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No. 2 Arizona to Host Mizzou for Three Games
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 02/28/2007
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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MID-WEEK CONTESTS: Arizona will play a pair of exhibition games on Wednesday, Feb. 28 against Phoenix College at 5 p.m. and Pima at 7 p.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium, as part of the Arizona Battle of Champions.  All three teams won their respective national championships in 2006.  Phoenix and Pima will open the ABC at 3 p.m.  Admission is free to all games.

 

ARIZONA SOFTBALL THIS WEEKEND

March 2 vs. Missouri - 7 p.m. MST

March 3 vs. Missouri ?- 7 p.m. MST

March 4 vs. Missouri ?- 11 a.m. MST

 

NOTING THE TIGERS: Missouri comes to Tucson boasting a 14-6 record on the year and is in the midst of an eight-game win streak.  The Tigers are 0-3 against ranked opponents this year, as they have fallen to LSU once and Stanford twice.

 

Senior catcher Kathy Masterson leads the Tigers with a .390 batting average and a .610 slugging percentage.  Junior first baseman Amanda Renth comes into the weekend hitting .323 with three home runs and a team-leading 19 RBI.  In the circle, four different pitchers have three or more decisions, led by Megan Dennis (4-1, 2.42 ERA) and Jen Bruck (5-0, 4.20 ERA). 

 

Arizona and MU played once in 2006, with the UA taking the Worth Wildcat contest, 4-0.  A close game, Arizona did not break the scoreless tie until the fifth inning, when Chelsie Mesa drove Kristie Fox around to score on a double.  A pair of Mizzou fielding errors set the table for three unearned runs in an inning that was highlighted by Jenae Leles’ first career triple.  In the circle, Alicia Hollowell struck out 14 of the 27 Tigers she faced and limited MU to five hits in seven innings of shutout work.

 

RECAPPING LAST WEEKEND: The Wildcats made a statement this past weekend with a series victory over then-No. 2 Texas A&M.  The Aggies came to Tucson undefeated, as they boasted their best start in the program’s illustrious history.  Behind both timely hitting and effective pitching, Arizona took two of three games from the second-ranked team in the country.

 

On Friday, Taryne Mowatt came within three batters of tossing a no-hitter against a team that was averaging over seven runs per game in a 5-0 Arizona victory.  She was helped by the entire Wildcat offense, led by Chelsie Mesa’s two hits and two RBI.

 

On Saturday, an A&M grand slam broke a scoreless tie in the fifth inning and would be all the runs the Aggies would need in a 4-3 win over Arizona.  Despite being down four runs, the Wildcats fought back scoring three times in the next two innings but fell just short of pulling off the comeback.

 

On Sunday, UA racked up 11 hits and Callista Balko hit two home runs to propel Arizona to a 6-2 series-clinching win. 

 

ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA ?- is in his 22nd season at the helm of the Arizona softball program.  He boasts a 1,092-217 (.834) record in 21 seasons in the dugout.  Candrea has earned 17 coach of the year honors, including nine Pac-10 Coach of the Year citations, and is a member of the NFCA Hall of Fame.  In 2004, Candrea took a year off to coach the USA Olympic softball team to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in Athens.  Candrea was also awarded the Olympic Shield award, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s most prestigious award, marking the first time in history the award was given to an Olympic coach.  During his tenure, Arizona has won nine Pac-10 titles and seven national championships.

 

SENIORS LEADING THE WAY: Sunday’s victory over Texas A&M marked the first time since 2001 that Arizona has started seniors in the first, second and third spots in the batting order.  Caitlin Lowe, Chelsie Mesa and Kristie Fox became the first trio of seniors to be penciled in to the top of the order since Lauren Bauer, Nicole Giordano and Toni Mascarenas started up the majority of games during UA’s 2001 title run. 

 

STEALING THE SHOW: Entering the week, Arizona leads the Pac-10 as a team in successful stolen bases with 35.  If Arizona keeps up the pace and plays 60 games, which it has done nine of the last 10 years, the Wildcats are on track to swipe 150 bases ?- 14 more than the school record.

 

Individually, Caitlin Lowe leads the conference with 13 stolen bases, and Chelsie Mesa ranks sixth with six SB.

 

GETTING ON THE BOARD: Historically, when Arizona loses the loss can be attributed a lack of offensive support.  However, Arizona has scored in every game this year even in its three losses.  Since 2000, Arizona has been shut out at least one time in its first three losses, including all three last year.

 

THE OPPONENTS GET ON THE BOARD TOO: Arizona’s pitchers have done a stellar job this year, limiting opponents to a .201 batting average and boasting a 1.59 ERA, but the Wildcat staff has registered only two shutouts.  Since 2001, Arizona has had at least six shutouts through its first 14 games of the year and averages over eight shutouts in 14 games over that timeframe.

 

CAN YOU SAY TOUGH LOSS? Arizona’s three losses have all come by one run margin and via an opponent home run.

 

SCHEDULE COMPARED TO THE PAC: As always, Arizona has scheduled one of the most difficult slates in the country.  The following compares how Arizona and its fellow Pac-10 squads have fared against ranked opponents.

           

 

vs. top 15

vs. Top 25

Arizona

3-2

3-2

ASU

0-1

0-1

Cal

0-2

0-3

Oregon

0-0

0-0

Oregon State

0-3

1-3

Stanford

0-1

0-2

UCLA

1-2

1-3

Washington

0-1

1-1

 

 

UA is scheduled to play 11 games against teams ranked in the top 10 of this week’s ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and an additional 19 contests against other squads ranked 11th through 25th.

 

THE LOWE-DOWN ON THE RECORD BOOK: As a three-time, first-team NFCA All-American Caitlin Lowe has already cemented her name into the annals of Arizona softball.  In addition to the inevitable single-season marks she will set or challenge throughout 2007, Lowe is already climbing up the school record book and has a legitimate shot to finish in the top 10 in four categories in NCAA history.

 

Lowe in top 10 Arizona history

Category                       Ariz. Rank

Batting Avg.   .459         2

Runs              198          10

Stolen Bases  120          4

 

(Lowe is currently seven hits away from cracking the top 10 in career hits at UA)

 

FOX RACKS UP THE RIBBIES: Kristie Fox enters the week tied with Alison McCutcheon for eighth place on UA’s career RBI list with 184.  Jennie Finch is the next Wildcat great Fox hopes to pass, as the two-time Honda Award winner ended a stellar Wildcat career with 195 RBI.

 

HITTING STREAKS: Chelsie Mesa enters the weekend with a team-leading 11-game hitting streak.  The 11-game run ties Mesa’s career high that was set last year.  Kristie Fox is second on the team with a modest four-game streak.

 

ONE STREAK ENDS, ANOTHER BEGINS: On Saturday something happened that has not occurred since March 19, 2006.  For the first time in 40 games, Caitlin Lowe failed to reach base during at least one plate appearance.  The streak can be traced back through the beginning of this year, last year’s WCWS, NCAA Tournament and Pac-10 play.  Over that timeframe, Arizona played 26 games against teams ranked 15th or better and has played the “who’s who” of college softball pitching: Texas’ Cat Osterman, Tennessee’s Monica Abbott, Cal’s Kristina Thorson, UCLA’s Anjelica Selden, ASU’s Katie Burkhart, Oregon State’s Brianne McGowan, Texas A&M’s Amanda Scarborough and Northwestern’s Eileen Canney.

 

SWITCH IT UP: This year, K'Lee Arredondo became the first switch hitter during Mike Candrea’s 22-year tenure.  The frosh from Tempe, Ariz., has started every game this season in left field, batted second for the first 13 games before moving down to the eight-slot last Sunday.  In the last two weekends ?- a stretch of eight games -- she batted .500 (7-for-14) with five RBI from the right side of the plate and .111 (1-for-9) with no RBI from as a lefty.  Arredondo hit three home runs in 13 at-bats during Arizona’s fall tournament and batted .542 with 14 runs scored in eight games with the U.S. Junior Women’s Pan American Qualifier team in Puerto Rico.

 

TWO-OUT RALLIES: Since opening the year with a .220 two-out batting average at the Kajikawa Classic, Arizona has seen some drastically different results over the last two weekends when it comes to timely hitting.  UA is hitting .450 with two outs and has had over half (26 of 47) of its RBI during that timeframe come with two outs.

 

START IT UP RIGHT: Caitlin Lowe has reached base safely to start nine of UA’s 14 games, including reaching twice via error.  The Wildcats as a team have experienced considerable success starting off innings this year, as they have reached safely in 46 percent of the time to start an inning.

 

KEEPING THE GLOVES DOWN AND THROWS ON TARGET: Last Friday, Arizona snapped a streak of 48.2 error-free innings in the field. 

 

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES: Perhaps the most notable turnaround for an Arizona player defensively has been that of Jenae Leles.  The sophomore from Fair Oaks, Calif., boasts a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage in 36 defensive chances.  Through UA’s first 14 games last year, Leles had made two errors in 16 chances for an .875 fielding percentage.

 

CAMPAIGN ISSUES ?- A STRONG NATIONAL DEFENSE: Arizona has experienced exceptional success in years following a national title.  The Wildcats have appeared in the national title game after every one of their national championships, won five of six Pac-10 Championships and average 62-6 record in those six campaigns.

 

T-MO TOSSING THE NO-NO: Taryne Mowatt earned her third career no-hitter in UA’s 1-0 victory over Texas Tech on Feb. 16.  Her first no-hitter came at Fullerton’s Judi Garman Classic against UNLV on March 16, 2006, just two before registering a perfect game against Cal State Northridge.  Mowatt currently stands tied for seventh all-time at Arizona for no-hitters.  Current UA assistant coach Nancy Evans’ five no-no’s is sixth, and undergraduate assistant coach Alicia Hollowell holds the school record with 17 no-hitters.  Please refer to page 46 of the 2007 Arizona media guide for more information on no-hitters in Arizona history.

 

USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER OF THE YEAR “WATCH LIST”: Arizona senior shortstop Kristie Fox, senior center fielder Caitlin Lowe, junior catcher Callista Balko and junior pitcher Taryne Mowatt were named to the exclusive 50-name preseason list.  UA led all schools with four players on the list that included 33 teams and 11 conferences.  Lowe was a finalist for the award in 2005, while Alicia Hollowell was a finalist last year.

 

LIKE CLOCKWORK: Arizona has been ranked No. 1 in the country for at least part of the year every season since 1991.

 

REPRESENTING THE OTHER RED, WHITE AND BLUE: This past off-season Caitlin Lowe completed her second summer with the U.S. Women’s National Team.  Lowe started all 17 games of the ISF World Championships and the II World Cup of Softball for Team USA.  She batted .393 (22-for-56) in the two tournaments, stole a team-high nine bases in as many attempts and scored 23 runs to help lead the U.S. to a pair of tournament victories.  Additionally, Callista Balko and Kristie Fox helped lead the U.S. to a gold medal in the World University games in Taiwan this past July.

 

WELCOMING THE NEWCOMERS: Arizona brings in seven newcomers, including six freshmen to its 18-player squad.  Freshmen third baseman/pitcher Sarah Akamine, utility player K'Lee Arredondo and catcher/third baseman Stacie Chambers could make an immediate impact on the starting lineup.  Additional frosh third baseman/catcher Lauren Erb, outfielder Lisa Odom and junior outfielder Cyndi Duran could give UA some depth off the bench.

 

FOUR TIMES THE FUN: Before the year is over, Caitlin Lowe will cement her name in both the NCAA and Arizona record books in several offensive categories such as batting average, hits, runs scored and stolen bases.  She also has the chance to become just the fifth player in Arizona program’s storied history to be a four-time NFCA All-American.  Amy Chellevold, Leah Braatz, Lauren Bauer and Alicia Hollowell are the only Wildcats to be cited four times.  Additionally, Lowe could join Braatz as the only player in that distinguished group to earn each of those citations as a first-teamer.

 

REPLACING THE ACE: Taryne Mowatt’s task of replacing four-time All-American Alicia Hollowell as Arizona’s first pitching option.  While the job will not be easy, Moawtt is not the first Arizona pitcher asked to replace a legend.  Every year since 1991, UA has had at least one pitcher named to the All-America team.  Of the 17 citations ?- UA had two pitchers named to the 1992 team ?- seven different players have represented the Wildcats over that timeframe (Debby Day, Susie Parra, Carrie Dolan, Nancy Evans, Becky Lemke, Jennie Finch and Alicia Hollowell).  Teresa Cherry was tabbed an All-American in 1988 as UA’s first pitcher to be so honored.

 

ARIZONA SOFTBALL ATTENDANCE: The Arizona scores of the faithful came out Hillenbrand Stadium last weekend to get a glimpse at the Wildcats.  The fans helped Arizona set a stadium record for Opening Night with 1,439 paid attendees on Feb. 9.  Through six dates, Arizona has hosted 6,547 fans for an average of 1,091 per date.

 

In 2006, 33,594 bodies pushed through turnstiles over 26 home dates, averaging 1,292 fans per date.  UA drew over 1,000 fans in 19 of its 26 home dates and ended the year with a running total of 426,164 fans since Hillenbrand Stadium’s opening in 1993.

 

Arizona is currently in the middle of a season-long 15-game homestand through March 6.  Call (520) 621-CATS or log on to arizonaathletics.com for ticket information.

 

WILDCAT SIGNEES: Arizona has locked up five high school seniors who are expected to enroll in the fall of 2007.  Lauren Schutzler, an outfielder from Monterey, Calif.; Brittany Lastrapes, an outfielder from Laguna Hills, Calif.; Lindsey Sisk, a pitcher and outfielder from Murietta, Calif.; Tawny Horton, an outfielder from Gilbert, Ariz.; and Victoria Kemp, a second baseman from Saugus, Calif., comprise the class.  Schutzler is the sister of Tennessee All-American Lindsay Schutzler, and Lastrapes’ older sister Dominique is an All-American at Washington.  Both Sisk and Lastrapes competed on the U.S. Junior Women’s Team that captured the Junior Women’s Pan Am Championship in Puerto Rico in November 2006.

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