The Arizona softball team (3-0) takes their first road trip of the season when they travel up to Phoenix for the Fiesta Bowl Tournament. On Friday Arizona faces No. 17 Southwest Texas State (1-4) and Texas (0-0). On Saturday the Cats play No. 10 Cal State Fullerton (1-1) and Mississippi State (0-0). On Sunday Arizona takes on No. 24 Massachusetts (0-0) and Wisconsin (0-0). All games will be held at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in Phoenix.
Directions to the complex:
Coming from ASU's Farrington Stadium turn right on Rural Road. Take the 202 West. Take the 202 to Hwy 17 north. After several miles on Hwy 17, take the Dunlap exit east (right). Turn north (left) at 25th Ave. The Rose Mofford Sports Complex is on the right within a mile. Parking is free and the gate entrance is on the west side of the softball field complex.
The Home Sweep
The Cats were home this weekend against Alabama and finished the weekend with a three game sweep. In the first game on Friday the Cats showed no mercy for the Crimson Tide. With the bases loaded sophomore Mackenzie Vandergeest hit a grand slam to give the Cats an 8-2 victory over Alabama. On Saturday Jennie Finch hit two home runs including a grand slam. Finch also had seven RBI. The Cats went on to win 13-5. Finch pitched on Sunday improving her season record to 2-0 and her winning streak to 34 games. Sophomore Leneah Manuma and freshman Jackie Coburn both had home runs in the game. Arizona defeated Alabama 11-1 in game three of the series.
Arizona's Mike Candrea carries a career record of 874-172 (.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 should become only the third Division I coach in history to win 900 games this year. Candrea is joined by assistant coaches Nancy Evans and Larry Ray.
Arizona is ranked No. 1 in the Preseason USA/Today Top 25. Five other Pac-10 schools are in the Preseason USA Today/NFCA Top 10.
Scouting the Freshmen
With so many freshmen on the squad every game is a learning experience. Outfielder Courtney Fossatti finished the weekend with a .667 batting average. Fossatti had four runs and six hits. Outfielder Allyson Von Liechtenstein had three runs and had a batting average of .500. Catcher Jackie Coburn had one home run and three RBI.
Cats Winning Streaks
The Cats improved their home winning streak to 47 victories this past weekend. They broke the school record which was 45 games (from May 1996 to March 1998). UA last lost in Hillenbrand on April 9, 2000, to No. 9 Stanford, 4-3 in eight innings. The Cats also improved their winning streak to 29 games.
Returning With Honors
Senior Pitcher Jennie Finch - 1st-team All-America, 1st-team All-Pacific-Region, 1st-team All-Pac-10, Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year, Honda Softball Award, College World Series MVP, All-NCAA Region 1.
Sophomore First Baseman Leneah Manuma - 1st-team All-America, 1st-team All-Pacific-Region, 2nd-team All-Pacific-10.
Sophomore Catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest - 2nd-team All-Pac-10, All-NCAA Region 1.
Arizona's 2002 lineup likely won't be set for weeks, but don't bet against pitcher/first baseman Finch, first baseman/dh Manuma, second baseman Ribellia, catcher Vandergeest, shortstop Jung and pitcher Gladding. The big group of young outfielders and third base candidates get to show their mettle in early games.
Most of Hillenbrand Stadium's reserved seating has been sold out on a season-ticket basis, and fans are purchasing outfield general admission seating as season tickets. Contact the McKale Center Ticket Office for more information at 621-2287 or 1-800-452-2287.