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Arizona Softball Ready to Host Super Regional
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/26/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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For the 13th time in the last 15 years, the road to the Women’s College World Series runs through Tucson.  This weekend, the Arizona softball team will host LSU in the NCAA Super Regional round at Hillenbrand Stadium, with the winner of the best-of-three game series earning a trip to the WCWS in Oklahoma City.  All of Arizona’s super regional games will be televised on ESPNU with Mark Neely and Cindy Bristow calling the action.

 

Day

Time

Game

Media

Friday

5 p.m.

1 ?- Arizona vs. LSU

ESPNU

Saturday

6 p.m.

2  - LSU vs. Arizona

ESPNU

Saturday

8:30 p.m.

3 ?- Arizona-LSU* (if necessary)

ESPNU

 

Designated home team is listed first.

*Home team will be determined by coin flip before Game 3, if necessary.

 

LSU (54-12, 22-8 SEC) comes to Tucson after having swept the Baton Rouge Regional.  The Tigers defeated Princeton 5-0, before taking a pair of games from Louisiana-Lafayette 7-6 and 5-4.

 

Offensively, LSU averages 5.2 runs per game and is led by Leslie Klein, who leads the team with her .397 batting average, nine home runs and 53 RBI.  Lauren Castle (.368, 3 HR, 28 RBI) and Vanessa Soto (.362, 7 HR, 47 RBI) make for a strong supporting cast.  Last weekend, Klein batted .455 (5-for-11) with a pair of home runs, including a game-winner in a 10-inning marathon.

 

In the circle, Emily Turner (27-7, 0.83 ERA) and Dani Hofer (16-5, 2.01) split the majority of the innings.  Turner was touched up a bit last weekend, giving up six earned runs and additional four unearned runs in 17.0 innings over her two starts.

 

Arizona (47-9, 15-6, Pac-10) took care of business against its regional opponents last weekend, with three victories in as many games.  The Wildcats, owners of a 13-game winning streak, entered the postseason with an at-large bid, after finishing 0.5 games back of Pac-10 champ UCLA.  Last week, the Wildcats defeated all three of its regional opponents, including Marist, Ohio State and Auburn.

 

Arizona’s 20th NCAA Appearance ?- Arizona makes its 20th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance (20th overall) since 1987, all under coach Mike Candrea, except in the case of 2004 when Larry Ray acted as head coach.  The Wildcats have qualified for the Women’s College World Series in 17 of the last 18 years, including a run of 16 consecutive trips to the WCWS, which ended in 2004.

 

Arizona has a record of 106-30 (.779) in NCAA Tournament games.  In super regional contests, Arizona is 2-0 (1.000), as the NCAA moved to the current regional-super regional format just last year.  Additionally, Arizona is 55-8 (.873) all-time when playing postseason games in the friendly confines of Tucson.

 

For a more detailed look at Arizona’s national championship finishes see pages 52-54 of this year’s media guide.

 

For game-by-game results of Arizona’s NCAA Tournament history, see page 32 of this year’s media guide.

 

Arizona vs. the NCAA Tournament Field ?- Arizona is 33-9 against this year’s opponents included in the 64-team field.  Additionally, the Wildcats racked up a 24-9 record against squads ranked No. 18 or better at the time of the game. 

 

Arizona and Auburn vs. Common Opponents ?- The Wildcats and Tigers faced eight common opponents this year, three from the SEC, three from the Pac-10 and two that do not play in either conference.  Here’s a breakdown of how each super regional squad fared.

 

Opponent

Arizona

Auburn

Washington

3-0

2-0

Stanford

3-0

0-1

Oregon State

2-1

0-1

UCLA

0-3

0-1

Auburn

1-0

3-1

Alabama

1-0

2-1

Louisiana-Laf.

3-0

2-0

Texas Tech

2-0

1-0

TOTAL

15-4

10-5

 

UA on TV: Although Arizona did not get the same 15-game coverage of national television that it had in 2005, the Wildcats have graced television sets for three games this year.  Most recently, ESPN2 covered Arizona’s regional-clinching 4-2 victory over Auburn last Saturday.  ESPNU televised Arizona’s 1-0 loss to Texas, its first defeat of the year.  FSN carried the Arizona-Stanford game on April 21 in Palo Alto via tape delay, a 4-1 UA victory.

 

USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR FINALISTS:  Three weeks ago, Caitlin Lowe and Alicia Hollowell were named to the USA Softball POY list of 10 finalists.  USA Softball cut its initial list of 25 candidates to 10, and will narrow the list down to three finalists before the Women’s College World Series.  Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion had been named to the 50-name pre-season watch list.

 

ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA is in his 21st season at Arizona and carries a career 1,074-212 (.835) record in 20 years in the dugout.  He is one of just five coaches to reach the 1,000 Division I victories, and was the fastest to do so (19 years of on-field coaching).  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 in 2004.  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.  Candrea is also a nine-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year and a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame.  He has led Arizona to six national championships and nine Pac-10 titles.

 

Candrea by the Numbers

Overall record:                1074-212

Pac-10 games:                  325-87

NCAA games:                   103-26

NCAA Super Regionals:  2-0

WCWS games:                   45-22

Olympic Gold:                  1

All-Americans:                 69

 

Candrea’s Honors

2004       USA Olympic team head coach

                Olympic Shield Award

                USOC Coach of the Year

2003       Pac-10 Coach of the Year

2002       Pac-10 Coach of the Year

2001       Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year

2000       Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year

1999       University of Arizona Honorary Alumnus Degree

1998       Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1997       NFCA Division I Coach of the Year

                Pacific Region Coach of the Year

                Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1996       NFCA Division I Coach of the Year

                Elected to NFCA Hall of Fame

1995       Pacific Region Coach of the Year

1994       NSCA Division I Coach of the Year

                Pacific Region Coach of the Year

                Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1988       Northwest Region Coach of the Year

                Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1987       Pac-10 Coach of the Year

1986       Pacific-West Co-Coach of the Year

1985       NJCAA Coach of the Year (Central Arizona)

 

FOX (4/31-5/7, 3/6-12), MOWATT (4/10-16) AND MESA (3/20-26) NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kristie Fox earned her second Pac-10 Player of the Week honor with her .571 (4-for-7) performance from May 5-7 with four runs and four RBI.  She slugged 1.143 and had a .667 on-base percentage, aided by five walks and a hit by pitch.  Taryne Mowatt was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her performance at Arizona State on April 14 and 15.  Mowatt hit .429 (3-for-7) and also registered her first Pac-10 shutout in the circle.  With the honor, she became the first student-athlete to win both the player and pitcher of the week awards in the same year.  Chelsie Mesa was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her performance against No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette from March 24-26.  Mesa batted .636 (7-11), with five RBI and four runs scored in three games.  She went 4-for-4 on Sunday, missing the cycle by a home run.  Kristie Fox was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of March 6-12, for her two home runs, seven RBI and .750 batting average.  Fox’s numbers could have been more gaudy, but they were tapered when the opponent elected not to pitch to her.  After six RBI in game one of the series, Fox saw only two strikes in the second game of the series.  One of those strikes went over the left field wall for a home run and the other came in one of her three walks during the game.  In game three, Fox went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and yet another walk.

 

MOWATT (3/13-19, 3/20-26) AND HOLLOWELL (2/6-12; 2/13-19) NAMED PAC-10 PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Taryne Mowatt was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for two consecutive weeks from March 13-26.  From March 24-26 against Louisiana-Lafayette, Mowatt became the first pitcher all year to shut out the prolific Ragin’ Cajun offense.  Over the weekend she pitched 16.0 innings and gave up one run.  The week before, Mowatt tossed a no-hitter and a perfect game at the Judi Garman Classic.  In two games, Mowatt struck out 28 of the 37 opposing batters she faced.  Alicia Hollowell has been named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week twice this year.  Following the Kajikawa Classic (2/6-12), USA Softball named her its first National Player of the Week of the year for her performance.  In three starts, Hollowell tossed no-hitters against No. 15 Northwestern and No. 6 Texas A&M, while surrendering one hit in a 2-0 win over Cal State Fullerton.

 

SECOND IN THE CONFERENCE, FIRST IN THE COUNTRY: Of Arizona’s six national championships, two (1993 & 1996) came in years that Arizona finished second in the Pac-10 one year removed from sitting atop the Conference of Champions.  After winning the 2005 Pac-10 title and finishing runner-up to UCLA in this year’s Conference standings, the Wildcats look to repeat history.

 

LEADING THE PAC: A testament to its overall balance, Arizona finds itself at the top of a number of major statistical categories among Pac-10 teams.  As a team, Arizona has the best batting average (.313),  on-base percentage (.396), runs scored (305), ERA (1.11), opposing average (.154), runs surrendered (71) and fielding percentage (.979).

 

HOT AT THE RIGHT TIME: Arizona’s current 13-game winning streak is its second longest of the year.  UA started the year 15-0, before falling to Cat Osterman and the Texas Longhorns 1-0 in the Palm Springs Classic.

 

SHARING THE CIRCLE: This year, Alicia Hollowell has something she has lacked in the previous three years at Arizona: a fellow ace wearing cardinal and navy.  Taryne Mowatt has proven herself as Arizona’s 1A option in the circle, and has accomplished a number of ?'firsts’ for someone who’s a ?'second’ option.

-          Mowatt is Arizona’s first 20-game winner not named Alicia Hollowell since 2002.

-          Mowatt’s complete game victory last Saturday over Auburn was the first postseason contest that Alicia Hollowell has watched entirely from the bench since toeing the rubber in 2003.

-          Mowatt and Hollowell make up the only same-year pitching duo to occupy spots on UA’s top-10 list for strikeouts in a season.

 

ALL-AMERICANS CLUTCH IN CONFERENCE: Over the last two years, Arizona has experienced its share of woes plating runners in scoring position, but three hitters continue to give the Wildcats consistent results in clutch situations.  All-Americans Caitlin Lowe, Autumn Champion and Kristie Fox have combined to hit .410 (41-for-100) in RISP situations during 2005 and 2006 Pac-10 play.  Their teammates have compiled a .192 (46-for-239) clip over the same time frame.

 

LOWE BACK AT THE TOP: On the week of April 21, Caitlin Lowe was fully cleared to participate in games.  The two-time All-American returned to her usual leadoff spot in the batting order and center field on defense.  Prior to suffering an injury to her left hand on March 19, the Tustin, Calif., native had started 147 consecutive games for Arizona on the leadoff position. In her absence, Arizona went 6-4, UA is 41-5 with Lowe in the starting lineup.

 

A REAL CATALYST: While Caitlin Lowe was recovering from the injury, Arizona went through a number of possible solutions to replace her.

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