The top-seeded Arizona softball team (44-12-1) will attempt to defend its 2006 NCAA title as the Wildcats return to Oklahoma City for the 2007 Women’s College World Series. The double-elimination tournament includes eight teams that will begin play on Thursday at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. The last two teams standing will face off in a best-of-three game series to determine this year’s national champion.
The Wildcats will open the WCWS against eighth-seeded Baylor on Thursday at approximately 8 p.m. (CDT). UA will face either Tennessee or Texas A&M in the second round.
Once again, all WCWS games will be televised on either ESPNHD or ESPN2HD. Beth Mowins and Jessica Mendoza are slated as the broadcast team for all day-session games, while Eric Collins and Michelle Smith will share the call for the night session.
HOW THEY GOT TO THE WCWS
NO. 1 SEED ARIZONA (44-12-1, 15-5-1 PAC-10)
Howard W, 9-0 (5 inn.)
Mississippi State W, 8-0
Pacific W, 7-0
TUCSON SUPER REGIONAL
GAME 1: ARIZONA 11, CAL STATE FULLERTON 6 ?- The Wildcats opened the super regional in the worst possible way ?- down 5-0 in the first inning with their three-time All-American center fielder Caitlin Lowe knocked out of the game after crashing into the outfield wall. Down by that same margin in the fourth inning, Callista Balko blasted a three-run home run to put Arizona on the board in a 5-3 game. The next inning, Laine Roth had a three-run homer of her own to give the Wildcats the lead and their largest comeback of the year. In the sixth, Arizona left no room for doubt as the offense tacked up five more runs ?- four of which came on a Kristie Fox two-run double and a two-run homer by Jenae Leles. Arizona would win 11-6 in a game that Taryne Mowatt set the school record for innings pitched in a season.
GAME 2: ARIZONA 2, CAL STATE FULLERTON 1 ?- While not as dramatic as Game 1, Arizona clinched its 19th WCWS berth with a traditional NCAA softball game. Taryne Mowatt allowed one run on three hits in her 36th win of the year. Adrienne Acton broke a scoreless tie in the third inning with a two-run single to drive in pinch runner Cyndi Duran and K’Lee Arredondo, who had just doubled off the wall.
NO. 8 SEED BAYLOR (50-14, 14-3 BIG 12)
Albany W, 8-2
Hofstra W, 7-2
Albany W, 10-0
Waco Super Regional
Michigan W, 9-0 (5 inn.)
Michigan L, 3-0
Michigan W, 4-3
NO. 4 SEED TEXAS A&M (46-12, 12-6 BIG 12)
College Station Regional
Houston L, 8-1
Sam Houston State W, 11-0 (6 inn.)
Houston W, 13-2 (5 inn.)
Houston W, 5-0
College Station Super Regional
Florida W, 2-0
Florida L, 3-2
Florida W, 2-0
NO. 5 SEED TENNESSEE (59-6, 23-4 SEC)
Furman W, 8-0 (6 inn.)
North Carolina W, 2-0
Winthrop W, 7-1
Knoxville Super Regional
Hawai’i W, 9-0 (5 inn.)
Hawai’i L, 9-6
Hawai’i W, 7-1
NO. 14 SEED DEPAUL (46-11, 20-0 BIG EAST)
Mississippi Valley W, 10-0 (6 inn.)
Missouri W, 2-0
Missouri W, 3-0
Norman Super Regional
Oklahoma W, 3-0
Oklahoma W, 7-2
NO. 6 SEED WASHINGTON (40-17, 12-9 PAC-10)
Creighton W, 5-1
Georgia W, 8-0 (5 inn.)
Georgia L, 2-1 (9 inn.)
Georgia W, 1-0
Seattle Super Regional
Alabama W, 4-3
Alabama W, 7-5
NO. 7 SEED ARIZONA STATE (54-15, 13-8 PAC-10)
Southern Utah W, 2-1 (9 inn.)
BYU W, 7-1
BYU W, 6-3
Tempe Super Regional
LSU W, 1-0 (10 inn.)
LSU W, 7-4
NO. 2 SEED NORTHWESTERN (50-11, 15-3 BIG TEN)
Wright State W, 4-1
Illinois State W, 5-2
Illinois State W, 4-1
Evanston Super Regional
South Carolina W, 6-1
South Carolina W, 3-0
ARIZONA’S 19th WCWS APPEARANCE ?- Arizona makes its 19th appearance at the Women’s College World Series in the last 20 years. This year, Arizona qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive year and 21st time in program history.
Arizona holds a 118-32 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and a 51-23 record at the WCWS.
For game-by-game results of Arizona’s NCAA Tournament history, see page 40 of this year’s media guide.
ARIZONA vs. THE NCAA TOURNAMENT FIELD ?- Arizona is 34-12-1 against this year’s opponents included in the 64-team field.
ARIZONA vs. THE WCWS FIELD ?- Arizona is fairly familiar with its fellow WCWS squads ?- as Arizona played three-game series with Baylor, Texas A&M, Arizona State and Washington during the regular season. Additionally, the Wildcats faced Texas A&M and Northwestern once apiece at the Kajikawa Classic.
Here is Arizona’s record against the WCWS over several different timeframes.
Opponent in 2007 in WCWS in NCAA
Arizona State 2-1 1-0 9-3
Baylor 1-2 0-0 0-0
DePaul 0-0 0-1 2-2
Northwestern 1-0 2-0 2-0
Tennessee 0-0 1-2 1-2
Texas A&M 2-2 0-0 4-0
Washington 2-1 3-1 3-1
Totals 8-6 7-4 21-8
UA on TV: Arizona is no stranger to the ESPN cameras ?- or any television coverage for that matter. In addition to three Tucson stations making the trip to Oklahoma City, the Wildcats have played 33 televised games since 2005, including six this year, 12 in 2006 and 15 in 2005.
USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR FINALISTS: Caitlin Lowe was named to the USA Softball POY list of 10 finalists. Since then, the list has been trimmed to three finalists, on which Lowe was not included. USA Softball cut its initial list of 25 candidates to 11 and will narrow the list down to three finalists before the Women’s College World Series. Kristie Fox had been named to the mid-season list of 25 candidates, while Callista Balko and Taryne Mowatt were tabbed for the 50-name pre-season watch list.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA ?- is in his 22nd season at the helm of the Arizona softball program. He boasts a 1,125-226-2 (.832) record in 21 seasons in the dugout. Candrea is one of five Division I softball head coaches to have won 1,100 games and was the fastest to do so. He has earned 18 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 10 Pac-10 titles and seven national championships.
1,100 WINS FOR CANDREA: On March 16 in Fullerton’s Judi Garman Classic, Arizona head coach Mike Candrea won his 1,100th career game in an 11-0 rout of Pacific. Incidentally, Candrea’s son Mikel was on hand as Pacific’s hitting coach.
With the win, Candrea joined Margie Wright (Fresno State), JoAnne Graf (Florida State) and Gayle Blevins (Iowa) as one of only four coaches to accumulate 1,100 Division I softball coaching victories. Since then, LSU’s Yvette Giourard joined the illustrious group with her 1,100th win. Additionally, as this is his 21st season in the dugout, Candrea is now the fastest of the five to reach the 1,100-win plateau. The feat took Wright 24, Graf 22, Blevins 28 and Giourard 27 years, respectively, to get to 1,100 wins.
Candrea by the Numbers
Overall record: 1125-226-2
Pac-10 games: 340-92-1
NCAA games: 116-30
WCWS games: 51-23
2007 Pac-10 Coach of the Year
2004 USA Olympic team head coach
Olympic Shield Award
USOC Coach of the Year
2003 Pac-10 Coach of the Year
2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year
2001 Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year
2000 Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year
1999 University of Arizona Honorary Alumnus Degree
1998 Pac-10 Coach of the Year
1997 NFCA Division I Coach of the Year
Pacific Region Coach of the Year
Pac-10 Coach of the Year
1996 NFCA Division I Coach of the Year
Elected to NFCA Hall of Fame
1995 Pacific Region Coach of the Year
1994 NSCA Division I Coach of the Year
Pacific Region Coach of the Year
Pac-10 Coach of the Year
1988 Northwest Region Coach of the Year
Pac-10 Coach of the Year
1987 Pac-10 Coach of the Year
1986 Pacific-West Co-Coach of the Year
1985 NJCAA Coach of the Year (Central Arizona)
ALL PAC-10: Seniors Caitlin Lowe and Kristie Fox, as well as junior Taryne Mowatt earned All-Pac-10 first-team honors, while senior Chelsie Mesa was listed on the second team. Arizona head coach Mike Candrea was cited as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the 10th time.
Lowe, a four-time, first-team all-Pac-10 honoree, also became the first player in Arizona history to be named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year. The center fielder from Tustin, Calif., is a three-time, first-team NFCA All-American and is hitting .431 on the season and leads the country in stolen bases at a perfect 46-for-46. Arizona’s career steals leader is one of just 12 players in NCAA history to have accumulated 300 hits, 200 runs and 100 stolen bases.
This is Fox’s third year as an all-Pac-10 first team selection. The San Diego, Calif., native has been named a first-team NFCA All-American the last two years and currently leads Arizona with 13 home runs and 55 RBI. The shortstop ranks eighth on the career home run list at UA with 46 dingers and is 15th in NCAA history with 222 RBI.
Mowatt, who assumed the esteemed role of being the Arizona ace this year, is a first time honoree after being tabbed as an honorable mention in 2006. Mowatt boasts a 31-10 record with 409 strikeouts in 277 innings pitched. The strikeout mark is the fifth best in a single season for a UA pitcher, as is the aforementioned innings total. The hurler from Corona, Calif., has appeared in all but five of UA’s 52 games this season and has posted 25 wins against teams that made the NCAA Tournament.
For Candrea, who has been named coach of the year by every conceivable association or media outlet over the course of his illustrious career, his 10th Pac-10 Coach of the Year honor coincides with the 10th Pac-10 title for Arizona softball. Earlier this year, the 22-year UA head coach earned his 1,100th Division I coaching victory and reached the benchmark victory faster than any other coach in the sport’s
Mesa, a second-year letterwinner from Yuma, Ariz., earned her first yearly honor in an Arizona uniform thanks to a .377 batting average, eight home runs and 16 stolen bases. The second baseman came to the Wildcats after having won a pair of NJCAA national championships up the road at Phoenix College. She has yet to complete a season of intercollegiate softball without a national championship.
Three Wildcats ?- Adrienne Acton, K’Lee Arredondo and Callista Balko ?- were listed as honorable mentions. It is the first such honor for Acton or Arredondo and the second for Balko, who earned the same distinction in 2006.
Player of the Year: Kaitlin Cochran, ASU
Pitcher of the Year: Katie Burkhart, ASU
Defensive Player of the Year: Caitlin Lowe, ARIZ
Newcomer of the Year: Jennifer Salling, ORE
Coach of the Year: Mike Candrea, ARIZ