March 5, 2010
Cats Host Red Storm, Bengals in Doubleheaders
March 7-8, 2010 ~ Hillenbrand Stadium, Tucson, Ariz.
After taking down New Mexico State in a Wednesday doubleheader and Northern Iowa on Thursday, the Cats host St. John's and Idaho State in a Sunday doubleheader, then play St. John's in a double dip on Monday evening.
The Cats are three games into a seven-games-in-six-days week and have gone 3-0 thus far, defeating New Mexico State on a no-hitter and two-hitter, then upending Northern Iowa in a lackluster offensive performance.
SJU: Junior Kacee Cox leads the Red Storm (6-3) with a .581 average at the plate, knocking in a team-high 11 runs while smashing three long balls. She also leads the team in hits, doubles and total bases. Junior Linzee Sumrall (3-2) touts a 3.71 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 26.2 innings. Junior Kat Lawrence (3-1) will more than likely see time against the Wildcats as well, having compiled a 4.91 ERA and 25 strikeouts in 22 innings pitched.
Idaho State: The young Bengals (3-4) squad are led by freshman Desirae Hoffman, who hits for .522 at the dish. Junior Kandis Clesson (3-2) holds a 4.30 ERA in 27.2 innings pitched, and has walked 19 but struck out 23.
The Bengals will come to Tucson having played a 9 a.m. game Sunday morning against Samford in Tempe, Ariz.
Last Time Out
Arizona ace Kenzie Fowler no-hit the reigning NCAA batting champions, and Brittany Lastrapes, Brigette Del Ponte, Kristen Arriola and Lini Koria homered in an 8-0 five-inning victory over New Mexico State.
Arizona's offense sputtered a bit on Thursday against Northern Iowa, but Del Ponte homered for the third time in three games and Lastrapes knocked in a run with a single, as Arizona cruised to a 4-1 win. Akamine picked up her second win in as many days.
Fowler upped her record to 11-0 while Akamine stands at 4-1 on the season.
Top of the Line Coaching
Arizona's coaching staff includes three mentors who have taken a combined 28 different teams to the Women's College World Series as head coaches -- Mike Candrea's 20, one by assistant Larry Ray (filling in for Candrea during the 2009 Olympic year) and seven by assistant Teresa Wilson. That's a whole lot of teaching at the top level of the game. It's as good a staff as exists in collegiate softball, and arguably the best. Candrea's leadership and strategy (notably defense), Ray's short game, bat work and base-running fundamentals and Wilson's pitching expertise give Arizona the full compliment.
A New Star Rising
In her 14 games played in this season, which include 10 starts at third base, freshman Brigette Del Ponte has hit .485 at the dish, good for second on a team that's hitting a combined .318. It's a mark that rivals any first-year batting average at this point in the season. Through 13 games in 2008, then-freshman Lauren Schutzler led the team with a .478 average. Schutzler finished that season batting .353. Through Caitlin Lowe's first baker's dozen of collegiate games, she hit an even .500, and concluded the season with a .437 mark. Del Ponte is the only underclassman that currently has an average above the .275 mark.
Road Warriors, Version 2.0
Mike Candrea has led his squad to a perfect 11-0 record away from Hillenbrand Stadium so far this season. Candrea's 2009 team, dubbed the postseason Road Warriors, played eight games outside of Tucson during the NCAA Tournament, posting a 5-3 record. Before Wednesday, UA had played 19 of its last 21 games on the road dating back to last season, touting a 16-3 record.
Arizona has hit 26 home runs in 16 games, down one from last year's numbers at this point in the season. Brigette Del Ponte and Lini Koria lead the way with five apiece, Stacie Chambers, Baillie Kirker and Brittany Lastrapes have four, and Kristen Arriola (2), Matte Haack and Lauren Schutzler have also chipped in.
Big, Young Bats
· Arizona's lone senior bat, K'Lee Arredondo, has yet to hit a HR
· Juniors have tagged eight home runs on the season
· Sophomores hit seven over the fence so far
· Freshman account for ten bombs
The Cats have knocked in 59 of their 119 total runs on home runs alone, accounting for just under 50 percent of the team's scoring. Without the long ball UA surely would have put some of those runs on the board, but that's some quick-strike plating. The way UA swung the bats in Palm Springs, Calif. (9 home runs), and with Arizona's historic home field advantage, who knows where that number will be come the end of this 12-game homestand.
A Tale of Two Defenses
Arizona seemed to have some early-season defensive issues before going error-less this past weekend. Still, here are some numbers regarding the defense surrounding both pitchers:
· When Kenzie Fowler starts, the defense is fielding .986 with three errors.
· When Akamine starts, the defense fields at a .970 clip with six errors, including two in the outfield.
In Arizona's last national championship season of 2007, the outfield committed two errors all season.
With two outs, Arizona has knocked in 45 runs on the season. That is 17 more than the total runs that UA has given up. Sophomore Lini Koria has belted in 10 two-out ribbies, followed by freshman Brigette Del Ponte's seven. Junior Brittany Lastrapes (6) and freshman Baillie Kirker (5) have also tallied significant two-out RBI numbers.
Hitting from the two-hole, Lauren Schutzler is a perfect 6-for-6 when leading off an inning. K'Lee Arredondo is also perfect in three opportunities to get the Cats started, while Brigette Del Ponte is hitting .750 leading off an inning. Brittany Lastrapes hits .615 from a leadoff position, going 16-for-26 in the young season. The junior holds a career .595 average when leading off an inning.
With 1,192 wins to his credit, Mike Candrea is 8 wins shy of 1,200 for his illustrious career. He will become only the fifth coach in NCAA history to do so.