May 15, 2013
WEEK 15 (MAY 17-19): NCAA REGIONAL // College Station, Texas
Arizona Wildcats (32-24, 9-15 Pac-12) vs. #23 Baylor Bears (39-15, 9-8 Big 12) //
#13 Texas A&M Aggies (39-15, 10-13 SEC) // Penn Quakers (30-18, 16-4 Ivy League)
Friday, May 17
Game 1 2:30 p.m. CDT ARIZONA vs. Baylor
Game 2 5:00 p.m. CDT (16) Texas A&M vs. Penn
Saturday, May 18
Game 3 2:00 p.m. CDT G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner
Game 4 4:30 p.m. CDT G1 Loser vs. G2 Loser
Game 5 7:00 p.m. CDT G3 Loser vs. G4 Winner
Sunday, May 19
Game 6 2:30 p.m. CDT G3 Winner vs. G5 Winner
Game 7 (if necessary) 5:00 p.m. CDT G3 Winner vs. G5 Winner
FOLLOW THE CATS
T.V.: All games in the College Station Regional will be televised live on ESPN2 (Pam Ward/Michele Smith)
Interactive Bracket: Find live stats for all games at http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/softball/d1/2012
Tournament Central: http://www.aggieathletics.com/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=27300&ATCLID=207642761
Live Updates: Twitter: @UA_Softball (twitter.com/ua_softball)
- Arizona returns to the NCAA Tournament for the 27th consecutive season under head coach Mike Candrea; the Wildcats have been to the Women’s College World Series in 22 of those 27 seasons.
- If the Wildcats want to get back to the Women’s College World Series, they will have to do so by winning on the road. Arizona heads to the College Station Regional and would be likely to head to the Norman Super Regional to face top seed Oklahoma should it advance out of the first round.
- UA is on the road for the eighth time in the tournament’s first round and the first since 2009.
- The Cats are 12-17 on the road this year, including a 7-8 record in neutral site games.
- All the games in the College Station Regional will be televised live by ESPN2.
- All-time in NCAA action, Arizona has a 151-45 record, including a sparkling 78-6 record in regional play.
- The Wildcats swept the 2012 regional with victories over North Dakota State and Notre Dame (twice). UA outscored its competition 26-5 in the three games.
- UA has not lost a regional game since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 2005. Arizona’s last loss in the first round came in 2004, when the Cats were eliminated by Louisiana Lafayette in the Tucson Regional.
- The Cats are 14-4 all-time against Baylor and 25-12 against Texas A&M. Arizona and Penn have never played. Arizona is 4-0 against Texas A&M and 1-0 against Baylor in the NCAA Tournament.
THIS WEEK: Arizona (32-24, 9-15 Pac-12) begins its quest for a ninth national title in the College Station Regional on Friday, hosted by Texas A&M (39-15, 10-13 SEC). The Aggies, the tournament’s No. 16 seed, are ranked 13th by the NFCA. Arizona kicks off the regional with a matchup with No. 23 Baylor (39-15, 9-8 Big 12). Texas A&M opens against Penn (30-18, 16-4 Ivy League). The Wildcats bring their 78-6 all-time record in regional play to College Station, hoping to earn their 25th regional title, and ninth consecutive. The Cats have been on the road eight previous times in regional play, as recently as 2009, and are 18-3 in NCAA Regional games played away from Hillenbrand Stadium. UA begins the regional Friday at 2:30 p.m. CDT against the Bears.
ARIZONA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Wildcats return to NCAA action for the 27th consecutive season. In 27 previous trips, Arizona is 151-45 in tournament play and 78-6 in the regional round. UA swept the 2012 regional with victories over North Dakota State and Notre Dame (twice). UA outscored its competition 26-5 in the three games. The Cats have not lost a regional game since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 2005. Arizona’s last loss in the first round came in 2004, when the Cats were eliminated by Louisiana Lafayette in the Tucson Regional.
Baylor: The Bears (39-15, 10-8 Big 12) are an at-large selection and the No. 2 seed in the region. BU is ranked 23rd by the NFCA and 18th by USA Softball. Baylor has stolen 100 bases this season, led by Kathy Shelton’s 37 and Kaitlyn Thumann’s 29. The Bears are led in the circle by Whitney Canion (23-7, 1.62 ERA, 250 Ks, 186.0 IP). The Bears, who ended the season on a two-game losing streak, hit .291 as a team, led by Thumann’s .384 average.
Texas A&M: The Aggies (39-15, 10-13 SEC) are an at-large selection and the 16th seed in the NCAA Tournament. TAMU is ranked 13th by the NFCA and 20th by USA Softball. Texas A&M leads the nation with 1.67 home runs per game (90 total) led by Cali Lanphear’s 18 (tied for 15th nationally). Lanphear also leads the team with a .363 average and an .852 slugging percentage. The Aggies hit .303 as a team and have six batters who hit .300 or better. In the circle, Mel Dumezich owns a 26-7 record and a 2.36 ERA in 201.2 innings pitched.
Penn: The Quakers (30-18, 16-4 Ivy League) are headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time after winning the Ivy League title. Penn is led offensively by Samantha Erosa (.344 avg, 4 HR, 20 RBI, 8 2B) and Brooke Coloma (.343 avg, 35 RBI, 19 SB, 2 HR). Five pitchers have seen time in the circle for the Quakers, highlighted by Alexis Borden’s 2.38 ERA in 179.2 innings pitched. Borden is 17-10 on the season with 171 strikeouts.
HEAD COACH Mike Candrea: Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is in his 28th year at the helm of the Arizona softball program with a career record of 1,342-320-2 (.807). A winner of eight national championships (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007), Arizona has made 22 trips to the Women’s College World Series under his guidance, missing just thrice in the last 25 years (2004, 2011, 2012). In 2012, Candrea became the sport’s fastest ever, and second all-time, to reach 1,300 wins. Under Candrea, Arizona has a spectacular postseason record of 151-45. An even 50 All-Americans with a staggering 90 total citations have played in the program since Candrea took over.
THE RANKINGS: Arizona is receiving votes in both the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25. This is the first time since the NFCA began publishing polls in the early 90s that Arizona has been unranked. The Wildcats were ranked preseason No. 13 by the NFCA and 14 by USA Softball.
RECENT RESULTS: The Cats closed the regular season by taking 2-of-3 from then-13th-ranked Stanford in Palo Alto. UA earned a pair of come-from-behind wins in games one and three, coming from two down in the sixth inning on Thursday and one down in the sixth inning on Saturday. Arizona pitchers were phenomenal, allowing just seven earned runs and keeping the Cardinal to a .238 average. Estela Piñon pitched seven scoreless relief innings and went 2-0 on the weekend. Alex Lavine batted .500 in the three games.
5/9/13 - Cats Strike Late, Down No. 13 Stanford: Down two runs in the sixth inning, the Wildcats, continuing a recent trend, fought back. Lauren Young hit a three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning and Hallie Wilson added a solo shot in the seventh to give the Wildcats a 5-3 victory over No. 13 Stanford in game one of the three-game series.
Arizona trailed by eight runs on Friday against Arizona State, four runs on Saturday against the Devils and two runs in the sixth tonight against the Cardinal and earned hard-fought victories in all three games.
UA trailed the first five innings before coming to bat in the top of the sixth. Wilson walked and, with help from a throwing error, moved to third on Chelsea Suitos’ infield single. Young followed with monster home run to the deepest part of the park, a no-doubter that brought Arizona from two runs down to a run ahead.
5/10/13 - Cats Blanked by the 13th-Ranked Cardinal : Nancy Bowling and Estela Piñon combined to allow only four hits to No. 13 Stanford, but the effort in the circle was not enough as the Cardinal defeated Arizona 2-0 Friday night to even the series.
The Wildcats managed just seven base runners and had runners in scoring positions on just two occasions in the shutout loss.
Stanford used a pair of solo homers in the fourth inning to down the Cats.
5/11/13 - Cats Beat Cardinal in Extras to Take Series: In the final game of the regular season, Arizona used a ninth-inning solo homer from Chelsea Goodacre in the top of the ninth inning and an excellent effort in the circle from Nancy Bowling and Estela Piñon to take the game and the series from No. 13 Stanford. Arizona’s 4-3 victory Saturday gave Arizona its second consecutive series win over a top-15 team.
Goodacre’s ninth inning homer came on the first pitch of the frame to break a 3-3 tie. It was the sophomore’s 17th homer of the year.
Arizona was outhit by the Cardinal 8-6, but took advantage of 10 free passes issued by three Stanford pitchers.
RECENT RESULTS AGAINST BAYLOR: Arizona travelled to Waco in 2012 to face Baylor for a three game series. The teams never met, though, as rain canceled the entire series. The two teams did meet in 2011 when the then-23rd-ranked Bears took 2-of-3 from Arizona in Tucson. Overall, Arizona owns a 14-4 record against Baylor, including a 1-0 record in NCAA action.
3/13/11 - Softball Drops Game One to Stanford: No. 4 Arizona (21-4) lost a heartbreaker Sunday when No. 23 Baylor (22-3) got three runs across in the top of the seventh inning to earn a comeback victory, 3-2.
Shelby Babcock was nearly flawless through six, limiting a Baylor team that had put 13 runs and 20 hits combined in the previous two games, to only one hit and no runs.
The freshman couldn’t close it out, however, giving up two walks and three hits, including a two-run home run by Dani Leal to tie the game before a sacrifice fly by Shelbi Refearn scored the would-be winning run.
RECENT RESULTS AGAINST TEXAS A&M: The Wildcats and Aggies last met in 2012 at the Kajikawa Classic when then-No. 17 Texas A&M earned a 5-4 victory in Arizona’s fifth game on the 2012 campaign. Overall, Arizona is 25-12 against Texas A&M, including a 4-0 record in NCAA Action.
2/11/12 - Softball Falls to Aggies: Arizona, which hits its healthy share of home runs, fell victim to the long ball, as home runs drove in four of Texas A&M’s five runs, including a go-ahead solo shot by Meagan May in the seventh inning as Texas A&M (2-1) bettered UA, 5-4.
The Wildcats battled back from a 4-2 deficit with a two-spot in the sixth to tie the game. May’s homer, though, proved to be the difference in Arizona’s third loss in its first five games.
Arizona outhit Texas A&M 9-6, but stranded 10 base-runners in the loss.
RECENT RESULTS AGAINST PENN: Arizona and Penn have never met.
Brigette Del Ponte: BDP continues to climb the career charts in the Wildcat record book. The senior currently sits tied for seventh in doubles (51), tied for sixth in home runs (59), ninth in RBI (227) and fifth in assists (459). Del Ponte drew three walks last weekend at Stanford to crack the top 10 in that category as well. The shortstop has drawn 106 bases on balls, good for 10th in Arizona history.
Chelsea Goodacre: The player the team calls “Goody” has had a season worthy of the moniker in 2013. Chelsea Goodacre is third in the conference in home runs (17) and RBI (58) after recording just eight homers with 24 runs batted in as a freshman in 2012. Goodacre has been able to supply the power while also hitting for a high average. The sophomore is batting .343, which ranks second on the team and just outside the top 10 in the Pac-12.
Alex Lavine: The centerfielder is currently on the longest hitting streak of her career - seven games, the active longest streak on the team. In the junior’s last 20 at-bats, she is hitting .500 with a pair of doubles and three RBI. In the first 55 games of the season, Lavine drew two total walks. In the regular season finale, Arizona’s 56th game of the year, Lavine doubled her season total by drawing a pair of walks against Stanford.
Estela Piñon: In her last seven appearances, all in relief, Piñon has pitched 12.2 innings and allowed only one unearned run on five hits with 15 strikeouts. Against Stanford, Piñon pitched seven scoreless relief innings and went 2-0 on the weekend.
WHAT SOPHOMORE SLUMP? Arizona has just three sophomores on the 2013 roster and if you pick up a copy of the team’s stats (sorted by batting average), they would be the first names you would see. Hallie Wilson (.371), who led the team as a freshman with a .346 average, leads the 2013 Cats as a sophomore followed by classmates Chelsea Goodacre (.343) and Chelsea Suitos (.333).
SOMETIMES IT’S THERE: Arizona’s offense has been doing its best Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde impersonation all season long. In the Wildcats’ 24 losses, they have scored a total of 36 runs (1.5 runs per game) and are hitting just .208 as a team. Contrast to the impressive offensive numbers in the games won: 7.22 runs per game, .349 batting average. Arizona has already been shut out seven times this season, but has scored double-digit runs nine times already. In 2012, the Cats were shut out only five times all of 2012 and only scored 10-or-more runs four times.
HOME SWEET HOME: In 2013, the Wildcats posted a 20-7 record in the friendly confines of Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. Since its opening in 1993, Arizona has put up a 583-68 record on the field. That’s a .904 winning percentage at home in the last 20 years. Hillenbrand has led the nation in attendance nine times since 1994 and set the NCAA record in attendance in 2011 when 77,129 fans turned the turnstiles. For the fifth consecutive season, Arizona has drawn over 2,000 fans per game. In 21 home dates this year, the Wildcats drew 2,202 fans.
GIVING UP THE LONG BALL: With three regular season games to play, the Wildcats have allowed opponents to hit 69 home runs, most in school history. In fact, Arizona had never, in 31 previous seasons of Division I softball, allowed opponents to hit as many as 40 home runs in a season. To add insult to injury, the Wildcats are on pace to hit just 50 home runs (plus any postseason bombs), which would be the fewest the 2005 team hit only 33.
THE EIGHT SPOT: While the 1-7 and the ninth spot in the Arizona lineup have been relatively stable, the eighth spot in the order has been somewhat of a revolving door. Eight different players have had at-bats in the eight hole this season, with five Wildcats getting 14 or more at-bats in the spot. UA has not enjoyed much productivity out of the spot with Arizona eight-hole hitters hitting a combined .180 with four doubles, a triple, a home run and 16 RBI. Arizona’s eight-hole hitters are 1-for-their-last 24.
GETTING HOT: The Wildcats are playing their best softball of the year at the right time. Arizona closed the season with series victories with then-No. 3 ASU and then-13th-ranked Stanford. In the first 50 games of the season, Arizona had just three wins against top-25 teams in 17 tries. In the final six games, Arizona had four wins against top-13 competition in six tries. The Wildcats were trailing in all four games and used late-game comebacks to win all four. In game one against ASU, Arizona was trailing by eight runs in the third and three runs in the sixth before winning and in game two against the Sun Devils, UA was trailing by four runs in the fifth and two in the sixth before coming to win. Against Stanford, UA was trailing by two runs in the sixth in game one and one run in the sixth in game three before coming back to win both games.
WITH TWO DOWN: It’s no secret that getting hits with two out can be key in any team’s success and Arizona has proved that with its two-out hitting in the month of May. In Arizona’s 4-2 close to the regular season, it had 22 hits with two out, hitting .355 with two out after hitting .273 in the 50 previous games. The 22 hits in six contests come on the heels of stretch in which Arizona had FIVE total two-out hits in the previous five games.
SUCCESS AGAINST SOUTHPAWS: In Arizona’s tournament-opening game against Baylor, the Cats will likely face lefty Whitney Canion. Additionally, should UA advance out of the College Station Regional, it would likely face top-ranked Oklahoma’s all-southpaw pitching staff. Though Arizona hits 12 points lower against lefties than righties on the season (.281 vs. .293), there are some Wildcats who have enjoyed success against left-handed pitching. Right-handed batters Kelsey Rodriguez (.476) and Lauren Young (.429) lead the way against lefties. Their success shouldn’t come as a surprise, but here’s one that might: left-handed hitter Chelsea Goodacre hits lefties a .375 clip and righties at a .338 mark.
FRESH FACES: The 2013 Arizona roster features nine newcomers to just seven returning players. Three of the nine newbies are junior transfers -- Kellie Fox (UCLA - ineligible to compete this season due to NCAA transfer rules), Estela Piñon (Yavapai College) and Kelsey Rodriguez (Pacific) -- and six are freshmen -- Nancy Bowling (Simi Valley, Calif.), Mandie Perez (Whittier, Calif.), Courtney Rodriguez (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Gabbie Sandstedt (Glendale, Ariz.), Darcy Taylor (Jenks, Okla.) and Lauren Young (Anaheim Hills, Calif.).
FAMILY TIES: In 27 years, head coach Mike Candrea has never had sisters come through the program, in 2013, he has two pairs. Siblings Kelsey and Courtney Rodriguez are the first pair of sisters to ever be on the same Wildcat team. UCLA transfer Kellie Fox is the sister of former Wildcat shortstop and two-time national champion Kristie Fox (04-07). Additionally, third baseman Lauren Young’s brother Brandon is one of the team’s managers.
UP NEXT: The winner of the Norman Regional, headlined by top-seeded Oklahoma, awaits the winner of the College Station Regional.