaging 3.0 runs a game in their last seven contests, and have surrendered only one run in this year’s NCAA Tournament.  For more information on the Longhorns, log on to texassports.com.

 

No. 6 seed Arizona State (52-13, 11-10 Pac-10) is undoubtedly the most improved team since 2005, when the Sun Devils finished in the basement of the Pac-10.  ASU had the misfortune of being the only team to qualify for the WCWS that had to travel to a regional, and the Sun Devils did not exactly bus up the road.  ASU got shipped off to Long Island, NY, where the Sun Devils defeated Long Island (6-0), Hofstra (2-0, 8 innings) and Penn State (5-0) to reach the super regional round.  ASU then hosted Florida State, and defeated the Seminoles 6-1 and 5-1 to earn its 12th trip to the WCWS.  For more information on the Sun Devils, log on to thesundevils.com.

 

Left side of the bracket

 

No. 1 seed UCLA (48-7, 15-5 Pac-10) dropped from its top position in the USA Softball poll following the last week of the regular season, but likely did so due to losing its final two games after already having clinched the Pac-10 championship.  The Bruins then sent regional opponents home with an 11-2 win over Missouri State, a 5-0 victory over Long Beach State and a 7-0 clincher over San Diego State.  UCLA then took care of South Florida with 2-0 and 3-1 victories over the Bulls to reach the WCWS.  For more information on the Bruins, log on to uclabruins.com.

 

No. 8 seed Tennessee (58-10, 21-9 SEC) had the unenviable task of going through the defending national champions for the right to play in the WCWS.  The Lady Vols confirmed any doubt that they could play with very best in the country, with an SEC Tournament championship, before defeating all three of its regional opponents Tennessee Tech (6-4), Virginia Tech (9-1) and Louisville (8-1).  Tennessee was rewarded with a super regional date with 2005 WCWS champ Michigan in what was arguably the most intriguing super regional match-up.  After defeating the Wolverines 5-3 in Game 1, Tennessee lost to Michigan 5-1 in Game 2, forcing a rubber match.  The Lady Vols prevailed with a 1-0 thriller, sending UT back to the WCWS with the promise of a new national champion this year.  For more information on the Lady Vols, log on to utladyvols.com.

 

No. 4 seed Northwestern (47-13, 16-3 Big Ten) defeated regional opponents Southern Illinios (4-0) and Notre Dame by scores of 9-0, 5 innings and 7-4 to advance to the super regional round.  The Wildcats then nearly became victim to Cinderella squad UMass in the Evanston super regional, but would succeed in three games.  After falling to the Minutewomen 1-0 in the opener, NU used a comeback to salvage its season in a 4-2, Game 2 victory, before leaving no doubt in a 9-0 super regional-clinching victory.  For more information on Northwestern, log on to nusports.com.

 

No. 5 seed Alabama (54-9, 25-4 SEC) reached the super regionals with wins over Mississippi Valley State (8-0) and Georgia Tech (8-5, 7-2), before facing Stanford for a trip to OKC.  The Rolling Tide defeated the Cardinal 4-1 and 8-7 (8 innings) to return to the WCWS for the second consecutive year.  For more information on the Rolling Tide, log on to rolltide.com.

 

Arizona’s 20th NCAA Appearance ?- Arizona makes its 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance (20th overall) since 1987, all under coach Mike Candrea, except in the case of 2004 when Larry Ray acted as head coach.  The Wildcats have qualified for the Women’s College World Series in 18 of the last 19 years, including a run of 16 consecutive trips to the WCWS, which ended in 2004.

 

Arizona has a record of 108-31 (.777) in NCAA Tournament games.  In WCWS games, UA is 46-22.

 

For a more detailed look at Arizona’s national championship finishes see pages 52-54 of this year’s media guide.

 

For game-by-game results of Arizona’s NCAA Tournament history, see page 32 of this year’s media guide.

 

Arizona vs. the NCAA Tournament Field ?- Arizona is 35-10 against this year’s opponents included in the 64-team field.  Additionally, the Wildcats racked up a 26-10 record against squads ranked No. 18 or better at the time of the game.

 

Arizona vs. the WCWS Field ?- The Wildcats played 14 games against their fellow WCWS participants, splitting the contests with a 7-7 record.  For a more detailed look, please see pages 45-49 for box scores from those games, but here are the scores and dates of each of regular season match-ups.

 

Date

Opponent

Score

Feb. 10

vs. Northwestern

W, 8-0 (6 inn., no-hitter)

Feb. 11

vs. Texas

W, 1-0

Feb. 26

vs. Texas

L, 0-1

March 18

vs. Alabama

W, 2-0

March 19

vs. Texas

L, 0-1 (9 innings)

March 31

@ Oregon St.

L, 1-2

April 8

vs. UCLA

L 1-2

April 9

vs. UCLA

L, 2-8

April 14

@ Arizona St.

L, 2-4 (10 innings)

April 15

@ Arizona St.

W, 3-0

April 28

@ UCLA

L, 2-9

May 6

vs. Arizona St.

W, 10-0 (6 innings)

May 12

vs. Oregon St.

W, 1-0

May 13

vs. Oregon St.

W, 11-2 (6 innings)

 

Arizona vs. the WCWS Field Historically ?- Arizona’s record against this year’s WCWS teams in NCAA Tournament play and in the WCWS.

 

Team

NCAA

WCWS

Alabama

1-0

1-0

Arizona State

9-3

1-0

Tennessee

0-1

0-1

Texas

0-1

0-1

UCLA

8-4

8-4

 

Arizona has never played Northwestern or Oregon State in postseason play.

 

UA on TV: Although Arizona did not get the same 15-game coverage of national television that it had in 2005, the Wildcats have graced television sets for six games this year.  Most recently, ESPNU and ESPN2 covered all three games of the Tucson Super Regional, as well as the regional-clinching 4-2 victory over Auburn on May 20.  ESPNU televised Arizona’s 1-0 loss to Texas, UA’s first defeat of the year.  FSN carried the Arizona-Stanford game on April 21 in Palo Alto via tape delay, a 4-1 UA victory.

 

USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR FINALISTS:  Four weeks ago, Caitlin Lowe and Alicia Hollowell were named to the USA Softball POY list of 10 finalists.  USA Softball cut its initial list of 25 candidates to 10, and will narrow the list down to three finalists in the coming days.  Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion had been named to the 50-name pre-season watch list.

 

ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA is in his 21st season at Arizona and carries a career 1,076-213 (.835) record in 20 years in the dugout.  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 awa

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