Arizona Softball hoping to turn things around in Corvallis - Tucson News Now

Arizona Softball hoping to turn things around in Corvallis

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LEADING OFF

- Arizona travels to Oregon State this weekend to take on the Beavers in Corvallis Friday and Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. PDT.

- Saturday's Meeting between the Cats and the Beavers will be the 100th time the two teams have met. In the squads' 98 previous matchups, Arizona has won 88 times and its only series loss came in 2005 when Oregon State took 2-of-3 from Arizona. The Wildcats are 30-4 at Oregon State all-time.

- The Wildcats are an impressive 18-6 at home this season while they are just 10-13 away from Hillenbrand Stadium this season. Arizona has not finished with a sub-.500 record on the road (including neutral site games) in Head Coach Mike Candrea's 27 previous years at Arizona. The Cats have six remaining road games, plus potential NCAA Tournament games.

- In the last 10 games, Chelsea Suitos leads the team with a .400 batting average (12-for-37) and has collected four RBI. In her previous 37 games, Suitos batted in a total of seven runs.

- In the last nine games, Arizona has two grand slams (Mandie Perez vs. UC Santa Barbara, April 7; Brigette Del Ponte vs. New Mexico State, April 9). It had not had a grand slam in the previous 38 games of the season.

- Arizona has been run-ruled three times in the last five games and four times this season to set a record for run-rule losses in a season Arizona history. The previous high came in 2010, when Arizona was run-ruled three times, a season in which it made it to the Women's College World Series championship series. However, this brings up a more spectacular point: In the last 20-plus years, Arizona is a mind-blowing 376-13 (.967) in mercy-shortened contests.

- In the Wildcats' 19 losses, they have scored a total of 27 runs (1.42 runs per game) and are hitting just .201 as a team. Contrast to the impressive offensive numbers in the games won: 7.36 runs per game, 3.63 batting average. Arizona has already been shut out six times this season, but has scored double-digit runs eight times already. In 2012, the Cats were shut out only five times all of 2012 and only scored 10-or-more runs four times.

- Mandie Perez went 4-for-9 (.444) with a pair of RBI against UCLA. Perez is fourth on the team with 24 RBI and second on the team with an impressive .400 average with runners in scoring position.

- The Wildcats have allowed 64 home runs in 47 games this season, most in school history.

THIS WEEK:

Twenty-third ranked Arizona (28-19, 5-10 Pac-12) heads to Corvallis, Ore. for an instrumental series with unranked Oregon State (27-17, 4-11 Pac-12). The Cats and the Beavers are separated by just one game in the Pac-12 standings and anything short of a series victory would send Arizona south in the conference race. The Cats and Beavers meet Friday and Saturday at 3:00 p.m. and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. PDT at the OSU Softball Complex.

SERIES HISTORY:

Saturday's Meeting between the Cats and the Beavers will be the 100th time the two teams have met. In the squads' 98 previous matchups, Arizona has won 88 times and its only series loss came in 2005 when Oregon State took 2-of-3 from Arizona. The Wildcats are 30-4 at Oregon State all-time.

OPPONENT:

Oregon State: The Beavers (27-17, 4-11 Pac-12) are unranked in both polls but received a vote in the NFCA Top 25. OSU dropped the series to then-No. 10 California in Berkeley last weekend. Cal took games one and two, 8-0 and 3-1, respectively, before avoiding a sweep with a 1-0 victory on Sunday.

HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA:

Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is in his 28th year at the helm of the Arizona softball program with a career record of 1,338-315-2 (.810). A winner of eight national championships(1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007), Arizona has made 22 trips to the Women's College World Series under his guidance, missing just thrice in the last 25 years (2004, 2011, 2012). In 2012, Candrea became the sport's fastest ever, and second all-time, to reach 1,300 wins. Under Candrea, Arizona has a spectacular postseason record of 151-45. An even 50 All-Americans with a staggering 90 total citations have played in the program since Candrea took over.

THE RANKINGS:

Arizona dropped to number 23 in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll dropped out of the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 for the first time ever after being ranked 22nd and 24th, respectively, a week ago. The Wildcats were ranked preseason No. 13 by the NFCA and 14 by USA Softball.

RECENT RESULTS:

UCLA took the series from Arizona in Tucson. The Cats took game one in dramatic fashion when Hallie Wilson's two-out, three-run, walkoff home run to bring UA back from down a run in the 10th. The Bruins took the next two games by an aggregate score of 22-4.

4/18/13 - Cats Walk Off in Extras: Twenty-second ranked Arizona softball celebrated the 20th birthday of Rita Hillenbrand stadium in style when it walked off" with an 8-6, 10-inning victory over eighteenth-ranked UCLA on Friday night.

Trailing by a run and down to the last out in the bottom of the 10th, Hallie Wilson blasted the first pitch of her at-bat to deep right-field with runners on first and second to help Arizona take game one of the three game series against the Bruins. The home run was Wilson's sixth of the year.

4/19/13 - Bruins Power Way Past Arizona: No. 22 Arizona softball gave up a school record seven home runs and dropped a 13-3 decision to No. 18 UCLA on Friday evening at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium. UCLA hit five home runs in the first three innings to take an 8-0 lead and cruised to a 13-3 victory. The Bruins plated 13 runs on 16 hits, the most hits allowed by Arizona pitching all season; the previous high was 11.

4/20/13 - Arizona Drops Series to UCLA with 9-1 Defeat: After splitting the first two games, 22nd-ranked Arizona softball (28-19, 5-10 Pac-12) fell, 9-1 in six innings, to eighteenth-ranked UCLA (30-15, 7-11 Pac-12), on Saturday evening at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona's early 1-0 lead in the second inning quickly disappeared as UCLA responded with six runs over the following two innings. UCLA tacked on three more in the top of the sixth to seal the game and the series.

RECENT RESULTS AGAINST OREGON STATE: Arizona took 2-of-3 from Oregon State on Arizona's senior weekend in 2012. Brigette Del Ponte hit two home runs in the series, including a walkoff homer to down the Beavers 3-1 on senior day. Hallie Wilson hit .600 in the series. 

5/10/12 - Offense Awakens in 12-4, Six Inning Win over OSU: No. 17 Arizona Softball hit three homers and scored eight times in the fourth inning to come from behind and help mercy Oregon State, 12-4 in six innings in the first game of senior weekend at Hillenbrand Stadium.  Chelsea Suitos' walk-off double in the sixth inning was the final of 15 Arizona hits, its most all season and most since a 16-hit outing against San Jose State on March 19, 2011. Arizona fell into an early 3-0 hole after stranding five runners in the first two innings and allowing the Beavers to plate a trio of runs in the second inning. UA bats awoke in the fourth inning when they registered eight runs on seven hits, three of which landed past the fence, including a grand slam by Brigette Del Ponte. Kristen Arriola and Lini Koria homered in the inning as well.  

5/11/12 - Softball Blanked by Oregon State, 4-0: No. 17 Arizona Softball was shut out for just the fourth time all season by Oregon State as Arizona's offense managed just four hits against the Beavers in front of the largest crowd at Hillenbrand Stadium all season, 2,680. After compiling a season-high 15 hits against Oregon State on Thursday, the Wildcats offense went cold and did not score for the fourth time all season on just four hits, their third-fewest on the year.  

5/6/12 - Cats Walk Off with Senior Day Victory: No. 17 Arizona Softball (35-17, 12-12 Pac-12) came up with a dramatic victory on an emotional senior day when Brigette Del Ponte sent seniors Kristen Arriola, Nicole Bryan, Karissa Buchanan, Lini Koria and Jessica Spigner home with a senior day to remember when she hit a walkoff, two-run homer to beat Oregon State (34-21, 9-12 Pac-12), 3-1 in the final regular season game of the season. Arizona trailed by a run with five outs remaining in the regular season when Spigner, hitless in her last 15 at-bats and homerless in her last 77, tied the game with a home run to left-center. The home run ended 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings hurled by OSU's Marina Demore, dating back to her Friday night complete-game shutout. In the bottom of the seventh, Del Ponte ended it with her 14th home run of the season. The win marks the second consecutive home series finale that Arizona won the game on a walkoff hit; Hallie Wilson hit a walkoff single to beat Oregon in eight innings in game three vs. the Ducks.

SOMETIMES IT'S THERE: Arizona's offense has been doing its best Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde impersonation all season long. In the Wildcats' 19 losses, they have scored a total of 27 runs (1.42 runs per game) and are hitting just .201 as a team. Contrast to the impressive offensive numbers in the games won: 7.36 runs per game, 3.63 batting average. Arizona has already been shut out six times this season, but has scored double-digit runs eight times already. In 2012, the Cats were shut out only five times all of 2012 and only scored 10-or-more runs four times. 

HOME SWEET HOME: Arizona returns to the friendly confines of Hillenbrand Stadium, where it is a perfect 18-6 this season. Since its opening in 1993, Arizona has put up a 581-67 record on the field. That's a .904 winning percentage at home in the last 20 years. Hillenbrand has led the nation in attendance nine times since 1994 and set the NCAA record in attendance in 2011 when 77,129 fans turned the turnstiles. UA has averaged over 2,000 fans per game for each of the last four seasons, including last year when it brought in 2,328 per game. 

FRESH FACES: The 2013 Arizona roster features nine newcomers to just seven returning players. Three of the nine newbies are junior transfers -- Kellie Fox (UCLA - ineligible to compete this season due to NCAA transfer rules), Estela Piñon (Yavapai College) and Kelsey Rodriguez (Pacific) -- and six are freshmen -- Nancy Bowling (Simi Valley, Calif.), Mandie Perez (Whittier, Calif.), Courtney Rodriguez (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Gabbie Sandstedt (Glendale, Ariz.), Darcy Taylor (Jenks, Okla.) and Lauren Young (Anaheim Hills, Calif.).

FAMILY TIES: In 27 years, head coach Mike Candrea has never had sisters come through the program, in 2013, he has two pairs. Siblings Kelsey and Courtney Rodriguez are the first pair of sisters to ever be on the same Wildcat team. UCLA transfer Kellie Fox is the sister of former Wildcat shortstop and two-time national champion Kristie Fox (04-07). 

BDP: Brigette Del Ponte is currently seventh with 58 home runs, one away from Mackenzie Vandergeest in sixth place. The shortstop has 223 career RBI, ninth best in program history. Del Ponte will need seven RBI to catch Kristie Fox's 230 RBI in eighth place. Del Ponte is fifth with 439 assists. The senior is ninth with 50 career doubles.

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