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No. 2 Softball Opens Pac-10 Season Against Stanford and Cal
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/01/2005
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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This Week
The No. 2 Arizona softball team will open the Pac-10 season by hosting No. 7 Stanford and No. 3 Cal from April 1-3 at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Cats will face off against No. 7 Stanford (23-4, 0-0 Pac-10) on Friday at 7 p.m. Saturday’s game against third-ranked Cal (29-3, 0-0 Pac-10) will start at 7 p.m., and the Wildcats will take on the Bears again on Sunday at 1 p.m.

 Last Week
The second-ranked Wildcats traveled to Lafayette, La., to take on No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette in a three-game series. Last weekend marked the first time the Cats and the Ragin’ Cajuns met since Louisiana-Lafayette upset Arizona in last season’s NCAA regionals to end the Wildcats’ season. Cajuns pitcher Brooke Mitchell tossed a 5-0 shutout over the Alicia Hollowell and the Cats to send Arizona home without a trip to the College World Series for the first time in 16 years. However, last Friday Hollowell got her revenge for last year’s loss with a 2-0, one-hit shutout over Mitchell and Lafayette, fanning 11 hitters in the process. Saturday’s re-match with the Cajuns was cancelled because of rain and poor field conditions, but the weather cooperated enough for the teams to play the series finale on Sunday. Hollowell got her 17th win of the season in the Cats’ 10-3 victory, turning in a four-hit, 16-K performance. Hollowell also walked seven and allowed three earned runs in the game, both season highs. Caitlin Lowe led the Cats’ offense with two hits, a run and four RBI off an inside-the-park grand slam. The homer was Lowe’s second of the season. Both were inside-the-park round-trippers. Lowe’s performance over the weekend was enough to earn her second Pac-10 Player of the Week honor for March 22-28.

The Coach
Head Coach Mike Candrea is in his 20th year with Arizona and carries a career record of 1008-193. 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 29, the Cats are No. 2 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.The NFCA/USA Today poll, in which the Cats have been steadily ranked since 1989, will be released on March 30. Arizona was ranked preseason No. 3 in the NFCA poll, behind UCLA and Cal. ESPN.com/USA Softball: 2(3/29), 2(3/22), 1(3/15), 1(3/8), 1(3/1), 1(2/22), 1(2/15)NFCA/USA Today: 2(3/23), 1(3/16), 1(3/9), 1(3/2), 2(2/23), 2(2/16)

Wildcat Softball Quick Notes:
...Caitlin Lowe earned her second career Pac-10 Player of the Week honor for March 22-28 after hitting .572 in Arizona’s two wins over No. 11 Louisiana-Lafayette last weekend. Lowe leads both the Wildcats and the Pac-10 in batting average with a .520 mark, including 51 hits, 29 runs and 15 RBI...

...Lowe hit an inside-the-park grand slam on Sunday against the Ragin’ Cajuns, her second round-tripper of the year. Both of Lowe’s homers this season have been inside the park...

...Alicia Hollowell got her 16th and 17th wins of the year against the Ragin’ Cajuns last weekend, to put her season record at 17-1. In Sunday’s 10-3 win over Lafayette, Hollowell surrendered three earned runs and seven walks while fanning 16. The runs upped her season ERA to 0.49, a mark that still leads Arizona’s pitching staff...

...Hollowell struck out 27 batters in two wins last weekend, pushing her season total to 247 and her career total to 1,149, which tops Arizona’s career K list...

...Though Kristie Fox’s offense tapered over the weekend, she is second on the squad with a .413 average, including 38 hits, seven homers, seven doubles, seven stolen bases and 40 RBI. She leads the team with a slugging percentage of .717...

...Arizona’s hitters, while not putting up the same number of runs as last year’s squad, have posted a season batting average of .323, more than 200 points higher than the Cats’ opponents’ combined average of .113...

...Senior Crystal Farley has saved her best season for her last, as she is hitting .342 in her senior campaign. She has started all 28 games for the Cats this season, and will likely eclipse her 2004 games started total of 38 shortly...

...Freshman pitcher Taryne Mowatt currently has a 7-1 record, an ERA of 0.86, 67 strikeouts, and to date has not thrown a wild pitch in 48.2 innings of work...

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