Thursday, March 9 at Cal-State Northridge 12 noon Saturday, March 11 Brigham Young (2) 12 noon
This Week:The second-ranked Arizona softball team (25-1), winners of 24 straight, will travel to Cal-State Northridge Thur., March 9 at 12 noon for a doubleheader before returning home to play host to a doubleheader against Brigham Young Sat., March 7 at 12 noon. The Matadors (8-12-1) are coming off a 1-0 loss to Alabama in the semifinals of the Silver Bracket at the NFCA Classic. The Cougars, meanwhile, (7-6) will come to Tucson fresh off a pair of wins over Southern Utah last weekend. Arizona has three opponents in common with Cal-State Northridge. The Matadors have lost to Washington (twice), Fresno State (1-0) and Alabama. BYU lost to Washington, 8-2, and Arizona suffered its only loss to the Huskies in a 1-0 decision.
Game TicketsArizona softball season tickets are available through the McKale Center Ticket Office (520-621-2287) at varying prices for seat locations, with discounts for children and seniors. Single-game tickets are sold at McKale and at the stadium box office on game days.
Last Week:Arizona captured the title of its own Hillenbrand Classic after tying Oregon State with a 5-0 record on the weekend. The Wildcats won the round-robin title on a run-differential basis. Toni Mascarenas led the way for the Cats by batting .750 (12-for-16) with four consecutive doubles, for a weekend total of six, two home runs and 10 RBI to go with 11 runs scored. Mascarenas was hitting .923 (12-for-13) before going hitless in her final three at-bats of the weekend, which were all line drives hit directly to fielders. In addition, Nicole Giordano maintained her consistent pace with a .647 (11-for-17) average, including a pair of doubles and five RBI. Pitchers Becky Lemke (14-1) and Jennie Finch (11-0) each pitched a one-hitter and only allowed one run in five games. Arizona once again grossly outhit (54-8) and outscored (46-1) its opponents and did not have a complete seven-inning game.
National Fastpitch Coaches Association PollArizona was ranked second in last week's NFCA coaches poll released Wednesday, Feb. 23. Eight Pac-10 schools are ranked in the top-25, including four in the top six spots.The poll is available online at www.nfca.org. Arizona has been in the national rankings every single period since 1990.
Swinging for the FencesThis 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 12 home runs after hitting two more over the weekend, while Lindsey Collins (7) hit three last weekend. Alison Andrade (6), Toni Mascarenas (3), Lauren Bauer (2) and Chrissy Gil (2) have each joined the fun. Nicole Giordano hit her first of the season last weekend to become the newest addition to the group.
Seeing Double...As mentioned earlier, Toni Mascarenas hit four consecutive doubles over the weekend, including three against Indiana. She finished with six doubles in five games and has eight on the season. However, Alison Andrade still leads the team with 11 doubles and Lauren Bauer has seven. The Cats have a team total of 48 doubles, which is on pace to challenge the school season record of 111 set by the 1995 squad.
Notes from Left FieldIn 26 games, the Wildcats have 275 hits for a team batting average of .407 and have outscored the opposition, 122-14... Arizona has collected ten or more hits in 16 of its 26 contests on the season and ten or more runs in 11 of those... Junior Nicole Giordano leads the team with a .542 average with a team-high 45 hits and 28 runs scored... Freshman Alison Andrade has 30 hits on the season, more than half of which (17) have been for extra bases. She is tied with Jennie Finch with a team-high 33 RBI. Finch has 16 extra base hits out of a total of 28... With her three home runs last weekend, Lindsey Collins passed Susie Parra to move into fifth on the career home run list with 21. Next on the list is Leticia Pineda, with 52... Senior Chrissy Gil, who had two career triples coming into the season, has hit four this year.
Armed and DangerousArizona'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 11 earned runs in 150 innings spanning 26 games...They have combined to pitch three no-hitters on the season. 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 lowered her ERA to 0.46 with a pair of shutouts last weekend, while Lemke has a 0.55 ERA... At the Hillenbrand Classic last weekend, Finch allowed three hits in 11 innings of work and struck out 11 while walking one... Lemke struck out 28 batters in 17 innings, while giving up five hits, one run and walking one... Lemke has struck out 123 batters on the season to give her 521 for her career. She remains third on the all-time list behind Evans (733)... Only three teams have managed as much as two runs off either of them in a single game this season (So. Miss., South Carolina and Alabama)... They have given up as much as five hits only three times this season (Lemke twice, Finch once)... Thanks to the live bats in the Arizona lineup, Lemke and Finch have only pitched a combined nine full seven-inning games.
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 hit a pair of home runs last weekend to bring her season total to 12... She leads the team in home runs and total RBI (33) and her slugging percentage slipped to a more human .971 after hovering above 1.000 before last weekend... 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 HonorsFinch 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.
2000 Team NucleusThe 2000 Cats maintain their speed, defensive power and solid hitting ability from last year with the return of all starters. Three juniors were third-team All-Americans -- pitcher Becky Lemke and first team All- Pac-10 outfielders Lauren Bauer and Nicole Giordano. Junior third baseman Toni Mascarenas was named second team All-Pac-10 along with Lemke. Three Cats were honorable mention all-league picks -- senior outfielder Lindsay Robinson, sophomore pitcher Jennie Finch and senior outfielder Chrissy Gil. Other returning letterwinners include junior pitcher Teresa Ayoub, senior second baseman Katie Swan, junior first baseman Erika Hanson and catcher Lindsey Collins. Freshmen Lisha Ribellia (IF), Leneah Manuma (1B) and Lindsey Rice (OF) join junior transfers Allison Andrade (IF) and April Richardson (IF) to round out the squad.
Arizona Coach Mike CandreaIn 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