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Arizona Softball World Series Guide
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/30/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- For the 17th time in 18 years, Arizona will make an appearance in the Women’s College World Series.  Last year was the first time in 16 seasons that the Wildcats failed to reach the WCWS. 

 

Date

Opponent

Time

TV

Thur., June 2

No. 11 Tennessee

10 a.m. (MST)

ESPN2

 

If Arizona wins first game,

Date

Opponent

Time

TV

Fri., June 3

No. 2 California or No. 7 UCLA

5 p.m. (MST)

ESPN2

 

If Arizona loses first game,

Date

Opponent

Time

TV

Sat., June 4

No. 2 California or No. 7 UCLA

9 a.m. (MST)

ESPN

 

Other first round match-ups:

           

No. 2 California vs. No. 7 UCLA

noon (MST/PDT)

No. 1 Michigan vs. DePaul

4:30 p.m. (MST/PDT)

No. 12 Alabama vs. No. 4 Texas

6:30 p.m. (MST/PDT)

 

Note: All first round games are scheduled for Thursday, June 2, and will be televised on ESPN2.

 

How They Got to the WCWS?-

 

Right Side of Bracket

 

Arizona (44-10, 13-8) swept No. 14 Oklahoma in the Tucson Super Regional by scores of 6-0 and 7-6.  The Wildcats also hosted a Regional, defeating Lehigh 12-0 (five innings) and Oklahoma State 3-0 and 2-1 (eight innings).

 

Tennessee (64-13) one-hit Stanford in a 6-0, series-clinching victory, one day after two-hitting the Cardinal in a 2-0 win at Stanford, Calif.  The Lady Vols hosted a Regional, defeating Miami (Ohio) 9-0, before defeating the College of Charleston 4-0 and 2-0.  Tennessee has yet to surrender a run in five games of NCAA Championship play.  For more information on the Lady Vols, log on to www.utladyvols.com.

 

California (52-13) has had a tough road to travel to Oklahoma City, despite being the tournament’s No. 2 seed.  The Golden Bears squeaked out of Regional play, after losing their first game to BYU, 3-1.  Arguably the most exciting play of its postseason, Cal catcher Haley Woods smacked a two-run double, with two strikes and two outs, to stave off elimination and give her team a 4-3 win over Long Beach State.  Cal consequently run-ruled BYU, 9-0, in five innings to earn a date with host Fresno State.  Cal defeated the Bull Dogs, 3-1 and 1-0, to move on to Super Regional play.

 

Things did not get any easier for Cal, as the Golden Bears were sent to Waco, Texas, where Baylor waited.  Cal defeated the Bears, 8-0, but lost the second game, 4-1.  In the Super Regional’s rubber match, Cal prevailed, winning 7-1.

 

Three or less total runs were scored in seven of Cal’s last 10 regular season games.  During that stretch, the Golden Bears won four games by a count of 1-0.  For more information on the Golden Bears, log on to www.calbears.com.

 

UCLA (36-18) enters the WCWS as the only team left in the field with less than 40 wins on the season.  To the Bruins’ advantage, they are also the only two-time defending NCAA champion left in the field, as well.

 

Like Arizona, the Bruins hosted both the Regional and Super Regional.  UCLA opened up its title defense by defeating Loyola Marymount, 6-1.  In the second game, however, the Bruins lost an 11-inning heart-breaker to Cal State Fullerton, 2-1.  UCLA battled back by defeating UNLV, 4-1, before taking their revenge out on the Titans, twice.  UCLA defeated CSF, 6-0 and,3-1, to advance to Super Regional play.

 

In the Super Regional, UCLA took the long road to victory once again, losing to Georgia, 4-1.  The Bruins responded with a come from behind 5-4, win to force a third game.  In that third game, UCLA jumped ahead 3-0 in the first inning and hung on, ultimately defeating the Lady Dogs, 3-2.  For more information on UCLA, log on to www.uclabruins.com.

 

Left Side of Bracket

 

Michigan (60-5) survived a Super Regional scare against a power-packed Washington team.  The Huskies snapped Michigan’s 13-game winning streak in the second game of the Super Regional with a, 3-2, win over the top-ranked Wolverines.  Washington came out with two early runs in the third game of the series, but Michigan responded with 11 consecutive runs to move on to the CWS. 

 

The Big Blue dismantled its Regional opponents with an 8-1 win over Canisius, a 5-0 decision over Seton Hall, and a 6-0 decision over North Carolina.

 

Michigan took over the nation’s No. 1 spot in the rankings after defeating then-top ranked Arizona at the Kia Klassic in Fullerton, Calif.  Michigan defeated three WCWS teams (DePaul, Texas, Arizona) in two days at the Kia Klassic, as it was in the midst of a 32-game winning streak.  For more information on the Wolverines, log on to www.mgoblue.com.

 

DePaul (45-19) enters the WCWS as the only unseeded team in the eight-team field.  The Blue Demons defeated Northwestern, 4-3 and 3-1, to advance to its third WCWS.  In Regional play, DePaul defeated host Wisconsin, 6-0, and UW-Green Bay, 4-0.  The Blue Demons then fell to co-Pac-10 champion Oregon State, 7-0.  DePaul responded to the thrashing with a Regional-clinching, 8-6, victory to send the Beavers packing.

 

For more information on DePaul, log on to www.depaulbluedemons.com.

 

Texas (47-11) is one of the stingiest teams when it comes to giving up runs.  The Longhorn pitching has been touched up for a total of two runs in the team’s last 10 games.  The good news for opponents is that Texas has scored more than three runs just once in that timeframe. 

 

Texas hosted and defeated Bethune-Cookman in Super Regional play, with 1-0 and 6-1 victories over the Wildcats.  In the Austin Regional, Texas defeated Massachusetts, 1-0, before having consecutive, 2-0, victories over Mississippi State to advance.  For more information on the Longhorns, log on to www.texassports.com.

 

Alabama (62-13) defeated Texas A&M, 4-1 and 6-5, in College Station, Texas, to advance to the CWS.  The Crimson Tide won all three of its Regional games in Tuscaloosa, Ala., by defeating Mississippi Valley State, 9-1, Arizona State, 3-1, and Hofstra, 6-0.

 

Alabama’s 62 wins on the season give the Crimson Tide the most victories of any team in the WCWS field.  For more information on the Crimson Tide, log on to www.rolltide.com

 

Arizona’s 19th NCAA Appearance ?- Arizona appears in its 19th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance (19th overall) since 1987, all under coach Mike Candrea, except in the case of last year when Larry Ray acted as head coach.  Last year, Arizona had its streak of 16 consecutive trips to the Women’s College World Series snapped when the Wildcats lost to Oklahoma and Louisiana-Lafayette in the Tucson Regional. 

 

Arizona has a record of 102-28 (.785) in all NCAA Tournament games.  In the WCWS, UA has a record of 45-20 (.692).

 

For a more detailed look at Arizona’s national championship finishes see pages 57-62 of this year’s media guide.

 

For game-by-game results of Arizona’s NCAA Tournament history, see page 35 of this year’s media guide.

 

Arizona vs. the WCWS Field ?- The Wildcats have been roughed up a bit by a few of the teams that advanced to Oklahoma City this season.  Arizona is 1-7 against its fellow World Series competitors, including 0-3 against UCLA, 1-2 versus California, and 0-1 against both Texas and Michigan.  In those eight games, Arizona’s pitchers have been touched up for a 4.15 ERA, while opponent pitchers have had an ERA of 0.97, holding UA batters to a .206 batting average.

 

In games against opponents not in this year’s WCWS field, Arizona is 43-3, with a .328 team batting average and a 0.66 team ERA.   
Arizona vs. Tennessee ?- Thursday’s match-up will be a first for these two programs in postseason history.  The Wildcats and Lady Vols did not face each other this season.
 
Arizona vs. California ?- The Wildcats and Golden Bears have played several memorable games already this year.  In UA’s second Pac-10 game of the season, the Wildcats trailed 2-0 entering the bottom half of the seventh inning.  In the first six innings, Arizona had only four hits off of Cal pitcher Kristina Thorson.  With two outs and two runners on, Autumn Champion laid down a bunt base hit to load the bases for the nation’s RBI leader Kristie Fox.  Fox proceeded to slug Thorson’s first pitch over the left field wall at Hillenbrand Stadium for a dramatic walk-off victory.  In the teams’ other tilt in Tucson, California defeated the Wildcats 6-3.
 
In the final weekend of Pac-10 play, Arizona traveled to Berkeley, Calif., where the Bears claimed the season series with a walk-off victory of their own, with a 1-0 decision.
 
In WCWS play, Arizona is 4-3 against California.  Despite having a winning record against the Golden Bears, Arizona has lost its last three series contests to Cal.  In their last WCWS appearance, the 2003 Arizona season came to an end with 2-1 and 4-1 losses to Cal.  The year prior, California defeated UA, 6-0, to claim the national championship.
 
Arizona vs. UCLA ?- The two-time defending national champions have given Arizona some problems this year, sweeping the season series between the perennial powerhouses.  In the first game between the Bruins and Wildcats, UCLA handed Arizona its first mercy rule loss in over two years, with a 9-1 defeat in Los Angeles.  The Bruins came back the next day and jumped on Alicia Hollowell early for four runs in the first.  The Wildcats battled back to tie the game in the seventh inning, but the Bruins responded with a run of their own for a 5-4 win.  Things did not get much better for the Wildcats when they played host to UCLA in Tucson.  After three scoreless innings, the UCLA bats woke up for six runs in the next four innings, and a 6-0 win over the Wildcats.
 
The two programs with the most WCWS appearances have met 12 times at the WCWS, with Arizona holding an 8-4 all-time edge over the Bruins.  UCLA has won 10 national championships and is the only program to have played 100 WCWS games. 

 

Arizona vs. Texas ?- When the Wildcats and Longhorns faced off in Fullerton, Calif., at the Kia Klassic, two of the game’s top strikeout pitchers were in the circle and they did not disappoint.  UA’s Alicia Hollowell and UT’s Cat Osterman combined to throw 19 and 2/3 innings, with five hits, two walks, and one run.  Unfortunately for the Wildcats, it was a lady in burnt orange that crossed the plate on a two-out single by Longhorn Jacqueline Williams.

 

The Wildcats and Longhorns have never played each other in postseason play.

 

Arizona vs. Michigan ?- The two teams that occupied the nation’s top ranking for the majority of the season also played each other at the Kia Klassic.  Michigan scored three runs in the top of the second inning and never looked back.  When all was said and done, the Wolverines emerged with a 6-2 victory.

 

Arizona and Michigan have never played each other at the WCWS, but the two programs faced each other in 1992 at the Tucson Regional.  Arizona took the first game 1-0 and the second 8-0.

 

Arizona vs. Entire NCAA Field ?- Prior to the Regional, Arizona was 24-10 against teams selected to appear in the NCAA Tournament, including its 13-8 record against Pac-10 teams in the field.  Including their Regional and Super Regional victories, Arizona is 29-10 against teams in the tournament.  During the year, the Cats beat all Pac-10 teams, with the exception of UCLA.  Regular season games against non-Pac-10 teams included wins over Northwestern, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Miami (Ohio), Florida State, Oklahoma, Fresno State, and two victories over Louisiana-Lafayette.  The two losses came to fourth-seeded Texas and top-seeded Michigan. 

 

Cats in the Polls ?- Arizona has been in the top four all year in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. The latter poll made its debut in 2003. In the NFCA poll, Arizona has been ranked steadily since 1988. Here’s how Arizona has fared in the polls this year (dates are Wednesdays in season):

 

ESPN.com/USA Softball: 3 (5/10), 3(5/3), 2(4/26), 3(4/19), 2(4/12), 2(4/5), 2(3/29), 2(3/22), 1(3/15), 1(3/8), 1(3/1), 1(2/22), 1(2/15)

 

NFCA/USA Today: 3 (5/10), 2 (5/4), 2(4/27), 4(4/20), 2(4/13), 2(4/6), 2(3/30), 2(3/23), 1(3/16), 1(3/9), 1(3/2), 2(2/23), 2(2/16)

 

Cats vs. Ranked Opponents ?- Arizona played to a 19-9 record against teams ranked in the poll this year, with only one loss to a non-ranked opponent.

 

UA on TV: ESPN’s visit to the Old Pueblo for the Super Regional was its third weekend in Tucson this season.  Arizona has played 12 games on national television in 2005, for a record of 7-4.  Eight of the games were televised on ESPN’s family of networks and one was on CSTV.  Of the eight ESPN games, UA dropped three contests to UCLA (two in Los Angeles, one in Tucson), defeated Oregon twice in Tucson, lost to Oregon State once in Tucson, and defeated Washington twice in Tucson.  Arizona defeated Stanford in Palo Alto for the CSTV game.  UA’s game against Washington in Seattle was scheduled to be televised on Fox Sports Net via tape delay, but the game was suspended due to rain.

 

Arizona Head Coach

Mike Candrea (Arizona State ’78) is in his 20th year with Arizona and carries a career record of 1026-201 (.836).  Candrea has won 100 NCAA playoff games.  Candrea returned to Arizona after taking a year off to coach the U.S. Olympic softball team to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in Athens. Candrea was also awarded the Olympic Shield award, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s most prestigious award, in January. Candrea’s award, given for outstanding service to the USOC and the Olympic movement, marked the first time in history that the award was given to an Olympic coach.  In early May, Candrea was named USOC National Coach of the Year as the U.S. Olympic Team’s best coach in any sport.  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.

 

Candrea by the Numbers

Overall record:            1026-21

Pac-10 games:            311-81

NCAA games:            100-26

NCAA Regionals:            55-6

WCWS games:      45-20

Olympic Gold:      1

All-Americans:      69

 

Candrea’s Honors

2004   USA Olympic team head coach

          Olympic Shield Award

          USOC Coach of the Year

2003   Pac-10 Coach of the Year

2002   Pac-10 Coach of the Year

2001   Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year

2000   Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year

1999   University of Arizona Honorary Alumnus Degree

1998   Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1997   NFCA Division I Coach of the Year

          Pacific Region Coach of the Year

          Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1996   NFCA Division I Coach of the Year

          Elected to NFCA Hall of Fame

1995   Pacific Region Coach of the Year

1994   NSCA Division I Coach of the Year

          Pacific Region Coach of the Year

          Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1988          Northwest Region Coach of the Year

          Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1987   Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1986   Pacific-West Co-Coach of the Year

1985     NJCAA Coach of the Year (Central Arizona)

 

 

Arizona Assistant Coaches

Larry Ray (Idaho State ?'74) served as acting assistant head coach in 2004, while Candrea coached the U.S. Olympic Team.  He carries an overall record of 224-112, as a head coach including five years at the helm of Florida. Associate head coach Nancy Evans is a former Honda Award winner as a player at Arizona. Evans has been an assistant at UA since 1999. First-year Volunteer Assistant Mackenzie Vandergeest, a May 2005 graduate of UA, was invited to participate at the USA Softball National Team Selection Camp from June 13-17, at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif.  

 

Postseason Honors

 

Collegiate Women Sports Awards Softball Finalists

Caitlin Lowe            Arizona

Cat Osterman            Texas

Kristen Rivera            Washington

Amanda Scarborough            Texas A&M

 

The winner will be decided by nationwide voting among NCAA member schools and will receive the Honda Sports Award for softball and become a nominee for The Honda-Broderick Cup awarded annually to the nation’s outstanding collegiate woman athlete of the year.

 

Lowe is the 14th Arizona player to be a finalist for the award, and would join Jennie Finch (two-time winner), Nancy Evans, Jenny Dalton, and Susie Parra as winners of the award.

 

All-Pacific Region Honors

Arizona softball players Caitlin Lowe, Alicia Hollowell, Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion earned 2005 Pacific ll-Region honors in 2005.

 

Junior pitcher Hollowell is a three-time first-team pick, sophomore outfielder Caitlin Lowe is a two-time selection, sophomore shortstop Fox earned her first honor and junior outfielder Champion, a second-team pick this year, earned her third All-Pacific honor.

 

The regional selection put them on ballots for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America team to be selected May 30-31 and announced at Women's College World Series ceremonies in Oklahoma City this week.

 

Hollowell is a two-time first-team All-America pick, as is Champion. Lowe earned that honor last year in her freshman season. Fox, the national leader in RBI per game this year, will get a chance to become UA's 35th All-American -- joining a group that has earned the citation 70 times.

All-Pacific-10 Conference Honors

Arizona outfielder Caitlin Lowe earned Pacific-10 Conference Softball Player of the Year in 2005, a shared honor with Washington catcher Kristen Rivera.

Lowe’s honor is the sixth league player of year award in UA Softball history, ninth including Pitcher of the Year honors.

UA sophomore shortstop Kristie Fox was named to the All-Pac-10 first team, as was junior pitcher Alicia Hollowell. Junior outfielder Autumn Champion earned All-Pac-10 second team honors.

Lowe joins four former Wildcats to earn five player of the year honors -- pitcher Susie Parra in 1994, infielder Jenny Dalton in 1996, and Alison McCutcheon in 1997 and 1998. Later, the league split out pitcher of the year honors and Jennie Finch won in 2001 and 2002, and Hollowell won it last year.

Hollowell earned her third first-team honor and was Newcomer of the Year in her freshman season. Lowe is a second-time first-team pick and won Newcomer of the Year honors last season. Champion’s all-league honor is her third after first-team selection in 2003 and 2004. Fox’s honor is her first. Seniors Crystal Farley and Jackie Coburn earned honorable mention.

USA Softball Collegiate National Player of the Year

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