No. 1 Softball Team to Take on No. 9 Cal and No. 16 Stanford

April 28, 2003

Next Up for the Cats

The No. 1 Arizona softball team (45-4, 14-1) will travel to the Bay Area to take on No. 9 California (39-14, 8-7) and No. 16 Stanford (35-20, 5-10). The Cats are scheduled to play the Bears on Friday, May 2 at 2 p.m. Arizona will face Stanford on Saturday, May 3 at 7 p.m. and again on Sunday, May 4 at 1 p.m. Fans will get a chance to see the Cal game on tape-delay on Sunday, May 4 at 4 p.m. on Fox Sports Net.

The Oregon Trail

Before hitting the road to take on Oregon and Oregon State, Arizona had to travel up to Tempe on Wednesday, April 23. A two-run double in the seventh inning by junior Mackenzie Vandergeest helped the Cats to a, 4-2 win over the Sun Devils. Senior Lovie Jung hit her sixth grand slam of the season in the Cats, 8-0 win over No. 20 Oregon on Friday. Freshman Autumn Champion was 2-for-3 with two runs in the Cats, 10-2 win over Oregon State on Saturday. On Sunday, Arizona went into extra innings against Oregon State. Vandergeest hit a two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning to help the Wildcats to a, 6-4 win over Oregon State. Arizona ended the road trip with a 4-0 record.

MAC Attack

Junior Mackenzie Vandergeest ended the four game road trip with a .375 batting average. Vandergeest had five runs, six hits, three doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. On Wednesday, against ASU, it was Vandergeest's two-run double to center field that put the Cats up 4-2 and eventually win the game. On Sunday, against Oregon State, it was Vandergeest's two-run home run in the top of the 11th inning that won the game for Arizona. Vandergeest also had two home runs in that game.

Hollowell in Hallowed Company

Freshman pitcher Alicia Hollowell is one of 12 other UA pitchers to win 30 victories. Hollowell's 289 strikeouts this season moves her to No. 3 on the UA record charts for strikeouts in a season. Finch holds the season record of 366 in 2002. Hollowell also moves to No. 9 on the charts for strikeouts in a career. Hollowell now holds the record for most victories by a freshman, previously set by Becky Lemke who won 25 games her freshman year in 1998. Hollowell has also been named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week three times (3/18, 4/8, 4/15). Nancy Evans and Susie Parra are the only two pitchers to receive the award three times in one year. Neither one of them did it as freshmen. Hollowell stacks up quite nicely against some of the outstanding performances by Wildcat freshman over the years, including National Player of the Year (Honda) award winners Susie Parra, Nancy Evans and Jennie Finch. Here's a look at the freshman season for five Wildcat greats:

Player       Year       W-L    ERA     ShO   K     BB   IPSusie Parra          1991       14-3   0.43    12    128   42   129.1Nancy Evans          1994       17-0   1.39    5     75    24   106Becky Lemke          1998       25-2   1.67    10    161   32   151Jennie Finch         1999       24-8   2.08    11    179   64   202.1Alicia Hollowell     2003	30-3   0.76    21    289   45   212.2

Softball Regionals

Arizona has been picked as one of eight schools to host the NCAA Softball Regionals from May 15-18. Each regional will feature eight teams playing double-elimination format. All locations were based on location, quality of facilities and quality of the experience for the student athletes. The other schools selected to host are, Alabama, Cal State Fullerton, Fresno State, Michigan, Nebraska and Texas.

The Coach

Arizona's Mike Candrea carries a career record of 971-188 (.838), accomplished in 17 years with the Wildcats. The 2002 Pac-10 co-Coach of the Year has led UA to six national titles andsix Pacific-10 Conference championships. Last season, he became only the third Division I coach in history to win 900 games. He's on his way to become only the second coach to win 1,000 games. Margie Wright from Fresno State is the other coach to win 1,000 games. Smith won 1,028 games in 23 years. During his tenure, Wildcat student-athletes have won the Honda Softball Award fives times (Susie Parra-1994, Jenny Dalton-1996, Nancy Evans-1998, Jennie Finch-2001, 2002). Candrea's Arizona teams have played in 16 consecutive NCAA Tournaments and 15 consecutive College World Series. Last season, Candrea's team made it to the College World Series Championship game before losing to California, 6-0. Candrea is joined by assistant coaches Nancy Evans and Larry Ray.

Hillenbrand Stadium

UA carries a record of 329-21 in Hillenbrand Stadium. The Cats had an average attendance of 1,755 and drew in a total of 49,140 in 2002. Arizona set an attendance record of 3,161 fans on April 9, 2002 against UCLA. Arizona had a three-season 70-game home winning streak snapped by UCLA on April 7, 2002.

Amateur Softball Player of the Year

The Amateur Softball Association announced the 25 finalists for the 2003 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Freshman Alicia Hollowell and senior Lovie Jung are among the finalists for the award. The list of 25 will be reduced to 10 players on April 29 and three finalists will be announced on May 13. The winner will be announced on May 21at the opening ceremonies of the College World Series. Last season, UCLA's Stacey Nuveman received the award.

UA Softball Notes

... Lovie Jung is No. 1 in the NCAA with 23 home runs... Jung is No. 7 on the UA record chart for home runs in a season... Autumn Champion has had 23 multiple hit games... Jung has a .655 batting average when advancing runners... Jung also has 46 career home runs including her two years at Fresno State... Arizona has 307 runs to opponents 53... The teams winning percentage is No. 1 in the NCAA... The teams .979 fielding percentage is also No. 1 in the NCAA... Former Softball Player Jennie Finch will have her jersey retired on May 9 at 6:45 before the UA-UCLA game... Finch will also throw out the first pitch... The Cal game on Friday will be shown again on Sunday, May 4 at 4 p.m. on Fox Sports Net...

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