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weekly notes 4-1-08
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/01/2008
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Up Next: No. 8 Arizona (25-9, 2-1 Pac-10) continues a streak of 13 of 15 games away from home with a three-game Pac-10 road trip to the Oregon schools as the league season enters week two.

Friday, April 4 ?C at OSU, 3 p.m. (PDT/MST), OSU Softball Complex, Corvallis

Saturday, April 5 ?C at Oregon, 1 p.m. (PDT/MST), Howe Field, Eugene

Sunday, April 6 ?C at Oregon, noon (PDT/MST), Howe Field, Eugene

Possible Arizona Lineup:

Brittany Lastrapes ?C lf

Lauren Schutzler-cf

Jenae Leles ?C 3b

Stacie Chambers ?C dp

Laine Roth -1b

Callista Balko ?C c

Sam Banister or Sarah Akamine ?C 2b

Kˇ?Lee Arredondo ?C ss

Cyndi Duran or Adrienne Acton ?C rf

Taryne Mowatt/Lindsey Sisk - p

Noting the Opponents: Oregon State (22-16, 1-2): The Beavers travel to Oregon Wednesday for a league contest before hosting Arizonaˇ? OSU lost narrowly at UCLA (0-3), lost at Washington (0-1) and beat the Huskies 5-3 to open league play last weekˇ? OSU has played nine games against ranked opponents this year and is 2-7 in those contestsˇ? Dani Chisholm (..390), McKenna Lowe (.346) and Cambria Miranda (six home runs) are helping lead OSU with the sticksˇ? OSU pitchers Kelly Dyer and Stephanie Draper have been touched for 25 home runsˇ? Theyˇ?ve tossed five shutouts and Dyer had a two-hitter against Northern Illinois in one of themˇ? Oregon (25-13, 0-2) : The Ducks had their league opener at Washington last week canceled due to snow and rain, then dropped a pair at UCLA, 2-0 and 12-0 in five innings Sunday. The first loss snapped an 11-game Ducksˇ? winning streak ˇ? UO has played nine games against ranked opponents and is 1-8 in those contestsˇ? Neena Bryantˇ?s .407 batting average, eight home runs and 32 RBI lead the clubˇ? Courtney Kivet has 29 stolen bases while Sari-Jane Jenkins has 20 to give the team a total of 82 already this yearˇ?

Last Week: Arizona swept a home doubleheader against Marshall by scores of 9-1 in five innings and 11-5, then went on the road to open league play in the Bay Area, taking two of three. In the Marshall twinbill, UA knocked 20 hits including five home runs, two by DP Stacie Chambers. The first game was straight mercy rule; the Cats squandered a similar opportunity in the second when MU scored three in the top of the fifth to extend it to seven. Taryne Mowatt earned victories in both, in relief in the nightcap. UA won its opener, 4-1, at Stanford with an eighth-inning three-run home run by Stacie Chambers, then was four-hit by Calˇ?s Marissa Drewrey in its first game in Berkeley, losing to the Bears, 3-1. On Sunday, Arizona came back to knock six hits off Drewrey and 11 total in a 5-2 victory. UA trailed, 2-0, but got a two-run double by Kˇ?Lee Arredondo in the sixth to tie and added three more runs to win a key victory. Lindsey Sisk had her first career start in a league game, but left after four innings of one-hit, one earned run pitching to face no decision as Mowatt in relief. The week established an early pecking order in the league, with UCLA and ASU winning all three of its games and Arizona checking in next with its pair of wins to move into third placeˇ? NOTESˇ? Arizona, after oddly being the visiting team for all five games in the Garman Classic, has had to bat first in 10 of the last 12 games ?C make that 13 of 15 after this coming week in Oregonˇ? The Cats hit .259 in its three games last week, and held opponents to .197ˇ? Home runs werenˇ?t expected to be as easy to come by in league play ?C and werenˇ?t. UA hit two, and opponents hit two in the three Bay Area gamesˇ? Batters drew a combined total of 28 bases on balls in the three league games last week ?C 13 by Arizona and 15 by the Cardinal and Bears. Mowatt had an unusual 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio in the gamesˇ?

Track the Cats: Free GameTracker live stats sponsored by Tucson Electric Power, are provided for all home games and many road games (depending on Internet access) via arizonaathletics.com. Many road opponents provide the service through their web sites as well. All-Access video streaming of home games also is available through UAˇ?s web site. A number of games will be broadcast by UA partner IMG Sports and KCUB 1290 AM Radio.

Arizona Head Coach Mike Candrea: Mike Candrea is in his 23rd season at the helm of the Arizona softball program. He boasts a 1,131-228-2 (.832) record in 21 seasons in the dugout. This year, he is taking an eight-month partial leave of absence from January onward to serve as head coach for the U.S. Womenˇ?s National Team. He was named a finalist for USOC Coach of the Year on March 19. His USA squad beat Arizona 16-0 in Tucson Feb. 19. Candrea has earned 19 coach-of-the-year honors, including 10 Pac-10 Coach of the Year citations. Last year, the Pac-10 tabbed Candrea as its coach of the year, and the NFCA named Candrea and his assistants its national staff of the year. Similar to this season, Candrea took a leave of absence in 2004 to coach the USA Olympic softball team to a 9-0 record and a gold medal in Athens. Candrea also was awarded the Olympic Shield award, the U.S. Olympic Committeeˇ?s most prestigious award, marking the first time in history the award was given to an Olympic coach. He has led Arizona to eight national championships, 10 Pac-10 titles and is one of just five Division I coaches to have won over 1,100 career games. Despite his leave of absence he will be on hand periodically to infuse the leadership that has taken the UA softball program to the top of the game. He crossed paths at tournaments in Tempe and Palm Springs, for example, already and was in Tucson for games last week ?C of about 17 games heˇ?ll witness home and away.

Interim Head Coach Larry Ray: With head coach Mike Candrea on leave, 17-year assistant coach Larry Ray has taken the reins of the Arizona softball program and assumes the historical record in 2008. Ray has a 247-121 (.671) career record as a head coach, and five NCAA Championships as an assistant. Ray possesses a powerful combination of head coaching experience and familiarity with Arizona softball. Ray spent five years as Floridaˇ?s first head coach, and in 1998 he was named the SEC Coach of the Year after leading the Gators to an SEC Eastern Division title and a trip to the NCAA Regional Championships. He returned to Arizona in 2002, and in 2004 he led the Wildcats to a 55-6 record and a Pacific-10 Championship. Ray is assisted by Dave Feinberg and volunteer pitching coach Gale Bundrick.

Mowing them Down: Taryne Mowatt reached the 1,000 strikeout plateau a few weeks back and has 1,066, the third Arizona pitcher in history to reach 1,000. Sheˇ?s whiffed them in 829 and two-thirds innings pitched for a career 10.2 strikeouts per seven innings, tied for No. 10 in NCAA career strikeout ratio. Sheˇ?s No. 2 in UA history behind Alicia Hollowell (2003-2006) at No. 1 with 1,768 and just ahead of Jennie Finch (1999-2001) with 1,028. Sheˇ?s no. 7 in UA history with 85 victories (85-25). Her 42 victories as a junior in 2007 are a UA single-season record, as were her 370 innings pitched and 522 Ks. Along with her 12 Ks to beat Stanford last week, and a 20-strikeout game in a victory over Virginia Tech (in which she and Angela Tincher (21) set a single-game NCAA record of 41 whiffs, she has 10 double-digit K games this year. Sheˇ?s within reach of the NCAA career top 20 in strikeouts, needing 139 to tie Jennie Ritter of Michigan and Crystal Cox of North Carolina (both 2003-06) with 1,025.

Long Balls: Arizona has a nation-best 61 home runs (tied with ASU in seven fewer games), led by four players with nine or more ?C Stacie Chambers and Callista Balko with 11 each, Laine Roth with 10 and Jenae Leles with nine. Eight others have gone yard for the Cats. The HR-less game Sunday at Cal was only the second such contest in the last 20. Chambersˇ? 11 clouts are the most by a UA newcomer since juco transfer Chelsie Mesa knocked 10 in 2006.

Arizona Newcomer Homers

Mackenzie Vandergeest 20, 2001

Leneah Manuma 19, 2001

Leah Braatz 18, 1995

Lovie Jung (Jr.) 16, 2002

Jackie Coburn 12, 2002

Stacie Chambers (So.) 11, 2008

ˇ?Balkoˇ?s total is two shy of her season best of 13 as a sophomore in 2006. The 1.79 per game clip would lead the country at the end of most years. The Catsˇ? juggernaut team in 2001 hit 126 for the NCAA-record of 1.83.

Long Balls Allowed: When opponents hit a home run this year, they won four of the 10 gamesˇ? Northwestern hit a pair in the season opener, Creighton had a long ball in its victory, UTEP hit one in its victory and Michigan, ditto. Taryne Mowatt (7) and Lindsey Sisk (5) have given up 12 to opponents this season.

HRBIs: The Cats have driven in 123 runs this year with home runs alone. Itˇ?s doubtful UA can keep up the 3.6 runs per game via balls over the fence, but itˇ?s a nifty total for now. The Cats have gap and deep power when the hitters use the right combination of patience and aggressive focus at bat. Callista Balko has 25 of her 31 RBI (80%) from home runsˇ?Stacie Chambers 25 of her 33 RBI (75%) from home runs, Laine Roth has 22 of 30 RBI (73%) from the long ballˇ? Jenae Leles, wisely the three-hole hitter, has only 13 of her 33 RBI from homersˇ?

Ribbie Race: Four players are contending for the team lead in runs batted in, a stat held by All-American Kristie Fox for the past three seasons (230 in her career). Stacie Chambers leads with 35, backed by Jenae Leles with 33, Callista Balko with 31 and Laine Roth with 30. Brittany Lastrapes (23) also has more than 20. Chambers had the game high with five against LSU on Feb. 24ˇ? Leles has 11 multiple-RBI games, Chambers and Balko nine each, with Roth at eightˇ?

Catnipsˇ? Leadoff hitter Brittany Lastrapes is the only Wildcat to have started all 34 games at the same position, left field. She was 5-for-13 in her first Pac-10 weekendˇ? Shortstop Kˇ?Lee Arredondo has all 32 of her starts at that position, but every other regular has a few quirks in the mixˇ? Regular second baseman Victoria Kemp has not played since fouling a pitch into her face March 18 against UTEP, missing 11 straight contests. Her status remains questionableˇ? Lauren Schutzler continues to lead the team in hitting at .390. She took over the centerfield role after some early platooning and has not looked backˇ? Freshman leadoff hitter Brittany Lastrapesˇ? has four home runs, the highest output for her slot in the batting order since Caitlin Lowe had five in 2005. Lastrapes had 14 extra-base hits. Lowe had 14 as a freshman and as a junior... As should be expected, Lastrapes has a team-high 37 runs scoredˇ? Lastrapes has the best current hitting streak, five gamesˇ? DP/catcher Stacie Chambers saw her team-best 12-game streak snapped two weeks ago, and Lastrapes had 10- and seven-game streaks this yearˇ? Freshman Lindsey Sisk tossed her first career no-hitter against La Salle March 8, a five-inning effort backed by a bundle of offense. It was the second of the year for Arizona. The no-hitter thrown by Taryne Mowatt (4 IP) and Sarah Akamine (1) in the 5-inning game against South Florida Feb. 29 was Arizonaˇ?s first shared no-no since Alicia Hollowell (4) and Wendy Allen (1) did it in five innings April 23, 2004 against Oregon State. Siskˇ?s was the 78th no-hitter in school historyˇ? Arizona is 17-1 on the year when scoring in the first inning. The Cats scored in the first inning at Cal in the first game and then went 11 scoreless innings until a three-run sixth turned the tide in Game 2ˇ? Jenae Leles was walked intentionally twice in the second game last week. Only Stacie Chambers previously was issued a free passˇ? Senior catcher Callista Balko set an Arizona career record for putouts this year, and now has 1,947. She passed catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest at 1,812ˇ? Arizonaˇ?s 0-3 start this year was its worst since Mike Candreaˇ?s 1989 team opened 0-2 in a doubleheader against Oregon in Pac-10 play to open the year. His 1987 team also matched the 0-3 start. UAˇ?s three-game skid was its first since dropping three in a row April 8-14, 2006, against UCLA (twice) and at Arizona State, in a season when UA later won the NCAA Championshipˇ? Arizona continues to have more home runs than stolen bases and that happened only five times in its history ?C 1994 (93 HR/78 SB), 1995 (100/74), 2001 (126/83), 2002 (93/32) and 2003 (70/43). The common denominator in those figures is a lot of home runs, not a dearth of stolen bases...

Arizona Week By Week in the Polls

NFCA/USA Today

Preseason -1; Feb. 12 ?C 1; Feb. 19 -9; Feb. 26 ?C 8; March 4 ?C 7; March 11 ?C 8; March 18 - 7. March 25 ?C 10. April 1 ?C 8. April 8 - TBA

ESPN/USA Softball

Preseason -1; Feb. 12 -1; Feb. 19 -10; Feb. 26 ?C10; March 4 ?C 10; March 11 - 10; March 18 -8. March 25 ?C 10. April 1 ?C 8. April 8 - TBA.

Turnstiles Turning ?C Again: Including the twin exhibition dates against Teams USA and Canada as paying dates, UA already has drawn 19,500 for 11 home dates. Thatˇ?s an average of 1,772. In Division I games only Arizona has drawn 15,230 in nine gates, for a 1,692 average. For the second consecutive year in 2007, the Wildcats led the nation in home attendance with an average crowd of 1,534 per date and a total of 44,487 fans. Hillenbrand Stadium nears 500,000 fans in cumulative attendance dating back to 1993. Entering the season, Hillenbrandˇ?s aggregate attendance figure stood at 464,104. After 10 home dates itˇ?s up to 483,604. With 1,845 season ticket holders, the goal of a half million fans is in sight if UA keeps average crowds as high as to date. Marketing specialists added ˇ®Candreaˇ?s Cornerˇ? status to the outfield seats and boosted season-ticket sales in that section of the yard. Call (520) 621-CATS or log on to arizonaathletics.com for ticket information.

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