THIS WEEK: Arizona continues its season-long homestand with a three-game series against No. 2 Texas A&M.
ARIZONA SOFTBALL THIS WEEKEND
Feb. 23 vs. Texas A&M - 7 p.m. MST
Feb. 24 vs. Texas A&M - 7 p.m. MST
Feb. 25 vs. Texas A&M - noon MST
Hillenbrand Stadium - Tucson, Ariz.
ON THE AIR: Fans can tune in to KCUB 1290 AM The Source to hear Brian Jeffries call the Wildcats’ games on Friday and Saturday night. Free Live Stats, powered by Tucson Electric Power, will be provided for all home games and many road games.
NOTING THE AGGIES: Texas A&M enters the week 10-0 after sweeping the competition in five games in the Aggie Classic. A&M will host Stephen F. Austin for a mid-week doubleheader in College Station before making the trip to Tucson.
The Aggies and Wildcats met at the Kajikawa Classic in what turned out to be a heartbreaking defeat for UA. The Wildcats took a 1-0 lead in the third inning, as Adrienne Acton scored on a passed ball. A&M responded in the fifth inning on a Jami Lobpries RBI double to tie the game. With the top of its order up in the seventh, Arizona appeared to secure the game when Caitlin Lowe gave UA a 2-1 advantage on a Kristie Fox sacrifice fly, but as the designated home team the Aggies still had to take their last at-bat. Amanda Scarborough led off the frame with a double, bringing up the 2006 Big 12 batting champion Megan Gibson. Arizona had previously intentionally walked Gibson twice in the contest, but this time the pitcher/first baseman was trying to bunt Scarborough over. After fouling off a pair of bunt attempts, Gibson swung away and hit a shot to center field. UA’s Lowe tracked the ball to and through the temporary fencing, but the hit sailed just long enough to be a home run to end the game, 3-2.
The Aggies and Wildcats faced off three times in 2006, including once in the Kajikawa Classic. Behind Alicia Hollowell’s second no-hitter of the season and seven runs in the first inning, UA run-ruled A&M 8-0 in five innings. The Wildcats enjoyed another emphatic victory over the Aggies at the Palm Springs Classic on Feb. 24, as UA defeated the Big 12 favorite 12-0 in a Hollowell one-hitter. In the third and final meeting of the season, A&M upset Arizona with a 1-0 victory at the Judi Garman Classic. The loss sent Arizona into a spiral during which it would win just 10 of its next 18 games.
RECAPPING THE WORTH WILDCAT: Arizona won its only home tournament of the season last weekend with a 5-0 record in the Worth Wildcat Invitational. Arizona opened its home slate with a 9-1, five-inning drubbing of Temple. All nine Wildcat runs came in the fourth inning, and Sarah Akamine pitched her first career complete-game. Taryne Mowatt stole the show in the second game by tossing the third no-hitter in her career. The junior hurler struck out 14 batters and scattered seven walks and at one point pitched out of a no-out, bases loaded jam. After breaking a scoreless tie in the Temple game, Jenae Leles came up with her second game-winning hit of the night ?- a one run-scoring single for the game’s only run. The Arizona bats came alive against Virginia, as UA hit a season-high four home runs in the 12-3, six-inning victory. Callista Balko paced the Wildcats with two home runs and four RBI. Later that night, UA got a scare as the Wildcats found themselves trailing Middle Tennessee State 3-1 in the sixth inning. The Wildcats scratched out five hits and six runs, capped off by a pinch-hit, two-RBI single by Taryne Mowatt to take back the lead. Arizona would end up defeating the Blue Raiders 7-3. Sunday’s championship game was more of the same ?- dominant pitching by Mowatt and a merciless offense. Kristie Fox staked the Wildcats to a 3-0 lead in the first inning with her team-high fourth home run on the year. Mowatt limited Tech to one run on one hit, as she struck out 11 Red Raider hitters in UA’s 8-1 victory.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA ?- is in his 22nd season at the helm of the Arizona softball program. He boasts a 1,090-216 (.835) 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, 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.
STEALING THE SHOW: Entering the week, Arizona leads the Pac-10 as a team in successful stolen bases with 30. If Arizona keeps up the pace and plays 60 games, which it has done nine of the last 10 years, the Wildcats are on track to swipe 164 bases ?- 28 more than the school record.
Individually, Caitlin Lowe leads the conference with 12 stolen bases, and Chelsie Mesa ranks fourth with six SB.
THE LOWE-DOWN ON THE RECORD BOOK: As a three-time, first-team NFCA All-American Caitlin Lowe has already cemented her name into the annals of Arizona softball. In addition to the inevitable single-season marks she will set or challenge throughout 2007, Lowe is already climbing up the school record book and has a legitimate shot to finish in the top 10 in four categories in NCAA history.
Lowe in top 10 Arizona history
Category Ariz. Rank
Batting Avg. .468 1
Runs 196 10
Stolen Bases 119 4
(Lowe is currently 10 hits away from cracking the top 10 in career hits at UA)
T-MO TOSSING THE NO-NO: Taryne Mowatt earned her third career no-hitter last Friday in UA’s 1-0 victory over Texas Tech. Her first no-hitter came at Fullerton’s Judi Garman Classic against UNLV on March 16, 2006, just two before registering a perfect game against Cal State Northridge. Mowatt currently stands tied for seventh all-time at Arizona for no-hitters. Current UA assistant coach Nancy Evans’ five no-no’s is sixth, and undergraduate assistant coach Alicia Hollowell holds the school record with 17 no-hitters. Please refer to page 46 of the 2007 Arizona media guide for more information on no-hitters in Arizona history.
SHE KEPT IT IN THE PARK: Junior pitcher Taryne Mowatt bounced back from a tough first week, in which she was touched up for six home runs in 22.1 innings pitched, by allowing no home runs in 22.0 IP.
SWITCH IT UP: This year, 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 batted .500 (4-for-8) with five RBI from the right side of the plate and .143 (1-for-7) with no RBI from as a lefty. 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.
TWO OUT RALLIES: During the Worth Wildcat Invitational, Arizona had 19 of its 35 RBI come with two outs. On the year, UA is hitting .350 (35-for-100) with two outs and .314 (59-for-188) in all other situations.
START IT UP RIGHT: Caitlin Lowe has reached base safely to start eight of UA’s 11 games, including reaching twice via error. The Wildcats as a team have experienced considerable success starting off innings this year, as they have reached safely in 52 percent of the time to start an inning.
SMOOTH WITH THE GLOVES: Arizona’s .983 fielding percentage leads the Pac-10, due in no small part to UA’s error-free defense in its last six and a half games (43.1 innings entering the week).
HITTING STREAKS: Chelsie Mesa and Jenae Leles were the only Wildcats to reach base safely via hit every game last weekend. Mesa leads the team with an eight-game hitting streak entering the week, while Leles is in the midst of a career-long five-game run.
CAMPAIGN ISSUES ?- A STRONG NATIONAL DEFENSE: 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. UA is scheduled to play 14 games against teams ranked in the top 10 of this week’s ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and an additional 18 contests against other squads ranked 11th through 25th.
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.
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.
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: The Arizona scores of the faithful came out Hillenbrand Stadium last weekend to get a glimpse at the Wildcats. The fans helped Arizona set a stadium record for Opening Night with 1,439 paid attendees last Friday. Through three dates, Arizona has hosted 3,767 fans for an average of 1,256 per date.
In 2006, 33,594 bodies pushed through turnstiles over 26 home dates, averaging 1,292 fans per date. UA drew over 1,000 fans in 19 of its 26 home dates and ended the year with a running total of 419,617 fans since Hillenbrand Stadium’s opening in 1993.
Arizona is currently in the middle of a season-long 15-game homestand through March 6. Call (520) 621-CATS or log on to arizonaathletics.com 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.