Tues., April 4 #5 Arizona State 6 p.m. Fri., April 7 #4 California 6 p.m. Sat. April 8 #8 Stanford 6 p.m. Sun., April 9 #8 Stanford 1 p.mThis Week:
The second-ranked Arizona softball team (39-3 overall, 3-0 Pac-10) continues its Pac-10 homestand against No. 5 Arizona State (34-6, 2-1), Tues., April 4 at 6 p.m. The Sun Devils opened Pac-10 play last weekend with a 6-1 win over Oregon State and a split with Oregon. The Cats will also play host to No. 4 California (38-9, 2-3), Fri., April 7 and No. 8 Stanford (30-7, 1-4), Sat., April 8 at 6 p.m. and Sun., April 9 at 1 p.m. The Golden Bears shutout top-ranked Washington last weekend, 2-0, before losing the second game to the Huskies, 10-1. The Cardinal lost to Washington, 6-0, and was swept by UCLA, 1-0 and 8-0.
New Pac-10 Format
The league voted in the off-season to drop the 28-game home-and-home doubleheader series which had been in effect since the early 1990s and move instead to a 21-game schedule featuring single games. Each Pac-10 team will face each other a total of three times on the season.
Last Week: Arizona suffered just its third loss of the season and its first to a team other than Washington last Tuesday. In the first game of a doubleheader with New Mexico State, the Roadrunners managed just three hits off UA pitcher Becky Lemke, but one of those hits turned out to be the winning home run by Adrian Nobles in the top of the sixth inning as NMSU upset the Cats, 2-1. Lemke struck out ten batters in the loss. Arizona rebounded in the second game for a 7-1 win behind nine hits, including a two-run homer by Lindsey Collins and a three-run homer by Chrissy Gil. UA pitcher Jennie Finch struck out 11 and allowed just four hits in the win. The Cats then swept through the first weekend of Pac-10 play with a 3-2 extra innings victory over No. 23 Oregon followed by a sweep of No. 11 Oregon State. Alison Andrade singled in the winning run in the bottom of the eighth against the Ducks. Lemke struck out 11 and allowed only two hits in the victory. Jennie Finch allowed just four hits in the Cats' 11-0 victory over Oregon State on Saturday, which was fueled by an eight-run third inning. The Cats then took advantage of three Beaver errors in scoring all their runs in a 4-1 victory over OSU on Sunday. The Beavers took a 1-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Shawna Feldt, but the Cats came back with the go-ahead runs in the fifth to go undefeated on opening weekend of Pac-10 play.
National Fastpitch Coaches Association Poll
Arizona was ranked second and received five first-place votes in last week's NFCA coaches poll released Wed., March 29. Pac-10 schools occupy the top five spots in the rankings and all eight teams are ranked. Washington is No. 1 followed by Arizona, UCLA, Cal and ASU. The poll is available online at www.nfca.org. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
UCLA was picked to finish first in the conference by the coaches in their preseason poll. The Bruins received 47 points, including five first-place votes, while Washington picked up three first-place nods to go with 44 total points. Arizona was projected to finish third and received 38 points. The Cats were followed by Arizona State, Stanford, Oregon State, California and Oregon.
Swinging for the Fences
This Arizona squad has upheld the Wildcat tradition of socking balls out of the yard as seven Cats have hit the long ball this season. Jennie Finch leads the team with 14 home runs, while Lindsey Collins (10) is second on the team. Alison Andrade (6), Toni Mascarenas (3), Chrissy Gil (4), Lauren Bauer (2) and Nicole Giordano (1) have each joined the fun for a team total of 40.
Toni Mascarenas hit four consecutive doubles during the Hillenbrand Classic earlier this month, including three against Indiana. She finished with six doubles in five games and has nine on the season. However, Alison Andrade still leads the team with 12 doubles and five Cats have nine doubles each. The Cats have a team total of 68 doubles on the season.
Notes from Left Field
In 42 games, the Wildcats have 405 hits for a team batting average of .365 and have outscored the opposition, 292-30... Arizona is 3-0 in extra-inning games this season, with a pair of eight-inning victories over Hawaii and Oregon and a ten-inning win over Fresno State... Junior Nicole Giordano leads the team with a .479 average with a team-high 67 hits and 37 runs scored... Senior Chrissy Gil has as many triples as home runs (4 each) and has nearly as many runs (32) as hits (39)...
Armed and Dangerous
Arizona's pitchers have dominated the opposition in recent years and this season is no exception... Junior Becky Lemke and sophomore Jennie Finch have combined to allow just 23 earned runs in 263 innings spanning 42 games...They have combined to pitch four no-hitters on the season (two apiece). The last time a pair of Arizona pitchers threw no-hitters in the same season was when Carrie Dolan and Nancy Evans each threw two during the 1995 season... Finch has an ERA of 0.45, while Lemke has a 0.73 ERA... Lemke struck out a school-record 19 batters in recording her second no-hitter of the season on March 11 against BYU... Lemke has 216 strikeouts on the season to give her 614 for her career. She remains third on the all-time list behind Evans (733)... They have a combined 348 strikeouts (including two by Teresa Ayoub). The single-season team record is 451... Lemke is fourth on the UA all-time victories list with a 75-13 record in two-and-a-half seasons... Only two teams have managed more than two runs off either of them. Finch gave up three runs to Notre Dame in the semifinals of the Kia Klassic and Lemke allowed six runs in the championship game loss to Washington...
Do Unto Others...
Jennie Finch has managed to do to opposing pitchers what opposing batters have been unable to do to her - get big hits. Finch leads the team with 14 home runs and has 42 RBI... Add that to her pitching totals and she does pretty much everything but sweep the infield between games... She threw two no-hitters within a week of each other (vs. Tennessee Tech on 2/18 and vs. Drake on 2/25) and the latter was her first career perfect game... She also has three one-hitters on the season.
Pac-10 Weekly Honors
Finch was named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for Feb. 23-29 for her performance at the Bama Bash. It was her second honor of the year. She was also named the Player of the Week Feb. 29 after hitting .643 (9-for-14), including 12 RBI, four home runs, and nine runs scored at the Wildcat Invitational... Additionally, Becky Lemke won Pitcher of the Week honors Feb. 15 for her performance at the Fiesta Bowl Classic, where she had a 3-0 decision over then-No. 3 Fresno State.
Arizona Coach Mike Candrea
In his 15th season at Arizona, Candrea carries a record of 766-160 (.826). He is the active and all-time winningest Division I coach by percentage and in the top 10 in victories. Last season, Candrea became the eighth Division I coach in history to win 700 games. His players have earned 49 All-America honors and six Academic All-America honors, plus he has coached three players to the Honda Softball Award as national player of the year. He has taken the Wildcats to the College World Series the past 12 consecutive years and has reached the NCAA Championship game in eight of the last 10 seasons.
Cats Depth Chart p B. Lemke, J. Finch c Lindsey Collins 1b Jennie Finch, Erika Hanson, Leneah Manuma (inj.) 2b Katie Swan ss Allison Andrade, April Richardson, Lisha Ribellia 3b Toni Mascarenas, Lindsey Rice lf Lauren Bauer, Lindsay Robinson cf Chrissy Gil rf Nicole Giordano dp Jennie Finch, Erika Hanson, Teresa Ayoub