No. 1 Softball on the Road Again

April 15, 2002

Next up for the Cats

The softball team (38-5, 7-1) hits the road again this week when they travel to Oklahoma to face Oklahoma State (26-15, 5-6) on Tuesday, April 16 at 7:30 p.m. The Cats face No. 9 Oklahoma on Wednesday, April 17 at 7:30 p.m. Arizona will continue conference play when it travels to California to face No. 3 Stanford (33-7, 4-4) on Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m. The Cats face No. 8 California (39-14, 5-4) on Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m. and again on Sunday, April 21 at 1 p.m.

The Oregon Trail

The Cats finished their road trip to Oregon with a 3-0 record. On Friday, against No. 14 Oregon State, sophomore Mackenzie Vandergeest was 2-for-2 with two RBI to help the Cats to a 4-0 win. Pitcher Jennie Finch continued her dominance in the circle on Saturday against Oregon. Finch allowed one hit, struck out 12 batters and had her 14th shutout of the season to lead the Cats to a 2-0 victory. Freshman Jackie Coburn was 3-for-3 with five RBI and one grand slam on Sunday to lead the Cats over the Ducks, 8-1. The grand slam was Coburn's third this season.

The Coach

Arizona's Mike Candrea carries a career record of 909-177 (.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

The loss to UCLA on April 7 ended the Cats' 70-game home-winning streak. UA last lost in Hillenbrand Stadium on April 9, 2000, to No. 9 Stanford, 4-3, in eight innings. Incidentally, the Cats are 9-4 on the road this year. The home-winning streak broke the previous school record of 45 games (May 1996 to March 1998).

The Rankings

Arizona is ranked No. 1 in the latest USA/NFCA poll. UA was No. 2 in the April 3 poll, No. 2 in the March 27 poll, No. 3 in the March 20 poll, No. 2 in the March 14 poll, No. 2 in the March 6 poll, and No. 3 in the February 27 poll and No. 1 in the preseason poll. UA has been ranked steadily since 1988. The next USA/NFCA poll comes out on April 17.

Finch on Fire

UA senior All-American -- and 2001 Honda Softball Award winner -- Jennie Finch had her consecutive winning streak snapped at 60 games on April 7 against UCLA. The previous record was 50, set by Rebecca Aase of Florida State from 1991 to 1993. Finch broke the record on Feb. 24 with her 51st. 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 22-1 with an earned run average of 0.68 and has 230 strikeouts in 154 innings pitched. Among her 14 shutouts, she has three no-hitters this year (eight in her career). Her career record is 107-11, which moves her to No. 2 on the all-time UA record, passing Carrie Dolan.

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 73 dingers in 43 games - a pace (1.7 per game) ahead of last year's effort. Leneah Manuma leads the team with 17 homers and needs three more to top her freshman-year high of 19 a year ago. Arizona also has hit 12 grand slams this year. The teams' slugging percentage is .570.

Wildcat Softball Notes

...Arizona has committed 21 errors to opponents 48... Arizona has 274 RBI to opponents 49...

...Vandergeest has 370 putouts on the season and needs 63 more to move to No. 10 on the UA record for putouts in a season...

...Manuma has 59 RBI in 106 at-bats. She has a crack at the UA top 10 chart on which No. 10 is former catcher Leah Braatz with 75 RBI in 1994...

...Manuma's 36 career homers are No. 7 on the UA charts - in only one-plus seasons... She also is No. 13 on the home runs in a season... Catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest is No. 8 on the career chart with 29...

...Manuma leads the team and the NCAA in RBI (59) and home runs (17)...

...Leadoff hitter, Lovie Jung continues to lead the team in runs scored (50), doubles (8), at-bats (126), hits (53) and walks (32)...

...Vandergeest, Manuma and Coburn all lead the team in grand slams with three apiece...

...Arizona has outscored opponents 287-50... Arizona has scored 216 runs in the first four innings and has only given up 17 runs in late innings...

...In the latest Pac-10 stats, Arizona leads the conference in home runs with 73, followed by Washington with 40... Arizona leads the conference in slugging percentage (.570), RBI (274), total bases (611) and fielding percentage (.981)...

...Arizona is No. 2 in the NCAA in fielding percentage, No. 3 in batting, No. 3 in runs per game and No. 15 in ERA... Finch is No. 6 in the NCAA in RBI, No. 13 in home runs and No. 5 in strikeouts... Jung is No. 12 in home runs and No. 23 in batting...

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