April 13, 2010
Cats Open Home Pac-10 Play against Stanford
April 16-18, Hillenbrand Stadium, Tucson, Ariz.
After four straight weekends on the road, being swept at the hands of No. 1 Washington over the weekend and a two-game downing of UTEP in a Wednesday doubleheader, Arizona opens home conference play against the eighth-ranked Stanford Cardinal.
Stanford has not seen the Wildcats since the two teams met in the Palo Alto Super Regional last season. UA won the series in a deciding game three, but both pitchers who were the major factors in that game are no longer at each institution (STAN - Missy Penna, UA - Lindsey Sisk). Prior to that NCAA Tournament series, the Cardinal took the season series from the Wildcats, 2-1, with both wins coming in Palo Alto. The Wildcats run-ruled Stanford in their only game in Tucson.
STAN: The Cardinal (30-6, 4-2 Pac-10) are led by senior Alissa Haber and her .469 average at the dish. The Newark, Calif. native has slugged a team-high .735 and has an on-base percentage of .551. Senior Shannon Koplitz leads the team with 29 RBI, while freshman Jenna Rich has hit a team-high 10 home runs. In the circle, freshman Teagan Gerhart, the younger sister of Heisman Trophy runner-up Toby Gerhart, touts a 1.58 ERA and a 22-5 record. She has sat down 169 batters in 185.2 innings pitched. Junior Ashley Chinn (6-1) picked up a win against UA in Palo Alto last season.
Last Time Out
Arizona's Kenzie Fowler threw her third career no-hitter in the first game of a doubleheader against UTEP, and the team scored eight runs in the first inning of the second game as they took down the Miners by a combined score of 18-0 on Wednesday.
The story of the weekend was Danielle Lawrie, as the reigning USA Softball Player of the Year threw a 12-, 13- and 14-strikeout game each day as the Huskies swept the Wildcats in Seattle.
Arizona actually out-hit Washington in the first game on Friday, but a costly error led to an unearned run which proved to be the difference in a 2-1 loss.
Lawrie limited the UA offense to two hits as Washington won 7-0 on Saturday.
Arizona finally got to the star pitcher, but it was too late as UW picked up a 9-3 Sunday win.
Catch the Action
Go to arizonawildcats.com for live GameTracker stats, sponsored by Tucson Electric Power. Fans can watch all home games on All-Access, and most home games will be broadcast in-stadium on 103.3 FM with David Kelly and former UA softball player Erika Barnes describing the game action.
L is for Not Lately
Arizona's three-game losing streak after being swept at Washington isn't a normal occurrence. It's its worst since dropping a pair to Stanford and a game at Oregon in the first week in May last year. That was the longest such skein in 2009. In 2008 the Cats suffered a three-game streak to open the year (Northwestern, A&M, Nevada) and a four-game streak against UCLA, ASU (2) and Oregon. In 2007 UA did not lose more than two games consecutively. In 2006 there was a three-game streak (UCLA-2, and ASU). In 2005 the club had one two-game losing streak (OSU, UCLA).
Crossing the Plate
The 16 runs scored against UA by Washington in back-to-back games (7-0 and 9-3 losses) were not the most allowed in two games this year. ASU scored 17 in a 12-6 UA victory and an 11-1 Sun Devil rout a few weeks ago. The WCWS rout in Oklahoma City by Alabama (14-0) and a loss to Florida (3-0) matched that to close the season a year ago. Otherwise, you have to go back seven seasons to find as many runs scored against Arizona in successive games, when UA lost to Washington 7-1 and beat the Huskies 21-17 in the regular-season finale doubleheader on May 10 when outfielders pitched the final game. Earlier that year Arizona beat Cal State Fullerton 5-2 and lost to the Titans 15-3 in a doubleheader on March 22, 2003.
Kenzie Fowler in the circle...The freshman's 21-5 pitching record bodes well for Arizona, and gives her a chance, albeit a tough one with 21 regular-season games remaining, to crack the 30-victory barrier. Arizona pitchers have accomplished it 17 times, last by Taryne Mowatt in the magical NCAA title 2007 year when she did all the pitching and went 42-12 with a lot of the work in the postseason. Mowatt just missed in her senior year in 2008, going 29-15, again pitching a lot with 72 percent of the innings thrown. Fowler's tossed 62 percent of the action this year, thanks to some strong work by senior Sarah Akamine who's won a career-best 10 games (against one defeat). Another game and Akamine reaches her career high in single-season innings pitched.
Stacie Chambers is just four bases on balls shy of reaching the Arizona single-season top 10 chart. She has 34 while former slugger Leticia Pineda is No. 10 on the list with 38. Assuming the current rate of about one per game, Chambers should reach the top 4 in the category. Jenny Dalton walked 64 times in 1996 and 59 times in 1995; Lovie Jung was issued 55 walks in 2003; and Leah Braatz had 53 free passes in 1998 to populate the top four spots. Braatz had 45 walked in 1997 for No. 5. The Cats as a team have passed 200 walks 12 times. The 2010 team has 186 and the school record is 287 in 1995.
Top of the Order
Leadoff hitter Brittany Lastrapes has some terrific career numbers -- 173 runs, 225 hits and 148 RBI -- that put her in shape to be one of the all-time producers in Arizona history. At her current pace, sometime early next year she should displace one of UA's famed power hitters on the Hits-Career chart, with Leah Braatz (297 hits, 85 HR), Toni Mascarenas (293 hits, 43 HR) and Jenny Dalton (291 hits, 76 HR) in the Nos. 8-10 spots. With seven more homers she'll tie Mascarenas for career jacks and might have to be considered a power hitter. Toni's tied for 11th on the UA all-time yard-ball list.
Brigette Still Brings Them In
Brigette Del Ponte has 55 RBI through 39 games played, a torrid pace for a freshman even at Arizona where some historical years show up on RBI charts. Here's how she stacks up against the Wildcat career RBI leaders' freshman seasons (full season totals):
Player RBI Freshman Year
Leah Braatz 75 1994
Toni Mascarenas 73 1998
M. Vandergeest 61 2001
Brigette Del Ponte 55 2010
Stacie Chambers 49 2008
Laura Espinoza 44 1992
Alison McCutcheon 40 1995
Kristie Fox 37 2004
Jenae Leles 36 2006
Jennie Finch 34 1999
Jenny Dalton 30 1992
Leticia Pineda 19 1995
Stacie Chambers has already displaced Alison McCutcheon for No. 10 on the list. She had a team-leading 49 RBI in her first year in 2008 (after missing 2007 with injury). She has 187 career RBI entering the Stanford series, three more than McCutcheon had from 1995-98. Chambers is now six away from former teammate Jenae Leles' mark of 193 set from 2006-09.