April 27, 2010
Cats Head to Bay Area for Cal Series
April 30 - May 2, Levine-Fricke Field, Berkeley, Calif.
Arizona, winner of six straight, heads up to UC-Berkeley's Strawberry Canyon, where it hasn't played a game since 2008 because the only `09 game there was rained out. The series will feature the two Pac-10 teams that lead the way in ERA (Cal) and scoring (Arizona).
UA took both games against Cal in Tucson last season, while the other game was rained out in the Bay Area. The Bears return 11 starters from last year's squad that went down to the wire against Florida in the Gainesville, Fla. Super Regional, but Florida ended up winning on their home turf and advanced to the WCWS.
CAL: The Golden Bears (34-13, 5-7 Pac-10) are led by speedy sophomore Jamia Reid and her .373 average at the plate. The slapper has 59 hits on the season, and has legged out three doubles and five triples. Valerie Arioto (16-6) can be effective on both sides of the ball, as she has hit a team-high 14 home runs with an .817 slugging percentage. In the circle, she leads the team in innings pitched at 157.1 and strikeouts (217). She and freshman Jolene Henderson (15-7) both have a 1.29 ERA, but the freshman has appeared in one more game.
Last Time Out
Friday: No. 3 Arizona polished its bats and clouted 14 hits in clobbering Oregon State, 20-1, Friday night in Pac-10 softball at Hillenbrand Stadium. A pile of walks helped, too. UA freshman Kenzie Fowler (25-5) tossed one-hit ball through four innings and her teammates took care of the rest in the five-inning run-rule victory.
Saturday: Kenzie Fowler threw a five-inning perfect game and Arizona thumped Oregon State, 8-0, to take Saturday night Pac-10 softball action at Hillenbrand Stadium. A crowd of 2,775 watched the freshman strike out four and collect her fourth no-hitter of the season. It was UA's eighth perfect game in its Division I history and first since Taryne Mowatt allowed no base runners in a 9-0 victory over Cal State Northridge on March 18, 2006, also in five innings.
Sunday: Lini Koria's grand slam highlighted a five-run third and helped push No. 3-ranked Arizona to a 9-1 victory and series sweep against Oregon State in Pac-10 softball action Sunday at Hillenbrand Stadium. Kenzie Fowler (27-5) scattered three hits in four innings of pitching for the victory, which improved Arizona to 38-7 overall and 8-4 in league play.
Catch the Action
Go to arizonawildcats.com for live GameTracker stats, sponsored by Tucson Electric Power. Fans can watch all home games on All-Access, and most home games will be broadcast in-stadium on 103.3 FM with David Kelly and former UA softball player Erika Barnes describing the game action.
Arizona's normal starting lineup combines for a superlative batting average of .353, with 354 hits in 1,003 at-bats. The group is led by three above .400 this week -- Lauren Schutzler (.432), Brittany Lastrapes (.407) and Stacie Chambers (.402). The figure is 15 percentage points above the full-squad BA of .338, which isn't bad. A final batting average of that ilk would be tied for seventh best in UA history, right behind last year's .339 club. The 1998 club hit .385 to set the school record.
Senior shortstop K'Lee Arredondo raised her batting average 21 points to .374 with a 7-for-11 weekend against Oregon State. The team leader in rusns scored with 51, she had a season-high four RBI in game two of the OSU series. She is now batting .405 in conference play heading into the Cal series.
Another recent surge was a .500 spree (9-for-18) by nine-hole hitter Karissa Buchanan over the past seven games to boost her batting average to .343 from .286. She sits second in the conference-only batting charts with a .429 clip.
Walk, Don't Run
Arizona has drawn 237 walks in 45 games, a clip of 5.3 BBs per game. Should the UA keep up its current pace, it will break the all-time mark of 287 set by the 1995 squad right around WCWS time. Stacie Chambers has drawn a team-leading 42 walks, good for eighth on the top 10 for walks in a single season list. Chambers may contend for the top spot as we near the season's end, with Jenny Dalton holding that mark (64, 1996).
L is for Not Lately
Arizona's three-game losing streak after being swept at Washington isn't a normal occurrence. It's its worst since dropping a pair to Stanford and a game at Oregon in the first week in May last year. That was the longest such skein in 2009. In 2008 the Cats suffered a three-game streak to open the year (Northwestern, Texas A&M, Nevada) and a four-game streak against UCLA, ASU (2) and Oregon. In 2007 UA did not lose more than two games consecutively. In 2006, there was a three-game streak (UCLA-2, and ASU). In 2005, the club had one two-game losing streak (OSU, UCLA).
A Tale of Two Seasons
Now that we are in the middle of conference season, reality is starting to check in. If five years can be any indication, things get tougher from Pac-10 play on out. Here's a look at UA's team batting average for overall games vs. its conference games only mark:
Year Overall Conference
2010 .332 .323
2009 .339 .301
2008 .304 .296
2007 .289 .266
2006 .311 .265
Top of the Order
Leadoff batter Brittany Lastrapes is third on the team with 14 home runs. Five of them led off innings. In Arizona's history, no leadoff hitter has more circuit clouts that Lastrapes. Caitlin Lowe had 12 from 2004 to 2007, and Alison McCutcheon had 10 from 1995 to 1998. Brittany has 35 career home runs, No. 15 in UA history. She recently passed Lauren Bauer (32 from 1998 to 2001). Next up is Leneah Manuma with 40 in 2001-02, and a pair at 42 - Lindsey Collins from 1998-2001 and Lovieanne Jung in 2002-03.
Kenzie Fowler in the Circle...The freshman's 27-5 pitching record bodes well for Arizona, and gives her a chance to crack the 30-victory barrier. Arizona pitchers have accomplished it 17 times, last by Taryne Mowatt in the magical NCAA title 2007 year when she did all the pitching and went 42-12 with a lot of the work in the postseason. Mowatt just missed in her senior year in 2008, going 29-15, again pitching a lot with 72 percent of the innings thrown. Fowler's has tossed 67 percent of the action this year, thanks to some strong work by senior Sarah Akamine
The Cats are overall blessed with as much team speed as most UA clubs, but aren't prone to base stealing. A team slugging percentage of .609 will do that. UA has three historical .600-plus slugging seasons and all are marked by the long ball. Last year's club set the record at .630 (with a record 134 jacks) and the 1994-95 juggernaut slugging squads posted .602 (93 HR) and .608 marks (100 HR). UA has 28 stolen bases (33 attempts) this year, with Lauren Schutzler leading the way with 10-for-12 bases swiped. Brittany Lastrapes (6-for-6) and Karissa Buchanan (4-for-4) remain perfect on the base paths.
Award-winning softball coach Mike Candrea has been a fixture at Arizona since his first Arizona team posted a winning record in 1986. After that, the Cats ascended to the top of the game where they've stayed since under his tutelage.
Candrea has led Arizona to eight Women's College World Series titles in a remarkable 23-year streak of consecutive appearances in the NCAA Championships. His Arizona teams won it all in 1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006 and 2007.
Arizona softball teams have won 10 Pacific-10 Conference championships under his guidance and innovative coaching and have amassed a total of 82 total All-America citations for 39 different players.
He has been Pac-10 Coach of the Year 10 times among 19 league, regional or national coaching honors including NFCA Division I Coach of the Year three times. He has been accorded a Honorary Alumnus Degree from the university, won the U.S. Olympic Committee's most prestigious honor, the Olympic Shield, and twice led Team USA to medals including the 2004 gold at Athens. He is a member of the NFCA Hall of Fame while still doing the work that got him there.
Candrea carries a career record of 1,215-252-2 and was the fastest coach in history to reach the 1,100-victory mark. That remarkable winning percentage of .827 doesn't even include two UA squads that won a combined 96 games during sabbatacals as Olympic coach.
Candrea's coaching acumen has led Arizona to numerous hitting, fielding and pitching records and his recruiting skills keep Arizona well-stocked with nationally elite players.
He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Arizona State in 1978 and 1980 and coached five years at Central Arizona College before taking the reins at Arizona.