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21-0 Cats Play Host to Hillenbrand Tournament
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/22/2004
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March 2, 2004


Wildcats Host Hillenbrand Invitational

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Friday, March 5	    UA vs. Northern Iowa	3 p.m.
Friday, March 5	    UA vs. North Texas	        5 p.m.
Saturday, March 6   UA vs. Indiana	        3 p.m.
Saturday, March 6   UA vs. Georgia Tech	        5 p.m.
Sunday, March 7	    UA vs. Texas-El Paso	1 p.m.

Also Friday: 9 a.m. -Georgia Tech/UTEP; 11 a.m.- Indiana-UTEP; 1 p.m.-IU-NIU; 7 p.m. GTU/North Texas Also Sat.: 9 a.m.- NIU/UTEP; 11 a.m.-UNT/UTEP; 1 p.m.-UNT/IU; 7 p.m.-NIU/GTU Also Sun: 9 a.m.-GTU/IU; 11 a.m.-UNT/NIU

This Week - The Arizona softball team plays host to the Hillenbrand Invitational tournament Friday through Sunday at Hillenbrand Stadium. It's round-robin format. Each of the six teams in the field will play a single game against the others. The field includes Arizona, Texas-El Paso, Indiana, North Texas, George Tech and Northern Iowa. The Cats open play at 3 p.m. Friday vs. NIU.

The Coach - Arizona's Mike Candrea carries a career record of 982-191 in 18 years at UA, but puts it on hold this season while he's on partial leave to be head coach of the U.S. Olympic Team. The eight-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He has led Arizona to six national championships and seven Pac-10 titles. Candrea has led UA to 16 consecutive College World Series.

The Coaches - Larry Ray (Idaho State '74) is 21-0 in his tenure as acting head coach of the Wildcats. Including five seasons (four of competition) building a Florida program he has a career record of 190-106. His work with the Arizona program dates to 1986 and he was Candrea's top assistant for 10 years. Acting associate head coach Nancy Evans, a former Honda Award winner as a player, has been an assistant at UA since 1999.

Last Week - The No. 2 Wildcats remained undefeated with five victories in their Worth Wildcat Invitational, including a pair of narrow wins over No. 7 Stanford and a victory over No. 22 South Florida. UA opened with a runaway 17-1 victory over Boston University, beat Stanford 2-1, beat Oklahoma Staste 4-0, slipped past USD 2-1 and beat Stanford in a come-back win Sunday 7-5. The Cats had some nice team efforts including the final game Sunday when Shelly Schultz stared a rally with a home run and later hit the decisive hit with a two-run homer. Alicia Hollowell missed a perfect game by one hitter against Oklahoma State. Jackie Coburn slugged three home runs during the week, Caitlin Lowe stole seven bases in seven tries, Wendy Allen drove in nine runs and tossed a 2-1 victory over No. 22 South Florida, etc. Role players Candace Abrams, Crystal Farley and Allyson Von Liechtenstein came up big at the plate (9-for-18).

The Rankings - Arizona was ranked No. 2 in the preseason NFCA poll, and No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Softball poll. Feb. 11: 2/3. Feb. 18: 2/3. Feb. 25: 2/2. March 3: TBA. UA has been ranked steadily since 1988 by the NFCA.

USA Softball Player of Year 'Watch List' - Three players have been named to the 'watch list' for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, won in its inaugural season last year by Texas' Cat Osterman. Sophomore pitcher Alicia Hollowell, senior catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest and freshman outfielder Caitlin Lowe were among 15 Pac-10 players on the list, which will be trimmed to 25 on April 6, to 10 on April 28 and to three finalists on May 11.

Wildcat Softball Notes

...The Wildcats' 53 stolen bases (in 59 tries) put them on pace to set a school season record. The mark is 138 by the 1998 team that was led by Alison McCutcheon (67) and Nicole Giordano (25). Caitlin Lowe (20) and Autumn Champion (12) are leading the way this year...

...UA finally gave up some runs in numbers - the five by Stanford on Sunday - but still allowed only three in the other four games and have outscored the opposition 172-18...

...UA's 21-game winning streak to open the year compares with the best start of 31-0 in 2001 and 1994. UA also opened 30-0 in 1997...The best overall streak is 47 games in 1996-97...

...UA set a school record with seven home runs against Boston University, including two apiece by Mackenzi Vandergeest and Kristie Fox. The onslaught topped three previous games in UA history when the Cats hit six - including earlier this year against Dayton... Two other players have hit two in a game this year - Jackie Coburn and Shelly Schultz (Stanford)... UA has 39 homers this year, 1.9 per game...

...Alicia Hollowell has struck out 179 batters in her 14 wins. At her current rate of 14 per seven-inning game, Hollowell is on track to blow away her UA season record of 394 set last year when she pitched 297 innings...

...Nine Wildcat hitters have multiple-hit games this season, led by 10 apiece from Caitlin Lowe and Autumn Champion in the top of the order... Wendy Allen leads the way with 11 multiple-RBI games...

...Champion's speed gave her the first extra-base hit of her career against South Florida - a bunt double. She just kept going around first base and the Bulls didn't get second base covered in time. She has 121 career hits, and finally has a slugging percentage (.550) different than her batting average (.533)... She's hitting .610 with runners on base and .607 with runners in scoring position...

...Wendy Allen leads UA with 40 RBI, nearly two per game. That figure would have ranked her fourth on the team last year in 63 games, and gives her a shot at the magical century plateau accomplished only three times in UA history (Laura Espinoza - NCAA record 128 in 1995, Jenny Dalton-109 in 1996, Leah Braatz-100 in 1998)... Arizona has the top six single-season marks in NCAA history, and eight in the top 10...

...Platoon outfielder/pinch-hitter Candace Abrams has a six-game hitting streak, UA's longest current streak. She had a pinch-hit bunt single and a two-run double in the come-from-behind victory over Stanford... Abrams is 4-for-6 with five RBI as a pinch-hitter this year, helping UA to a 9-for-29 overall pinch-hit mark (.310)...

In the Sunday Stanford game, UA trailed for only the third game this season... The Cats' biggest deficit has been by two runs - against Mississippi, Georgia and the Cardinal...

... Mackenzie Vandergeest has 52 career home runs, tied with Leticia Pineda in the No. 4 spot on the UA career chart... With 39 home runs, Coburn is just one shy of a tie with Leneah Manuma at No. 10 on the UA career home runs chart, and only six shy of the No. 6 spot...

...All-American junior outfielder Courtney Fossatti will take a medical redshirt season in 2004 while rehabilitating after off-season ankle surgery. She hit .327 as a sophomore...

... Autumn Champion was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 9-15. Champion earned the award by going 15-for-20 with nine runs and seven stolen bases over six games at the Fiesta Bowl Classic in Phoenix... Wendy Allen (player) and Alicia Hollowell (pitcher) earned the honors Feb. 16-22 for efforts at the Palm Springs Classic...

Probable Lineup - Caitlin Lowe-cf, Autumn Champion-lf, Wendy Allen-dh/1b, Mackenzie Vandergeest-c, Shelly Schultz-1b/2b, Jackie Coburn-3b, Kristie Fox-ss, Samantha Quintero-2b, Crystal Farley/Allyson Von Liechtenstein/Candace Abrams-rf, Alicia Hollowell-p. Reserves: Leslie Wolfe-p, Erin Palomarez-ph/1b, Cortney Nix-pr/ph, Jennifer Martinez-ph/inf, Betsy Wilson-pr/ph, Annalyn Hollingsworth-pr/ph.


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