Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 4 Softball Opens Home Slate Friday for Worth Wildcat Invitational
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 13, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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THIS WEEK: Arizona opens a season-long 15-game home slate with the Worth Wildcat Invitational.  Arizona’s 2006 national championship team will be honored in between its 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. games on Saturday.


ON THE AIR: Fans can tune in to KCUB 1290 AM The Source for the Wildcats’ Friday night contest versus Texas Tech, as well as UA’s game on Sunday with time and opponent to be determined. Free Live Stats, powered by Tucson Electric Power, will be provided for all 30 home games and many road games.



Friday, Feb. 16

9 a.m.         Texas Tech ?- Virginia

11 a.m.        Mid. Tenn. St. - Virginia

1 p.m.         Mid. Tenn. St. - Temple

3 p.m.         Arizona - Temple

5 p.m.         Arizona ?- Texas Tech


Saturday, Feb. 17

9 a.m.         Temple ?- Virginia

11 a.m.        Temple ?- Texas Tech

1 p.m.         Mid. Tenn. St. ?- Texas Tech

3 p.m.         Arizona ?- Virginia

5 p.m.         Arizona ?- Mid. Tenn. St.



Sunday, Feb. 18

10 a.m.        #3 Seed - #4 Seed

12:30 p.m.   #1 Seed - #2 Seed




TEMPLE:  The Owls are led by second-year coach Casey Dickson, who coached Temple to a 22-23 record in her first year at the helm.  Seniors Adrienne Repsher and Jess Rohn look to lead the Owls in their final collegiate campaign.  Repsher batted .302 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 2006, while Rohn returns after having started all but one game in 2006 to the tune of a .283 average with 17 home runs.


TEXAS TECH: Arizona and the Red Raiders played twice in 2006, with UA winning by scores of 6-0 and 3-1.  Taryne Mowatt led the Wildcats to victories in both games, surrendering one run off only three hits in 14.0 innings of work.  In doing so, Mowatt limited the Red Raiders to a .068 team batting average.  Caitlin Lowe batted .750 (6-for-8), as the Wildcats accrued a .373 team batting average over the two contests.


TTU enters the weekend 3-2, after playing in last weekend’s Kajikawa Classic.  The Red Raiders and Wildcats had two common opponents, as both teams defeated Ohio State and Nevada.



VIRGINIA: The Cavaliers enter the weekend with a 3-2 record, after their appearance in the Best Western Invitational in Tampa, Fla.  Karla Wilburn (2-2, 1.27 ERA) started three of UVA’s five games and has struck out 20 batters to just six walks.               


MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE:  The Blue Raiders have not dodged tough competition in the young 2007 season, as they have a 1-4 record with two losses coming against No. 7 LSU.  MTSU has been led thus far by Justine Cerda, whose .333 (4-for-12) batting average and 3 RBI top the Blue Raiders’ stat sheet.  In the circle, Lindsey Vander Lugt has a 1.86 ERA to go with her 1-2 record.  The freshman has a 13:0 strikeout to walk ratio has pitched 19.1 of the 33.0  MTSU has played in the field this year.


The Blue Raiders have two players with Arizona connections.  Shelby Stiner, the reigning Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year and preseason all-conference pick, hails from Peoria.  Additionally, Ashley Cline, who transferred from Tennessee, scored the winning run in UA’s 2005 WCWS loss to the Lady Vols.


ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA ?- is in his 22nd season at the helm of the Arizona softball program.  He boasts a 1,085-216 (.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.  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 in 2004.  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.  Candrea is also an nine-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year and a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame.  He has led Arizona to seven national championships and nine Pac-10 titles.


DEFENDING THE TITLE: 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.


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.


NOTHING COMES EASILY: Arizona always plays a difficult schedule and this year will be no different.  In Pac-10 play, UA is scheduled to play 16 games against teams ranked in the top 10 of the preseason USA Today/NFCA poll and an additional 11 contests against other squads ranked in the Top 25.  In addition to having six Pac-10 opponents ranked 12th or better, UA has non-conference match-ups with Northwestern, four games against Texas A&M, Oklahoma, a three-game series versus Baylor.


STEALING THE SHOW: Mike Candrea and the Wildcats have never been afraid of making things happen on the basepaths, and UA’s 21 stolen bases in 22 attempts only furthered the claim.  In last year’s Kajikawa, UA stole its first eight of 79 stolen bases on the year.


STEALING FOURTH PLACE: Caitlin Lowe passed Amy Chellevold’s 113 career stolen bases, as she stole eight bags last weekend en route to her 115th career SB. 


KEEP IT IN THE PARK: Junior pitcher Taryne Mowatt has proven through past experience that she is a dependable pitcher who virtually always keeps her team in the game with quality starts.  This past weekend, she displayed very good stuff with one notable Achilles heel: the long ball.  All nine runs Mowatt allowed came via home run.  She limited opponents to a .200 batting average and struck out 10.3 batters per seven innings, but six home runs allowed hindered the outcome of her work.


WALKING ON THE WILD SIDE: Freshman pitcher Sarah Akamine boasts a respectable 1.56 ERA and a 2-0 record.  The numbers are particularly impressive when one realizes that two of her three career starts have come against then-No. 4 Northwestern and No. 13 Texas A&M.  However, Akamine toed a fine line at the Kajikawa Classic, as she scattered 24 opponent hits over 17.1 innings of work.  In those 17-plus innings, she retired the side in order on only two occasions.


TALE OF TWO PITCHERS:  Given the two notes above, UA’s two pitchers from the past weekend both displayed some strengths and weaknesses to what they bring to the table.  Below is a comparison of several key pitching statistics.



























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.


SWITCH IT UP: Last weekend, 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, batting second.  This past weekend, she had eight plate appearances from the left side and 12 from the right.  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.


LOADED QUESTION: Arizona is batting .500 (3-for-6) with the bases loaded, but hits only .206 (13-for-63) with runners in scoring position. 


START IT UP RIGHT: Caitlin Lowe has reached base safely to start five of UA’s six games, including reaching once via error.  The Wildcats as a team have experienced considerable success starting off innings this year, as they boast a .579 on-base percentage in such situations.


HITTING STREAKS: Caitlin Lowe enters the weekend with a 10-game hitting streak, dating back to the 2006 Women’s College World Series.  Infielders Chelsie Mesa and Laine Roth bring three-game hit streaks into the Worth Wildcat.


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.


FOX IN THE CLUTCH: Kristie Fox has built a reputation as one of the great clutch hitters in college softball.  In 2006, she batted .430 with runners in scoring position and set a career high with 66 RBI, but her career numbers are even more telling.  The shortstop is a career .381 (86-for-226) hitter with runners in scoring position and hits .341 (117-for-343) in non-RISP situations.


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.


2006 REVIEW: While national championships are the currency by which history measures on-field success, the results show that Arizona continued its tradition of superb play in all aspects of the game in 2006.  Along with Tennessee, UA was the only team to finish in the top 10 nationally in the following team categories: ERA, batting average and fielding percentage.


The Wildcats opened the year on a tear, winning 24 of their first 25 games.  UA dominated opponents over that span, winning games by an average of six runs a game.  However, on March 16 Arizona entered a slide in which it went 10-8 over its next 18 contests.  Prior to UA’s April 30 doubleheader at Washington, the Wildcats found themselves in the bottom half of the Pac-10 standings.


In the first game of the doubleheader, Alicia Hollowell ruined the Huskies’ Senior Day by tossing a no-hitter, leading to a 2-0 UA victory.  The win catalyzed a 14-game winning streak that elevated Arizona to a second-place finish in the Pac-10 and within one game of reaching the Women’s College World Series.


After defeating LSU in the Tucson Super Regional to reach the WCWS, UA met Pac-10 foe Oregon State for an opening round date in Oklahoma City.  After defeating the Beavers in extra-innings, UA engaged in a game for the ages against Texas.  A pair of four-time All-Americans, Hollowell and Cat Osterman in the circle, did not disappoint, as they allowed a total of five hits between them.  Arizona broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Callista Balko singled home Caitlin Lowe for what proved to be the game-winning run in a 2-0 Wildcat victory.


Two days later, after a 1-0 loss to Tennessee, Arizona responded emphatically with a 6-0 victory over the Lady Vols that sent the Wildcats to the championship series against Northwestern.


UA opened exploded with an 8-0 win in Game 1, led by a one-hit performance by Hollowell.  The story of the game, and the series for that matter, was the Wildcats’ speed on the base paths.  UA’s slappers Caitlin Lowe, Autumn Champion and Adrienne Acton combined for three infield hits, four runs and forced three NU infield errors.


In Game 2, Arizona could smell the national championship, putting 12 hits on the board that led to an eventual 5-0 victory. 


Finally, after all the ups and downs the team endured, the Wildcats tasted the sweetest of victories and in doing so, they brought the national championship trophy home to Tucson.


USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR FINALISTS:  Alicia Hollowell was chosen as one of the three finalists for USA Softball Player of the Year.  Caitlin Lowe had been included on the list of 10 finalists, and was one of just three non-pitchers to be so honored.  Finally, Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion were named to the 50-name pre-season watch list.


ALL-WCWS: Four Arizona players were named to the All-WCWS Team, including Alicia Hollowell’s Most Outstanding Player performance.  Taryne Mowatt led the Wildcats with a .389 (7-for-18) average in Oklahoma City and had three of UA’s five extra-base hits.  Autumn Champion drove home a 2006 WCWS high and near-record seven runs in six games to go along with her .381 (8-for-21) clip.  Caitlin Lowe matched the fellow Foothill High alum Champion by reaching base via hit in eight of 21 at-bats, while stealing four bases in as many attempts and scoring a WCWS record eight runs.  Hollowell, meanwhile, threw every pitch of UA’s 43.0 innings in the field, striking out a WCWS record 64 batters and hurling a record six complete games.  In six games Hollowell registered four shutouts and allowed only two earned runs, good for a 0.33 ERA at softball’s biggest stage.


ALL-AMERICANS: Arizona had three players named to the NFCA All-America team and one named to the CoSIDA Academic All-America team.  Caitlin Lowe earned her third first-team All-America honor in as many years, while fellow Kristie Fox got a first-team nod for the second consecutive year.  Alicia Hollowell became the first pitcher in Arizona history to be cited as an All-American for all four years, and is just the fourth Wildcat to do so (Amy Chellevold, Leah Braatz and Lauren Bauer).  Autumn Champion, who was alarmingly left off the NFCA All-America squad, garnered second-team Academic All-America honors.


ALL-PAC-10 TEAM: Kristie Fox, Caitlin Lowe, Alicia Hollowell and Autumn Champion were all named to the All-Pac-10 Team.  Fox, Lowe and Hollowell earned first-team nods, while Champion garnered second-team honors.  Both Lowe and Hollowell have been named to the first team every year since they arrived, while Fox is a first-teamer for the second time, and Champion has a pair of first and second team citations.  Taryne Mowatt and Callista Balko received honorable mentions.


ARIZONA SOFTBALL ATTENDANCE: Once again, Arizona’s loyal fans showed up in bunches during the 2006 season.  In 26 home dates, 33,594 bodies pushed through turnstiles, averaging 1,292 fans per date.  UA drew over 1,000 fans in 19 of its 26 home dates and has a running total of 419,617 fans since Hillenbrand Stadium’s opening in 1993.  Arizona will open its home slate with a season-long 15-game homestand beginning on Feb. 16 against Temple in the Worth Wildcat Tournament.  Call (520) 621-CATS or log on to 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.