March 13, 2013
WEEK 6 (MARCH 14-16): JUDI GARMAN CLASSIC // Fullerton, Calif.
#14 Arizona (18-5) vs. Virginia Tech (15-2), Notre Dame (14-6), Penn State (6-12), #15 Michigan (17-6),
#1 Oklahoma (22-1)
|Thursday, March 14||11:00 a.m.||(RV/T21) Virginia Tech||South Field|
|1:30 p.m.||Notre Dame||South Field|
|Friday, March 15||12:30 p.m.||Penn State||Anderson Family Field|
|3:00 p.m.||(15/14) Michigan||Anderson Family Field|
|Saturday, March 16||3:00 p.m.||(1/1) Oklahoma||Anderson Family Field|
- Arizona will play its final nonconference tournament of the season this weekend when it heads to Fullerton, Calif., for the Judi Garman Classic. It is the fifth tournament of the season, third on the road; the Wildcats hold a 15-5 record in tournament play.
- The Wildcats are in search of their first win against a ranked opponent on the season. UA, which has losses to then-14th-ranked Florida, second-ranked Oklahoma and 11th-ranked LSU, will get two shots at picking up its first win of the season. Arizona gets another crack at top-ranked Oklahoma and will play 14th-ranked Michigan. Three of Arizona’s five losses on the year have come to ranked squads, all who currently sit in the top 13.
- Arizona is 8-0 in the month of March after a 10-5 start in February.
- The Wildcats will play their final neutral-site games of the regular season at the Judi Garman Classic; UA is 5-5 on nonpartisan ground this year.
- In the Wildcats first 15 games this season, they scored 60 total runs, an average of four-per-contest. Since then, UA has plated 75 runs, averaging better than nine runs-a-game. One reason for that is that UA has seemed to have found its power stroke. In the first 15 games, Arizona hit 10 home runs and slugged .408 as a team, in the eight games since then, the Cats have hit 17 homers and are slugging .746.
- Lauren Young had nine plate appearances against Boise State. The freshman reached base eight times (.889 OBP) and registered seven hits (.875 avg). Of her seven hits, five of them were home runs to drive in 11 runs.
- Arizona is making its 30th trip to the Judi Garman Classic. UA has competed in the event, formerly the CSFU Pony Invitational, Pony-Louisville Slugger Classic and Kia Classic, every year since 1984.
THIS WEEK: Arizona (18-5) travels to Fullerton, Calif., to conclude the nonconference tournament schedule. UA will meet Virginia Tech (15-2), Notre Dame (14-6), Penn State (6-12), #15 Michigan (17-6) and #1 Oklahoma (22-1) in the three-day event on the campus of Cal State Fullerton. Arizona brings its game winning streak to Fullerton in hopes of picking up its first win against a ranked opponent. UA will have two chances when it takes on Michigan and Oklahoma. Arizona is 0-3 against ranked competition this year.
SERIES HISTORY: Arizona returns to the Judi Garman Classic, formerly known as the CSFU Pony Invitational, Pony-Louisville Slugger Classic and the Kia Klassic, for the 30th time. The Wildcats have competed in this tournament every season since 1984. UA holds a 118-46 mark all-time in the event. UA played just two of its five scheduled games in the 2012 Judi Garman Classic, as the final three days were canceled due to rain.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies (15-2) are receiving votes in the NFCA Top 25 and are tied for 21st in the USA Softball poll. Virginia Tech is coming off a 3-1 showing at the Long Beach State Invitational, which included a 2-1 victory over ninth-ranked UCLA. In addition to the victory over the Bruins, the Hokies downed Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State before dropping a game to UNLV. Lauren Gaskill is hitting .426 with three home runs, nine RBI and 12 stolen bases to lead the Hokies offensively. The pitching staff owns a 1.33 team ERA, led by Kelly Heinz’ 7-0 record and 1.06 ERA.
Series History: Arizona 1-0 // First Meeting: 2008 // Last Meeting: 3/1/2008; Arizona 4, Virginia Tech 3 (12 innings); Hillenbrand Invitational (Tucson, Ariz.)
Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish (14-6) are unranked in both polls. Notre Dame is coming off a 2-1 weekend at the ASU Diamond Devil Invitational. The Fighting Irish beat New Mexico State twice and fell to UC Davis. For her performance on the weekend, Laura Winter was awarded the Big East Pitcher of the Week. Winter is 7-4 on the season with a 2.31 ERA and 101 strikeouts in 78.2 innings pitched. Emilee Koerner leads Notre Dame offensively with a .492 average to go along with eight doubles, two triples, four homers and 20 runs batted in.
Series History: Arizona 8-0 // First Meeting: 1999 // Last Meeting: 5/20/2012; Arizona 8, Notre Dame 3; NCAA Regional (Tucson, Ariz.)
Penn State: The Nittany Lions (6-12) are unranked in both polls. PSU went 2-3 at the Under Armour Showcase in Clearwater, Fla., with wins over Toledo and Maine and losses to Loyola Marymount, Western Michigan and South Carolina. Penn State is led by Cassidy Bell, whose .463 average leads the team and has 10 of the team’s 16 home runs. Bell has 25 RBI and seven stolen bases.
Series History: Arizona 8-2 // First Meeting: 1987 // Last Meeting: 3/14/2009; Penn State 9, Arizona 6; Judi Garman Classic (Fullerton, Calif.)
Michigan: The Wolverines (17-6) are ranked 15th and 14th by the NFCA and USA Softball, respectively. UM went 2-1 at the Red and Black Tournament last weekend, enjoying wins over Miami (Ohio) and Illinois State, but dropping a 5-4 decision to No. 13 Louisville. Haylie Wagner leads the Wolverines in the circle with a 0.93 ERA and a 3-0 record on the season. As a team, Michigan owns a 2.07 ERA and a .317 batting average. The Wolverines are led offensively by Sierra Romero (.351 avg, 7 2B, 2 3B, 5 HR, 22 RBI).
Series History: Arizona 9-6 // First Meeting: 1986 // Last Meeting: 3/18/2011; Michigan 8, Arizona 0; Fullerton, Calif. (Judi Garman Classic)
Oklahoma: The Sooners (22-1) are a nearly unanimous number one in both polls. Oklahoma is coming off of a 4-0 weekend with four run rule victories over Northern Colorado and Drake, both twice. Arizona and Oklahoma are meeting for the second time this season; the Sooners were 5-0 victors at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic in February, and the eighth time in the last three seasons. OU is 7-0 in the previous matchups. Oklahoma is led by Lauren Chamberlain (.500 avg, 7 2B, 13 HR, 32 RBI, 1.242 slg%) and an outstanding pitching staff. Keilani Ricketts (11-0, 0.87 ERA, 121 Ks, 80.2 IP) and Michelle Gascoigne (9-1, 0.70 ERA, 107 Ks, 59.2 IP) spearhead a pitching staff that has allowed just 17 earned runs all season long.
Series History: Arizona 25-16 // First Meeting: 1983 // Last Meeting: 2/21/2013; Oklahoma 5, Arizona 0; Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic (Palm Springs, Calif.)
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 1,328-301-2 (.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 19th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 after being ranked 16th and 20th, respectively, a week ago. The Wildcats were ranked preseason No. 13 by the NFCA and 14 by USA Softball.
RECENT RESULTS: The Cats gave the fans something to maffick about when its performance over the weekend resembled a home run derby. UA blasted 12 home runs en route to a three-game sweep of Boise State last weekend at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona hit nine home runs during Saturday’s doubleheader to set the Arizona record for homers in a twin bill. UA outscored the Broncos 33-11 on the weekend and recorded two run-rule victories. Arizona hit .486 as a team and slugged 1.042, led by Lauren Young’s weekend to remember. The freshman was 7-for-8 (.875 avg) with five home runs and 11 RBI. Five different Cats hit .500 or better on the weekend (Perez, Wilson, Pinon, Goodacre and Young).
Lauren Young: LY entered Arizona’s series with Boise State with two home runs and seven RBI while starting each of Arizona’s first 20 games. She trampled those numbers in just three games against Boise State. Young hit five home runs and drove in 11 runs while batting .875 and slugging a mind-blowing 2.750.
Chelsea Goodacre: Goodie opened the season just 2-for-her-first-22. After the slow start, the sophomore is 19-for-her-last-36 (.546) with 26 RBI over her last 16 games. In the month of March, Goodacre is hitting .714 in eight games with four homers and 16 RBI.
Hallie Wilson: The sophomore is currently enjoying a 12-game hitting streak. Wilson has failed to hit in just one of Arizona’s last 22 games, a 5-0 loss to second-ranked Oklahoma. During her 12-game hitting streak, Wilson is batting .486. The first baseman, who had two career homers entering last weekend (and zero in 2013) blasted two bombs against Boise State.
Estela Pinon: The Tucson native batted .625 against Boise State with a home run, four RBI and five runs scored. Pinon has hit two homers in the Wildcats last five games after hitting zero in the first 18.
Brigette Del Ponte: Although Del Ponte has struggled in terms of batting average, the senior continues to find ways to help the team. Del Ponte has reached base in every one of Arizona’s 23 games. Despite Del Ponte’s .269 batting average, the shortstop is third on the team with 17 RBI and four home runs.
HOME SWEET HOME: Arizona went 3-0 last weekend in the friendly confines of Hillenbrand Stadium, and is a perfect 13-0 at home this season. Since its opening in 1993, Arizona has put up a 576-61 record on the field. That’s a .904 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: UA opponents have scored in 46 separate innings this season, in 39 of those innings, Arizona’s pitching and defense, through walks, hit batsmen, wild pitches, passed balls or errors, have given the opposing offense at least one free base.
FRESH FACES: The 2013 Arizona roster features nine newcomers to just seven returning players. Three of the nine newbies are junior transfers -- 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: Brigette Del Ponte’s RBI and three assists over the weekend helped improve her standing in the Arizona career top 10 in the two categories. The senior is currently tied for seventh with 57 home runs, two away from Mackenzie Vandergeest in sixth place. The shortstop has 212 career RBI, ninth best in program history. Del Ponte will need 18 RBI to catch Kristie Fox’s 230 RBI in eighth place. Del Ponte is seventh with 398 assists. The senior is tied for ninth with 59 career doubles.
UP NEXT: Arizona will begin conference play when it welcomes Washington for a Saturday-Monday Series, March 23-25. Monday’s contest will be shown live on the Pac-12 Network.