Cats Shipped to Louisville for NCAAs

May 10, 2009

TUCSON--The University of Arizona will travel to Louisville, Ky., as the overall ninth seed in the 2009 NCAA Softball Championships Friday through Sunday, May 15-17.

The Cats, in their 23rd consecutive NCAA appearance, were shipped to Regional play for the second consecutive year after traveling to Hempstead, N.Y., in the 2008 tournament.

The Wildcats (41-14) will face Tennessee-Martin (38-22) of the Ohio Valley Conference in first-round action Friday in the double-elimination format featuring those two teams plus host Louisville (47-9) of the Big East and its first-round opponent, Purdue (29-18) of the Big Ten. Game times can be set by the NCAA as late as mid-day Monday.

The Cats were ranked No. 6 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 8 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll last week plus had an NCAA RPI rating of No. 7 before their 2-1 weekend from a loss at Oregon and a two-game sweep at Oregon State. Louisville was ranked No. 17 in last week's NFCA poll and 18th in the USA Softball rankings.

UA, eight-time NCAA champion, appears in its 23rd consecutive NCAA tournament, all under the direction of head coach Mike Candrea, who took 2004 and 2008 leave of absences while head coach of the United States Olympic Team.

The Wildcats have won Regionals on the road in Tempe (1989), Tallahassee, Fla. (1996), Minneapolis (2002) and Hempstead (2008). The Cats won 16 of the 17 Regionals played in Tucson, losing only in its 2004 season under acting head coach Larry Ray when Candrea took the leave of absence.

Arizona is 20-2 in first-round games of the NCAA Tournament in 22 different appearances.

Last year Ray also acted as head coach during Candrea's second Olympic stint, and won the regional in Hempstead, N.Y., and a Super Regional in Tucson to earn the program's 20th appearance in the Women's College World Series.

The format for the tournament pits the winners of Games 1 and 2 in Louisville in Game 3 on Saturday, with the loser of that game playing later in Game 5, the second elimination contest.

The winner of the Louisville Regional will square off against the winner of the Palo Alto Regional featuring host Stanford, the No. 8 overall seed. If Arizona and Stanford win, likely that Super Regional would be held at Stanford.

Arizona Softball Notes...

Arizona finished 13-7 in rugged Pac-10 play for third place behind champion UCLA (16-5) and Washington (14-7). UA had a rainout of a game at Cal on May 1 and finished a half-game ahead of Stanford (13-8)...

Arizona is 20-2 in NCAA openers in the 22 tournament appearances. The losses came in 1987 to Arizona State at Tempe, 4-3, and to ASU in Tucson in 1990, 1-0...

Overall, Arizona has a 129-37 record in NCAA Tournament games including a mark of 64-8 in Regional action... In early-rounds Regional play away from Tucson the Cats are 15-3 including last year's 3-0 road action in Hempstead, N.Y...

Arizona was 23-3 (.885) at home in Hillenbrand Stadium this season, compared to an 18-11 (.621) mark in road and neutral games... The program's 41-14 record marks the 23rd consecutive 40-victory season, dating to its first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Cats have had double-digit losses in only 12 of those years including this one...

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