Softball Team Home This Weekend Hosting the Arizona Pepsi Classic

Feb. 11, 2002

Next Up For the Cats

The No. 1 Cats (7-2) are home this weekend for the Arizona Pepsi Classic. Five other teams are participating in the tournament. On Friday the Cats face Louisville (0-4) and No. 14 Notre Dame (0-0). On Saturday Arizona plays No. 25 South Florida (3-6-1) and Auburn (8-0). On Sunday the Cats face New Mexico State (4-9).

Last Time the Cats Played

Arizona ventured up the highway to Phoenix for Arizona State's Fiesta Bowl tournament and came away with mixed reviews. UA went 4-2 and emerged with a 7-2 season record but took both losses against unranked teams, Mississippi State (7-1) and Wisconsin (3-0). The Cats were shut out in the finale against the Badgers for the first time since April 8, 2001at UCLA where the Cats lost 0-3. Still, the largely young Cats showed some promise with victories over Southwest Texas State (10-1), Texas (3-0), Cal State Fullerton (9-1) and UMass (1-0). Jennie Finch won her three starts and gave up a combined seven hits while striking out 38 in 22 innings pitched. She shut out Texas and UMass. Home runs propelled UA to the early victories, with four against SWT, one by pitcher Jenny Gladding to win the Texas game in the last inning and two against CSUF. Gladding hit two in the SWT Texas game for three on the day. Leneah Manuma drove in seven runs with a grand slam and a three run homer against Fullerton. Uncharacteristically,UA had three errors in one inning in the loss to MSU...

The Coach

Arizona's Mike Candrea carries a career record of 881-174 (.835), accomplished in 16 years with the Wildcats. The 2001 Pac-10 co-Coach of the Year has led UA to six national titles and six Pacific-10 Conference championships. He should become only the third Division I coach in history to win 900 games this year. Candrea is joined by assistant coaches Nancy Evans and Larry Ray.

The Rankings

Arizona is ranked No. 1 in the Preseason USA/Today Top 25. Five other Pac-10 schools are in the Preseason USA Today/NFCA Top 10. The Cats are currently 6-0 against ranked teams.

Cats Winning Streaks

The Cats hope to improve on their current home win streak this weekend. They have 47 victories in Hillenbrand Stadium. UA last lost in Hillenbrand on April 9, 2000, to No. 9 Stanford, 4-3 in eight innings. The Cats 32 win streak was snapped this past weekend with a loss to Mississippi State.

UA Softball Notes

...Arizona nearly lost consecutive games last week, something it hasn't done since the 2000 season. The Cats lost to Mississippi State 7-1 Saturday night, then squeaked out a 1-0 victory over Umass Sunday morning, then lost 3-0 to Wisconsin... Pitcher Jennie Finch won her 45th consecutive decision in pitching UA to three victories last week - a two-hit shutout vs. Texas, a two-hit 1-0 victory over Cal State Fullerton and a 3-hit shutout over Umass. She struck out nine in the UT game, 14 against the Titans and a career-high 15 in eight innings against Umass... The NCAA record for consecutive pitching victories is 50 by Rebecca Aase of Florida State from 1991 to 1993... The Cats hit seven home runs in their first three games of the Fiesta Bowl Tournament, all victories, then did not get on in the last three games when clutch hitting was absent and UA lost two of those games... For that matter, the overall team batting average dipped about 100 points after its first game of the tournament and UA is hitting .336 entering this weekends play... Leneah Manuma's seven-RBI game against Fullerton helped push her to the team lead with 14, though Finch is right behind with 13... In nine games the Cats have had nine errors in nine games.... The Cats have scored 44 runs in four innings and only 12 in the last three innings... Pitchers have held opponents to six runs in late innings... Freshman Courtney Fossatti currently leads the team with a .552 batting average and 16 hits... Jennie Finch has an ERA of 1.06 with two shutouts and 52 strike outs... In the Fiesta Bowl tournament Finch had an ERA of 0.41 with 38 strike outs... Jenny Gladding leads the team in slugging percentage with 1.000... This past weekend Gladding had seven RBI and three home runs... With the bases loaded Finch has a batting average of .500 and Manuma has a batting average of .677...

Softball Tickets

Most of Hillenbrand Stadium's reserved seating has been sold out on a season-ticket basis, and fans are purchasing outfield general admission seating as season tickets. Contact the McKale Center Ticket Office for more information at 621-2287 or 1-800-452-2287.

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