No. 2 Arizona (27-0) plays host to the Creigton Blue Jays, (4-6) on Tuesday, March 6, at 7 p.m. and then hosts the Northridge Matados, (12-5) on Wednesday, March 7 in a doubleheader at 2:30 p.m. The Blue Jays participated in the Hillenbrand Invitational last weekend and finished with a 2-3 record. Creigton lost to Arizona (0-9) on Friday, the first day of the tournament. Northridge and Creigton will face each other on Tuesday. Arizona's Mike Candrea will coach his 1000th UA game Tuesday.
Last Time The Cats Played
The Wildcats opened last week with games against Western Michigan on Tuesday and Wednesday at Hillenbrand Stadium. On Tuesday, freshman Mackenzie Vandergeest hit a home run and senior Nicole Giordano helped give the Wildcats a 9-0 victory over the Broncos. On Wednesday, a six-run second inning led the Cats to another win (9-0) over Western Michigan. Freshman pitcher Jenny Gladding, and Vandergeest both had home runs along with a double by senior Erika Hanson and a triple by senior Lauren Bauer. The Wildcats hosted the Hillenbrand Invitational Friday-Sunday. It was the fifth tournament championship for Arizona this season. Bauer opened the weekend with an inside-the-park home run and senior Allison Andrade added two more homers against No. 23 Baylor (8-0). In Arizona's second game on Friday, Balkan's grand slam in the bottom of the sixth gave the Cats a 9-0 win over Creighton in a mercy-ruled game. Against Indiana State on Saturday, Gladding threw the first no-hitter of her career and added two homers at the plate in a 12-0 win. Mascarenas added one home run along with two from Andrade and a grand slam by Vandergeest. The Cats turned around and defeated Western Michigan, 12-0, with more home runs by Manuma and Mascarenas and a grand slam by Finch. On Sunday, Arizona faced No. 5 Oklahoma, defending national champion, and led by the hitting power of Manuma and Balkan in a 6-2 victory. Manuma hit two-run homers in her first two at bats and then was intentionally walked in her third. Balkan added another two-run home run.
Pac-10 Player of the Week
Freshman Leneah Manuma was named Pac-10 player of the week on March 5. Manuma hit .600 on the week and .667 during the Hillenbrand Invitational. In the seven games last week, she had nine hits, three doubles, three home runs, eight runs and six RBI. On the season, she's hitting .438 with 11 home runs, 34 RBI, 32 hits and has scored 25 runs. Manuma is the first Arizona player to earn the honor this year.
The Wildcat pitching staff of seniors Becky Lemke, Finch, Gladding and Teresa Demeter in 27 games have a combined ERA of 0.40 in 156 innings of play. They have struck out 255 batters, averaging nearly 10 strikeouts a game. Lemke has 97 strikeouts, Finch has 83 and Gladding has 74. The Cats have 21 shutouts and have only allowed 56 hits compared to Arizona's 289 hits. Finch is 9-0 with a 0.26 ERA, Lemke is 10-0 with a .77 ERA and Gladding is 8-0 with a 0.16 ERA.
Bangin' Them Silly
In 27 games, the Wildcats have hit 68 home runs with their opponents only hitting three. In 68 games in 2000, the team hit 66. Mascarenas (13) and Manuma (11) and Vandergeest (11) lead the way, but seven other Wildcats have hit homers. The school and NCAA record is 100 by the 1995 Arizona team. The Cats hit six home runs against Bowling Green, which is tied for the No. 2 spot in NCAA history. Eighteen times Arizona has had multiple homers in a game, six times they've hit five or more and one time more than five.
A bunch of Wildcats had big weeks, which would have to be the case if the team hit 18 home runs. But here's how a number of players contributed: freshman Leneah Manuma had the two homers against Oklahoma, added another and drove in six runs, plus had nine hits and six walks to post a .600 week; leadoff hitter Lauren Bauer scored nine runs, had 12 hits with two doubles and a triple and stole five bases; Nicole Giordano hit her usual .529, with nine hits; Allison Andrade had three doubles and three homers to drive in six runs and hit .444; Toni Mascarenas had 10 RBI, 10 runs scored, two sacrifice bunts and a couple of homers to hit .412; Lindsey Collins hit .385; Mackenzie Vandergeest socked three home runs and drove in a team-high 11 runs and hit .375; Kim Balkan socked two homers and drove in seven runs, scored six times and hit .357; freshman Jenny Gladding threw a no-hitter, plus one another one-hitter and smacked three homers to drive in five runs; Senior pitcher Becky Lemke pitched three one-hitters and struck out 29; Jennie Finch won two games including a four-hitter against No. 5 Oklahoma, plus pitched a one-hit shutout, and drove in seven runs with four extra-base hits... With only 27 games under its belt, Arizona's 68 home runs are the fourth highest total in Wildcat history. Twelve more and the team moves into the No. 3 spot on that list. The 1995 club's 100 round-trippers set the NCAA standard and the 1994 club hit 93. The 1998 team had 79. All those teams had a couple of sluggers who outpaced the rest of the club -- Laura Espinoza, Jenny Dalton, Leticia Pineda, Leah Braatz. In 1998, for example Braatz (25) and Pineda (20) led, but the next highest totals were seven homers by Mascarenas and Nancy Evans. This year's team is spreading the wealth a bit more. Mascarenas (13), Vandergeest (11) and Manuma (11) lead the way, but Andrade (7), Bauer (6), Finch (6) and Gladding (6) can hit the long ball in bunches, too, as can Collins and Balkan. It makes for a Murderer's Row of some substance. It also has given Arizona a slugging percentage of .777, compared to the school-record mark of .608 by the '95 team. It's a reasonable assumption that Arizona will begin to face stronger pitching as the team heads to the Kia Klassic later this month and begins Pac-10 play shortly thereafter, but a patient team with power and pitching can keep itself in a bunch of games... Lemke's career strikeout total of 809 is No. 2 on the UA chart and within reach of Susie Parra's No. 1 figure of 874 from 1991 to 1994... She should become only the fourth Wildcat to win 100 career games. She has a career mark of 94-17. Parra is No. 3 on the UA chart with a 101-9 record... Jennie FInch has won 62 career games against 10 defeats and is tied for No. 6 on Arizona's career chart. Her career total of 466 K's is No. 4 behind Parra, Lemke and Nancy Evans... Each of Arizona's three starting pitchers is averaging more than 10 stikeouts per seven innings. Lemke is tops with an 11.9 mark, Gladding averages 11.7 strikeouts per seven innings and Finch has a 10.9 mark... The three have combined for 21 shutouts this year and Lemke combined with Teresa Demeter for a 22nd shutout... Opposing batters are hitting .108 against Arizona... The Wildcats have outscored opponents 257-12. The team has played 15 five-inning mercy rule games and three six-inning run-rule games... Lauren Bauer has stolen 26 bases in 29 attempts, two shy of the UA season Top 10 chart. Her career total of 121 is 27 short of the school record set by Allison McCutcheon (148) from 1995 to 1998 and puts Bauer at No. 3 on that list behind McCutcheon, Vivian Holm (129) and Amy Chellevold (113)... Four players carry current slugging percentages above the 1.000 mark-- Mascarenas at 1.122, Vandergeest at 1.068, Gladding at 1.036 and Manuma at 1.000... Slugging percentage is the average number of total bases a player gets every time up... Arizona's team on-base percentage is .492, meaning every single player has been getting on base about half the time... Arizona has outscored opponents 257-12 this year... The Cats' 29-0 victory over Bowling Green State on Feb. 16 is believed to be a school record for runs, as is the 17-run fourth inning UA put together... The Pepsi Softball Classic was one of the best opening weekend crowds in school history with a three-day average of 1562... Arizona has a 27-game home winning streak dating to a 4-3 lost to Stanford on April 9, 2000...The attendance for the Hillenbrand Invitational marks the second largest crowd in history with 2751 out to see Arizona play against Oklahoma...