Fri., April 14 at UCLA 2 p.m. Sat., April 15 at Washington 2 p.m. Sun, April 16 at Washington 1 p.m.This Week:
The second-ranked Arizona softball team (42-4 overall, 6-1 Pac-10) takes to the road this weekend to face No. 3 UCLA (31-5, 6-0) on Friday and top-ranked Washington (41-4, 5-1) on Saturday and Sunday. The Bruins took sole possession of first place in the conference with a sweep of the Oregon schools over the weekend combined with UA's loss to Stanford on Sunday. UCLA defeated the Ducks, 6-0 on Friday and swept the Beavers, 4-1 and 8-7 on Saturday and Sunday. The Huskies also swept the Oregon schools with an 8-2 win over OSU and a pair of wins over the Ducks, 6-1 and 1-0. UW is a half game behind second-place Arizona in the standings due to a 2-0 loss to California two weeks ago.
New Pac-10 Format
The league voted in the off-season to drop the 28-game home-and-home doubleheader series which had been in effect since the early 1990s and move instead to a 21-game schedule featuring single games. Each Pac-10 team will face each other a total of three times on the season.
Last Week: Arizona extended its winning streak over No. 4 Arizona State with a 3-1 win over the Sun Devils on Tues., April 4. A four-hit pitching performance by Jennie Finch and solo home runs by Katie Swan and Toni Mascarenas in the bottom of the fifth inning helped lift the Cats to the win. Finch struck out nine and outdueled ASU's ace, Kirsten Voak, to improve to 19-0 on the season. On Friday, the UA combined with No. 7 California to strand 14 base runners but the Wildcats took advantage of 11 hits to record a 4-1 victory. After Cal took a 1-0 lead in the third, the UA came back with three runs in the fourth to take over the game. Becky Lemke gave up six hits but earned the victory. On Saturday, Arizona knocked 10 hits, took advantage of a couple of Stanford errors and hung on to beat the No. 9-ranked Cardinal, 8-4. The Cats put runs on the scoreboard quickly, crossing the plate four times in the first and added two unearned runs in the second. Lindsey Collins hit her 11th home run of the season, a solo blast in the fourth, ending UA's scoring. Arizona suffered its first Pac-10 loss on Sunday when Maureen LeCocq drove in the winning run in the top of the eighth to lead the Cardinal to a 4-3 win over the Cats. Arizona's Becky Lemke (22-4) took the loss, despite holding Stanford to 6 hits. UA collected 10 off winner Dana Sorensen (16-4).
National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll
Arizona was ranked second and received five first-place votes in last week's NFCA coaches poll released Wed., April 5. Pac-10 schools occupy four of the top five spots in the rankings and all eight teams are ranked. Washington is No. 1 followed by Arizona, UCLA and ASU. The poll is available online at www.nfca.org. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
UCLA was picked to finish first in the conference by the coaches in their preseason poll. The Bruins received 47 points, including five first-place votes, while Washington picked up three first-place nods to go with 44 total points. Arizona was projected to finish third and received 38 points. The Cats were followed by Arizona State, Stanford, Oregon State, California and Oregon. The Bruins head into this weekend in sole possession of first place.
Swinging for the Fences
This Arizona squad has upheld the Wildcat tradition of socking balls out of the yard as seven Cats have hit the long ball this season. Jennie Finch leads the team with 14 home runs, while Lindsey Collins (11) is second on the team. Alison Andrade (6), Toni Mascarenas (4), Chrissy Gil (4), Lauren Bauer (2) and Nicole Giordano (1) and Katie Swan (1) have each joined the fun for a team total of 43.
Notes from Left Field
Each of Arizona's four losses have been in day games, however the Cats are 15-0 in night games... Arizona is 3-1 on the season in extra-inning affairs, 1-1 in Pac-10 games... In 46 games, the Wildcats have 443 hits for a team batting average of .362. The team is averaging 9.6 hits per game and has been held to less than five hits only twice this season. The Cats still won both of those games... The UA has outscored its opponents 310-40 on the season for an average margin of 6.7-0.8. Opponents have scored three or more runs just four times this season... Junior Nicole Giordano leads the team with a .481 average with a team-high 75 hits and 40 runs scored... Senior Chrissy Gil has as many triples as home runs (4 each)... Katie Swan and Jennie Finch are each batting .500 in Pac-10 play. Swan is 12-for-24 with one homer, two doubles and five RBI, while Finch is 10-for-20 with two doubles and seven RBI
Armed and Dangerous
Arizona's pitchers have dominated the opposition in recent years and this season is no exception... Junior Becky Lemke and sophomore Jennie Finch have combined to allow just 31 earned runs in 292 innings spanning 46 games...They have combined to pitch four no-hitters on the season (two apiece). The last time a pair of Arizona pitchers threw no-hitters in the same season was when Carrie Dolan and Nancy Evans each threw two during the 1995 season... Finch has an ERA of 0.57, while Lemke has a 0.87 ERA... Finch's ERA against the Pac-10 is 1.11 while Lemke has a 1.87 ERA. Lemke struck out a school-record 19 batters in recording her second no-hitter of the season on March 11 against BYU... Lemke has 225 strikeouts on the season to give her 623 for her career. She remains third on the all-time list behind Evans (733)... They have a combined 372 strikeouts (including two by Teresa Ayoub). The single-season team record is 451... Lemke is fourth on the UA all-time victories list with a 76-14 record in two-and-a-half seasons...
Do Unto Others...
Jennie Finch has managed to do to opposing pitchers what opposing batters have been unable to do to her - get big hits. Finch leads the team with 14 home runs and has 45 RBI, but she has yet to homer in Pac-10 play... Add that to her pitching totals and she does pretty much everything but sweep the infield between games... She threw two no-hitters within a week of each other (vs. Tennessee Tech on 2/18 and vs. Drake on 2/25) and the latter was her first career perfect game... She also has three one-hitters on the season.
Pac-10 Weekly Honors
Finch was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 23-29 for her performance at the Bama Bash. It was her second honor of the year. She was also named the Player of the Week Feb. 29 after hitting .643 (9-for-14), including 12 RBI, four home runs, and nine runs scored at the Wildcat Invitational... Additionally, Becky Lemke won Pitcher of the Week honors Feb. 15 for her performance at the Fiesta Bowl Classic, where she had a 3-0 decision over then-No. 3 Fresno State.
Arizona Coach Mike Candrea
In his 15th season at Arizona, Candrea carries a record of 766-160 (.826). He is the active and all-time winningest Division I coach by percentage and in the top 10 in victories. Last season, Candrea became the eighth Division I coach in history to win 700 games. His players have earned 49 All-America honors and six Academic All-America honors, plus he has coached three players to the Honda Softball Award as national player of the year. He has taken the Wildcats to the College World Series the past 12 consecutive years and has reached the NCAA Championship game in eight of the last 10 seasons.
Cats Depth Chart p B. Lemke, J. Finch c Lindsey Collins 1b Jennie Finch, Erika Hanson, Leneah Manuma (inj.) 2b Katie Swan ss Allison Andrade, April Richardson, Lisha Ribellia 3b Toni Mascarenas, Lindsey Rice lf Lauren Bauer, Lindsay Robinson cf Chrissy Gil rf Nicole Giordano dp Jennie Finch, Erika Hanson, Teresa Ayoub