No. 3 Softball Team Opens Pac-10 Play At Arizona State

March 25, 2002

Next up for the Cats

The No. 3 softball team (31-4) opens Pacific-10 conference play this weekend when they travel to Tempe to face No. 6 Arizona State (30-7). Arizona will play ASU on Friday, March 29, at 7 p.m., and on Saturday, March 30, at 7 p.m.

Home Sweep

The Cats' last non-conference weekend ended in a three-game sweep over No. 18 Louisiana-Lafayette. The 6-2 victory on Friday marked the 900th victory for head coach Mike Candrea. Junior Lovie Jung went 2-for-3 with two home runs and three RBI. The next day, sophomore pitcher Jenny Gladding had her seventh shut out of the season and struck out 10 batters on her way to an 8-0 victory. Senior pitcher Jennie Finch struck out 15 batters in the Cats 7-2 win on Sunday. Sophomore Leneah Manuma hit her 16th home run of the season and had three RBI.

Pac-10 Honors

Senior pitcher Jennie Finch and short stop Lovieanne Jung were recognized by the Pac-10 on Monday. Finch was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week, for her 2-0 record last weekend. She had 23 strikeouts in 14 innings pitched. Her 15 strikeouts on Sunday tied her career high. Jung was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after finishing the weekend with a .400 batting average, including two home runs, six RBI and four hits.

The Coach

Arizona=s Mike Candrea carries a career record of 902-176 (.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 is only the fifth coach in history to win 900 Division I games. During his tenure Wildcat student-athletes have earned All-America honors 59 times and won the Honda Softball Award four times (Susie Parra-1994, Jenny Dalton-1996, Nancy EvansB1998 and Jennie Finch-2001). Candrea=s Arizona teams have played in 15 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and 14 consecutive College World Series. Assistant coaches Nancy Evans and Larry Ray join Candrea.

Home Sweet Home

UA now has a home winning streak of 68 games (44 last year and 21 this season). UA last lost in Hillenbrand Stadium on April 9, 2000, to No. 9 Stanford, 4-3, in eight innings. The current home-winning streak broke the previous school record of 45 games (May 1996 to March 1998).

The Rankings: 1-2-2-3-3

Arizona was ranked No. 3 in the March 20 poll. UA was No. 1 in the preseason poll, No. 2 in the March 14 poll, No. 2 in the March 6 poll, and No. 3 in the February 27 poll. UA has been ranked steadily since 1988. The next NFCA/USA poll will be released on March 27.

Finch on Fire

UA senior All-American -- and 2001 Honda Softball Award winner -- Jennie Finch has won 58 consecutive games in the circle, an NCAA mark she established Feb. 24 with her 51st. She broke the record of 50 that was set by Rebecca Aase of Florida State from 1991 to 1993. The remarkable streak is all the more so because it spans considerable Pac-10 play and NCAA regional and WCWS action. She was 32-0 last year, another NCAA record for single-season perfection. Finch is 18-0 with an earned run average of 0.66 and has 185 strikeouts in 116 innings pitched. Among her 11 shutouts, she has three no-hitters this year (eight in her career). Her career record is 103-10, which moves her to No. 4 on the all-time record, passing Susie Parra.

Bangin' Them Silly

Among one of the seemingly unassailable records UA set in 2001 was the team's 126 home runs in 69 games. This year a powerful UA club has whacked 63 dingers in 35 games - a pace of 1.8 per game. Leneah Manuma leads the team with 16 homers and needs four more to top her freshman-year high of 19 a year ago. Jennie Finch is right behind her with 11 home runs this season. Arizona also has hit 10 grand slam home runs this year.

Wildcat Softball Notes

...Manuma has 56 RBI in 88 at-bats. She has a crack at the UA top 10 chart on which No. 10 is catcher Leah Braatz with 75 RBI in 1994...

...Manuma's 35 career homers are No. 7 on the UA charts - in only one-plus seasons... She is also No. 13 on the home runs in a season... Catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest is No. 8 on the career chart with 28, tied with Lauren Bauer...

... Manuma has a big lead on the team in slugging percentage with .989 and next is Lovie Jung with .794...

... Finch has 847 strikeouts in her career, which moves her into the No. 3 spot once held by Nancy Evans with 733...

... Lead-off hitter Lovie Jung leads the team in a number of categories, including runs scored (41), doubles (8), hits (44), walks (26), and at-bats (102).

... This past weekend against Louisiana-Lafayette marked the return of freshman outfielder Courtney Fossatti, who was out with a stress fracture in her left foot... She continues to lead the team with a .460 batting average...

...Arizona has outscored opponents 252-40 ... Arizona has scored 198 runs in the first four innings and has only given up 12 runs in late innings...

... Jennie Finch's career pitching record is 103-10. She is only the fifth pitcher in UA history to win 100 games. With one more victory she'll pass Carrie Dolan (103-13, from 1994-97) and Becky Lemke (103-19, 1998-2001) and move into the No. 2 spot behind current assistant coach and former Honda Award winner Nancy Evans (124-8, from 1994-98)...

...The Wildcats are 10-1 against ranked teams this year. Their four losses this season were to Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Cal-State Northridge and No. 8 Arizona State...

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