May 19, 2003
1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001 NCAA Champions
1992, 1994, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2001, 2003 Pac-10 Champions
16 Consecutive Women's College World Series Appearances
17 Consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearances
40 First-Team All-American Honors
46 All-College World Series Selections
39 All-NCAA Regional Selections
Five Honda Softball Award Winners
Cats Back in Oklahoma - Again
The University of Arizona softball team, 54-5 overall and the No 1-ranked team for much of the year, meets with seven other outstanding teams - three others from its own Pacific-10 Conference -- in the 22nd annual Women's College World Series May 22-26 at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium in Oklahoma City. It's double-elimination format for the NCAA Division I Championship.
Arizona makes its 16th consecutive appearance in the Series. The Wildcats have been there. UA played in the title game every year from 1991-1998, and in 2001 and 2002. Arizona won the national championship six times -- in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 2001.
UA, seed No. 1 and No. 1 in the final regular-season NFCA/USA Today and ESPN/USA Softball coaches' polls, plays its series opener at 10 a.m. (CDT) Thursday, May 22, against Seed No. 8 and No. 15 (ESPN.com/USA Softball) Alabama (49-19). The winner of that contest faces the winner of the following game featuring Seed 4 Oklahoma (46-12 and Seed 5 Washington (46-14-1). The Arizona-Alabama loser plays the Oklahoma/Washington loser at 1 p.m. (CDT) Saturday, May 24, in elimination play.
Arizona completed league action at 19-2 for its seventh Pacific-10 Conference Championship in the past 12 years.
Only eight teams ever have won the NCAA title -- UCLA (8), Arizona (6), Texas A&M (2), California (1), Cal State Fullerton (1), Fresno State (1) and Oklahoma (1).
ESPN/ESPN2 To World Series Games
Arizona's opening game in the Series against Alabama will be cablecast live on ESPN2. That network will televise Games 1, 3-6, 8-10, and games 13-14 ('if necessary' matchups on Sunday). ESPN will televise Games 2, 7, 11 and the championship final on Monday. The championship game will be carried at 4:30 p.m. (CDT) Monday, May 26, a later start time than in recent years.
A Ranked Field, And Anything Goes
Arizona joins a strong field in Oklahoma City. All eight teams were ranked in the final regular-season National Fastpitch Coaches Association/USA Today or ESPN/USA Softball polls, including No. 1 Arizona, No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Texas, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 8 Washington, No. 9 California, No. 16 Alabama, and No. 21 Louisiana-Lafayette/ No. 18 Oregon. While UA enjoys a nation-best string of 16 consecutive appearances in the College World Series, every team has been there before. This will be UCLA's 19th trip, California's eighth, Washington's sixth, Louisiana-Lafayette's fourth, Oklahoma's fourth, and the second WCWS appearance for Alabama and Texas.
Arizona versus the College World Series Field
It's a rough go for everyone in Oklahoma City. Arizona played the three Pac-10 teams in the Series to a 7-1 record, beat Louisiana-Lafayette and lost to Texas. UA did not meet Alabama or Oklahoma this year. The Cats swept UCLA in three games, swept Cal in three games and won two of three from Washington. Against teams in this year's series, Arizona has previous College World Series action against UCLA (8 wins, 4 losses), California (4-1), Oklahoma (1-1), Washington (2-1) and Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1). Arizona, UCLA, California and Oklahoma and Michigan are three-time repeat entrants in the WCWS, all having appeared in Oklahoma City in 2001 and 2002. (See pages 27-28 of the Arizona Softball media guide for a complete list of UA's previous 15 tournament appearances.)
Where the World Series Field Came From
Eight teams won Regional tournaments to advance to Oklahoma City. The teams and their CWS seedings (set prior to the beginning of regional play) are: No. 1 Arizona (54-5) from the Tucson regional; No. 2 UCLA (49-6) from the Fresno, Calif., regional; No. 3 Texas (47-7) from the Austin, Texas, regional; No. 4 Oklahoma (46-12) from the Gainesville, Fla., regional; No. 5 Washington (46-14-1) from the Lincoln, Neb., regional; No. 6 Louisiana-Lafayette (47-9) from the Fullerton, Calif., regional; No. 7 California (45-18) from the Ann Arbor, Mich., regional; and No. 8 Alabama (49-19) from the Tuscaloosa, Ala., regional. Teams in regional play on their home fields were Arizona, Texas and Alabama.
The combined records of the eight teams in the Women's College World Series are 383-90, a winning percentage this year of .809
Wildcats 4-0 in 2003 NCAA Action
Arizona played host to the NCAA Region 1 playoffs with South Carolina, Texas A&M, Minnesota, Cal State Northridge, Boston College, Princeton and Colorado State on hand. The Cats beat Colorado State in the opening round, 11-1 in five innings; beat Minnesota, 4-2, in the second round; beat Texas A&M in the winner's bracket clash, 3-0; and beat Texas A&M in the championship game, 10-5.
Freshman pitcher Alicia Hollowell won all four games for the Wildcats, recording a 1.46 ERA, walking only four and striking out 22. She established the Arizona single-season pitching victories record at 37, and then added a 38th on Sunday against the Aggies. She's 38-3 entering WCWS play.
In the opener against the Rams, Mackenzie Vandergeest's first-inning grand slam set the tone, and Hollowell tossed no-hit ball for three innings, taking some rest but getting the decision in the five-inning game. In the second-round against Minnesota, Lovie Jung was 3-for-3, drove in the decisive first run and added another RBI later. Vandergeest hit a two-run double and Hollowell pitched a two-hitter. In the first game against a solid Texas A&M club, Hollowell tossed another two-hitter for a shutout victory. Designated player Wendy Allen drove in two runs for UA.
In the title game, Hollowell was tagged for a grand slam home run in the bottom of the first inning to give Texas A&M a momentary 4-2 lead. But UA came right back, with Jung capping a three-run rally with a two-run homer, her 25th of the year. Arizona poured it on, collecting a total of 19 hits, highlighted by Jung's 5-for-5 effort and Vandergeest's four RBI to give her 11 in the four Regional games.
Jung was named Most Outstanding Player - 9-for-12 (.750), 1 HR, 5 RBI, 8 runs scored, 2 doubles, 3 stolen bases), and was joined on the all-Region team by Hollowell, Vandergeest and freshman outfielder Autumn Champion, who collected seven hits in the four games.
Regional Champs Mark
UA has won 16 consecutive NCAA Regionals to advance to the CWS, the longest active streak of appearances, the longest consecutive mark in Women's College World Series history. UCLA had a string of 15 appearances, which ended in 1998. UCLA holds the mark for most overall appearances - 19, including this year. Fresno State is next as a 12-time Regional champion. No other school has made double-digit appearances in the Women's College World Series.
Cats' First Foe In Oklahoma City
Arizona will play in Game 1 of the WCWS against Alabama. The Crimson Tide was the Southeastern Conference automatic bid winner by winning the SEC Tournament in Plant City, Fla., two weekends ago. Alabama played host to NCAA Region 8 in Tuscaloosa this past weekend and earned the WCWS berth with victories over Southern (10-0, 5 innings), Illinois (4-2), Southern Illinois (7-4) and Southern Illinois (2-0).
All eight conference teams played in the NCAA tournament, and four advanced to the College World Series, testimony to the strength of the conference. All league teams were ranked at times during the season. This is the second consecutive year four league teams have played in the WCWS. The expanded field to 64 teams still resulted in good representation by NCAA Pacific Region teams at Series time.
Final 2001 Pac-10 Standings
Team Pac-10 Overall * ^ Arizona 19-2 54-5 ^ UCLA 17-4 49-6 ^ California 10-11 45-18 ^ Oregon 10-11 35-19 ^ Washington 9-12 46-14 ^ Stanford 7-14 41-26 ^ Arizona State 7-14 32-25 ^ Oregon State 5-16 36-31 * Won Pac-10 Championship
College World Series Habit
Arizona is appearing in its 16th consecutive College World Series and 17th consecutive NCAA tournament under coach Mike Candrea, one of the top Division I winning coaches in history. The Cats enter 2003 CWS action as winners of six of the past 11 national titles (the '95 UCLA title was officially vacated by the NCAA). Additionally, Arizona also played in the 1974 and 1975 College World Series of the former Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women under coach Judy Spray and in 1977 and 1979 under coach Ginny Parrish. Candrea's last 16 teams have been regional champions and won the NCAA title in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997 and 2001. Arizona was a regional host in all but three of the years it has participated in the NCAA Softball Championships - in 1987 and 1989 it was sent to Tempe, Ariz., and in 1996 it was sent to Tallahassee, Fla. The Cats' consecutive visit to the WCWS is an all-time NCAA high.
College World Series History
The Women's College World Series championship has been the province of teams from the West. No school east of a line drawn straight on a map from Minneapolis to San Antonio has even played in the national championship game. The growth of collegiate softball as a Division I sport might one day change that, but in the sport's two-decade history it's been thus.
Arizona or UCLA have won 14 of the 21 NCAA titles since softball became a Division I championships sport in 1982. Texas A&M won in 1983 (beat Cal State Fullerton), Cal State Fullerton won in 1986 (beat Texas A&M), A&M won in 1987 (beat UCLA), Fresno State won in 1998 (beat Arizona), Oklahoma won in 2000 (beat UCLA) and California beat Arizona last year. Arizona and UCLA have played for the title six times, with UA holding a 4-2 edge. Arizona or UCLA have played in the title game a combined 25 times with one or the other in the mix all but the 1983 and 1986 Series.
The Championship Games:
1982 UCLA 2, Fresno State 0 1983 Texas A&M 2, Cal State Fullerton 0 1984 UCLA 1, Texas A&M 0 1985 UCLA 2, Nebraska 1 1986 Cal State Fullerton 3, Texas A&M 0 1987 Texas A&M 4, UCLA 1 1988 UCLA 3, Fresno State 0 1989 UCLA 1, Fresno State 0 1990 UCLA 2, Fresno State 0 1991 Arizona 5, UCLA 1 1992 UCLA 2, Arizona 0 1993 Arizona 1, UCLA 0 1994 Arizona 4, Cal State Northridge 0 1995 %UCLA 4, Arizona 2 1996 Arizona 6, Washington 4 1997 Arizona 10, UCLA 2 1998 Fresno State 1, Arizona 0 1999 UCLA 3, Washington 2 2000 Oklahoma 3, UCLA 1 2001 Arizona 1, UCLA 0 2002 California 6, Arizona 0 (%-UCLA vacated participation)
Arizona's Record in NCAA Play
Arizona has a 93-24 overall record in NCAA Tournament games.
Arizona is 50-6 in NCAA Regional games.
Arizona is 43-18 in NCAA College World Series games.
Arizona has the longest active WCWS appearance streak - 16 years.
Strength of Schedule
Including its 19-2 record against Pac-10 teams in the NCAA Tournament (losses versus Stanford in Tucson and Washington in Tucson), Arizona played to a 33-5 record against teams in the 2003 Tournament during the regular season. The other losses were to Texas and Oklahoma State in Tucson in February, and to Cal State Fullerton in Tucson in March. Cal State Fullerton set a UA opponent record with its 15-3 victory over the Cats in a doubleheader split March 22. Among victories over other non-Pac-10 team in the 2003 NCAAs, Arizona beat Florida Atlantic, South Florida, Northwestern, Southwest Texas State, Florida International, Western Michigan, San Diego State (2), Florida State, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Long Beach State (plus the split with Cal State Fullerton.
Cats vs. Ranked Opponents
Arizona played to a 20-4 record against teams ranked in the polls this year, thanks in large part to its 16-2 record against Pac-10 teams ranked at some time this year. UA lost to No. 12 Texas, 2-1, in early February; lost to No. 9 Cal State Fullerton in the worst loss in school history, 15-3, on March 22 in Tucson; lost to No. 16 Stanford, 4-3, in mid-April in Tucson, and lost to No. 8 Washington, 7-1, in a doubleheader split the last day of the season. UA beat Texas A&M, Florida State and Cal State Fullerton, plus beat ranked Pac-10 teams 17 times including No. 1 UCLA twice to wrest the top ranking from the Bruins the first week in April.
Arizona in the Coaches Polls
Arizona has been in the top three all year in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association poll and the top four in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. The latter poll made its debut this year. In the NFCA poll, Arizona has been ranked steadily since 1988. Here's how Arizona has fared in the polls this year.
NFCA: Preseason (2), Feb. 11 (2), Feb. 18 (2), Feb. 25 (2), March 4 (2), March 11 (2), March 18 (2), March 25 (3), April 1 (1), April 8 (1), April 15 (1), April 22 (1), April 29 (1). May 6 (1).
USA Softball: Feb. 25 (4), March 4 (2), March 11 (2), March 18 (1), March 25 (2), April 1 (2), April 8 (1), April 15 (1), April 22 (1), April 29 (1). May 6 (1). May 13 (1).
All NCAA Region 1 Honors
Arizona placed five players on the 2003 All-Pacific-Region team, including three first-team selections. All five players will be in the mix for All-America honors as selected by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-America committee early this week in Oklahoma City. Freshman pitcher Alicia Hollowell, freshman outfielder Autumn Champion and sophomore outfielder Courtney Fossatti earned first-team honors. Senior shortstop Lovie Jung and junior designated player Wendy Allen were named to the All-Pacific-Region second team.
Arizona placed six players on the 2002 All-Pacific-10 Conference Softball Team, plus Mike Candrea was named Coach of the Year. Freshman pitcher Alicia Hollowell was named Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year plus earned first-team honors along with senior shortstop Lovie Jung and freshman outfielder Autumn Champion. Sophomore outfielder Courtney Fossatti and junior catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors. The newcomer award was UA's second consecutive after Jung won it last year in her first season as a transfer. Wildcats earning honorable mention honors included junior designated player/pitcher Wendy Allen, sophomore third baseman Jackie Coburn, senior second baseman Lisha Ribellia and sophomore outfielder Crystal Farley. Jung is a repeat first-team pick. Hollowell earned Pitcher of the Week honors five times, and Jung won Player of the Week honors twice, with Coburn getting the honor the final week of the season after two walk-off home runs to beat UCLA and Washington... Candrea was a three-time repeat selection, sharing the honor two seasons ago and winning the honor outright last year.
College World Series Veterans
Arizona has a progression of players who have College World Series experience - every four-year player since 1991 has won at least one national title. This year the Wildcats are a young team, underscored by six sophomore or freshmen starters. Because of the tradition of making it to the classic with regularity, Arizona has a group of seven players with College World Series playing experience - senior shortstop Lovie Jung, senior second baseman Lisha Ribellia, junior catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest, sophomore third baseman Jackie Coburn, and sophomore outfielders Courtney Fossatti, Crystal Farley and Allyson Von Liechtenstein. Sophomore outfielder Candace Abrams has been to two WCWS with the Cats and despite not having played, she knows the drill. UA lost juniors-to-be in pitcher Jenny Gladding (transfer) and first baseman/dp Leneah Manuma (not eligible), two others who have played in the WCWS - not to mention last year's Honda Award winner, pitcher Jennie Finch. Jung has two visits, her first as a Fresno State All-American second baseman in 1999 for Fresno State, plus last year's UA trip. That means Arizona brings six players on the club who make their first Series visit.
Probable Arizona Lineup: 00 Autumn Champion lf 22 Courtney Fossatti lf 3 Lovie Jung ss 52 Mackenzie Vandergeest c 2 Wendy Allen 1b/dp 77 Jackie Coburn 3b 6 Shelly Schultz 1b/dp 8 Lisha Ribellia 2b 5 Crystal Farley cf 44 Alicia Hollowell p Off the bench: Candace Abrams (ph), Erin Palomarez (dp/1b/ph), Allyson Von Lichtenstein (rf/pr/ph), Leslie Wolfe (p)
Arizona Softball Attendance
Arizona set a single-game attendance record with a crowd of 3,227 at its Pac-10 title clinching victory over UCLA on May 9. The annual game in Tucson pitting those team has drawn the top three crowds in UA softball history - a total of 9,492 spectators for 2001 (3,004), 2002 (3,161) and this year (3,227). The latter figure was the largest single-game attendance at a college softball game in the country at the time.
The Cats drew a total of 35,711 fans in its 23 home dates, an average of 1,552.
Arizona had 18 crowds in excess of 1,000 and five in excess of 2,000 this year.
The program sells out its reserved grandstand seating behind home plate and on the baselines on a season-ticket basis. Outfield bleacher seating fills out for several dates, as the facility lists a capacity of around 2,500.
The NCAA Region 1 playoffs faced a familiar nemesis in terms of attendance - Tucson's first 100-degree weather and UA game times at 11:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. on the two weekday games, plus 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. games on Saturday and Sunday. The program might have recorded even higher attendance otherwise.
The Cats led the nation in total attendance in four of the past 10 seasons and probably did so in 2003.
Arizona's 7-5 victory over UCLA on May 9 - won with a walk-off grand slam home run by third baseman Jackie Coburn in the seventh inning - gave it the Pacific-10 Conference Championship with a 19-2 record. It was the seventh Pac-10 title for Arizona's program, tying UCLA for the most league championships. Arizona is atop the composite leader board with a record of 295-73 in the 17 years since the Pac-10 began Division I play in 1987.
Arizona vs. Entire NCAA Field
Including its 19-2 record against Pac-10 teams in the NCAA Tournament (losses versus Stanford in Tucson and Washington in Tucson), Arizona played to a 33-5 record against teams in the Tournament - aside from its 4-0 mark in the actual tournament itself this year. The other losses were to Texas and Oklahoma State in Tucson in February, and to Cal State Fullerton in Tucson in March. Cal State Fullerton set a UA opponent record with its 15-3 victory over the Cats in a doubleheader split March 22. Among victories over other non-Pac-10 team in the 2003 NCAAs, Arizona beat Florida Atlantic, South Florida, Northwestern, Southwest Texas State, Florida International, Western Michigan, San Diego State (2), Florida State, Louisiana-Lafayette, and Long Beach State (plus the split with Cal State Fullerton.
50 is Nifty
Arizona won at least 50 games in a season for the 10th consecutive year. Three other years over the mark give UA a baker's dozen in that category, all under Mike Candrea in 18 years.
Love That Slugger
Arizona has had some amazing sluggers of note - NCAA home run leaders Laura Espinoza, Leah Braatz, Jenny Dalton, for example. Shortstop Lovie Jung, however, is a very successful line-drive, patient hitter with a more complete and more compact swing. It's helped her lead the nation in homers - 25 - but also gives her a bigger level of consistency more like Dalton (1996 Honda Award winner) than the other two free swingers. This year, Jung's slugging percentage - total bases divided by at bats - is at 1.060 entering WCWS play. That would be an NCAA record if it held up, eclipsing former UCLA star Stacey Nuveman's mark of 1.045 set last year. Nuveman most certainly had - along with Espinoza, Braatz and Dalton - some 'most-feared' allure. But Lovie can do it by being there all the time. Last weekend, for example, she helped her total-bases mark by checking in with a 9-for-12 effort at the regionals - thanks to a couple of 3-for-3 and 5-for-5 days at the plate. Lovie joined the UA single-season Top 10 chart for RBI by collecting No. 79 last weekend, the ninth-best total in Arizona history.
UA catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest drove in 11 runs this past weekend in NCAA play. That stat - some clutch hitting - earned her All-Region 1 honors, plus boosted her season RBI total to 69. That's six shy of the UA single-season Top 10 chart peopled by five storied UA All-Americans - Laura Espinoza (1st and 6th), Jenny Dalton (2nd, 4th and 7th), Leah Braatz (3rd and 9th), Leticia Pineda (5th), Toni Mascarenas (8th) and - this year's new addition - Lovie Jung (10th). Meantime, a week earlier, third baseman Jackie Coburn collected 11 RBI in one game, tying an NCAA record and setting UA's mark. She has 54 this year. To get 11 RBI in one game - a seven-inning affair, takes some doing: a walk-off grand slam (against Washington) helped. She hit two homers in the game.
Hallowed Mark for Hollowell
Arizona has had some pitchers of note. Three of them won four Honda Softball Awards - Susie Parra in 1994, Nancy Evans in 1998, Jennie Finch in 2001 and 2002. As freshmen, they typically had an upperclassman mentor to help them learn the ropes. Not so for freshman Alicia Hollowell. Her 38-3 record is a UA record. Nancy Evans has back-to-back 36-2 seasons as a junior and senior. Finch did the 32-0 thing in 2001. Parra was the standard for UA pitching in the early 1990s. Hollowell already has hit the UA career chart for strikeouts (with 348) and could reach Finch's single-season mark (366) with a superlative effort in Oklahoma City. The 348 are No. 2 behind Finch's (2002). The victories, and the ?lan with which she's accumulated them, indicate a superior pitcher with superb potential. Hollowell blew past Becky Lemke's UA freshman pitching record of 25-2. Parra, Evans and Finch all had some good first years, but they also had each other (or Debby Day in Parra's case) to watch and learn. Hollowell's ERA of 0.85 entering WCWSCAA play wouldn't make the Arizona top 10 chart - but only Finch (0.54 in 2001 when she was 32-0 and won her first of two Honda Awards) and Parra (0.63 in 1992 when she was 28-3 and led UA to its second NCAA title) have had a better ERA since the advent of the more lively yellow optic ball (1993).
A Good Season for Autumn
Freshman left fielder Autumn Champion has 87 hits. All singles. She's a lefty slap-hitter. She has the speed for doubles or triples but does not get called on often to swing away. Whatever. If she were to collect six more hits in Oklahoma City - a daunting task for any player any year, she'd hit one of the hallowed charts in UA softball history - single-season hits. The reason it's 'storied' is that seven of those season totals by UA players happen to be in the NCAA historical Top 20, so it's evident the company is good. Champion, like her UA predecessors in the field, has the speed to leg it out. It's one of those deals where she only has two sacrifice hits for the year because she beats it out for a hit. She missed the final two games of the year resting a left knee injury suffered in warm-ups at Stanford May 4. She collected seven hits in the NCAA regional and won All-Region honors. The 87 hits are an Arizona freshman record, eclipsing 84 by right-handed slugging third baseman Toni Mascarenas in 1998 and freshman outfielder Lauren Bauer (lefty slapper/gap hitter) second-best total of 82 that same year. Champion had a 27-game hitting streak from Feb. 9 to March 30, a span during which she had 47 hits in 92 at bats, a splurge of .511 hitting. Arizona's record hitting streak is 30 games by Amy Chellevold (lefty leadoff slapper) as a junior in 1994.
Arizona clouted 70 home runs this year, a modest total compared to its NCAA-record 126 in 2001, but still a bundle of long-ball power and the fifth-best team mark in UA history.... Lovie Jung is the national leader with 25...Thirteen of the dingers were grand slams - six by Jung, three by Mackenzie Vandergeest, two by Jackie Coburn, and one each by Wendy Allen and Courtney Fossatti. Freshman backup first baseman Erin Palomarez had her first career home run against the No. 8 ranked Huskies in the last game of the year.
UA has 15 leadoff home runs by seven different players, led by Lovie Jung with four. That's a nice way of opening an inning.
Ducks on the Pond
Arizona has had plenty of chances for grand slams - the Cats have had the bases loaded 113 times and come up with hits 34 times for a .301 average with the bases juiced.
It's hard to think of the current decade in historical perspective because it's still so young. But Arizona softball is liking the '00s - the Wildcats have a 230-29 record in the 2000s. That's a winning percentage of .888. Anytime you can win 89 of 100 games you're doing pretty well.
Alicia Hollowell tossed two no-hitters this year - against Wisconsin on Feb. 8 in ASU's Fiesta Bowl tournament and against Oregon State in Tucson on March 28 in five innings. She came close a bunch of times - with one-hitters eight times. After the Oregon State no-hitter, she one-hit Oregon the next day. The weekend she earned NFCA National Player of the Week honors she one-hit Washington, one-hit No. 1 UCLA and won over the Bruins with a five-hitter.
Alicia Hollowell opened the year with six consecutive shutouts. In late February and early March she had 10
Cats and Dawgs Get At It
Arizona's final regular-season game turned into a donnybrook, with the Cats eventually outlasting Washington in a 21-17 thriller. It was only a seven-inning game, but it took just over three hours to play. UA seemingly came back from the dead after UW thumped it in the opener of the doubleheader, 7-1, then took a mid-game 10-5 lead in the nightcap. But eventually, as midnight neared, both coaches threw in some brand new pitchers - UA first baseman Shelly Schultz and UW left fielder Dena Tyson (among others) - and it played out to a 17-17 tie when the Huskies scored in the top of the seventh... In the bottom of the frame, after three walks - the second one intentionally to Lovie Jung - Jackie Coburn hit a grand slam to end the game. It wasn't the most runs UA ever had scored - that was a 29-0 victory over Bowling Green in five innings in 2001. It was the most runs ever scored against Arizona, eclipsing the Cats' 15-3 loss to Cal State Fullerton in Tucson earlier this season.
2003 Arizona Player Capsules (by usual batting order)
Autumn Champion 00 Freshman Left Field...Named First-Team All-Pacific-10 Conference as a freshman, UA's first freshman picked (along with Alicia Hollowell) since third baseman Toni Mascarenas was so honored in 1998...Also was named First-Team All-Pacific Region last week... Capped the week with All-NCAA Region 1honors... Led the Wildcats in hitting through the regular season with a .449 batting average, then stepped up and boosted that figure to .453 with a 7-for-14 effort in the NCAA regionals... Didn't just feast on early-season pitching either, checking in with a .443 batting average in Pac-10 action... Superb leadoff batter with slapping and bunting skills... Actually hit .551 when opening an inning... Among her 87 regular-season hits, all 87 were singles, though she occasionally did get swing-away privileges from coach Mike Candrea with runners in scoring position... Had a 27-game hitting streak during which she had 47 hits in 92 at bats for a .511 hitting splurge from Feb. 9 to March 30. The streak was three shy of Arizona's school-record of 30 by Amy Chellevold as a junior in 1994... She missed the final two games of the regular season after injuring her left knee in pre-game warm-ups at Stanford the week before, though she did play when UA clinched the Pac-10 title May 9 in Tucson against UCLA... A tough out in clutch situations, she was nine for 12 in regular-season action with a runner on third and less than two outs... Team-best 26 multiple-hit games including seven games with three or more hits... Her hits total is the best in UA history for a freshman player, eclipsing the marks of 84 by Toni Mascarenas and 82 by Lauren Bauer in 1998, when both were first-team All-Americans... Brings a live five-game hitting streak to Oklahoma...
Courtney Fossatti 22 Sophomore Right Field...Fossatti was named to the First-Team All-Pacific Region team last week... Earned Second-Team All-Pacific-10 Conference honors... Third on the club with a .337 batting average through the regular season, which she boosted to .339 after Regionals, when she went 5-for-14 and had hits in every game... Has been the set-up hitter in the No. 2 hole for both her first two seasons... Good job at it, with a success rate of .586 advancing a runner in 116 regular-season opportunities... Has some power, but normally is a slap hitter... Hit three home runs, four doubles and a triple... Good short-game player with team-best seven sacrifice bunts... Has the best arm in the outfield, throwing out six runners... Scored runs in each of UA's NCAA games this year... Had hits in all but 13 games this season... Is likely to redshirt 2004 after expected off-season surgery because of an ankle injury suffered last year, that kept her out of action for a month in the mid season... Had two or more hits in 18 games this year, plus an eight-game hitting streak in late February... Drove in four runs with a grand slam against New Mexico on March 24... Had a 4-for-4 night against Arizona State in mid-April... Hits .417 leading off innings...
Lovie Jung 3 Senior Shortstop...Named First Team All-Pacific-10 Conference for the second consecutive year... Earned Second-Team All-Pacific-Region honors in somewhat of a slight to her value... Underscored that with a phenomenal NCAA weekend, collecting nine hits in 12 at-bats (.750) to lead all players and earn NCAA Region 1 Most Outstanding Player honors... Took over the team batting lead Sunday with a 5-for-5 effort in the regional final against Texas A&M... One of three finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award... Two-time Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Week and had some other outstanding weeks that were overlooked. Nation-best 25 home runs and among leaders with 77 RBI... Finished the regular season with 44 extra-base hits and a 1.052 slugging percentage, chasing after former UCLA star Stacey Nuveman's NCAA record of 1.045 a year ago. Then proceeded to boost that to 1.060 with the 14 total bases in the Regional... Also scored eight runs, hit two doubles, one home run and drove in five runs in NCAA action, plus stole three bases in four attempts... Has 47 extra-base hits... Her 20 doubles is the second-best single-season total in Arizona history, trailing No. 1 Leah O'Brien (Amico) with 21 in 1995... Gap power underscored by her 59 career doubles including her two years at Fresno State... Hit six grand slams, part of her outstanding 22 multiple-RBI contests... Drove in three or more runs 10 times... Twenty-four multiple-hit games... No. 10 on UA single-season RBI chart with 77 and can move to No. 9 with one more...Walked 53 times this year, No. 3 in UA single-season history... Issued intentional pass 3 times... Has 97 career bases on balls, No. 8 on Arizona's chart in just two years... Superb range and throwing power at shortstop... Top contender for USA National Team as a second baseman, where she played at Fresno State her first two seasons... Won the Pacific-10 Conference Newcomer of the Year award as a junior, when she batted No. 1 in the order. Equally, if not more, effective as a three-hole hitter... Was the only right-handed leadoff hitter Candrea has used in his tenure...Team leader in hitting, runs scored, doubles, triples, home runs, walks and sacrifice flies... Earned All-College World Series honors as a freshman, hitting .500 in Oklahoma City for the Bulldogs...
Mackenzie Vandergeest 52 Junior Catcher...Earned All-NCAA Region 1 honors with a great weekend in run production, with 11 RBI in the four games and a .357 batting average... Socked a grand slam in the first inning in UA's tournament opener against Colorado State... Drove in four runs in UA's Sunday game to earn the Cats a berth in the Series... Slugging catcher who earned second-team All-Pacific-10 Conference honors for the second consecutive season... Capable of getting runs for the club in bunches... Had 18 multiple-RBI contests including three or more 13 times... Threw out eleven base runners attempting to steal (14 successful in 25 tries)... Outstanding .994 fielding percentage with three errors in 494 chances... 22 RBI in the last 12 contests... Has 30 extra-base hits, second-best on the club... Her 16 doubles are No. 7 in UA single-season history and 42 career two-baggers put her one shy of hitting Arizona's career chart... Half a dozen RBI short (69) of hitting UA single-season chart... Reached first with 37 bases on balls, No. 10 on the UA single-season chart, and gives her a .405 on-base percentage... Good when leading off an inning, with 13 hits in 25 tries in that situation... Had 20 RBI in 34 at bats when a runner was on third with less than two outs... Slugging percentage of .599 is second-best on the club... Set Arizona's freshman home run record with 20 in 2001...
Wendy Allen 2 Junior Designated Player/Pitcher/First Baseman...Allen transferred to UA in fall 2002 and jumped right into the picture as a hitter and pitcher... The former Big Ten Player of the Year at Ohio State (2002), Allen earned Second-Team All-Pacific Region honors last week... Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 honors in 2003... Had a good week and received votes for the All-NCAA Region 1 team with a .500 batting average in 6-for-12 work, with two doubles... Had two hits in each of the final three NCAA regional games... Played in 54 games despite an injured wrist on her throwing hand that could require surgery in the off-season... Left-handed line-drive hitter, with 16 multiple-hit games... Finished the regular season with a .327 batting average and a solid .281 mark against Pac-10 pitching... Current average of .339 is fourth-best among regulars... Listed with three starts in the pitching circle, but actually started 11 more when coach Mike Candrea used a pitcher/dp switch with Leslie Wolfe right before first pitch... Chipped in a 12-2 record in the circle and was 10-0 with a 0.89 ERA before a rough day against Cal State Fullerton dropped her ERA to the 2.50 range... Five Pac-10 pitching appearances with a 2-1 record... Hit a grand slam against Minnesota in the regular season... Batted mostly in the sixth or fifth spots in the lineup... Good power, with 13 doubles and three home runs... One of the team's best bunt specialists and finished the regular season with seven sacrifices... Drew 20 walks to help give her a .407 on-base average...
Jackie Coburn 77 Sophomore Third Base...Coburn capped the regular season with a big weekend, earning Pacific-10 Player of the Week and USA Softball National Player of the Week honors. Her walk-off two-run home run clinched Arizona's seventh Pac-10 title against UCLA, then two nights later she helped bring the Cats back with a pair of home runs and 11 runs batted in. Her second home run was a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the seventh that gave UA a 21-17 victory over the Huskies. The 11 RBI tied an NCAA record... She had a career-high four hits in the game... Powerful right-hander who earned Honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors for the second consecutive year... Finished the regular season with 15 home runs, one more than her freshman-season total... Also had a grand slam against California and hit nine home runs against teams that made the NCAA tournament... Had five two-out homers... The 4-for-6 season finale raised her average 16 percentage points to .261... Third on the team with 12 multiple-RBI games, fourth with 10 doubles... Good when leading off an inning, with a .444 mark in that situation... Also good at advancing runners, with a .519 average in 131 such opportunities... Has 54 RBI this year, giving her 103 career RBI in two seasons... Has five career grand slams...
Shelly Schultz 6 Freshman First Baseman...Schultz turned in a solid freshman season, with 42 starts at first base and five as the designated player... Finished the regular season with a .293 batting average... Good job as a fielder, with only two errors in 242 chances for a .992 average... Involved in team-high seven double plays... Had a big game at California in Arizona's stretch drive, with a three-for-three day and three runs batted in when UA shutout the Bears 6-0 May 5... Had eight other multiple-hit games... Had one pinch hit in one such appearance... Good job in clutch situations, with five RBIs in eight at bats with a runner on third and less than two outs... Hit her only home run of the year against Mississippi State at ASU's Fiesta Bowl Tournament in early February... One-for-one as a pinch hitter...
Lisha Ribellia 8 Senior Second baseman...Arizona's starter at second base for three full seasons, in all but one game as a sophomore... One of only four players to start every game this year... Batted right-handed this year, but was used as a switch-hitter who could slap in 2002... Great job of improving her technique at the plate this year, raising her average from a career .195 rate to this year's .275... Has had several good weeks at a critical time of year... Received some All-Region 1 votes after a .545 effort in the four games, with six hits in 11 at bats, a double and three runs batted in... Also added some gap power this year, with four home runs and 31 RBI toward the bottom of the order... Good base runner with seven stolen bases in eight tries, third on the team... The hitting improvement put her in the batting order after two years mostly as the defo... Nine doubles for fifth on the club... Good job as a set-up hitter, advancing runners 53 times in 101 at bats with runners on base (.525), plus was among the most successful hitters on the team with 11 RBIs in 15 at bats with a runner on third (.733)... In on seven double plays, including a key L4-3 play against Texas A&M in the sixth inning of the regional championship game... Only two errors in 168 chances... Had two RBI in three successive games in early March... Three-for-three against NCAA participant Minnesota in UA's Pepsi Classic tournament in February... Six sacrifice bunts, third on the club...
Crystal Farley 5 Sophomore Center FielderFarley enters the Women's College World Series with a team-best six-game hitting streak... Great job at the NCAA Regionals with the second-best hitting effort, collecting seven singles in 12 at bats... Lefty slapper normally used in the swing spot at No. 9 in the order.... The weekend boosted her batting average to .356, third best among starters... Usually a slapper, but has some power, with two home runs and three doubles for a .422 slugging percentage... Hits .405 when leading off innings, and is .557 in advancing-runners opportunities... Homered against New Mexico State Feb. 28 and against Washington the last game of the regular season... Was 4-for-5 in the season finale against the Huskies... Fifty-one starts among 54 games played... Total of 14 games with two or more hits... One of the Cats' hot hitters, Farley raised her batting average 39 percentage points since April 27...
Alicia Hollowell Freshman Pitcher...Outstanding freshman season earned Hollowell the Pacific-10 Conference Newcomer of the Year award as well as First-Team All-Pac-10 honors... Named First-Team All-Pacific-Region last week... Selected to the All-NCAA Region 1 team after winning all four games in UA's march through the regional... Threw three inning of no-hit ball against Minnesota to win the five-inning contest... Arizona's only player to win Pac-10 Pitcher (or player) of the Week honors five times in one season... Set an Arizona freshman record with her 38-3 pitching record and turned in a sterling 0.85 earned run average... Hit the No. 2 spot in UA single-season strikeouts against UCLA on the last weekend of the regular season and has 348, with a shot at Jennie Finch's single-season record of 366 set last year... With normal progress she could become the all-time UA record holder in most pitching categories - which says a lot considering the Honda Award legacy built by former hurlers Susie Parra (1994), Nancy Evans (1998) and Finch (2001 and 2002)... Threw no-hitters against Wisconsin (7 innings, Feb. 8) and Oregon State (5 innings, March 28), plus eight one-hitters... Career-high 18 strikeouts in seven-inning two-hitter against Nevada-Las Vegas, and 15 strikeouts against NCAA participant Texas A&M in February... Beat UCLA and Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year Keira Goerl three times... Was a semifinalist for USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year... Struck out 10 or more batters 12 times... Opened the year with 60 K's in her first 35 innings pitched... Carries nearly a 7:1 strikeouts to walks ratio...Lost games to Texas (2-1, Feb. 9), Oklahoma State (1-0, Feb. 21) and Stanford (4-3, April 11), all one-run ball games against NCAA Tournament teams... Made four relief appearances, with saves against South Florida and Florida International... Threw 22 shutouts and combined for three others... The 22 blankings ties the school record by UA All-American Debby Day in 1992... Threw 35 scoreless innings to open the year and had a stretch of 54 and two-thirds scoreless innings in 10 games from late February through mid March... National Player of the Week by both ESPN/USA Softball and the USA Today/NFCA after winning three consecutive seven-inning games at UCLA (2) and Washington the first weekend in April, including a one-hit shutout over UCLA and a two-hit shutout over Washington... - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -- - -
Candace Abrams Sophomore Outfielder/CatcherTypically spotted in the middle of the order... Has been UA's bullpen catcher for the past three seasons including her redshirt freshman year in 2001... Had two hits in three different games including against NCAA participant Florida State... Socked home runs against Columbia and New Mexico State... One of the two Tucson players on the Wildcat team... Pinch-hit 16 times, with two hits...
Erin Palomarez 33 Junior First Baseman...Palomarez came on strong toward the end of the year and started games in the last four weekends... Hit her first career home run in the last game of the year to help pull Arizona back into the game it eventually won, 21-17. Also walked three times in that game... Good hitter with a .289 batting average... Played in 25 games, with nine starts... Appeared in all four NCAA Regional games... Seven starts at first base and two as the designated player... Pinch-hit seven times, with two hits... Transferred to UA from Northwestern State, where she earned first-team all-conference honors two years, with a .320 batting average, seven home runs and 27 RBI her junior year... A Tucson prep standout at Sunnyside High School... Line-drive hitter with four doubles and the homer, to give her a .474 slugging percentage... Also had a pinch-hit appearance against UCLA, drawing a bases-loaded walk to bring in a run in the title-clinching victory...
Allyson Von Lichtenstein 12 Sophomore Outfielder... Solid role player with a .400 batting average in 45 at-bats... Lefty slapper used in the swing spot at 9th in the order when in the lineup, something Mike Candrea usually does with his batting order... Contributed 13 starts in right field and one as the designated player... Played in 39 games... Started the final four league games when Autumn Champion was hurt... Went 3-for-3 in season finale, scoring a season-best three runs... Had a five-game hitting streak in March that raised her average to .419 at the time... Had three pinch hits in seven tries for a team-best .429 pinch-hit average... Slugged a home run against Columbia in March... Good base runner, with 20 pinch-run appearances... The right field starter for the first half of the 2002 season... Stole five bases in six attempts, fourth on the club...
Leslie Wolfe 17 Freshman Pitcher...Leslie competed for the backup role to Hollowell and appeared in 14 games, earning a 3-0 record... Listed as the 'starter' in 16 contests, although in most of those she was penciled in as the defo for a planned switch with Wendy Allen... Pitched three complete games, a victory against Mississippi State in the Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Phoenix in early February, and five-inning victories over Columbia in the Red Raider Classic in Lubbock and over Long Beach State at the Kia Klassic in Fullerton, both in March... Had short relief appearances in nine other victories... Started Arizona's last game of the year against Washington, the nightmarish 21-17 Arizona victory that pushed her season ERA from 1.11 to 3.66... Struck out a season-high seven against Columbia and struck out four batters twice in two inning pitched against Southwest Texas State and New Mexico State... Decent 4.5-to-1 strikeouts to walks ratio... Did not bat...
Arizona's mentor is making his 17th consecutive foray into post-season play and brings an Arizona club to the Women's College World Series for the 16th consecutive year. That's an NCAA-record streak and is a heady endorsement by itself.
Considering he's been UA's coach for 18 years, it's a phenomenal streak. It parallels the growth and development of college softball as a Division I championship sport.
This year he turned in yet another credible job - enough so to win the respect of his peers - again -- as Pacific-10 Conference Coach of the Year. He took a team that lost its all-world pitcher (Jennie Finch) and went out and won his seventh Pac-10 championship. It was his seventh league coaching honor. It was Arizona's seventh title in the last 12 Pac-10 campaigns, plus he led the Cats to second-place finishes the other five seasons.
Serving as the U.S. Olympic Team head softball coach for the past year, Candrea had to juggle a couple of responsibilities at once. But he delivered on the bottom line -- winning.
At 54-5, Arizona hit the magic 50-victory plateau for the 14th time in his tenure. Every other year he's cracking some 100-type victories barrier. The next in sight is the 1,000-victory plateau. He needs 10 more victories to get there.
Arizona has produced 40 first-team All-Americans, the most in Division I. That suggests excellent recruiting practices, but it also underscores Candrea's coaching prowess. Five times he has coached a player to the Honda Softball Award as National Player of the Year.
But the championships at the top of the game - the NCAA Women's College World Series - are most definitive. He owns six rings in the last 12 years since his first title team in 1991. He led UA to subsequent NCAA Championships in 1993, '94, '96, '97 and 2001.
It's an annual rite at Arizona: win a bunch of games, win a regional, go to the Women's College World Series. It simply isn't that easy, but Candrea has made it seem so. He does it with hard work.
Three times he has been named National Coach of the Year (NFCA '94, '96, '97). He was elected to the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1996. His teams' 67 victories in 1998, 66 victories in 1994 and 64 victories in 1995 are in the top five in the NCAA record book.
Winning a phenomenal 84 percent of the time gives Candrea a Division I winning percentage that is No. 2 all time and No. 1 among active coaches.
Overall Record: 980-189 Pac-10 Record: 297-73 NCAA Games Record: 93-24 NCAA Regionals: 50-6 College Word Series: 43-18 Pacific-10 Coach of Year: 7 Pacific-10 Titles: 7 NCAA Titles: 6
Arizona Assistant Coaches
Candrea's assistants are Nancy Evans (Arizona '98), the former All-American Arizona pitcher who works with pitchers, and Larry Ray (Idaho State '74), who works primarily with lefty slappers and coaches first base. Combined, they have 16 years' experience working with Arizona softball.
Evans, the 1998 Honda Award winner as the National Player of the Year, won 124 games as one of the top pitchers in NCAA history. She owned UA's single-season pitching victories record with twin 36-2 records in 1997 and 1998 until a week ago when her pupil, Alicia Hollowell, took over.
Ray was Candrea's top assistant for 10 years from 1986 to 1995, then was head coach at Florida for five years where he gave the Gators a record of 169-106 in establishing a brand new Division I program. He's one of the most respected short-game instructors in the profession.