March 20, 2002
Next up for the Cats
The Cats (28-4) return home on Wednesday, March 20 at 7 p.m., to face Simon Fraser in an exhibition game. Arizona then faces No.18 Louisiana-Lafayette (19-6), on Friday, March 22 at 7 p.m., Saturday, March 23 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, March 24 at noon.
The Cats at the KIA Klassic
The Arizona softball team traveled to Fullerton, Calif. last weekend for the annual KIA Klassic. The Cats (28-4) finished the tournament with a 3-2 record. Arizona kicked off the tournament on Thursday with an 8-0 win over Texas Tech. Lovie Jung hit two home runs, and pitcher Jenny Gladding struck out 10 batters. Later that day against Notre Dame, Jennie Finch struck out 12 batters and pitched her third no-hitter of the season. On Friday, Arizona fell to Cal-State Northridge, 4-3, snapping their 20-game winning streak. On Friday, Finch pitched a one-hitter to lead the Cats to a 1-0 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Finch extended her win streak to 56 consecutive victories. Later that day, the Wildcats were eliminated from the tournament with a 3-0 loss to Arizona State.
Arizona=s Mike Candrea carries a career record of 899-176 (.836), accomplished in 16+ years with the Wildcats. The 2001 Pac-10 co-Coach of the Year has led UA to six national titles and six Pacific-10 Conference championships. He needs one victory to become only the fifth coach in history to win 900 Division I games. During his tenure Wildcat student-athletes have earned All-America honors 59 times and won the Honda Softball Award four times (Susie Parra-1994, Jenny Dalton-1996, Nancy EvansB1998 and Jennie Finch-2001). Candrea=s Arizona teams have played in 15 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and 14 consecutive College World Series. Candrea is joined by assistant coaches Nancy Evans and Larry Ray.
Home Sweet Home
UA will return home this week, and hope to improve on their home winning streak of 65 games (44 last year and 21 this season). UA last lost in Hillenbrand Stadium on April 9, 2000, to No. 9 Stanford, 4-3, in eight innings. The Cats are 7-4 on the road this year. The home winning streak broke the previous school record of 45 games (May 1996 to March 1998).
The Rankings: 1-3-2-2-3
Arizona was ranked No. 3 in the March 20 poll. UA was No. 1 in the preseason poll, No. 2 in the March 14 poll, No. 2 in the March 6 poll, and No. 3 in the February 27 poll. UA has been ranked steadily since 1988.
Finch on Fire
UA senior All-American - and 2001 Honda Softball Award winner -- Jennie Finch has won 56 consecutive games in the circle, an NCAA mark she established Feb. 24 with her 51st. She broke the record of 50 that was set by Rebecca Aase of Florida State from 1991 to 1993. The remarkable streak is all the more so because it spans considerable Pac-10 play and NCAA regional and WCWS action. She was 32-0 last year, another NCAA record for single-season perfection. Finch is 16-0 with an earned run average of 0.48 and has 162 strikeouts in 102 innings pitched. Among her 11 shutouts, she has three no-hitters this year (eight in her career).
Bangin' Them Silly
Among one of the seemingly unassailable records UA set in 2001 was the team's 126 home runs in 69 games. This year a powerful UA club has whacked 56 dingers in 32 games - a pace (1.75 per game) ahead of last year's effort. Leneah Manuma leads the team with 15 homers and needs five more to top her freshman-year high of 19 a year ago. Arizona also has hit 10 grand slam home runs this year. The team slugging percentage is .603.
Wildcat Softball Notes
...Manuma has 51 RBI in 81 at-bats. She has a crack at the UA top 10 chart on which No. 10 is catcher Leah Braatz 75 RBI in 1994... Manuma's 34 career homers are No. 8 on the UA charts - in only one-plus seasons... Catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest is No. 9 on the career chart with 26...
...Arizona leads the Pac-10 in home runs, with 56. Manuma leads the Pac-10 in home runs with 15 and Jennie Finch is second in the Pac-10 with 162 strikeouts... The Cats slugging percentage of .603 is second in the Pac-10.
...Lead-off hitter Lovie Jung has walked a team-high 25 times, scored a team-high 37 runs and leads the team with 40 hits...
...Candrea platoons four players in left and right fields - Allyson Von Lichtenstein (RF), Carrie Hagen (LF), Meghann Finnerty (LF) and Candace Abrams (RF). Starting left fielder Courtney Fossatti might return to action soon after missing three weeks with a stress fracture in her left foot. She's the team's leading hitter at .475...
...Arizona has outscored opponents 231-36 ... Arizona has scored 185 runs in the first four innings... Jennie Finch's career pitching record is 101-10. She is only the fifth pitcher in UA history to win 100 games. With three more victories she'll pass Carrie Dolan (103-13, from 1994-97), Becky Lemke (103-19, 1998-2001) and Susie Parra (101-9, 1991-94) into the No. 2 spot behind current assistant coach and former Honda Award winner Nancy Evans (124-8, from 1994-98)...
...The Wildcats are 9-1 against ranked teams this year. Their four losses this season were to Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Cal-State Northridge and No. 8 Arizona State...