No. 3 Softball Team to Face Eastern Michigan This Week

Feb. 25, 2002

Next Up For the Cats

The Cats (17-2) are home on Wednesday, Feb. 27 to take on Eastern Michigan (1-4). Arizona is also home this weekend for the Hillenbrand Invitational. Five other teams are making the trip to Tucson for the tournament. Arizona will face Southern Mississippi (5-6) and Hawaii (10-6) on Friday. The Cats will take on Eastern Michigan and Evansville (11-6) on Saturday. On Championship Sunday, Arizona will face Long Beach State (15-5).

Tournament Champions

The Cats (17-2) finished the Worth Wildcat Invitational 5-0. Arizona was led by Leneah Manuma on Friday against Eastern Michigan. Manuma hit two home runs including a grand slam, her second of the season. The Cats went on to win 12-2. Against San Jose State, Jennie Finch hit her fifth home run of the season. Finch also had her sixth shutout of the season. The Cats won 8-0. Against Drake on Saturday the Cats hit three home runs, including a career first by Candace Abrams. The Cats defeated the Bulldogs, 12-2. Against Northern Iowa, Lovie Jung had two RBI and two runs. The Cats beat the Panthers, 12-2. On Sunday Finch led Arizona to a 6-0 win over Cal State Northridge. Finch broke the NCAA record for most consecutive wins. She won her 51st game and improved her season record to 11-0. She struck out 10 batters in seven innings pitched. Finch also had her seventh shutout of the season. UA hit 13 home runs in its five games and raised the team batting average from .320 to .352.

The Coach

Arizona's Mike Candrea carries a career record of 884-172 (.837), 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

In the latest USA/Today Top 25 poll, Arizona is ranked No. 3. In the Preseason USA/Today Top 25 Arizona was ranked No. 1. Five other Pac-10 schools are in the USA Today/NFCA Top 10.

Cats Winning Streaks

The Cats improved their home winning streak to 57 victories this past weekend. UA last lost in Hillenbrand on April 9, 2000, to No. 9 Stanford, 4-3, in eight innings.

Record Breaker

By defeating Cal State Northridge, Jennie Finch broke the NCAA record for most consecutive wins. She won her 51st game. Her last loss was on April 21, 2000, against Arizona State. The previous NCAA record of 50 was set by Rebecca Aase of Florida State from 1991 to 1993.

Bangin' Them Silly

In 19 games the Cats have hit 32 home runs. Opponents have only hit nine. The 2001 team hit a school-record 126 home runs. Leneah Manuma leads the team with 10 home runs. She only needs nine more to tie her career high. Manuma has also hit two of the Cats' six grand slams. In the Worth Wildcat Invitational, Manuma hit five home runs, Jennie Finch hit three, and Candace Abrams hit her first career home run.

UA Softball Notes

Jennie Finch and Jenny Gladding have struck out a combined 156 batters in 19 games, which is eight batters a game... In two victories this past weekend Gladding had an ERA of 0.00... Seven of Leneah Manuma's 10 home runs have come when there have been runners in scoring position... Manuma leads the team with 37 RBI, 10 home runs and 23 hits... The team's overall batting average is .352 and opponents batting average is .135... Arizona outscored opponents' 136-26... The Cats have scored 35 runs in the first inning, which is more than the total runs they have given up... Arizona has scored 111 runs in the first four innings and have only given up six runs in late innings... Finch's ERA in 11 games is 0.59... Finch has seven shutouts on the season... The team is hitting an average of .357 with runners in scoring position... The Cal State Northridge game had an attendance of 2,136 which is No. 20 on the top crowds in Hillenbrand Stadium... Arizona was No. 2 in the nation last year with an average attendance of 1, 660.

Injury NoteFreshman Courtney Fossatti will be out for a possible three weeks with a stress fracture in her left foot. Fossatti leads the team with a .475 batting average. She has 11 runs, 19 hits and three RBI. Carrie Hagen and Crystal Farley played left field in her absence last week.

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