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No. 3 Softball Seeks Season Sweep of No. 9 ASU
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/17/2007
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The third-ranked Arizona softball team (31-8, 7-1 Pac-10) concludes its season series with in-state rival No. 9 Arizona State (39-10, 5-3) at 7 p.m. this Wednesday at ASU’s Farrington Stadium.

 

Later in the week, the Wildcats will host the Oregon schools at Hillenbrand Stadium.

 

ARIZONA SOFTBALL THIS WEEK

Wednesday, April 18 at Arizona State ?- 7 p.m.

                Radio: KCUB 1290 AM (Brian Jeffries/Erika Hanson)

Friday, April 20 vs. Oregon State ?- 7 p.m.

                TV: FSN Tape Delay (Cara Capuano/Angie Mentik)

Saturday, April 21 vs. Oregon ?- 7 p.m.

Sunday, April 22 vs. Oregon ?- noon

 

LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE: Arizona State has announced that as of Tuesday afternoon, less than 200 standing room only tickets were available for Wednesday’s game.  Fans, particularly those from Tucson, are advised to order tickets through ASU’s website by clicking here or by calling the Sun Devil ticket office at 480-727-0000 or 888-786-3857.

 

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND: Arizona swept Stanford and California to improve to 7-1 in Pac-10 play and 20-1 in games at Hillenbrand Stadium.

 

UA started the weekend with a 4-1 win over the then-No. 12 Cardinal, paced offensively by Callista Balko’s 2-for-3, four-RBI performance at the plate.  Taryne Mowatt went the distance, striking out 11 Stanford hitters and allowing just one run on five hits in her 22nd victory of the year.

 

On Saturday, Arizona overcame a third-inning, two-run deficit to defeat Cal, 6-4.  Chelsie Mesa drove in half of the Wildcat runs, with a pair of RBI doubles.  Caitlin Lowe contributed with two hits, two runs and an RBI.  Mowatt tossed her seventh consecutive complete game in Pac-10 action and improved her overall record to 23-7 and 6-1 in league play. 

 

Sunday’s contest called for another mild UA comeback, but the story of the day was howling winds that gusted up to 40 miles per hour.  Down 1-0 in the fourth, Arizona took advantage of a pair of dropped pop ups to score three runs on three hits and two errors in the inning.  After trading one run apiece with Cal in the fifth, UA got its fifth and final run of the game on an infield double that Jenae Leles skied no more than 15 feet in front of home plate that went untouched by any Golden Bear fielder.  Sarah Akamine became the first Arizona  pitcher not named Taryne Mowatt to see any action in the circle during Pac-10 play this year.  Akamine earned the victory with five innings of work, with Mowatt coming in for the final two innings to capture her third save of the year.

 

NOTING THE SUN DEVILS: Arizona State made quick work of Cal and Stanford, outscoring the Bay Area schools by a 23-2 margin over three games.  The Sun Devils enter Wednesday’s game with an overall 39-10 record, 5-3 mark in Pac-10 play, which is good for a second place tie.  ASU is currently 4-5 against ranked opponents. 

 

Pitcher Katie Burkhart captured the USA Softball Player of the Week award and holds a 21-8 record this season.  The Sun Devils have been shut out in four of her eight losses on the year.  Outfielder Kaitlin Cochran leads the Pac-10 in batting average (.515), on-base percentage (.616) and slugging percentage (.934).  However, as a team, ASU is hitting a Pac-10 low .178 in conference games and has only one stolen base in Pac-10 action.

 

AGAINST ARIZONA STATE: Earlier this season, the Wildcats improved to 26-0 all-time at Hillenbrand Stadium against the Sun Devils with a pair of 1-0 victories over their in-state rivals. 

 

On Friday, April 6, Taryne Mowatt tossed a no-hitter and Kristie Fox plated pinch runner Jill Malina with a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to give UA its first 1-0 victory of the weekend.  The game drew 2,729 fans for the 13th-largest crowd in Hillenbrand Stadium history and largest since Team USA visited the Old Pueblo in 2004.

 

The next night’s game was more of the same.  Mowatt limited ASU to two hits in another 1-0 win; this time the game-winning run was driven in by a K'Lee Arredondo fielder’s choice in the second inning.  Once again, over 2,500 fans came to see the contest and many more saw UA’s win as ESPN2 broadcast the game to a national audience.

 

Mowatt totaled 21 strikeouts to just two hits and one walk in 14 shutout innings on the weekend.  For her efforts, she was named USA Softball National Player of the Week.

 

ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA ?- is in his 22nd season at the helm of the Arizona softball program.  He boasts a 1,112-222 (.834) record in 21 seasons in the dugout.  Candrea is one of five Division I softball head coaches to have won 1,110 games and was the fastest to do so.  He has earned 17 coach of the year honors, including nine Pac-10 Coach of the Year citations, and is a member of the NFCA Hall of Fame.  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.  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.  During his tenure, Arizona has won nine Pac-10 titles and seven national championships.

 

1,100 WINS FOR CANDREA: On March 16 in Fullerton’s Judi Garman Classic, Arizona head coach Mike Candrea won his 1,110th career game in an 11-0 rout of Pacific.  Incidentally, Candrea’s son Mikel was on hand as Pacific’s hitting coach.

 

With the win, Candrea joined Margie Wright (Fresno State), JoAnne Graf (Florida State) and Gayle Blevins (Iowa) as one of only four coaches to accumulate 1,100 Division I softball coaching victories.  Since then, LSU’s Yvette Giourard joined the illustrious group with her 1,100th win.  Additionally, as this is his 21st season in the dugout, Candrea is now the fastest of the four to reach the 1,100-win plateau.  The feat took Wright 24, Graf 22, Blevins 28 and Giourard 27 years, respectively, to get to 1,100 wins.

 

ARIZONA TOPS NFCA RPI, STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: The Wildcats have the top RPI and strength of schedule, according to the NFCA’s simulated ratings percentage index, which can be found at http://www.fullysports.com/softball/2007/rpi.  Arizona has received top-billing in the first two weeks rankings have been released this season, with the third week’s rankings expected to come out Wednesday.

 

MOWATT NAMED USA SOFTBALL PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Arizona pitcher Taryne Mowatt was named Co-USA Softball Player of the Week for her efforts the week of April 2-8 against then-No. 9 Arizona State.  Mowatt tossed a pair of 1-0 shutouts, including a no-hitter on Friday and a two-hitter on Saturday.  She combined to strikeout 21 Sun Devil hitters, while walking only one batter over 14 innings.  She limited an ASU team that entered the weekend averaging over six runs per game and a .300 team batting average to no runs and a .045 clip in the two contests.

 

Mowatt was also named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for her work against ASU and earlier in the season (March 13-19) for leading UA to a runner-up finish at Fullerton’s Judi Garman Classic, in which she posted victories over NC State, Pacific, Michigan and Louisiana-Lafayette.

 

MO-HITTERS: On April 6 against ASU, Taryne Mowatt tossed her fourth career no-hitter and second of 2007.  That places her seventh in UA history for no-no’s, with all six Wildcat greats ahead of her garnering at least one All-America citation during their careers.

 

STRIKE THREE! Two weeks ago, Taryne Mowatt reached the 400 career-inning plateau that qualified her for a place on NCAA ratio-based career record lists, such as ERA.  Entering the week, Mowatt’s 10.6 strikeouts per seven innings rank her seventh on the all-time list, right behind Alicia Hollowell and fourth among active players.

 

A NEW WORKHORSE: When four-time All-American pitcher Alicia Hollowell’s eligibility expired with the 2006 Women’s College World Series championship last season, the Wildcats knew that they had to replace someone who had pitched in over 75 percent of Arizona’s games since 2003.  Taryne Mowatt has pitched every inning of Pac-10 play, seen action in at least part of 35 of UA’s 39 games this year and has recorded over 76 percent of the total outs. 

 

USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR “WATCH LIST”: Arizona senior shortstop Kristie Fox and senior center fielder Caitlin Lowe were named to the list of 25 finalists for the USA Softball Player of the Year award.  Junior catcher Callista Balko and junior pitcher Taryne Mowatt had been named to the preseason 50-name list.  Lowe was one of three finalists for the award in 2005, while Alicia Hollowell was a top-three finalist last year.

 

LOWE NAMED CANDIDATE FOR LOWE’S SENIOR CLASS AWARD:  Caitlin Lowe was named one of 20 candidates for the 2007 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. Candidates were selected based on personal qualities that define the complete student athlete.  While on-the-field performance during their collegiate softball careers is a factor in determining candidates and the eventual winner, their personal character and off-the-field achievements in the classroom and community are major areas of focus.  Finalists for the award will be announced on April 26.

 

THE LOWE-DOWN ON THE RECORD BOOK: As a three-time, first-team NFCA All-American Caitlin Lowe has already cemented her name into the annals of Arizona softball.  In addition to the inevitable single-season marks she will set or challenge throughout 2007, Lowe is already climbing up the school record book and has a legitimate shot to finish in the top 10 in four categories in NCAA history. 

 

Lowe in top 10 Arizona history

Category

 

Ariz. Rank

NCAA Rank

Batting Avg.

.456

2

6

Hits

319

6

t-19

Runs

226

8

13

Stolen Bases

143

2

t-14

Triples

10

4

 

 

300-200-100 CLUB: Caitlin Lowe is one of 11 players in NCAA Div. I softball history to have accumulated 300 hits, 200 runs and 100 stolen bases over her career.  Arizona has three former Wildcats plus Lowe on the list and is the only program represented by more than one athlete.

 

Nicole Barber, Georgia 379 hits, 266 runs, 257 stolen bases
Lauren Bauer, Arizona 349 hits, 238 runs, 133 stolen bases
Amy Chellevold, Arizona 371 hits, 252 runs, 113 stolen bases

*Norrelle Dickson, Oklahoma 312 hits, 226 runs, 103 stolen bases
Kelly Krestchman, Alabama 368 hits, 288 runs, 133 stolen bases
*Caitlin Lowe, Arizona 319 hits, 226 runs, 143 stolen bases

Alison McCutcheon, Arizona 405 hits, 289 runs, 148 stolen bases

*Lindsay Schutzler, Tennessee 341 hits, 227 runs, 112 stolen bases

Tiff Tootle, South Carolina 351 hits, 207 runs, 114 stolen bases

Natasha Watley, UCLA 395 hits, 252 runs, 158 stolen bases

Shamalene Wilson, Florida St. 310 hits, 223 runs, 161 stolen bases
 

*current players

 

PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: On March 6 Caitlin Lowe (Feb. 26-March 4) became the first Arizona player to be named the Conference’s player of the week this season.  The honor was well-deserved, as Lowe helped Arizona sweep Missouri by batting .700 (7-for-10), scoring eight runs with four RBI and nine stolen bases.  She scored multiple runs and had multiple hits in all three games and had a pair of four-stolen base contests.

 

SENIORS LEADING THE WAY: In 25 of the last 26 games, Arizona has started seniors in the first, second and third spots in the batting order.  Caitlin Lowe, Chelsie Mesa and Kristie Fox are the first trio of seniors to be penciled in to the top of the order since Lauren Bauer, Nicole Giordano and Toni Mascarenas started up the majority of games during UA’s 2001 title run.

 

Below are the seniors’ combined numbers in relation to the other six spots in the batting order throughout the year: 

 

 

Avg.

Runs

RBI

SB

Seniors

.374

104

85

52

Non-seniors

.255

109

109

23

 

 

FOX RACKS UP THE RIBBIES: Kristie Fox enters the weekend ranked seventh on UA’s career RBI list with 208.

 

Fox leads Arizona with 41 RBI, 12 more than Chelsie Mesa’s 29 ribbies that are good for second on the team.  A two-time, first-team NFCA All-American, Fox also leads the Wildcats in home runs (10), slugging percentage (.626) and total bases (77).

 

THREE TIMES A CHAMPION: If nothing else, Chelsie Mesa can be called a winner.  The senior second baseman from Yuma, Ariz., transferred to Arizona after two years at Phoenix College.  All she did there was lead the Bears to two NJCAA national titles and grab a couple of national tournament MVP honors.  In her first year with Arizona, Mesa started every game on the 2006 national championship squad.  In the coming months, Mesa has the opportunity to accomplish the rarest of feats: win her fourth national championship as a player.

 

ACTION ACTON: Arizona right fielder Adrienne Acton entered the year as a .274 hitter with one career extra-base hit.  This year, the nine-hole slapper is batting a steady .315 overall and .318 in Pac-10 contests, and has four extra-base hits including two of UA’s four triples.  On April 1 at UCLA, Acton had her second career three-hit game in a 3-for-4, two-RBI effort against UCLA.

 

Since splitting time with Cyndi Duran at the beginning of the year, Acton has started UA’s last 22 games and is hitting .333 since Duran went down with an injury to her left hand on Feb. 28.  One game after Duran was sidelined, Acton took off with a career-long, 11-game hitting streak. 

 

HITTING STREAKS: In Arizona’s March 17 victory over Michigan, Chelsie Mesa’s Pac-10 leading 22-game hitting streak came to an end.  The senior infielder batted .444 (32-for-72) with 10 extra-base hits, 15 RBI and eight stolen bases over the duration of the streak that lasted from Feb. 10 through March 16.  The streak was the longest for an Arizona player since Autumn Champion had a base knock in 25 straight games in 2003.  Adrienne Acton’s career-long 11-game streak was snapped the very next game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

 

The following is a list of the longest hitting streaks in the Pac-10 over the last two years.

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