No. 2 Softball to Continue Conference Play at Home

April 29, 2002

Next up for the Cats

The softball team (44-7, 11-3) continues conference play this week when they host No. 5 Arizona State (38-13, 8-6) on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. Arizona faces No. 6 California (45-16, 9-6) on Friday, May 3 at 7 p.m. The Cats play No. 7 Stanford on Saturday, May 4 at 7 p.m. and again on Sunday, May 5 at 1 p.m.

Home Sweep

The Cats played host to Oregon and Oregon State last weekend and finished with a 3-0 record. The 11-3 victory on Friday against Oregon snapped the Cats two game-losing streak. Junior Lovie Jung was 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI. On Saturday, Arizona faced No. 16 Oregon State. Senior Jennie Finch struck out 12 batters on her way to a 7-0 victory. Finch also dominated offensively, hitting her second grand slam this season and her 14th home run. The Cats closed out the weekend with a 2-1 win over Oregon State on Sunday. Freshman Courtney Fossatti was 2-for-3 with one RBI.

The Coach

Arizona's Mike Candrea carries a career record of 915-179 (.836), 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 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. 2 in the latest USA/NFCA poll behind top ranked UCLA. UA was No. 1 in the No. 17 poll, No. 1 in the April 10 poll, 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 May 1.

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 26-2 with an earned run average of 0.79 and has 275 strikeouts in 185.2 innings pitched. Finch set the UA record for strikeouts in a game when she struck out 19 batters on April 17 against Oklahoma. She now has 937 career strikeouts, which moves her to No. 1 on the all-time UA list, passing Becky Lemke with 916. Among her 16 shutouts, she has three no-hitters this year (eight in her career, tied with Susie Parra). Her career record is 111-12, which moves her to No. 2 on the all-time UA record chart, 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 79 dingers in 51 games - a pace (1.5 per game) close to 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 13 grand slams this year. The team slugging percentage is .535.

USA Softball

The Amateur softball Association has announced the 25 finalists for the inaugural USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. The award recognizes the outstanding athletic achievement by softball players across the country. Jennie Finch, Lovie Jung and Leneah Manuma have all been named as finalists for the award. The finalists will be narrowed down to 10 on May 3 and to three on May 31. The winner will be announced on June 7.

Wildcat Softball Notes

...Arizona has 300 RBI to opponents 63...

...Vandergeest has 447 putouts on the season and is now No. 9 on the UA record for putouts in a season...

...Manuma has 62 RBI in 127 at-bats. She has a crack at the UA top 10 chart on which No. 10 is former catcher Leah Braatz 75 RBI in 1994...

...Manuma's 36 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... Manuma has only hit one home run since conference play began... Catcher Mackenzie Vandergeest is No. 8 on the career chart with 30...

...Leadoff hitter, Lovie Jung continues to lead the team in runs scored (56), at-bats (153), hits (60), walks (35) and errors (8)... Jung also has 15 multiple hit games...

...Arizona has outscored opponents 317-64... Arizona has scored 227 runs in the first four innings and has only given up 25 runs in late innings...

... Finch has 14 double-digit strikeout performances...Finch's 275 strikeouts is No. 6 in the NCAA and No. 2 in the PAC-10...

...Arizona leads the conference in home runs with 79, followed by Washington with 43... Arizona also leads the Pac-10 in runs scored (317), total bases (686), runs batted in (300), and slugging percentage (.535)...

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