Arizona hosts rival Arizona State for senior weekend at Hillenbrand Stadium as the Cats and Devils meet for the final three home games of lone senior Brigette Del Ponte's Wildcat career. Arizona and ASU meet Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:00, 6:00 and 3:00 p.m. PDT, respectively.
- Brigette Del Ponte, who has started 228 of Arizona's 234 games in her career, will be playing her final three games at Hillenbrand Stadium this weekend. In her three-plus years, UA has won 89 of its 114 games at home.
- Del Ponte is set to leave Arizona in the career top 10 in four categories. The senior currently sits ninth in doubles (50), seventh in home runs (58), ninth in RBI (223) and fifth in assists (445). Del Ponte, currently with 102 walks, will need three bases on balls to crack the top 10 in that category as well.
- The Wildcats own an 86-45-1 record all-time against Arizona State, including an impressive 32-4 record at Hillenbrand Stadium since its opening in 1993. Additionally, seven of the 32 victories at Hillenbrand have come in mercy-shortened fashion. However, ASU has swept each of the last two series.
- The Wildcats are an impressive 18-6 at home this season while they are just 10-16 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 just three remaining road games, plus potential NCAA Tournament games.
- Arizona has been run-ruled three times in the last eight 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' 22 losses, they have scored a total of 30 runs (1.36 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, .363 batting average.
THIS WEEK: Arizona (28-22, 5-13 Pac-12) hosts third-ranked Arizona State (42-7, 13-5 Pac-12) for senior Brigette Del Ponte's final weekend in Hillenbrand Stadium. The Cats and the Sun Devils meet for three games, all of which will be televised by the Pac-12 Network. Arizona, likely out of the running to host postseason play, will compete in its final three games at home this weekend, hoping to improve on an 18-6 record at Hillenbrand. The Cats and the Devils meet Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:00, 6:00 and 3:00 p.m. PDT, respectively.
SERIES HISTORY: The Wildcats own an 86-45-1 record all-time against Arizona State, including an impressive 32-4 record at Hillenbrand Stadium since its opening in 1993. Additionally, seven of the 32 victories at Hillenbrand have come in mercy-shortened fashion. However, ASU has swept each of the last two series.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils (42-7, 13-5 Pac-12) are ranked third by the NFCA and fifth by USA Softball. The Sun Devils are coming off a sweep of then-No. 10 California in Tempe in which ASU outscored Cal 26-5 in the three games. ASU has the Pac-12's leader in runs scored (Cheyenne Coyle - 57) and batters struck out (Dallas Escobedo - 255) while Amber Freeman is second with 56 RBI and third with 16 home runs. The Sun Devils enter on a four-game winning streak and have dropped just one Pac-12 series - at Utah.
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 1,338-318-2 (.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 out of the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll after being ranked 23rd last week. The Wildcats are unranked in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25. This week marks the first time in school history that Arizona has been unranked. The Wildcats were ranked preseason No. 13 by the NFCA and 14 by USA Softball.
RECENT RESULTS: Arizona was swept by Oregon State in three consecutive 2-1 games, all of which came down to a play at the plate to end the game. Arizona stranded an amazing 34 runners in the three-game series and hit just .188 with runners in scoring position. The pitching staff threw back-to-back three-hitters in games two and three, including a complete game gem by Shelby Babcock on Sunday. Babcock compiled a 1.02 ERA in 13.2 innings while taking two losses.
4/26/13 - Cats Fall in Pitcher's Duel: 23rd-ranked Arizona softball stranded 10 runners as Shelby Babcock was outdueled by Tina Andreana in a 2-1 Oregon State victory.
Arizona appeared to be poised to tie the game in the top of the seventh when Lauren Young ripped a two-out single up the middle with two on. OSU second baseman Ya Garcia dove to her right to knock down the single and tossed the ball to catcher Ally Kutz to try and cut down Chelsea Suitos, attempting to score from second. Home plate umpire Calvin Walker ruled the tag in time to end the game.
The Wildcats had plenty of opportunities in a game which it registered just five hits. In both the fifth and sixth innings, the Wildcats had runners at third with less than two out and could not score. Arizona left nine runners on base in the final four innings after having just one base runner in the first three frames.
Babcock allowed just one earned run in six innings with five strikeouts and three walks.
4/27/13 - UA Suffers Second Consecutive One-Run Defeat: 23rd-ranked Arizona softball suffered its second consecutive 2-1 defeat at the hands of Oregon State at the OSU Softball Complex, Saturday.
UA recorded just three hits, its fewest hits in a seven inning game since registering three against Oklahoma on March 16. Despite allowing only three hits, OSU pitcher Marina Demore struck out just one batter in seven innings.
While the offense struggled, the pitching staff shined, allowing just three Beaver base hits and recording 10 strikeouts, marking the third time this season that the Wildcats have tallied double-digit strikeouts.
4/28/13 - Babcock's Three-Hitter Not Enough: 23rd-ranked Arizona softball (28-22, 5-13 Pac-12) fell in extra innings to Oregon State (30-17, 7-11 Pac-12) despite a gem from starter Shelby Babcock.
Babcock (15-9) allowed just three hits over eight innings with six strikeouts and three walks but was let down by her pitching and defense.
The Arizona offense, after stranding 20 total runners in the first two games, stranded 14 more today, totaling a mind-blowing 34 in three games. Arizona scored just one run on seven hits.
RECENT RESULTS AGAINST ARIZONA STATE: The Wildcats were swept by Arizona State in Tempe a season ago in a trio of close contests. ASU needed extras to down Arizona in game one and came back from a 6-0 deficit in game three of the series. UA led in every game of the series
3/23/12 - ASU Walks Off in Extras to Take Game One: Fourteenth-ranked Arizona and No. 5 Arizona State needed extra innings to settle game one of the three game series. Elizabeth Caporuscio ended the game with a walk-off, two-run homer to center field in the bottom of the eighth, to down the Wildcats, 4-2.
Arizona outhit ASU, 7-4. Arizona pitchers limited the nation's fourth-most prolific offense (7.77 runs per game) to just four hits and four runs.
Kenzie Fowler took the loss in relief of Shelby Babcock for Arizona. Fowler entered in the fifth inning with the bases loaded and one out only to retire the two Sun Devils she faced. Fowler was sharp, not allowing a hit until the walk-off Caporuscio bomb. Fowler pitched 2.2 innings and allowed two run on one hit, walked two and struck out two. Fowler dropped to 8-2 with the loss.
3/24/12 - Softball Drops Series to ASU after 9-6 Setback: Fourteenth-ranked Arizona fell to No. 5 ASU, 9-6 in game two of the conference-opening three-game series. The victory assured ASU of its second consecutive series victory against Arizona and just the second in the past two decades.
Wildcat pitchers walked 10 ASU batters, including eight in the final three innings, when ASU scored all nine of its runs. The 15 runs in the game came on a total of 12 hits, six for each squad.
The teams battled back and forth until ASU broke a 6-6 tie with three runs in the bottom of the sixth.
3/25/12 - Cats Cannot Hold 6-0 Lead, Fall 7-6 to Sun Devils: No. 14 Arizona Softball scored the first six runs of the game, but fifth-ranked Arizona State stormed back with a run in the fourth and six in the fifth to sweep Arizona for the second straight year.
With just nine outs remaining to be recorded, and a five-run lead, Shelby Babcock entered to pitch the fifth inning. Two pitching changes, a grand slam and two RBI walks later, the Sun Devils exited the frame with a 7-6 lead. Arizona would get just one base-runner the rest of the way.
Kenzie Fowler took the loss in relief. Fowler faced six batters, recorded just one out and walked in a pair of runs. Fowler fell to 8-3 with the loss. Fowler has lost three consecutive decisions, however, in all three she has been dealing with the flu.
LOB CITY: On the season, Arizona has stranded 352 runners (7.04 per game), compared to just 239 stranded runners for opponents. While 7.04 runners left on base for the season is a high figure, the Wildcats took it to a new level last weekend at Oregon State. For the series, Arizona left 34 runners on base while scoring just three total runs. UA batted just .188 with runners in scoring position in Corvallis and are hitting only .283 in the category on the season.
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.
SOMETIMES IT'S THERE: Arizona's offense has been doing its best Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde impersonation all season long. In the Wildcats' 22 losses, they have scored a total of 30 runs (1.36 runs per game) and are hitting just .203 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 is18-6 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.
GIVING UP THE LONG BALL: With six regular season games to play, the Wildcats have allowed opponents to hit 64 home runs, most in school history. In fact, Arizona had never, in 31 previous seasons of Division I softball, allowed opponents to hit as many as 40 home runs in a season. To add insult to injury, the Wildcats are on pace to hit just 50 home runs (plus any postseason bombs), which would be the fewest the 2005 team hit only 33.
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).
Arizona (28-22, 5-13 Pac-12) vs. #3 Arizona State (42-7, 13-5 Pac-12)
Date Time (PDT) (Rank) Opponent Location
Friday, May 3 6:00 p.m. (3/5) Arizona State Hillenbrand Stadium
Saturday, May 4 6:00 p.m. (3/5) Arizona State Hillenbrand Stadium
Sunday, May 5 3:00 p.m. (3/5) Arizona State Hillenbrand Stadium
FOLLOW THE CATS
T.V.: All three games will be carried live by the Pac-12 Network (Anne Marie Anderson and Kyndra de St. Aubin/Tammy Blackburn).
Radio: A Spanish play-by-play for all three games will be available on 990 AM.
Live Stats: Find Gametracker links for all games at http://www.arizonawildcats.com/scoreboard/
Live Updates: Twitter: @UA_Softball (twitter.com/ua_softball)
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