2005 Arizona Softball Review
The University of Arizona softball team made its 17th trip to the Women’s College World Series in the last 18 years, while sharing the Pac-10 title with three other teams, during its 2005 season. The shared conference championship makes four titles in the last five years for the Wildcats, despite a 13-8 Pac-10 record. Arizona was in the top four throughout the season in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball and NFCA/USA Today polls.
Although a 17th trip to the WCWS and another league title may give the illusion that history only repeated itself in Tucson, that is merely the illusion. There were many firsts this year for Arizona including the following:
- First sub-50 win season since 1993
- First set of four-year seniors to leave UA without a national title since 1990
- Lowest team home run total since 1992 (33 this year)
- 15 Arizona games covered on national television, including five during the postseason and nine during regular season play. Of the televised games, all but one was on one of ESPN’s family of networks
Arizona Head Coach
Mike Candrea (Arizona State ’78) wraps up his 20th year with Arizona carrying a career record of 1027-203 (.835). Candrea has won 101 NCAA playoff games. Candrea returned to Arizona after taking a year off to coach the U.S. 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, in January. Candrea’s award, given for outstanding service to the USOC and the Olympic movement, marked the first time in history that the award was given to an Olympic coach. In early May, Candrea was named USOC National Coach of the Year as the U.S. Olympic Team’s best coach in any sport. Candrea is also an eight-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year and a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He has led Arizona to six national championships and nine Pac-10 titles.
Candrea by the Numbers
Overall record: 1027-203
Pac-10 games: 311-81
NCAA games: 101-28
NCAA Regionals: 55-6
WCWS games: 46-22
Olympic Gold: 1
Three Arizona players earned All-America honors, including two first team selections. Player of the Year finalist Caitlin Lowe batted .510, while slugging .638 as UA’s leadoff hitter. Prior to the WCWS, Lowe was in line to take home the nation’s batting title, which would have been the second consecutive year a UA outfielder did so. The sophomore earned All-America honors her freshman year, as well. Lowe’s classmate Kristie Fox’s 64 RBI and .356 batting average got the San Diego, Calif., native an at-large All-America selection. Fox led the nation in RBI throughout the year, until opponents elected not to pitch to her. Fox had 63 RBI in her first 46 games, before having just one in the final 11 contests. In those final 11 games, Fox was walked 13 times. With Lowe on base all the time, Fox made opponents pay, capitalizing with a .419 average with runners on. Finally, junior Alicia Hollowell made her third straight appearance on the All-America team, this time as a second team selection. Hollowell led the Wildcats with her 31-9 record and 0.88 ERA. In 54 postseason innings pitched, Hollowell surrendered just one earned run, good for a 0.13 ERA. Arizona’s strikeout queen had 446 punchouts in her third campaign, while limiting opponents to a .148 batting average.
Arizona softball players Caitlin Lowe, Alicia Hollowell, Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion earned 2005 Pacific All-Region honors. Hollowell is a three-time first-team pick, sophomore outfielder Caitlin Lowe is a two-time selection, sophomore shortstop Fox earned her first honor and junior outfielder Champion, a second-team pick this year, earned her third All-Pacific honor.
The All-Pac-10 team had a big resemblance to that of the All-Pacific-Region team, when it came to UA players on the squad. Caitlin Lowe, Alicia Hollowell, and Kristie Fox once again earned first team honors, while Autumn Champion was honored on the second team
Pacific-10 All-Academic Team
Jennifer Martinez and junior Autumn Champion were named to the Pacific-10 All-Academic Team, along with 18 other Pac-10 softball players. Martinez, a physical education major, earned first team honors for her 3.61 GPA. Champion, a pre-education major, drew second team honors for her 3.25 GPA.
The Conference of Champions
The Pac-10 had an unprecedented four teams tie for the conference title, while fifth place UCLA sought after its third consecutive national championship in the WCWS championship series. All eight teams advanced to postseason play, while five of them went on to play in a super regional.
2005 Pac-10 STANDINGS (as of June 6)
Arizona*^# 13-8 45-12
California*^# 13-8 52-15
Oregon State*^ 13-8 43-16
Stanford*^ 13-8 43-16
UCLA^# 11-10 40-18
Washington^ 10-11 35-22
Oregon^ 7-14 36-25
Arizona State^ 4-17 30-26
* = Co-Pac-10 Champions
^ = NCAA Regional Participant
Arizona in NCAA Play
The Cats were 6-2 in NCAA play this year, with the two losses being 1-0 affairs on unearned runs. UA bounced back from its early 2004 exit by making its 17th WCWS appearance in the last 18 years. The Wildcats are 103-30 (.774) all time in postseason games, with a 46-22 (.676) clip in WCWS contests.
Arizona was 24-10 in regular season games against teams selected to appear in the NCAA Tournament, including a 13-8 record against Pac-10 teams in the field.
At the WCWS
Arizona had a tough time hitting the ball in Oklahoma City this year, as the Wildcats combined for a .106 team batting average in three games. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, they had a tough time fielding the ball, as well. After boasting a .977 team fielding percentage in their first 54 games, the Wildcats collapsed with a .957 fielding percentage in WCWS games, allowing three unearned runs to score. The good news for Arizona in Oklahoma City was its pitching. The Wildcat staff, which was Alicia Hollowell with the exception of 1.1 innings, allowed one earned run in 30.0 innings pitched.
Arizona Softball Attendance
Once again Arizona’s loyal fans showed up in the bunches during the 2005 season. In 24 home dates, 32,811 bodies pushed through the turnstiles, averaging 1,367 per date. Arizona drew over 1,000 fans in 19 of its two dozen home dates.
Player Recaps (in order of a possible lineup)
26 Caitlin Lowe
Co-Pac 10 Player of the Year with Washington’s Kristen Rivera ... Earned first team All-America honors ... Finalist for both USA Softball’s National Player of the Year award and the Honda Softball Award ... Finished season with a .510 batting average (100-for196), good for second-best for any UA player in the program’s history ... First Wildcat since Lauren Bauer in 2001 to have 100 hits in a season ... Perfect 1.000 fielding in 62 chances ... Started and led off all 57 games for Arizona in 2005 ... Had a team-high 14-game hit streak from April 30 to May 28 ... WCWS (June 2-5): Went 3-for-5 against USA Softball Player of the Year Cat Osterman in a 1-0 loss to Texas ... Super Regional (May 27-28): 5-for-7 (.714) with two runs and two walks in two Super Regional games ... Reached base to lead off both games ... Robbed a home run off the bat of Heather Scaglione in the first inning of game one ... Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Led the team with six hits in the three Regional games ... Lowe had three singles and a home run, while scoring four runs in four innings in a 12-0 win over Lehigh ... Smacked her fifth home run of the year to give UA a 1-0 lead in Regional Championship game win over Oklahoma State ... Reached base to lead off a game 20 of the final 27 regular season games ... Failed to reach base in just five of 52 regular season games on the year ... Went 5-for-7 (.714) with three runs scored and two RBI with a home run at Stanford in the final two games of the regular season ... In Arizona’s final three regular season games, Lowe either scored or drove in all four of the team’s runs ... Enters postseason with a nine-game hit streak and 28 multi-hit games ... Went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and two RBI in an April 23 win over Arizona State ... Hit .650 (7-20) over the course of a modest seven-game hit streak from April 8-23 ...Had four consecutive multi-hit games March 25-April 2 ... Opened Pac-10 play by going 3-for-3 with three runs scored in an April 1 win over Stanford ... Named Pac-10 Player of the Week for Mar. 22-30 when she hit .572 with an inside-the-park grand slam in two wins over No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette Hit .680 (17-25) in a six game stretch in March ... Went 4-for-5 with four runs, three RBI, and her first home run of the season, an inside-the-park job scored over North Carolina State ... Went 3-for-4 with a stolen base, a run, and an RBI in a win over UNLV ... Had the first 4-for-4 game of anyone on the team in a victory over Louisiana Tech ... Led team with .583 batting average at Baylor’s Compass Bank Invitational ... Accumulated a .583 on-base percentage and .545 batting average to lead team to three wins in Worth Wildcat Invitational ... Opened the year with eight hits and six stolen bases in UA’s five games of the Pepsi Arizona Classic, including three in a win over Kansas.
Finished the year hitting .331, with an on-base percentage of .400 ... Led the team with 13 sacrifice hits, after having 12 combined sacs in her first two years ... Earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors and was named to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District VIII team, putting herself on the ballot for Academic All-America honors ... Started all 57 games, and hit in the two spot for all of them ... WCWS (June 2-5): Singled and stole a base in the season-ending loss to Texas ... Super Regional (May 27-28): 4-for-9 in two wins over Oklahoma ... one of four Cats to lead the team with two runs scored ... Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Walked, stole a base, and scored a run in a 12-0 victory over Lehigh to open postseason play ... Led the team with 12 sacrifice bunts, after having 12 combined sacs in the last two seasons ... Went 5-for-6 in two home wins over Washington ... One game after 10-game hit streak was snapped, Champion began a seven-game streak ... 2-for-2 with three runs scored in April 30 victory over No. 7 Oregon State ... In three games against in-state rival ASU, went 7-for-10 ... Went 18-for-37 (.486) during 10-game hitting streak from March 18-April 10 ... Had four consecutive multi-hit games, all against ranked teams at the end of the Kia Klassic ... Went three-for-four with two runs and two stolen bases in a win over Fresno State at the Kia Klassic on March 20 ... Went two-for-three, with a stolen base, in a win against Louisiana Tech to begin a 10-game hitting streak on Feb. 26 ... 2-for-2 with a stolen base and a run scored in a victory over Tennessee-Chattanooga on Feb. 13 ... Stole a pair of bases in Pepsi Classic and had two sacrifice hits.
29 Kristie Fox
Finished with a .356 batting average, good for second on the team ... Earned an at-large spot on the All-America first team ... Led the team with 64 RBI ... Drew 27 walks while striking out in just 15 of her 180 at-bats ... Perfect 8-for-8 in stolen bases ... Second on the team with nine home runs ... Led Arizona with 13 doubles on the year ... Started all 57 games at shortstop, while hitting in the thee spot ... WCWS (June 2-5): Doubled to lead off 11th inning in an extra-inning victory over California Super Regional (May 27-28): Walked in four of her nine plate appearances ... 2-for-5 with one run scored ...Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Had an on-base percentage of .750 in the three Regional games ... Walked in her first three plate appearances of the postseason ... Ended up drawing five walks over three games ... Went 2-for-2 with two walks and an RBI in a 3-0 win over Oklahoma State ... 2-for-4 in Homered and doubled, while scoring three runs an driving in two in a 9-0 win over Oregon State on April 30 ... 2-for-4 with five RBI in a 10-3 win over Arizona State ... Drove in three of UA’s four runs in a 5-4 loss to UCLA on April 17 ... Responded to a season-long four-game hitless streak by going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI against Oregon on April 10 ... Hit a two-out walk-off grand slam to beat California 4-2 on April 2 ... Had back-to-back hitless games for the first time of the season on March 20 and 25 against Michigan and Louisiana-Lafayette (26th and 27th contests of the year) ... 2-for-3 with two runs scored in a March 20 win over Fresno State ... Went 2-for-4 with three RBI in a win over Florida State on March 18 ... Had a career day going 5-for-5 with two home runs and six RBI over North Carolina State on March 13. Followed that game with five RBI in her next two games ... Went 5-for-7 with six RBI in a pair of wins over Eastern Michigan ... Through 13 games, her six multiple RBI games are equal to that of the rest of UA combined ... Went 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, and three RBIs in a win over UT-Chattanooga 13 ... Was selected the USA Softball National Player of the Week for the week of February 1-7 after batting .692 while going 9-for-13. The sophomore shortstop tallied a double, two home runs, nine RBI and three stolen bases in UA’s five games of the Arizona Pepsi Classic. Her four-RBI game against New Mexico State was the third of her career.
Leaves Arizona tied for fifth in school history for home runs in a career with 52 ... Led the team with 10 home runs ... Started in all but one game ... Led the team with 31 walks ... Second on Wildcat squad with 48 RBI ... WCWS (June 2-5): Homered to the opposite field against California in the second inning of what would be an extra-inning victory for UA ... Gunned down one of two runners that attempted to steal against her ... Super Regional (May 27-28): 3-for-9 with two runs scored and two RBI in UA’s two wins over Oklahoma ...Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Led the team with a .667 batting average and three sacrifice bunts ... 2-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in a win over Lehigh ... After walking once and sacrificing twice in her first three plate appearances, Coburn knocked a walk-off home run to win the Tucson Regional ... Drove home the game-winning RBI in the final two games of the regular season at Stanford on May 13 and 14 ... Had four RBI with a home run and a double in a 9-0 win over No. 7 Oregon State on April 30 ... Went 2-for-2 with a home run, two RBIs, two runs scored, and two walks in a win over Oregon on April 10 ... Drove in all UA runs with a three-run shot in a 6-3 loss to California on April 3 ... Named Pac-10 Player of the Week for March 15-21 when she hit .357 with three home runs and 10 RBI, half of the team’s tournament total ... Threw out two-of-six potential base stealers in the six games she caught during the Kia Klassic. Also had a perfect fielding percentage in the tournament ... Had 10 RBI in five games against ranked teams following a power outage of one RBI in eight games ... Went 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs in a win over Louisiana Tech ... Came through with a two-run double to the opposite field in a 7-0 win against Marshall ... Opened the year with a home run and five RBI in UA’s five games of the Arizona Pepsi Classic.
Second Baseman/Third Baseman
Super Regional (May 27-28): In game two, Schultz drove in Autumn Champion to cut Oklahoma’s lead to two runs, just before Jennifer Martinez hit a pinch-hit home run to take the lead ... In the same game, Schultz drove in the game’s first run ... Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Hit her first home run of the season, a three-run shot, in her first at-bat of the postseason ... Walked three times and singled in her only other plate appearance in a 3-0 win over Oklahoma State ... In the field, Schultz had nine of the team’s 21 assists in Regional play. She has had a perfect fielding percentage in her five games as a third baseman ... Started the final two games of the regular season at third base after starting 40 at second ... 2-for-4 with two RBI in an April 23 win over Arizona State ... Had a double and three RBI in her first Pac-10 multi-hit game of the year in a win over Oregon ... Went 3-for-4 with two runs scored in a March 27 victory at Louisiana-Lafayette ... Had three hits in a victory over Oklahoma ... Went 3-for-6 in a doubleheader sweep over Hawai’i.
Started all 57 games at first base ... Super Regional (May 27-28): 2-for-4 with a run scored and a run driven in, in UA’s game one victory ... Committed just two errors in 261 chances during the regular season for a .992 fielding percentage ... Enters postseason play with a modest three-game hit streak ... Had her first multi-hit game in 17 contests when she went 2-for-3 in a win over ASU ... 3-for-3 with three RBI and a double in March 14 win over Long Island at Kia Klassic ... Went a perfect three-for-three with two runs scored in a win over Birmingham Southern on Feb. 25 ... Opened the season with a seven-game hitting streak, before having it snapped in the second game of a doubleheader against Hawai’i. Batted .500 in the first seven games ... Began the season hitting .500 with four sacrifice hits in UA’s five games of the Arizona Pepsi Classic.
Finished tied for third on the team with five home runs ... Only player other than Caitlin Lowe to triple in 2005 ... 18 of her 23 RBI on the season came with two out ... WCWS (June 2-5): Led the team with a .364 on-base percentage ... Only Wildcat to slug over .500 in the series (.556) ... Hit her final home run of the year in a win over California ... Super Regional (May 27-28): Drove a run home with a bases-loaded walk in game one ...Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Homered in a 12-0 win over Lehigh ... Broke up 15 at-bat hitless streak with a two-run double in 9-0 win over Oregon on April 29 ... Had a two-run double in an April 9 win over Oregon ... Hit safely in a stretch of 14 out of 15 games from Feb. 13 until March 14 ... Had at least one RBI over the course of six consecutive contests from Feb. 25 to March 12 ... One game after the streaks ended, Balko followed up by going 5-for-10 in the next three games ... Smashed a three-run homer at the front end of a doubleheader against Hawai’i on Feb. 20 ... Hit her first collegiate home run against UT-Chattanooga to invoke the mercy rule on Feb. 13 ... Started all five games of the Arizona Pepsi Classic, while limiting opponents to one stolen base with a perfect fielding percentage.
Super Regional (May 27-28): Failed to reach base in just one plate appearance in two games ... Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Had game-winning hit in a walk-off win over Washington on Senior Day, May 8 ... Went 2-for-3 with two runs scored in a May 7 win over Washington ... Three-for-four with a double and two runs scored in an April 23 win over Arizona State ... Had back-to-back multi-hit games in wins over Fresno State and Oklahoma at Kia Klassic ... Scored two runs in a five-inning win over New Mexico State on Feb. 6.
Started six of UA’s eight postseason games, after having 10 starts in 49 regular season contests ... Had three hits in eight postseason games, after having four all regular season ... Led the team with 33 appearances as a substitute, primarily as a pinch runner ... Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Had two bunt base hits in three Regional games ... Started five of the last six regular season games, after starting five of the first 43 ... Scored seven runs before knocking her first hit ... Went two-for-six with three runs in two home wins over Oregon on April 9-10 Scored game-winning run in a walk off win over Eastern Michigan on March 5 ... Stole her first base when pinch running for Jackie Coburn in a win over Oklahoma State on Feb. 5.
Will enter senior year as Arizona’s all-time leader in career strikeouts with 1,348 ... Her 446 strikeouts in the 2005 season are second only to her own 2004 campaign ... Has 112 career victories, needs 12 more to tie Nancy Evans for most wins in school history ... Her 279.0 innings pitched are fourth all-time for a season at UA, she holds the second and third positions, as well ... Stands sixth all-time at Arizona with a 0.87 ERA in three years ... WCWS (June 2-5): Pitched 28.2 of the team’s 30 innings in WCWS ... Had a 0.24 ERA in WCWS games ... Struck out 29 batters, while walking three in WCWS play ...Super Regional (May 27-28): Pitched 13 of the 14 innings in two games, did not allow an earned run, struck out 17 Sooners ... In game two, Hollowell accomplished the rare feat of earning the save, her fourth of the year, in a game she started ... Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Gave up two hits over 12.1 innings of work in three Regional appearances ... Amassed 19 strikeouts and one walk, while limiting opponents to .053 batting average ... Threw eight shutout innings over two games to earn a win and a save over Stanford to conclude the season and led Arizona to a share of the Pac-10 title ... Completed suspended game against Washington with a four-hit shutout and 17 K’s in the first of a three-game sweep of the Huskies ... Tossed a one-hit shutout of Pac-10 leader Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore. on April 30 ... Gave up two runs in 16 innings over three games against Oregon schools April 8-10 ... Did not surrender an earned run, while striking out 12 in Pac-10 opener against Stanford on April 1 ... Had walked just two batters in her last 65.2 innings pitched before handing out a career-high seven free passes in the next five innings against Louisiana-Lafayette. In her 65-inning stretch, she struck out 109 batters. In that time, UA’s hitters drew 49 walks ... Threw 13 no-hit innings over Eastern Michigan and UNLV ... Garnered Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors for Feb. 22-Mar. 1 ... Eclipsed Jennie Finch’s career record of 1,028 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over No. 11 Baylor ... In Compass Bank Invitational, no-hit Sam Houston State and Louisiana Tech, before shutting out No. 11 Baylor with a three-hitter ... No-hit Marshall in a 7-0 win to open the Worth Wildcat Invitational ... In a doubleheader against Hawai’i, saved Game One, before throwing eight innings to earn the win in Game Two ... Earned Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors with her five inning perfect game against UT-Chattanooga, in which she struck out 11 of the 15 batters she faced. Picked up where she left off in 2004 by giving up a total of two runs in two complete game victories, while striking out 35 batters and holding opponents to a .125 batting average in the Arizona Pepsi Classic.
17 Leslie Wolfe
Started six of Arizona’s final 16 games on the season, after starting three of the first 41 contests ... Finished the year with a 1.64 ERA in 55.1 innings ... WCWS (June 2-5): Her start against Texas marked the first time in the last three years that someone other than Alicia Hollowell pitched an inning for Arizona in the WCWS ...Super Regional (May 27-28): Got the series-clinching win for one inning of relief work in game two ... Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Earned the win, by throwing two innings of perfect relief in Regional opener against Lehigh ... Threw 4.2 innings without giving up an earned run in a start against Oklahoma State (the first game) ... Earned the win in final game of regular season over Stanford on May 14 ... Enjoyed a streak of 23 innings in which she gave up one earned run (March 13-May 6) ... In one of just two relief appearances all year, Wolfe struck out 10 Sun Devils in five shutout innings for a win over Arizona State ... Pitched a complete-game and did not give up an earned run in a win over Miami (OH) on March 13 ... Earned a win, while giving up just one run in five innings in the Arizona Pepsi Classic.
Started the year 7-0, ended 8-1 ... Only loss came to WCWS finalist Michigan ... Tucson Regional (May 20-22): Threw one inning of hitless relief to close out a 12-0 win over Lehigh ... Earned her first conference win with a one-run, five-inning effort over Oregon April 10 ... Surrendered just one earned run in a stretch of 41.1 innings from Feb. 6 until March 20 ... Struck out 10 batters, while walking just one in five innings for a relief victory over Birmingham Southern ... Threw a complete game shutout, along with another win she earned in the Arizona Pepsi Classic to open her collegiate career.
OFF THE BENCH:
9 Jennifer Martinez
Third Base/ Designated Player
Her two career home runs were both pinch-hit blasts ... Started 38 games this year ... Hit a three-run pinch-hit home run for a series-clinching win over Oklahoma ... Has pinch hit in every postseason game this year ...Had a pinch-hit double against Lehigh ... Went two-for-three with a double in an April 30 win at Oregon State ... Clubbed a pinch-hit grand slam, the first home run of her career, in an April 9 win over Oregon ... Had three hits and two RBI in a victory over Fresno State on March 18 ... Went three-for-three with two runs and two RBI in a win over Eastern Michigan on March 4 ... Had a two-out RBI double against Tennesee-Chattanooga in her first pinch-hitting at-bat of the season on Feb. 13.
Right field/Designated Player
WCWS (June 2-5): Started against California and Texas ... Went 2-for-5 against California with game-winning hit in 12th inning ... Only Wildcat with a multi-hit game in the victory over the Golden Bears ... 1-for-2 against Oklahoma State, her only start of postseason ... Has served as Courtney Fossatti’s pinch runner for several postseason games ... Depending on situation, sometimes will hit in Fossatti’s spot after running for her ... Began the season 1-for-14 (.071), before finishing 19-for-61 (.311) ... Ignited two rallies by going two-for-three in a 4-3 win over Stanford to clinch a share of the Pac-10 title on May 14 ... Scored game-winning run in a walk-off Senior Day win over Washington on May 8 while pinch-running for Jen Martinez ... Went two-for-three with a run scored in an April 23 win over Arizona State ... Had her first multi-hit game of the season in a win over Birmingham Southern on Feb. 25.
3-for-14 as a pinch hitter, 3-for-28 otherwise ... Only one on the team with a World Series ring -- as a redshirting bullpen catcher on the 2001 championship team... Works harder than anyone ... Decent power, with eight career HRs ... shortest player on the roster at 5’2’’
11 Cortney Nix
Pinch Runner/Bullpen Catcher
Nix has taken over what was Adrienne Acton’s role as the first pinch runner off the bench. Although no Wildcat will catch Acton’s 31 games as a sub this year, Nix has came in as a sub in seven of UA’s last nine games
55 Betsy Wilson
Wilson is redshirting the 2005 season. In 2004, she served as a backup third baseman and pinch runner.