Friday, Feb. 18 +Penn State 3 p.m. +Texas Tech 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 19 +New Mexico 3 p.m. +Kentucky 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 20 +Oklahoma 1 p.m.
(+Wildcat Softball Classic, Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium, Other Games: 2/18 UK- UNM 9 a.m., UNM-OU 11 a.m., OU-PSU 1 p.m., TT-UK 7 p.m.; 2/19 OU-TT 9 a.m., TT-PSU 11 a.m., PSU-UNM 1 p.m., UK-OU 7 p.m.; 2/20 UK-PSU 9 a.m., UNM-TT 11 a.m.)
Fourth-ranked Arizona will play host to the Wildcat Softball Classic Friday, Feb. 18 through Sunday, Feb. 20 at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. The tournament will be played in a round-robin format with a total of six games each on Friday and Saturday and three games on Sunday.
The Wildcat Classic Field
The six-team field will include Penn State, Texas Tech, New Mexico, Kentucky and Oklahoma in addition to Arizona. Each team will face each other once in the round-robin format.
Last Week: Arizona traveled to Tempe to take part in the Fiesta Bowl Classic last weekend. The Wildcats won six games in three days, including a 3-0 victory over third-ranked Fresno State on Sunday. Junior third-baseman Toni Mascarenas had an outstanding weekend after going hitless in Arizona's first three games. She was 10-for-20 at the plate (.500) with 5 RBI and a home run. She also stole five bases in as many attempts, with five runs scored. Junior pitcher Becky Lemke (5-1) picked up four wins, including the shutout of the Bulldogs, and allowed three earned runs in four appearances covering 26 innings. The Cats opened the tournament with a 4-1 victory over Georgia on Friday and followed that with a 3-2 decision over No. 18 South Carolina. In the second game, pitcher Jennie Finch helped herself to the win with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth for the go-ahead run. Then, Arizona's pitchers each threw one-hitters as the Wildcat batters backed them up with 23 hits in a pair of 9-0 and 10-0 shutouts over Texas A&M and Tennessee-Chatanooga on Saturday. UA had 14 hits in its final 10-1 victory over UNLV as Finch no-hit the Rebels for five and two-thirds innings.
Arizona softball season tickets are available through the McKale Center Ticket Office (520-621-2287) at varying prices for seat locations, with discounts for children and seniors. Single-game tickets will be sold at McKale and at the stadium box office on game days.
Swinging for the Fences
This Arizona squad has upheld the Wildcat tradition of socking balls out of the yard as six Cats have hit the long ball this season. Jennie Finch leads the team with three home runs after hitting two on Sunday, while Lindsey Collins has two on the season. Chrissy Gil, Toni Mascarenas and Lauren Bauer each hit homers over the weekend, and Alison Andrade hit one in the first tournament of the season.
National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll
Arizona is ranked fourth in the preseason NFCA coaches poll released Wednesday, Jan. 26. The poll is available online at www.nfca.org The first weekly rankings will be released Feb. 23 and every week thereafter through the season. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.
Notes from Left Field
In six games at the Fiesta Bowl Classic, the Wildcats had 61 hits for a team average of .394 and outscored the opposition 46-4... Junior Lauren Bauer leads the team with 10 RBI and six stolen bases. The cleanup hitter, she had a team-high eight RBI over the weekend and drove in five in the opening win on Friday... Junior Nicole Giordano leads the team with a .560 batting average (14-for-25) and 11 runs due in part to her team-high nine walks... Freshman Lisha Ribellia (Moses Lake, Wash.) was the surprise of opening weekend for the Cats. In her first collegiate start, she set a school single-game record with a pair of triples in consecutive at-bats in the third and fifth innings of UA's 10-2 victory over So. Miss... Becky Lemke's five-inning no-hitter of So. Miss. on 2/4 was the first of her career. Arizona's last no-hitter was thrown by Jennie Finch against Southwest Texas on 5/21/99.
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 seven earned runs in nine appearances covering 54 innings... In addition to Lemke's no-hitter, they have each pitched a one-hitter this season... They have a combined 1.17 ERA and have recorded three shutouts... Only two teams have managed as much as two runs off them in a single game this season (So. Miss. and South Carolina)... Meanwhile, the Arizona batters have been beating up on opposing pitchers... The Cats have outscored their opponents 65-8 while scoring an average of 7.2 runs per game and have outhit the opposition, 86-22... Their lowest output of the season was against Fresno State on Sunday when they managed just three hits compared to the Bulldogs' five hits... The hitting and run production has resulted in five games that were shortened by the mercy rule... Arizona has played four five-inning games and one six-inning contest.
2000 Team Nucleus
The 2000 Cats maintain their speed, defensive power and solid hitting ability from last year with the return of all starters. Three juniors were third-team All-Americans -- pitcher Becky Lemke and first team All- Pac-10 outfielders Lauren Bauer and Nicole Giordano. Junior third baseman Toni Mascarenas was named second team All-Pac-10 along with Lemke. Three Cats were honorable mention all-league picks -- senior outfielder Lindsay Robinson, sophomore pitcher Jennie Finch and senior outfielder Chrissy Gil. Other returning letterwinners include junior pitcher Teresa Ayoub, senior second baseman Katie Swan, junior first baseman Erika Hanson and catcher Lindsey Collins. Freshmen Lisha Ribellia (IF), Leneah Manuma (1B) and Lindsey Rice (OF) join junior transfers Allison Andrade (IF) and April Richardson (IF) to round out the squad.
Arizona Coach Mike Candrea
In his 15th season at Arizona, Candrea carries a record of 755-160 (.825). 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