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Arizona Aims for Seventh Title
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/06/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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WCWS Notes...

 

OKLAHOMA CITY--The Arizona Wildcats (53-11) meet the Northwestern Wildcats (50-14) in Game 2 of the championship series at the Women’s College World Series here at 5 p.m. (MST) Tuesday.  Arizona has a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three event. A victory for Arizona gives it a seventh national championship and a victory for Northwestern brings the two teams back for a series finale on Wednesday night.

 

Arizona is participating in in 18th world series, while the Wildcats of Northwestern are making their first appearance. UA entered the best-of-three event 3-1 and NU at 3-0. The UA won in seven innings Monday, 8-0.

 

News Stand

Short game (Check out espn.com’s story and video)

Tucson Citizen (story and slide show)

Arizona Daily Star (story and slide show)

The Oklahoman (stories) 

(Note: links will expire)

 

Promise Ring: Signing a National Letter of Intent with Mike Candrea and The University of Arizona has its benefits for a high school softball prospect.  One of which is the guarantee for a national championship.  Since 1991, last year’s 2005 senior class (Crystal Farley, Alyson VonLiechtenstein, Jackie Coburn and Courtney Fossatti) was the first and only group of four-year players to leave UA without a national championship.  Consequently if the Wildcats fail to capture the title this year, this year’s senior class would be the second to leave without a ring. 

 

Winning the 2006 title would ensure that every class through the 2009 seniors, with the aforementioned 2005 group, would have won a NCAA Championship during its time in Tucson.

 

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 in this year’s Conference standings, the Wildcats look to repeat history.  (Note: UA finished fourth in the Pac-10 before winning the 1991 NCAA title.)

 

Blow ?'Em Away: Last night’s 8-0 victory was the most runs UA has scored in a WCWS game since run-ruling Washington 8-0 in 1998.  Arizona’s NCAA Championship-clinching 10-2 victory over UCLA in 1997 was the most robust win before that.  However, UA’s largest WCWS win ever was a 12-0 drubbing of Fresno State in 1989.

 

Arizona is 29-0 all-time at the WCWS when scoring three runs or more.

 

Arizona versus Northwestern: The Tucson Wildcats have handled their Evanston counterparts with a pair of 8-0 victories in their two previous meetings in 2006 (Feb. 10 and June 5).

 

Here’s a breakdown of the eerily similar stats between the two contests:


 

Feb. 10

R

H

E

Northwestern

0

0

2

Arizona

8

7

0

 

June 5

R

H

E

Northwestern

0

1

4

Arizona

8

8

2


 

Hollowell’s pitching line

IP

H

R

BB

SO

Feb. 10

6.0

0

0

1

16

June 5

7.0

1

0

0

12

 

-         Caitlin Lowe stolen the only base of the game in both contests.

-         Northwestern’s defensive miscues led to three unearned runs in the first game and four in the WCWS matchup.

-         Northwestern left one runner on base in the first game, two in the second.  UA left seven on in the first game, eight in the second.

 

WCWS Records: Caitlin Lowe has a shot at setting a pair of WCWS records in tonight’s game.  Yesterday, she tied the record for runs scored (6) and stolen bases (4) in a series.

 

Taryne Mowatt’s two doubles are tied for fourth in the doubles in a WCWS category.  One more will put her in a three-way tie for the record, most recently accomplished by Michigan’s Samantha Findlay in 2005.

 

Alicia Hollowell’s 51 WCWS strikeouts put her within striking distance of Debbie Doom’s 62 in 1982 for the most punch-outs in a WCWS.

 

Two-Out Rallies: 13 of Arizona’s 19 runs this WCWS have come with two outs.

 

CAT-alysts: The top three hitters in the Arizona batting order have been mainstays for the past two years, and have experienced a significant increase in success at the WCWS this year, after having an anemic performance last year.  Here are Caitlin Lowe, Autumn Champion and Kristie Fox’s numbers this year, as compared to last at the WCWS:

 

 

AVG

R

RBI

SB

2006

.304

9

8

6-6

2005

.147

0

0

1-1

 

Career-High RBI: Every Arizona hitter has set a career high in RBI this year.

 

Name

2006

Prev. High

Kristie Fox

66

64

Chelsie Mesa

44

JC

Callista Balko

42

23

Jenae Leles

35

HS

Laine Roth

29

HS

Caitlin Lowe

27

25

Sam Banister

23

HS

Autumn Champion

20

18

Taryne Mowatt

18

0

Adrienne Acton

8

1

Jill Malina

1

HS

 

Great Pitching Breeds Champions: While Alicia Hollowell is Arizona’s first four-time All-American pitcher, she is not the first Wildcat hurler to garner All-American citations for work in the circle.  In fact, Arizona has had at least one pitcher named an All-American every year since 1991.  Incidentally, UA has reached 11 NCAA title games in those 16 years.

                       

Bringing Facts to Faulty Misconceptions: Much has been made of UCLA’s “dominance” of its apparently subordinate counterparts, which has fooled even the “experts” of college softball.  While UCLA’s senior class has a lot to be proud of, something must be said disclaim these impressions, if nothing else to avoid misleading college softball fans around the country.

 

Since 1991:

 

Arizona

UCLA

Other Pac-10

Non-Pac-10

National Championships

6

4*

1

3

Title Game Appearances

11

10*

5

5

*UCLA’s participation in the 1995 WCWS was vacated by the NCAA Committee on infractions.

 

One last note that speaks to the parity of NCAA Softball in the new millennium...  Since 2000, five different teams have won six championships, which doesn’t speak much to a monopoly in Westwood.

 

Top four spots: During UA’s 2-0 Texas, Alicia Hollowell passed Jennie Finch’s 2002 strikeout total to claim the top four places in strikeouts in a season for Arizona.  See page 10 of WCWS guide for more info.

 

After last night’s 8-0 victory over Northwestern, Hollowell, who already held the top three marks for innings pitched in a season, now owns four of the top 10 spots.  Entering tonight’s game, she has 245.1 IP this season, placing her 10th and just a few frames behind Nancy Evans’ 248.0 IP in 1997.

 

Stealing the Show: Arizona is a perfect 10-for-10 when stealing bases in this WCWS, while catcher Callista Balko has limited opponents to only 1 SB in 3 attempts.

 

Approaching WCWS Records: UA’s four SB versus Texas tie a single game WCWS record, and Caitlin Lowe’s three SB put her one swiped bag away from tying Wildcat outfielder Alison Johnsen’s four SB in 1996.  Lowe’s four runs scored place her two away from tying a trio of former WCWS greats, including Johnsen and ESPN analyst Lisa Fernandez’s six runs scored.

 

Racking up the RBI: Last year, Kristie Fox had 1 RBI and 12 walks in the postseason.  This postseason, she has 16 RBI and 6 walks.  This should come as no surprise, as Arizona has more big bats “protecting” her.  Additionally, in Game 1 vs. Oregon State, Fox set a new career high with 65 RBI after leading the nation with 64 in 2005.

 

Extra Bases and Homers: Some supporting evidence to that last note, in 2005 Arizona had 2 players with more than five home runs (Current undergrad asst. coach Jackie Coburn 10, Kristie Fox 9).  This year, UA has 5 players with more than 5 bombs (Kristie Fox 15, Callista Balko 13, Chelsie Mesa 10, Laine Roth 7, Jenae Leles 7).

 

If you’re not into the home runs, perhaps extra-base hits are more telling.  In 2005, Arizona had 3 players with 13 or more extra-base hits: Kristie Fox (22), Jackie Coburn (16) and Callista Balko (16).  In 2006, UA has 6 Chelsie Mesa (27), Kristie Fox (24), Callista Balko (19), Jenae Leles (16), Caitlin Lowe (14), Laine Roth (13).  Additionally, Arizona’s team SLG% has gone from .399 in 2005 to .468 in 2006.

 

New record holders: Callista Balko, who has caught every pitch of every inning

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