Feb. 20, 2013
WEEK 3 (FEB. 21-23): MARY NUTTER COLLEGIATE CLASSIC // Palm Springs, Calif.
#14 Arizona (8-2) vs. #2 Oklahoma (10-0) // Long Beach State (4-4) // Ohio State (7-3) // Loyola Marymount (3-2) // #11 LSU (10-1)
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Live Audio: An online audio stream of the games will be available at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/uaathletics
Live Stats: Find Gametracker links for all games at http://www.arizonawildcats.com/scoreboard/
Live Updates: Twitter: @UA_Softball (twitter.com/ua_softball) & Facebook: Arizona Athletics (facebook.com/arizonaathletics)
Tournament Information: Visit http://palmspringssoftballclassic.com/ for the full tournament schedule and other useful tournament information.
- The Wildcats will face the toughest test of the young season this weekend when they take on two top-11 teams in a field with a combined 34 wins on the year, entering the weekend.
- Arizona is making its seventh trip to the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, previously the Cathedral City Classic. The Wildcats hold a 27-4 record in the event. UA went 5-1 in the tournament in 2012 with wins over Fresno State, 21st-ranked Oklahoma State, Fordham, Syracuse and Long Beach State; the Cats lost to No. 13 Georgia.
- UA went 5-0 at the Hillenbrand Invitational last weekend, sweeping Nebraska, Drake, Southern Utah, Purdue and Utah State. The Cats pulled in 6,928 fans for the three days, an average of 2,309 fans.
- Hallie Wilson batted a cool .538 in the five games while clouting an impressive four doubles. The sophomore drove in four runs and scored four of her own and stealing a base during the tournament.
- Chelsea Suitos is getting on base more than half the time on the young season. The redshirt sophomore's .514 on-base percentage and .379 slugging percentage leads the team.
- So far, Arizona has had five players play multiple positions defensively.
- Thirteen Wildcats have registered plate appearances through 10 games. Twelve of those 13 have registered at least one RBI, led by Hallie Wilson and Alex Lavine, who is second on the team with a .368 average.
THIS WEEK: Arizona heads to Palm Springs, Calif., for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, where it will play five games over three days, Thursday, Feb. 21, through Saturday, Feb. 23. The Wildcats will face second-ranked Oklahoma (10-0), Long Beach State (4-4), Ohio State (7-3), Loyola Marymount (3-2) and 11th-ranked LSU (10-1) at the neutral site of Big League Dreams. UA is heading to the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, previously known as the Cathedral City Classic, for the seventh time. Arizona holds a 27-4 record at the event in its six previous trip. The Wildcats are coming off their perfect weekend at the Hillenbrand Invitational where they downed Nebraska (1-0), Drake (5-3), Southern Utah (6-3), Purdue (5-4) and Utah State (13-1, 5 innings).
SERIES HISTORY: The Wildcats are making their seventh trip to the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, previously the Cathedral City Classic. The Wildcats hold a 27-4 record in the event. UA went 5-1 in the tournament in 2012 with wins over Fresno State, 21st-ranked Oklahoma State, Fordham, Syracuse and Long Beach State; the Cats lost to No. 13 Georgia. Arizona is 25-15 all-time against Oklahoma, 24-9 against Long Beach State, 12-2 against Ohio State, 1-0 against Loyola Marymount and 8-1 against LSU.
Oklahoma: The Sooners (10-0) maintained their perfect record with a sweep of the Campbell/Cartier Classic in San Diego. OU defeated UC Riverside, San Diego State, Kentucky, Washington and Notre Dame by a combined score of 31-5. Oklahoma pitchers Michelle Gascoigne and Keilani Ricketts have combined to allow just 31 hits in 61.1 innings pitched while striking out 105 batters. Sooner pitchers have a 1.09 ERA while its opponents have an 8.75 mark. Oklahoma has hit 17 home runs, led by Lauren Chamberlain, who's hit six homers and driven in 17 runs. Chamberlain has a .556 batting average in 10 starts.
Series History: Arizona 25-15 // First Meeting: 1983 // Last Meeting: 5/26/2012; Oklahoma 7, Arizona 1; Norman, Okla. (NCAA Super Regional)
Long Beach State: The 49ers (4-4) went 2-3 at the Easton Desert Classic with wins over Seattle and Nevada and losses to Oregon, Oregon State and Utah. CSULB is led by Brianna Stephan who has hit four doubles, a triple and is batting .478 in eight games. The team has a .277 batting average with eight homers. The pitching, however owns a 7.33 team ERA and allows opponents to hit an identical .277 batting average. Erin Jones-Wesley is the team's ace; Jones-Wesley has a 4.57 ERA and has pitched 30.2 of the team's 49.2 innings on the season.
Series History: Arizona 24-9 // First Meeting: 1989 // Last Meeting: 2/26/2012; Arizona 4, Long Beach State; Palm Springs, Calif. (Cathedral City Classic)
Ohio State: The Buckeyes (7-3) went 3-2 at the Jacksonville University Tournament with wins over Bethune Cookman, Louisville and Stony Brook and dropped games to Jacksonville and Bethune Cookman. OSU holds two wins over ranked opponents on the season -- the Buckeyes beat eighth-ranked Georgia 5-4 in the University of Georgia Tournament and beat No. 16 Louisville in the Jacksonville University Tournament. Taylor Watkins leads Ohio State with a .474 batting average and 10 RBI. In the circle, Alex DiDomenico possesses a 0.27 ERA in 25.2 innings pitched. As a team, OSU holds a 2.23 ERA and has struck out 52 batters.
Series History: Arizona 12-2 // First Meeting: 1988 // Last Meeting: 2/9/2007; Arizona 12, Ohio State 3 (5 innings); Tempe, Ariz. (Kajikawa Classic)
Loyola Marymount: The Lions (3-2) were off last week after going 3-2 at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah to open the season. LMU downed Colorado State, Weber State and Utah State and fell to Utah and Arkansas. Stephanie Crist has a double, a triple and two homers and five RBI on the season while Sterling Shuster has a .429 batting average on the season. Sydney Gouveia and Dana Waldusky are co-aces on a staff with a 2.88 ERA.
Series History: Arizona 1-0 // First Meeting: 2011 // Last Meeting: 2/27/2011; Arizona 6, Loyola Marymount 0; Palm Springs, Calif. (Cathedral City Classic)
LSU: The Tigers (10-1) went 6-0 last week with a road victory over Ole Miss on Wednesday and a perfect 5-0 record in the Purple & Gold Challenge in Baton Rouge; the Tigers were victorious over North Dakota State, Virginia twice, Memphis and Nicholls in the tournament. Rachele Fico's 0.38 ERA leads the team. Fico has 51 strikeouts in 36.2 innings pitched and has held opponents to a .143 batting average. As a team, LSU has a 1.03 ERA. Allison Falcon has hit five doubles and a home run in 11 games started and owns a .375 batting average.
Series History: Arizona 8-1 // First Meeting: 1997 // Last Meeting: 2/25/2011; Arizona 4, LSU 1; Palm Springs, Calif. (Cathedral City Classic)
HEAD COACH Mike Candrea: Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is in his 28th year at the helm of the Arizona softball program with a career record of 1,318-298-2 (.815). 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 thrice in the last 25 years (2004, 2011, 2012). In 2012, Candrea became the sport's fastest ever, and second all-time, to reach 1,300 wins. Under Candrea, Arizona has a spectacular postseason record of 151-45. An even 50 All-Americans with a staggering 90 total citations have played in the program since Candrea took over.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona improved to number 14 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll and remained 19th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25. The Wildcats were ranked preseason No. 13 by the NFCA and 14 by USA Softball.
RECENT RESULTS: Arizona swept the Hillenbrand Invitational, outscoring its five opponents (Nebraska, Drake, Southern Utah, Purdue and Utah State) 30-1. Hallie Wilson led the way with a .538 average and four doubles while scoring four runs and driving in four of her own. Estela Piñon posted a 1.91 ERA and struck out 14 batters in 14.2 innings pitched while limiting the opposition to a .204 batting average. In her first collegiate action, Nancy Bowling, who sat out Arizona's opening weekend with a concussion, batted .600 with a double and an RBI in three starts.
LAST YEAR AT THE MARY NUTTER COLLEGIATE CLASSIC: The Wildcats went 5-1 at the 2012 tournament, then named the Cathedral City Classic. Arizona defeated Fresno State (9-0, six innings), 21st-ranked Oklahoma State (8-0, six innings), Fordham (3-2), Syracuse (5-0) and Long Beach State (4-0) and fell to No. 13 Georgia (3-0). Kenzie Fowler and Shelby Babcock had a combined 0.88 ERA in the tournament and struck out 45 batters in 40 innings pitched.
Hallie Wilson: The sophomore went 7-for-13 (.538) and hit four doubles last weekend. Wilson drove in four runs and scored four of her own while slugging .846 and getting on base at a .588 clip. Wilson, who played first base, center field and left field on the weekend, has hit nine consecutive games, the longest hitting streak on the team.
Kelsey Rodriguez: K-Rod hit in every game in the Hillenbrand Invitational and closed the weekend with a monster effort. The junior hit two home runs against Utah State and drove in five runs in the process. Rodriguez batted .429 and scored a team-best six runs.
Nancy Bowling: In her first collegiate action, Nancy Bowling, who sat out Arizona's opening weekend with a concussion, batted .600 with a double and an RBI in three starts.
Estela Piñon: The junior posted a 1.91 ERA and struck out 14 batters in 14.2 innings pitched while limiting the opposition to a .204 batting average.
Chelsea Goodacre: The sophomore went 5-for-14 (.417) at the plate with a home run and four RBI. Goodacre scored four runs while posting an on-base percentage of .400 and slugging .667 on the weekend.
HOME SWEET HOME: Arizona went 5-0 last weekend in the friendly confines of Hillenbrand Stadium. Since its opening in 1993, Arizona has put up a 568-61 record on the field. That's a .902 winning percentage at home in the last 20 years. Hillenbrand has led the nation in attendance nine times since 1994 and set the NCAA record in attendance in 2011 when 77,129 fans turned the turnstiles. UA has averaged over 2,000 fans per game for each of the last four seasons, including last year when it brought in 2,328 per game.
FREE BASES: Allowing free bases to the opposition often portends runs allowed and Arizona has the stats to back it up. UA opponents have scored in 17 separate innings this season, in 14 of those innings, Arizona's pitching and defense, through walks, hit batsmen, wild pitches or errors, has given the opposing offense a free base.
BANDITS: The Wildcats stole five bases in the Hillenbrand Invitational, bringing their total to 13 on the year in 15 tries. Chelsea Suitos and Alex Lavine had two apiece on the weekend; the two swipes for Suitos brought her season total to a perfect 6-for-6. The 13 thefts put Arizona on pace for 69 total stolen bases and Suitos on pace for 32 herself. The pace would put Suitos 11th all-time in stolen bases in a season and the team total would be the most since the 2007 club stole 101 bases.
FRESH FACES: The 2013 Arizona roster features nine newcomers to just seven returning players. Three of the nine newbies are junior transfers -- Estela Piñon (Yavapai College) and Nancy Bowling (Simi Valley, Calif.), Mandie Perez (Whittier, Calif.), Courtney Rodriguez (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Gabbie Sandstedt (Glendale, Ariz.), Darcy Taylor (Jenks, Okla.) and Lauren Young (Anaheim Hills, Calif.).
FAMILY TIES: In 27 years, head coach Kellie Fox is the sister of former Wildcat shortstop and two-time national champion Kristie Fox (04-07).
BDP: Kristie Fox's 230 RBI in eighth place. Del Ponte is ninth with 375 assists.
NEARING THE CENTURY MARK: Kenzie Fowler has 79 career wins, eighth most in program history. With 21 wins in 2013, Fowler would become the eighth pitcher in Wildcat history to reach the 100-win milestone (Alicia Hollowell - 134, Jennie Finch - 119, Carrie Dolan - 103, Becky Lemke - 103, Susie Parra - 101 and Taryne Mowatt - 100). Fowler is also on pace to become the fourth pitcher in school history to strike out one thousand batters. Her quest to 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts will be hampered, though, by her recovery from back surgery, which will keep her out of the first month, or so, of the season.
UP NEXT: Arizona returns home to host the Wildcat Invitational. Arizona welcomes UC Riverside, Boston University and Portland State for the three-day, 10-game event at Hillenbrand Stadium March 1-3.