Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats Play Host to Worth Wildcat Invitational
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 24, 2004
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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Feb. 24, 2004

TUCSON - No. 2 Cats Host Worth Wildcat Invitational

Friday, Feb. 27	        Boston University	3:00 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 27	        Stanford		5:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 28	Oklahoma State	        3:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 28	South Florida	        5:00 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 29 Seed #3 vs. Seed #4 10:00 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 29 Seed #1 vs. Seed #2 12:00 p.m.

Non-UA Games Friday:
9 a.m. - Stanford vs. Oklahoma State
11 a.m. - South Florida vs. Oklahoma State
1 p.m.  - South Florida vs. Boston University.
Non-UA Games Saturday
9 a.m. -  South Florida vs. Stanford
11 a.m. - Boston vs. Stanford
1 p.m. - Boston vs. Oklahoma State

This Week - The Arizona softball team plays host to the 2004 Worth Wildcat Invitational Friday through Sunday at Hillenbrand Stadium. Participants in the tournament are Boston University, Oklahoma State, South Florida and Pac-10 rival No. 8 Stanford. Play begins at 9 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. on Sunday.

The Coach - Arizona's Mike Candrea carries a career record of 982-191 in 18 years at UA, but puts it on hold this season while he's on partial leave to be head coach of the U.S. Olympic Team. The eight-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year is a member of the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Hall of Fame. He has led Arizona to six national championships and seven Pac-10 titles. Candrea has led UA to 16 consecutive College World Series.

The Coaches - Larry Ray (Idaho State '74) is 16-0 in his early tenure as acting head coach of the Wildcats. Including five seasons (four of competition) building a Florida program he has a career record of 185-106. His work with the Arizona program dates to 1986 and he was Candrea's top assistant for 10 years. Acting associate head coach Nancy Evans, a former Honda Award winner as a player, has been an assistant at UA since 1999.

Last Week - The No. 2 Wildcats added another five victories to their perfect record at the Palm Springs Classic hosted by Oregon State. Sophomore pitcher Alicia Hollowell won four games on the weekend, pushing her season record to 11-0 with wins over No. 6 Georgia, No. 7 Alabama, No. 17 Cal State Fullerton and Boston College. Hollowell posted a 0.84 ERA over the weekend with 54 strikeouts and 12 hits over 25 innings. Senior Wendy Allen pitched her third win of the year over Penn State in the Cats' tournament opener, striking out nine without allowing a run. Allen also led the Cats on offense, going 10-for-16 with seven runs, five doubles, two homers and 12 RBI. Allen hit .625 over the five-game weekend and is hitting .545 on the season with a team-leading 41 RBIs.

The Rankings - Arizona was ranked No. 2 in the preseason NFCA poll, and No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Softball poll. Feb. 11: 2/3. Feb. 18: 2/3. Feb. 24: TBA. UA has been ranked steadily since 1988 by the NFCA.

USA Softball Player of Year 'Watch List' - Three players have been named to the 'watch list' for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award, won in its inaugural season last year by Texas' Cat Osterman. Sophomore pitcher Alicia Hollowell, senior catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest and freshman outfielder Caitlin Lowe were among 15 Pac-10 players on the list, which will be trimmed to 25 on April 6, to 10 on April 28 and to three finalists on May 11.

Wildcat Softball Notes

...The Wildcats outscored their opponents last weekend 41-3 and run-ruled Penn State and Boston College. On the season the Cats have outscored opponents 140-10 and out-hit them 167-46 ... UA has seven run-rule victories...

...Alicia Hollowell has struck out 141 batters in her 11 wins. At her current rate of striking out 2.1 batters per inning, Hollowell is on track to blow away her UA season record of 394 set last year when she pitched 297 innings...

...Nine Wildcat hitters have multiple-hit games this season. Autumn Champion leads Arizona with nine multiple-hitters, and Wendy Allen and Caitlin Lowe are tied with eight apiece. Allen leads the team with in multiple-RBI games with nine, followed by Mackenzie Vandergeest with six...Allen already has more RBIs (31) than she did last year (28) in 61 games. She's fit nicely in the No. 3 spot in the order...

... Autumn Champion was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 9-15. Champion earned the award by going 15-for-20 with nine runs and seven stolen bases over six games at the Fiesta Bowl Classic in Phoenix...

...Arizona's Caitlin Lowe and Autumn Champion give the club superb speed in the top two spots in the order. Champion led off last year as a freshman and earned All-America honors with her short-game ability. Lowe is faster. UA stole a combined 75 bases in the past two years but has 41 in 44 tries this year, led by Lowe (13-14) and Champion (11-11). Champion's on-base percentage of .615 leads the squad, followed by Wendy Allen (.585) and Lowe (.581)... Lowe leads the team with 11 bases on balls...

...Champion has tied her longest career hitting streak of 11 games. At the Palm Springs Classic she hit .500 with eight hits, nine runs and two stolen bases. Champion's fielding percentage on the season is a perfect 1.000 and she's hitting .583...

...Kristie Fox slugged her third home run of the year, a walk-off shot against Boston College. It was UA's 28th of the year. The Cats hit 70 in 63 games last year... UA tied a school record with six home runs in the Dayton game Feb. 14, accomplished before in 2001 and 2003... ...Larry Ray is platooning Crystal Farley, Allyson Von Liechtenstein and Candace Abrams in right field. The group combined to hit .333 last week, with wo weekends ago at the Fiesta Bowl Tournament in Phoenix, the Cats hit six home runs against Dayton, tying a school record held by the 2001 and 2003 squads...

... Arizona's pitching staff, comprised of Hollowell, Allen and Leslie Wolfe, has posted an ERA of 0.49, while opponents have combined for an 8.66 ERA. The Cats' pitchers have allowed a combined seven earned runs, compared to their opponents' 115...

... With 36 home runs, Jackie Coburn is just four homers shy of a tie with Leneah Manuma at No. 10 on the UA career home runs chart...

...All-American junior outfielder Courtney Fossatti will take a medical redshirt season in 2004 while rehabilitating after off-season ankle surgery. She hit .327 as a sophomore, batting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup...

Probable Lineup - Caitlin Lowe-cf, Autumn Champion-lf, Wendy Allen-dh/1b, Mackenzie Vandergeest-c, Shelly Schultz-1b/2b, Jackie Coburn-3b, Kristie Fox-ss, Samantha Quintero-2b, Crystal Farley/Allyson Von Liechtenstein/Candace Abrams-rf, Alicia Hollowell-p. Reserves: Leslie Wolfe-p, Erin Palomarez-ph/1b, Cortney Nix-pr/ph, Jennifer Martinez-ph/inf, Betsy Wilson-pr/ph, Annalyn Hollingsworth-pr/ph.

>/b>: After the Worth tournament, UA plays host to the Hillenbrand Invitational March 3-5 vs. Northern Iowa, North Texas, Indiana and Georgia Tech.