Cats Host St. John's, Wildcat Invitational
March 10, 2010
Cats Host St. John’s, Wildcat Invitational
March 11-14, 2010 ~ Hillenbrand Stadium, Tucson, Ariz.
After defeating St. John’s, 13-5 in five innings, on Sunday, and having their second game rained out in addition to both Monday games, Arizona will host St. John’s for a single game on Thursday before opening play in the Wildcat Invitational on Friday.
The Cats have gone 4-0 in their homestand so far, and look to improve on that mark against a quintet of opponents, some who are regulars to the Invite.
SJU: Junior Kacee Cox had two singles for the Red Storm (6-4) when they played the Wildcats on Sunday, upping her team-leading batting average to .588. Pitcher Linzee Sumrall (3-3) and Kat Lawrence (3-1) split time against UA, with Sumrall suffering the loss.
UNC: The Bears come in to Tucson with a 4-13 record, and are led by senior Jessie Schoepflin at the plate with a .368 average. Sophomore Alex Neely has a team-leading 11 RBI. Her classmate, pitcher Melisa Ryba (2-1) , touts a 7.82 ERA on a staff who’s team ERA is 10.06.
UIC: The Flames (4-10) also tout a sub-.500 record, but have two hitters, Melinda Macias (.406) and Shannon Kehr (.368), hitting above the .350 mark. Freshman pitcher Devin Miller (2-4) leads the staff with a 2.59 ERA, striking out 39 in 48.2 innings pitched.
CU: The Bluejays (9-4) return pitcher Tara Oltman (7-2) for her senior season. Oltman has defeated the Wildcats twice in Tucson over the last two seasons. This year, she touts a 1.20 ERA, striking out 69 in 58.1 innings pitched. Senior Renae Sinkler hits .459 with seven home runs and 18 RBI.
UMN: The Golden Gophers (9-13) are hitting .204 as a team, but senior Heidi Carls has a .315 average at the dish to go along with her 10 RBI. Freshman Lacey Middlebrooks (9-5) has been a pleasant surprise for Minnesota, touting a 1.93 ERA.
Last Time Out
Arizona upended New Mexico State on Wednesday in two five-inning games, defeated Northern Iowa in a lackluster offensive performance, then downed St. John’s, 13-5 in five innings, before having their second Sunday game against Idaho State rained out.
Kenzie Fowler threw her first career no-hitter against NMSU.
Candrea Approaching Milestone Victory
With 1,193 wins to his credit, Arizona’s head coach Mike Candrea is seven wins shy of eclipsing the 1,200 victory mark. Only four NCAA Division I skippers have reached that mark.
You Are Now Free to Move Around the Bases
When Arizona has runners on, they advance at least one base some 54 percent of the time. The big bats of Brittany Lastrapes and Lini Koria have cashed in the most thus far, with Lastrapes advancing a runner 77 percent of the time and Koria chipping in 66 percent. Brigette Del Ponte (62 percent) and Stacie Chambers (61 percent) are also pretty dependable with runners aboard.
Arizona has picked up 51 two-out RBI, 41 percent of its total RBI output. The usual suspects are doing the damage; Brigette Del Ponte has 11 and Lini Koria has 10 to her credit. To put this stat in perspective, opponents have cashed in 30 total RBI.
The Cats have clubbed 30 home runs, good for third in the Pac-10 behind UCLA and Arizona State. The numbers are up a little from last season, when Arizona hit 27 bombs through 17 games. The home run race is being dominated by Arizona newbies Brigette Del Ponte and Baillie Kirker, but sophomore Lini Koria has tagged six of her own, tied for the team lead.
Home Runs by Class
· Freshmen - 13 (Del Ponte 6, Kirker 6, Haack 1)
· Sophomores - 8 (Koria 6, Arriola 2)
· Juniors - 9 (Chambers 4, Lastrapes 4, Schutzler 1)
· Seniors - 0
Batting Averages by Class (minimum 11 at-bats)
· Freshmen - .322
· Sophomores - .199
· Juniors - .345
· Seniors - .333
Coupled with Kenzie Fowler’s 11-0 record with a 1.12 ERA, by the numbers, the future of Arizona Softball looks pretty bright.
Walk, Don’t Run
Arizona has drawn 100 walks just 17 games into the long season. The patient batters have put UA on track to break the all-time walk record of 287, set by the 1995 squad. That same ‘95 team also set the bar in six other offensive categories.
Top of the Line Coaching
Arizona’s coaching staff includes three mentors who have taken a combined 28 different teams to the Women’s College World Series as head coaches — Mike Candrea’s 20, one by assistant Larry Ray (filling in for Candrea during the 2009 Olympic year) and seven by assistant Teresa Wilson. That’s a whole lot of teaching at the top level of the game. It’s as good a staff as exists in collegiate softball, and arguable the best. Candrea’s leadership and strategy (notably defense), Ray’s short game, bat work and base-running fundamentals and Wilson’s pitching expertise give Arizona the full compliment.
When leading off an inning, Lauren Schutzler is hitting 1.000 (6-for-6). Brittany Lastrapes, though she has many more opportunities, is hitting .607 (17-for-28). Brigette Del Ponte (.750), Stacie Chambers (.471) and Kristen Arriola (.375) all give Arizona a good chance to plate some quick runs.
When the Bases are Juiced
As a team, the Cats are hitting .385 with the bases loaded. Freshman Brigette Del Ponte is 5-for-6, hitting at a remarkable .833 clip, while Lini Koria (3-for-4) hits .750 with all bags covered. Brittany Lastrapes and Matte Haack each chip in .500 averages. Stacie Chambers led the team in grand slams last season, but has only had three opportunities this year. Arizona has hit five slams, with two going to both Brigette Del Ponte and Lini Koria.