Cats Play Host to NCAA Regional

May 18, 2010

Cats Play Host to NCAA Regional 

May 21-23, Hillenbrand Stadium, Tucson, Ariz.

The Games

Arizona will face Cornell, champions of the Ivy League on Friday at 6 p.m. Before that, Oklahoma State will face the winners of the Colonial Athletic Association Hofstra at 4 p.m. 

Tucson, Ariz. Regional Schedule

Day         Time      Game                                            _

May 21    4 p.m.    (1) OSU vs. Hofstra

               6 p.m.    (2) Cornell vs. Arizona

May 22    2 p.m.    (3) Winner 1 vs. Winner 2

               4 p.m.    (4) Loser 1 vs. Loser 2

               6 p.m.    (5) Loser 3 vs. Winner 4

May 23    Noon     (6) Winner 3 vs. Winner 5

               2 p.m.    (7) Replay Game 6 (if necessary) 

Team Notes

CU: The Big Red (37-13)are led by junior Marissa Amiraian and her .420 average at the dish. Though she has only played in 27 games, she has the highest batting average on the team. Senior Elise Menaker has a team-high 52 RBI and eight home runs to go along with her .353 mark at the dish. Junior hurler Elizabeth Dalrymple (21-5) has tossed 175 innings and has compiled a 1.80 ERA with 212 strikeouts.

OSU: Junior Mariah Gearhart leads the Cowgirls (43-14) into NCAA action with a .358 batting average and a team-high 57 hits. Behind her is sophomore first baseman Julie Ward, who hits .327 but has a team-best 10 home runs and 52 RBI. Freshman Kat Espinoza (19-5) and senior Anna Whiddon (21-8) have split time in the circle, but the elder stateswoman has tossed 201 strikeouts in 180.1 innings pitched to the newbie’s 135 in 156.1 innings. 

HU: The Pride (43-10) are led by senior Kris Root, who touts a .374 average with 58 hits into Tucson. Senior Michale DePasquale bats .351 and has faced the Wildcats in each of her last two seasons in Hempstead. She has a team-best 38 RBI to go along with nine homers. Freshman Olivia Galati (24-6) led the Pride to a CAA championship with 280 strikeouts in 210 innings pitched. On the season, she’s held the opposition to a .173 batting average and has compiled a 1.30 ERA.

Last Time Out (UCLA)

Arizona fell to UCLA 2-1 in the season series, marking the Bruins’ sixth-straight series win over the Wildcats. UCLA took advantage of a banged-up Wildcat pitching staff to score 16 runs in three games, but Arizona held tough, winning the second game on a walk-off home run. UCLA’s All-America pitcher Megan Langenfeld picked up two of the three Bruin wins. 

Catch the Action

Go to for live GameTracker stats, sponsored by Tucson Electric Power. Fans can watch all home games on All-Access, and most home games will be broadcast in-stadium on 103.3 FM with David Kelly and former UA softball player Erika Barnes describing the game action. All Arizona games this weekend will be broadcast on KCUB 1290 AM.

Cats Return To NCAAs

The University of Arizona softball team (43-11) makes it 24th consecutive NCAA Championships appearance, dating to 1987. That’s among the top three streaks and top five total appearances in the nation. Fresno State leads with 29 consecutive and 29 total, followed by California with 25 straight and Arizona’s 24. Cal State Fullerton has in 25 but did not make the field this year. UCLA has appeared in 27 total NCAAs. All of Arizona’s trips came under current head coach Mike Candrea, although assistant Larry Ray took over in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic years when Candrea was head coach of the U.S. National Team. Softball became a Division I sport in 1982 and UA missed the first five tournaments, but has appeared thereafter. This year Arizona earned the appearance as an at-large selection. The Cats have earned an automatic bid as Pac-10 champion 10 times, most recently in 2007.  

Arizona’s NCAA Venue

For the 15th time in its 24-year participation, Arizona will remain at home for initial rounds play in the Championships. The Wildcats have been a host for initial rounds 14 times, and later for Super Regionals four times. The Cats have been shipped to Tempe, Ariz. (1987 and 1989), Tallahassee, Fla. (1996), Minneapolis (2002), Hempstead, N.Y. (2008) and Louisville, Ky. (2009) for Regionals. The winner of the Tucson Regional will move on to Super Regional play next week at one of eight sites to be named. Should No. 7 seed Texas win its Regional, it would  play host to the winner of the Tucson Regional for Super Regional Play. If Arizona were to win in Tucson and an unseeded team win in Austin, UA would host. Should two unseeded teams win, the NCAA will pick a new venue at one of those schools. 

Arizona Overall in the NCAAs

Arizona has a 134-40 mark in NCAA play in its 23 seasons of competition from 1987-2009. The Cats are 67-8 in Regional play and 10-3 in Super Regionals (since 2005). UA is 57-29 in Women’s College World Series play.   

Arizona vs. the Tucson Regional Field

In the 2010 season UA did not play Oklahoma State, Hofstra or Cornell. 

Arizona vs. the Entire NCAA Field

UA played to a 18-11 mark in 2010 against the teams selected for the NCAA Championships. UA played 17 teams selected, including its 9-8 mark against the seven Pac-10 teams picked to participate.   

Arizona Historically Against the NCAA Field

Arizona has played previous NCAA games against 27 teams picked for the 2010 championships in its 23 previous appearances. UA compiled an 81-25 mark in that span of action. 

Arizona in the Opening Round

The Wildcats have a record of 21-2 in NCAA opening-round play, with a streak of 20-0 since 1991. UA lost in the first round in 1987 at Arizona State in a two-team regional and in 1990 to ASU in Tucson in a two-team regional. The Cats have lost two games in opening Regional play just twice, in that 1987 trip to Tempe and in 2004 in Tucson when Oklahoma and ULL halted UA’s consecutive streak at 16 Women’s College World Series appearances. The NCAA changed the format beginning in 2005 to include eight separate Super Regionals when the field of 64 is narrowed to 16.   

Arizona in the Polls

Arizona has been ranked steadily in the NFCA/USA Today poll since 1989, and in the Softball poll since its inception in the early 2000s. This year the Cats were as high as No. 2 for five weeks. UA finished the season ranked third by the NFCA and sixth by USA Softball. 

Experience Factor

One thing gained by appearing in the NCAA tournament with frequency is the fact you play games with players who have experienced the do-or-die nature of the event. Arizona has nine players who’ve seen NCAA action – pitcher Sarah Akamine, second baseman Kristen Arriola, shortstop K’Lee Arredondo, rightfielder Karissa Buchanan, reserve infielder Victoria Kemp, catcher Stacie Chambers, centerfielder Lauren Schutzler, leftfielder Brittany Lastrapes and designated player Lini Koria. That’s a good nucleus to help along the newcomers who will be making initial appearances – pitcher Kenzie Fowler, third baseman Brigette Del Ponte and first baseman Baillie Kirker, among others. Arredondo has played in 29 NCAA games to lead all Wildcats. In fact, she has 28 postseason hits in 87 at-bats in her three years of Regionals, Super Regionals and WCWS games. That’s a .321 batting average against the best pitching there is, and a good starting point for team leadership in any 2010 run.

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