Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Cats Wrap Up Hillenbrand Invitational at 1 p.m. on Sunday
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 08, 2016
WEEK 1 (FEB. 11-14) - HILLENBRAND INVITATIONAL // TUCSON, ARIZ.

Thursday, Feb. 11

6:00 p.m. ARIZONA 10, Southern Utah, 2 (5 Innings) Box Score

 

Friday, Feb. 12

9:00 a.m. Purdue 8, Southern Utah, 1 Box Score
11:00 a.m. Purdue 10, US Santa Barbara, 9 Box Score
1:00 p.m. Nebraska Omaha 17, UC Santa Barbara 16 (9 Innings) Box Score
4:00 p.m. ARIZONA 10, Southern Utah 0 (5 Innings) Box Score
6:00 p.m. ARIZONA  9, North Texas 1 (6 Innings)
Box Score
8:00 p.m. North Texas 11, Nebraska Omaha 3 (5 Innings) Box Score

 

Saturday, Feb. 12

9:00 a.m. UC Santa Barbara 10, Sourthern Utah 1 (5 Innings) Box Score
11:00 a.m. UC Santa Barbara 6, North Texas 3 Box Score
1:00 p.m. North Texas 6, Southern Utah 5 Box Score
3:00 p.m. Nebraska Omaha 8, Purdue 5 Box Score
5:00 p.m. ARIZONA 11, Purdue 1 (5 Innings) Box Score
7:00 p.m. ARIZONA 12, Nebraska Omaha 2 (5 Innings) Box Score

 

Sunday, Feb. 13

9:00 a.m. Purdue 6, North Texas 1 Box Score
11:00 a.m. Nebraska Omaha 9, Southern Utah 6  Box Score
1:00 p.m. ARIZONA 11, UC Santa Barbara 6 Box Score

THIS WEEK: Thirteenth-ranked Arizona kicks off the 2016 season by hosting the Hillenbrand Invitational, Feb. 11-14 at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats welcome Southern Utah, North Texas, Nebraska Omaha, Purdue and UC Santa Barbara for the four-day, 16-game event. Arizona is hosting the tournament for the 20th time and owns a 96-3 all-time record in the 19 previous seasons. Arizona and Southern Utah open the event on Thursday at 6 p.m. MST. In all, Arizona will compete in six contests during the season-opening weekend.

 

LEADING OFF

·         Over the past five seasons, Arizona has been an offensively-driven team, traditionally relying on its bats to power the Cats to victory while featuring a pitching staff that accumulated a 3.52 ERA in Arizona’s five-year WCWS hiatus. The 2016 season may see a reversal of roles as the pitching staff welcomes new talent while the offense graduates four of its top five hitters in the 2015 batting order.

·         The Wildcats had one of the nation’s best offenses a season ago, finishing fourth in home runs (104), fifth in batting average (.351), sixth in slugging percentage (.603), seventh in runs/game (7.56) and seventh in on-base percentage (.446). However, through graduation and transfers, the Cats will need to replace 53% of its hits from 2015, 58% of its home runs and 58% of its RBI.

·         Odds are head coach Mike Candrea will break Margie Wright’s record as the all-time leader in career victories at some point this season. Margie Wright won 1,457 games from 1980-2012 coaching for Illinois State and Fresno State. Candrea’s 1,428 career victories are 29 shy of Wright’s mark. However, Candrea will likely not be the only one to get there. Michigan’s Carol Hutchins, whose WCWS runner-up finish last season propelled her to 1,432 career victories, four more than Candrea.

·         Though the accomplishments of all three coaches are terrific, there are some factors that make Candrea’s 1,428 victories stand out. His win total has come in 28 years of coaching (Arizona’s 2004 and 2008 win totals do not count toward Candrea’s record as he was coaching Team USA) while Wright’s 1,457 victories took 33 years to accomplish and Hutchins is set to enter her 35th season. Additionally, both Wright (Illinois State) and Hutchins (Ferris State) spent time in lower NCAA divisions. Each of Candrea’s 1,428 career victories have come at Arizona, making him the winningest coach in NCAA Softball Division I history.

·         UA hit 104 home runs in 2015, marking the sixth time in school history Arizona has crossed the century mark in home runs. One only other school (UTSA) has more than two seasons of 100-plus homers.

 

ARIZONA IN THE HILLENBRAND INVITATIONAL: Arizona is 96-3 (.966) all-time in the Hillenbrand Invitational and has not lost since 2009 (Creighton). Last season, UA went 6-0 against Drake (twice), Loyola Marymount, Wright State, San Jose State and Loyola Chicago with four run-rule victories. Arizona has hosted the event 19 times since 1994, the year after Hillenbrand’s opening.

 

OPPONENTS

Southern Utah: The Thunderbirds are coming off a 20-30 season in 2015 ... Senior Kylee Wolf looks to lead the way for the offense; she posted a .331 average with seven home runs and 29 RBI in 2015 ... Southern Utah returns just one pitcher with more than three innings pitched a season ago, Hanna Wynn, who posted a 5.82 ERA over 31 appearances.

Series History: Arizona 10-0 // First Meeting: 1988 // Last Meeting: 2/16/13; Arizona 6, Southern Utah 3; Tucson (Hillenbrand Invitational)

North Texas: The Mean Green is coming off a 19-31 season in 2015 ... Bryana Wade, who hit six homers and drove in 20 runs a season ago, returns to lead an offense that was outscored 279-221 in 2015 ... Stacey Underwood led the team in ERA in 2015 (3.99 in 93 innings pitched) and returns to lead the three-deep pitching staff.

Series History: Arizona 1-0 // First Meeting: 2004 // Last Meeting: 3/5/2004; Arizona 11, North Texas 0; Tucson (Hillenbrand Invitational)

Nebraska Omaha: The Mavericks are coming off a 22-28 season in 2015 ... Nicole Warren’s nine home runs in 2015 lead all returners from an offense that hit 52 home runs a season ago, 20 more than its opponents ... Nebraska Omaha will feature almost an entirely new pitching staff in 2016 as the team loses its top three pitchers from 2015; Lizzie Noble’s 17 innings in 2015 are the most of any returner.

Series History: First meeting // First Meeting: N/A // Last Meeting: N/A

Purdue: The Boilermakers are coming off a 31-25 season in 2015 ... Ace Lilly Fecho (20-17, 2.02 ERA, 295 Ks) was dominant in the loaded Big Ten a season ago and will likely get the ball against the Wildcats ... Paris Andrew leads all returners with her .301 average from a season ago; Purdue outhit opponents .279-.213 in 2015.

Series History: Arizona 3-0 // First Meeting: 2009 // Last Meeting: 2/16/2013; Arizona 5, Purdue 4; Tucson (Hillenbrand Invitational)

UC Santa Barbara: The Gauchos are coming off a 19-35 season in 2015 ... Jacqueline Hinojosa led the team with a .367 average in 2015 ... All three pitchers (Alex Pingree, Ashley Ludlow and Lena Mayer) return from a 2015 season in which the staff combined for a 5.45 team ERA.

Series History: Arizona 14-1 // First Meeting: 1982 // Last Meeting: 4/7/13; Arizona 9, UCSB 0; Tucson

 

HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA: Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is in his 31st year at the helm of the Arizona softball program with a career record of 1,428-358-2 (.799). 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 six times in the last 27 years (2004, 2011-2015). On Feb. 27, 2015 vs. UTEP, Candrea became the sport’s fastest ever coach, and second all-time, to reach 1,400 wins; Candrea is the sport’s Division I wins leader. Under Candrea, Arizona has a spectacular postseason record of 161-54. Fifty-four All-Americans with a staggering 95 total citations have played in the program since Candrea took over.

Winningest NCAA Softball Coaches

1.            Margie Wright (Illinois State 1980-85; Fresno State 1886-2012)    1,457-542-3 (.729)

2.            Carol Hutchins (Ferris State 1982; Michigan 1983-)*                          1,432-471-4 (.752)           

3.            Mike Candrea (Arizona 1986-2003, 05-07, 09-)*                                 1,428-358-2 (.799)

Winningest Coaches (All Sports - Division I only)

1.            Mike Martin, baseball (Florida State 1980-)*                                        1,850-647-4 (.742)

2.            Gene Stephenson, baseball (Wichita State 1978-2013)                    1,837-675-3 (.731)

3.            Augie Garrido, baseball (CSFU 1975-87; Ill. 1988-1990; CSFU 1991-96; Texas 1997-)*           1,829-839-2 (.685)

4.            Mark Marquess, baseball (Stanford 1977-)*                                        1,552-838-7 (.654)

5.            Jim Morris, baseball (Georgia Tech 1982-93; Miami FL 1994-)*     1,477-645-4 (.694)

6.            Mike Candrea, softball (Arizona 1986-2003, 05-07, 09-)*               1,428-358-2 (.799)

*Active coach

 

THE RANKINGS: Arizona is ranked 13th in the Preseason NFCA Top 25 and 15th in the USA Softball Preseason Top 25.

 

WHO’S HOT?

The pitchers: The fall season marked the highly anticipated debut of Arizona’s rejuvenated pitching staff, and it did not disappoint. In 48 fall innings, the five pitchers combined to allow just four earned runs, shaking out to an ERA of 0.58. Danielle O’Toole, Taylor McQuillin and Nancy Bowling, expected to form a three-ace top of the rotation, each posted ERA under 1.00, including O’Toole’s 0.00 mark in 16 innings. The five pitchers combined to strike out 77 batters in 48 innings and limited batters to a .149 average.

Mandie Perez: The redshirt junior will likely be tasked with replacing four-year-leadoff-hitter Hallie Wilson. In the fall she was terrific, leading UA with a .682 average in 22 at-bats while also leading the squad with five walks and three HBPs, helping the Whittier, Calif., native to a .767 on-base percentage. Eleven of Perez’s 15 hits went for extra bases as she slugged a ridiculous 1.500.

Katiyana Mauga: If only home runs counted, Mauga would have hit .360 in the fall as she blasted a team-high nine homers in 25 at-bats. However, Mauga also had seven additional hits, helping her hit .640 and slug 1.840. Mauga had more home runs (9) than games played (8) and more RBI (27) than at-bats (25).

Tamara Statman: The freshman made the most out of her 14 fall at-bats, blasting three homers and driving in seven runs to go along with her .571 average. She also excelled in the circle, not allowing an earned run in two innings.

Alexis Dotson: Her .647 average was second highest on the team as she settles into a full-time starting role after sharing time in 2015. Stole two bases in two tries and slugged .941 in 17 at-bats.

 

HOME SWEET HOME: The Wildcats are 58-9 in the last 67 games inside the friendly confines of Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium, including 27-6 last season. Since its opening in 1993, Arizona has put up a 641-78 record on the field. That’s a .895 winning percentage at home in the last 23 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 (since broken by Alabama). For the eighth consecutive season, Arizona drew over 2,000 fans per game in 2015. In 26 home dates, the Wildcats are averaged 2,207 per contest. UA has lost just 18 nonconference games in the stadium’s 22-plus years; its 388-18 record in such games equates to 96 victories in every 100 games.

 

A HISTORIC PACE: In just two seasons, Katiyana Mauga already has 46 home runs and counting. That’s already 15th most in Arizona history. Mauga’s 46 home runs are the currently tied for third most by any player in NCAA history in her freshman and sophomore seasons. Mauga’s 46 homers puts her on pace to hit 92 career home runs. As the records stand right now, it would be second most in NCAA history.

No.         Player                                                                                   Home Runs

1.            Lauren Chamberlain, Oklahoma (12-13)                 60

2.            Stacey Nuveman, UCLA (97-99)                                 51

3.            Katiyana Mauga, Arizona (14-15)                              46

                Stacie Chambers, Arizona (08-09)                             46

5.            Shelby Pendley, Arizona (12) & Oklahoma (13)   41

 

KEEPING IT 100: Arizona has reached the century mark in home runs six times in school history, including each of the last two seasons. Only one other school (UTSA) has had more than two seasons of 100-plus homers. There have been 25 seasons of 100 home runs or more in NCAA history and Arizona has six of them. Below are the top 10 seasons in NCAA history:

No.         Team                     Home Runs         Year

1.            Hawaii                   158                         2010

2.            Arizona                 134                         2009

3.            Arizona                 126                         2001

4.            Florida                  124                         2011

5.            Georgia Tech     118                         2010

                Michigan              118                         2015

7.            La. Lafayette      116                         2015

8.            Arizona                 109                         2014

                Florida                  109                         2010

10.          UCLA                     108                         2010

 

TOP OF THE LINE, 29: Arizona has appeared in every NCAA Tournament since 1988, Mike Candrea’s second year on campus. That’s 29 consecutive years in the tournament for Arizona. Not only is that the longest active streak, but it is seven years longer than the second longest streak. Below are the longest active streaks, and total streaks:

No.         Team                     Active Streak

1.            ARIZONA             29 years

2.            Oklahoma           22 years

                Washington        22 years

4.            Michigan              21 years

5.            UCLA                     17 years

                La-Lafayette       17 years

                Notre Dame       17 years

                Alabama              17 years

9.            Florida State       16 years

10.          Texas A&M         14 years

                Georgia                14 years

 

BEATING THE BEST: Since 1994, Arizona is 534-229-1 (.700) against ranked competition, 255-154 (.624) against top-10 teams and 127-105 (.547) against top-five teams.

 

FOLLOW THE TEAM: Be sure to follow the Wildcats on their various social media platforms. To stay up-to-date on all the latest happenings with the team, follow Arizona softball on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat (@UA_Softball).

 

UP NEXT: Arizona heads to Palm Springs for the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic Feb. 19-21 where it will meet LSU, Central Michigan, Central Florida, Texas A&M and Cal Poly.

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