THIS WEEK: No. 3 Arizona (34-8, 5-5) wraps up an eight-game road stretch with a game at No. 1 UCLA (35-4, 8-2) on Friday night and a pair of games at No. 15 Washington (29-15, 3-7) on Saturday and Sunday. Log on to uclabruins.com and gohuskies.com for free live stats for the respective games.
FRIDAY, APRIL 28 at UCLA 1 p.m. (MST/PDT)
SATURDAY, APRIL 29 at WASHINGTON 2 p.m. (MST/PDT)
SUNDAY, APRIL 30 at CALIFORNIA 1 p.m. (MST/PDT)
NOTING THE BRUINS: The nation’s top-ranked team stormed into Tucson on April 8th and 9th, and handed Arizona two Pac-10 losses. UCLA has been the Conference’s hottest team, but has also shown that it is beatable, as the Bruins are 8-2 in Pac-10 play. In their two games at UA, leadoff hitter Andrea Duran touched up the Wildcat pitching staff for four hits in seven at-bats (.571), while scoring three runs in two games. The rest of the Bruins followed suit, as UCLA combined to hit .339 in the pair of early Pac-10 contests. The Bruin pitching staff was solid, if not human, as Lisa Dodd and Anjelica Selden combined for a 2.00 ERA in the games.
NOTING THE HUSKIES: Washington is coming off of a weekend, in which, it defeated Oregon on Friday, before dropping back-to-back games to Oregon State on Saturday and Sunday. The Huskies have the especially unenviable task of facing UCLA twice mid-week, before playing host to No. 7 Arizona State on Friday and the Wildcats on Saturday and Sunday. The Dawgs’ have had a tough run in league play thus far, with five of their seven Pac-10 losses coming by a combined six runs. Washington’s bats struggled in its only game against UA this year. The Huskies managed only one hit to go along with 14 strikeouts in Alicia Hollowell’s return to Hiillenbrand Stadium after suffering a facial injury.
LAST WEEK RECAP: Arizona took two out of three games in a crucial road weekend of conference play. The two victories included a come-from-behind win and a 13-inning thriller.
Arizona 4, Stanford 1 ?- Although the game was televised via tape delay, Kristie Fox had a flair for the dramatic. Down 1-0 in the sixth inning, Fox hit a three-run, two-out home run to put Arizona ahead with only an inning and a half left to play. The next inning, Callista Balko tacked on another run with a solo shot to center field, bringing the game to its final 4-1 margin. Alicia Hollowell gave up one run in the third inning, but went into lockdown mode on the Cardinal, limiting Stanford to two runners in the last four innings.
Arizona 4, California 2 (13 innings) ?- Jenae Leles opened up the game with a two-run homer in the first inning to give UA an early lead. Cal came right back, scoring one run in the first and another in the fourth, tying the game at two runs apiece. The teams remained deadlocked until the top of the 13th, when Kristie Fox came up with her second game-winning home run in as many days. With one out and one on, Fox cracked her ninth home run of the year. Getting to that point was not easy, however, as Taryne Mowatt worked out of several jams. Cal had two runners on in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings, but Mowatt worked out of each frame, giving Arizona another chance to come up with some runs
California 5, Arizona 1 ?- Two emotional road wins would be all Arizona could get in the weekend, as the Golden Bears came out hungry on Sunday. Cal jumped on Alicia Hollowell for one run in the first and third innings, before tacking on three unearned runs in the fourth. UA had its chances at scoring, as the Wildcats had two runners on in the first and third innings, as well as five in the fifth but managed to scratch only one run across.
USA SOFTBALL NATIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYER-OF-THE-YEAR FINALISTS: Caitlin Lowe and Alicia Hollowell were named to the USA Softball POY list of 25 finalists last week. USA Softball cut its initial list of 50 candidates in half, and will narrow the list down to three finalists before the Women’s College World Series. Kristie Fox and Autumn Champion had been named to the pre-season watch list.
ARIZONA HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA is in his 21st season at Arizona and carries a career 1,061-211 (.834) record in 20 years in the dugout. He is one of just five coaches to reach the 1,000 Division I victories, and was the fastest to do so (19 years of on-field coaching). 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 in 2004. 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. 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.
MOWATT (4/10-16), MESA (3/20-26) AND FOX (3/6-12) NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Taryne Mowatt was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her performance at Arizona State on April 14 and 15. Mowatt hit .429 (3-for-7) and also registered her first Pac-10 shutout in the circle. With the honor, she becomes the first student-athlete to win both the player and pitcher of the week awards in the same year. Chelsie Mesa was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for her performance against No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette from March 24-26. Mesa batted .636 (7-11), with five RBI and four runs scored in three games. She went 4-for-4 on Sunday, missing the cycle by a home run. Kristie Fox was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of March 6-12, for her two home runs, seven RBI and .750 batting average. Fox’s numbers could have been more gaudy, but they were tapered when the opponent elected not to pitch to her. After six RBI in game one of the series, Fox saw only two strikes in the second game of the series. One of those strikes went over the left field wall for a home run and the other came in one of her three walks during the game. In game three, Fox went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and yet another walk.
MOWATT (3/13-19, 3/20-26) AND HOLLOWELL (2/6-12; 2/13-19) NAMED PAC-10 PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Taryne Mowatt was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week for two consecutive weeks from March 13-26. From March 24-26 against Louisiana-Lafayette, Mowatt became the first pitcher all year to shut out the prolific Ragin’ Cajun offense. Over the weekend she pitched 16.0 innings and gave up one run. The week before, Mowatt tossed a no-hitter and a perfect game at the Judi Garman Classic. In two games, Mowatt struck out 28 of the 37 opposing batters she faced. Alicia Hollowell has been named the Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week twice this year. Following the Kajikawa Classic (2/6-12), USA Softball named her its first National Player of the Week of the year for her performance in last week’s games. In three starts, Hollowell tossed no-hitters against No. 15 Northwestern and No. 6 Texas A&M, while surrendering one hit in a 2-0 win over Cal State Fullerton.
CANDREA ON THE MEND: For the second consecutive weekend, head coach Mike Candrea was absent from the third base coaching box for the first time since he was away throughout the 2004 season. On April 12, the 1,061-game winner underwent surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
ALL-AMERICANS CLUTCH IN CONFERENCE: Over the last two years, Arizona has experienced its share of woes plating runners in scoring position, but three hitters continue to give the Wildcats consistent results in clutch situations. All-Americans Caitiln Lowe, Autumn Champion and Kristie Fox have combined to hit .395 (30-for-76) in RISP situations during 2005 and 2006 Pac-10 play. Their teammates have compiled a .188 (33-for-176) clip over the same time frame.
GET ?'EM ON, GET ?'EM OVER, NOT GETTING ?'EM IN: The Wildcats have been able to get runners on base during Pac-10 play this season, but have a nasty habit of leaving one another stranded at inning’s end. In its 10 conference games, UA averages over seven runners left on per game, including eight or more stranded in six of the contests.
LOWE BACK AT THE TOP: Last week, Caitlin Lowe was fully cleared to participate in games. The two-time All-American returned to her usual leadoff spot in the batting order and center field on defense. Prior to suffering an injury to her left hand on March 19, the Tustin, Calif., native had started 147 consecutive games for Arizona on the leadoff position.
A REAL CATALYST: While Caitlin Lowe was recovering from the injury, Arizona went through a number of possible solutions to replace her. At one point, that included three different leadoff hitters in three consecutive games (Autumn Champion, Kristie Fox and Adrienne Acton). In the 10 games that Lowe was absent from the starting lineup, Arizona scored an average of 0.6 runs in the first inning and 3.6 per game. In the games that she has led off, UA averages 1.1 runs in the opening frame and 5.9 per game.
TOP CATS: In every year since 1992, Arizona has been ranked No. 1 in the NFCA poll for at least part of the year.
RE-WRITING THE RECORD BOOKS: Alicia Hollowell is now Arizona’s all-time victories, strikeout and innings pitched record holder. She currently stands fifth all-time in strikeouts per seven innings.
For a complete list of Arizona’s all-time record holders, please see page six of the .pdf version of this release, or pages 33-37 of this year’s media guide.
OFFENSIVE HISTORY: With each passing game, outfielders Caitlin Lowe and Autumn Champion are climbing up the UA record books in several offensive categories, including hits, stolen bases and runs scored. Additionally, both rank in the top five in career batting average at Arizona.
In the March 31 loss to Oregon State, Champion passed current UA assistant coach Nancy Evans, placing her in sole possession of 10th place on UA’s all-time hits list.
This weekend, with two runs scored Champion could also crack the top 10 for runs in a career. The Tustin, Calif., native has touched home 171 times thus far.
Lowe has 233 career hits and could challenge Allison McCutcheon’s (1995-98) 405 career base knocks come spring 2007.
Additionally, with 22 stolen bases this year, Lowe has swiped 96 career bases, good for fifth on UA’s all-time list. If she wants top-billing as Arizona’s best-ever base stealer, McCutcheon stands in her way once again with 148 SB.
Earlier in the season, Autumn Champion moved into sole possession of seventh place in career stolen bases. Entering this week, she has swiped 60 career bases.
THESE CATS DIG THE LONG BALL: Callista Balko’s solo home run against UCLA on April 8 brought UA’s team total to 34 homers in 37 games. Last year, the Wildcats hit 33 round-trippers all season (57 games); the team’s lowest output since 1992. With a pair of four-baggers last weekend against ASU, Arizona now has 41 in 42 games this season.
NINES-NINES-NINES: With her game-winning home run on Saturday, Kristie Fox now has nine home runs this year. That is the same total she finished with in both 2004 and 2005.
THEY LIKE TRIPLES TOO: Last year, Arizona had a total of five triples in its 57 games, the year before Arizona had only three three-baggers.
Through its first 37 games, Arizona already has 11 triples, or one in every three games or so. Given that the team has averaged 66 games a year over the last decade, UA is on pace for 19 triples. The last time an Arizona team had 10 triples was 2000, and school record (in NCAA play) is 20 three-baggers, which has occurred three times. The Wildcats are still looking for their first triple in Pac-10 play.
Autumn Champion’s triple against Texas A&M on Feb. 24 was the first of her career. Prior to the third-inning hit, Champion had played in 185 games and had 578 at-bats before her first career triple. The slap hitter had 89 hits as a freshman in 2003 ?- all singles.
GIVE HER ALL THE ICE SHE K-NEEDS : Callista Balko has been behind the plate for all 280.0 innings this year while UA has been in the field. Balko’s durability behind the plate while catching a pair of strikeout pitchers should put the sophomore from Tucson at the top of the nation’s putout chart. She currently leads the Pac-10 with 481 putouts on the year, xxx more than California’s Haley Woods who is in second with 391. Balko’s total already qualifies her for eighth all-time for putouts in a season at Arizona. At this rate, should Arizona play 66 games (its average over the last 10 years), Balko would have 756 putouts.
IN THE PAC-10, EXPERIENCE COUNTS: When looking at Arizona’s in-conference stats, one factor seems to separate the top of the batting averages from the bottom half: experience. Players with at least one year’s experience at Arizona carry the top six batting averages for a combined .279 clip. Six newcomers, on the other hand, are a woeful .100.
GO BIG OR GO HOME: Like the rest of her first-year teammates, Jenae Leles has needed some getting used to with Pac-10 play. One difference is that every one of Leles four Pac-10 hits have gone for extra-bases (three doubles, one home run).
THREE FOR THE MONEY: Caitlin Lowe moved into a four-way tie on Arizona’s all-time triples list, when she had her fourth three-bagger of the year and ninth of her career on March 18 against CSUN. Among the names Lowe had been tied with when she had eight career triples: UA senior associate athletics director Kathleen “Rocky” LaRose.
Lowe tied her career-high for most triples in a season with four.
RBI FOR EVERYONE! Arizona’s offense has seven players who average .5 RBI per game or better. The list includes all starters but the two set-up slappers, Autumn Champion and Adrienne Acton, as well as Callista Balko. A year ago, UA’s Kristie Fox led Division I with a 1.12 rate.
Here’s a breakdown of the Wildcats’ RBI per-game: Fox .88, Mesa, .71, Roth .62, Leles .62, Lowe .55 and Banister .54 Mowatt .53*.
Last year, only two players (Kristie Fox and Jackie Coburn) ended the season with RBI-per-game ratios of better than .5.
*Mowatt’s games played do not include contests in which she pitched but did not hit. Jill Malina has one RBI in three plate appearances.
MULTI-HIT AND MULTI-RBI GAMES: Every Arizona starter has at least one multi-RBI game and a minimum of three multi-hit games. Leading the way with nine multi-RBI games are Laine Roth and Chelsie Mesa. Kristie Fox (9), Jenae Leles (7), and Callista Balko and Sam Banister, who have five apiece round out the top of the list. The most prolific performances came in a five-RBI game for Mesa and a six-RBI contest for Fox in the Baylor series.
In the multi-hit game category, Caitlin Lowe has a stranglehold over her teammates with 20 games with two or more hits, despite missing the last four weeks. Autumn Champion (13), Kristie Fox (13), Chelsie Mesa (9) and Laine Roth (8) round out the top of the list. All told, UA batters have combined for 91 multi-hit and 54 multi-RBI games.
WINNING STREAKS: UA’s longest winning streak this year is 15 games, which were its first 15 contests of the year. The Wildcats’ March 16 loss to Texas A&M snapped a nine-game run. Arizona was riding a 24-game home winning streak, dating back to May 7, 2005, until UCLA broke up the two dozen game run on Saturday, April 8.
PERFECTO! Taryne Mowatt’s no-hitter against UNLV and perfect game against Cal State Northridge were both firsts in her career. Mowatt became the 20th pitcher in Arizona softball history, and 10th since 1991 to no-hit an opponent. Mowatt’s perfect made her the just the third pitcher in UA history to retire every batter faced.
NO-NO: Alicia Hollowell has 16 career no-hitters. To put that figure in perspective, you can take any other two Wildcat hurlers (Susie Parra, Jennie Finch, Nancy Evans, Becky Lemke or Teresa Cherry, et al), combine their no-hit totals and they still will not amount to Hollowell’s total. As for UA’s other current pitchers, Taryne Mowatt and Leslie Wolfe have two and one career no-no’s, respectively.
NOBODY EVER GOT ANYTHING FREE FROM UA: The Wildcat pitching staff has combined to strikeout 481 opponent hitters in 280 innings pitched this season. What’s more, they have issued a total of 38 walks to opposing hitters. That’s one walk per 7.4 innings pitched and 12.7 strikeouts to the walk. In contrast, UA hitters have walked 134 times or 3.6 times per seven innings.
TAKING BALLS AND TAKING NAMES: When Kristie Fox isn’t driving in one of her team-leading 37 RBI on the year, she may be doing a number of things, but one of them is not striking out. Fox has drawn 19 walks this year, while striking out just nine times. The junior from San Diego, Calif., strikes out on average once every 14.4 at-bats. The rest of the Wildcats strikeout every 3.8 at-bats.
STEALING WITH ACCURACY: Arizona has stolen 49 bases this year. What’s more, the thieves have been caught only four in 53 attempts, giving UA a Pac-10 leading 92 percent success rate.
PINCH WHAT? Taryne Mowatt (vs. UNLV on March 16) and Danielle Rodriguez (vs. UCLA on April 9) are the only two pinch hitters Coach Candrea has sent to the plate this year.
PINCH RUNNERS: Kelly Nelson has appeared as a pinch runner in 26 games for UA. In doing so, she has scored 10 runs. Jill Malina and Danielle Rodriguez have appeared as a PR in 12 games apiece. Rodriguez scored the game-winning run in UA’s 2-1, nine-inning victory over Baylor on March 12.
EXTRA ALMOST EVERY TIME: Arizona has at least one extra-base hit in 34 of its 42 games this season for a total of 91. UA’s opponents, on the other hand, have 23 extra-base knocks.
DEFENSE WINS WHAT? With 24 only defensive hiccups in 1,046 fielding attempts, UA has a .977 fielding percentage, which is second to only Stanford’s .982 percentage in the Pac-10. Opponents, on the other hand, have committed 48 errors for a .957 fielding clip. UA is error-free in 23 games this season and has allowed only four unearned runs. Opponents have allowed 33 unearned runs to score.
NOT AFRAID OF A CHALLENGE: As always, Arizona is playing one of the most challenging schedules in the nation. Of UA’s 53 scheduled regular season games, 19 are against teams ranked in the top 10 of the pre-season ESPN.com/USA Today Poll. In addition, another 11 games are against teams that were ranked 11-25 to begin the year.
EARLY SIGNINGS: Head coach Mike Candrea announced that UA has received four National Letters of Intent for the 2006-07 academic year from pitcher Amanda Williams of Brentwood, Calif., catcher/third baseman Stacie Chambers of Glendale, Ariz., shortstop/utility K’Lee Arrendondo of Tempe, Ariz., and pitcher/third baseman Sarah Akamine of Escondido, Calif.
ARIZONA SOFTBALL ATTENDANCE: This year, Arizona is averaging 1,244 fans a game in 14 dates. The crowd of 2,340 in the April 8 versus UCLA was the 30th largest crowd in Hillenbrand Stadium history and the largest since the U.S. Olympic team visited in 2004. Next Wednesday’