Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Top-Ranked Softball Heads to Kia Klassic in Fullerton
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 16, 2005
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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This Week

The No. 1 Arizona softball team will travel to Fullerton, Calif. to play in the 2005 Kia Klassic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton. The Cats will open the tournament against Long Beach State on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. On Thursday Arizona will face its first top-10 team in No. 5 Texas at 11:15 a.m., followed by another ranked team in No. 24 Florida State on Friday at 9 a.m.. The championship bracket will begin play on March 19.

Last Week

Arizona traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to participate in the 2005 Eller Media Stadium Classic, hosted by UNLV. Arizona won all five of its games against UNLV, Bowling Green, North Carolina State, Miami (Ohio) and Long Island University. Against UNLV, junior pitcher Alicia Hollowell threw her second perfect game of the year, a seven-inning, 12-K performance. Senior Jen Martinez provided much of the Cats’ offense in the 5-0 shutout, going two-for-four with two doubles, a run and two RBI. Freshman pitcher Taryne Mowatt got her fifth win of the year against Bowling Green, striking out eight over seven innings in the Cats’ 3-0 win. Against NC State, Hollowell pitched her 12th win of the year in a three-hit, 18-K performance. Offensively in the game, sophomore Kristie Fox hit a pair of homers and Caitlin Lowe had an inside-the-park round-tripper as the Wildcats won, 12-3. Junior pitcher Leslie Wolfe got her second win of the year against Miami (Ohio) in Arizona’s 6-1 win. The top of the Wildcats’ order (Fox, Autumn Champion and Lowe) combined for seven hits in 11at-bats, four runs and three RBI. In Arizona’s last game of the Eller Media Stadium Classic, Mowatt got her sixth win of the season; a five-inning one-hitter against Long Island University. Offensively, senior Crystal Farley went three-for-three with a run and three RBI.

The Coach

Head Coach Mike Candrea is in his 20th year with Arizona and carries a career record of 1002-191. Candrea returned to Arizona after taking a year off to coach the U.S. 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, in January. Candrea’s award, given for outstanding service to the USOC and the Olympic movement, marked the first time in history that 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 seven Pac-10 titles.

The Coaches

Larry Ray (Idaho State ?'74) took over as head coach for Mike acting assistant head coach this season, and carries an overall record of 224-112, including five years as head coach of Florida. Associate head coach Nancy Evans is a former Honda Award winner as a player at Arizona. Evans has been an assistant at UA since 1999.

The Rankings

As of March 15, the Cats are No. 1 in the Softball poll.The NFCA/USA Today poll, in which the Cats have been steadily ranked since 1989, will be released on March 16. Arizona was ranked preseason No. 3 in the NFCA poll, behind UCLA and Cal. Softball: 1(3/15), 1(3/8), 1(3/1), 1(2/22), 1(2/15)

NFCA/USA Today: 1(3/9),1(3/2), 2(2/23), 2(2/16)

Wildcat Softball Quick Notes:

... Sophomore shortstop Kristie Fox kept up her offensive heroics over the weekend. She went 10-for-20 at the plate, with 11 RBI and five runs. Fox is hitting .484 on the season, second on the team behind Caitlin Lowe. Her slugging percentage is a team-leading .906, and she has 37 RBI, nearly three times that of the next closest player (Balko, 14). She’s got some speed, too, with six stolen bases, third on the team behind Lowe and Autumn Champion...

...Lowe led the Cats’ offense over the weekend. She went 14-for-21 at the plate, scored eight runs and drove in five runs. Lowe leads the Cats in batting average with a .536 mark. She is second on the team in slugging percentage (.623), first in stolen bases (16-for-16), and fourth in RBIs (10). She also has a perfect fielding percentage in center...

...All-American junior pitcher Alicia Hollowell tossed her second perfect game of the year (her third career) against UNLV on Friday. On the season, she has five no-hitters to add to her two perfect games. She has a 12-0 record and an ERA of 0.43. Her season strikeouts total 172...

...The Cats’ No. 2 pitcher, freshman Taryne Mowatt, has quietly accumulated a 6-0 record and sports a team-leading ERA of 0.37. She has 53 strikeouts and has only allowed two earned runs in seven appearances...

... Senior first baseman Crystal Farley has tallied an impressive batting average of .442 this season, third behind Lowe and Fox. She went seven-for-17 at the Eller Media Stadium Classic, with three runs and four RBI...

... Although her numbers have dropped off from last year, Autumn Champion has put together good numbers on the season after a knee injury in last year’s playoffs. She is hitting .360, fourth on the team. Despite her knee, she has still stolen seven of nine bases...