Wildcat softball zeros in on Cal - Tucson News Now

Wildcat softball zeros in on Cal

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WEEK 10 (APRIL 11-13): CALIFORNIA // Levine-Fricke Field

 

#9/9 Arizona Wildcats (32-8, 7-5 Pac-12) vs. California Golden Bears (20-15, 3-4 Pac-12)

 

THE GAMES

Date                                      Time (PDT)          (Rank) Opponent                             Location

Friday, April 11                  3:00 p.m.             California                                             Levine-Fricke Field

Saturday, April 12             1:00 p.m.             California                                             Levine-Fricke Field

Sunday, April 13                12:00 p.m.           California                                             Levine-Fricke Field

FOLLOW THE CATS

T.V.: Pac-12 Networks (Friday and Sunday)

Live Stats: arizonalivestats.com

Live Updates: Twitter: @UA_Softball (twitter.com/ua_softball)

THIS WEEK: Ninth-ranked Arizona (32-8, 7-5 Pac-12) hits the road to take on California in a three-game series at Levine-Fricke Field. The Wildcats are coming off an impressive weekend sweep of No. 24 Stanford. Arizona will play Cal on Friday (3:00 p.m.), Saturday (1:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.). Friday's game and Sunday's game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.

LEADING OFF

- Arizona is at or near the top of nearly every offensive ranking in the NCAA. Arizona leads the nation in batting average (.356), home runs (65) and slugging percentage (.624). The Cats are second in scoring, averaging 7.83 runs per game.

- UA is getting done on the other side of the ball as well. Arizona's 1.94 ERA ranks 25th nationally while its .978 fielding percentage is sixth in the country.

- Catcher Chelsea Goodacre ranks third in the NCAA with 15 home runs, just one back of the leaders. Freshman outfielder Katiyana Mauga is eighth nationally with 13 homers. Goodacre has 54 RBI, fourth in the country, while Fox's 47 RBI rank seventh.

- Arizona is 22-0 at home, including 17 run-rule victories. Arizona is outscoring opponents by an average of 10.18 - 1.45 at home. On the road (neutral plus away games), Arizona is 10-8 with just three mercy wins. On the road, Arizona's average margin of victory is just 2.16 runs, compared to the 9.21 run average margin of victory at home. Arizona is hitting .439 at home while batting just .263 on the road.  

- Arizona has hit five grand slams in its last 11 games: Katiyana Mauga vs. UNLV (game 2), Hallie Wilson vs. Oregon State (game 1), Chelsea Goodacre vs. Oregon State (game 3), Katiyana Mauga vs. Stanford (game 1) and Mo Mercado vs. Stanford (game 1). The five grand slams in the 11-day span betters Arizona's entire 59-game total from 2013, when UA hit two grand slams. On the season, Arizona has hit nine grand slams. Mauga has hit four grand slams this season.

- From Feb. 22 to March 4, Arizona run-ruled eight consecutive opponents, setting a school record. The previous record was six straight mercy wins, accomplished thrice (2003, 2001 and 1994). The Cats have run-ruled 20 opponents on the season in just 40 chances after run-ruling eight opponents in 59 games in 2013.

- Arizona's road series with Arizona State concluded a stretch in which the Wildcats played 13 of 16 games away from Hillenbrand Stadium. The recently-completed 10-game road swing was its longest regular-season road swing since an 11-gamer in 2010.

- Katiyana Mauga was named USA Softball and NFCA National Player of the Week for her performance over the weekend against Stanford. Mauga was 5-for-8 with four home runs and 11 RBI, which included a walkoff homer in the series finale.

- Arizona's pitching staff has allowed just 67 earned runs this season in 40 games and has a 1.94 ERA. In 40 games this year, Arizona has tossed 12 shutouts, and has allowed just one run 10 times. In 59 games in 2013, UA allowed one run or fewer seven total times, including three shutouts. UA pitchers have thrown five one-hitters this season and one no-hitter (Estela Piñon and Kenzie Fowler, Feb. 9 vs. Southern Miss).

- Arizona leads the conference in batting average (.356), slugging percentage (.624), on-base percentage (.449), runs scored (313), RBI (296), home runs (65), total bases (624) and fielding percentage (.978). Additionally, Arizona has the Pac-12 leader in slugging percentage (Katiyana Mauga - .929), on-base percentage (Kellie Fox - .543), runs scored (Hallie Wilson - 49), RBI (Chelsea Goodacre - 54), home runs (Chelsea Goodacre - 15), total bases (Kellie Fox - 94), sac bunts (Chelsea Suitos - 8) and opposing batting average (Kenzie Fowler - .130).

- With Pac-12 play just beginning, it will be difficult to keep these figures up, but as of right now, Arizona's .356 average would be the best since 1998 (.385) while its 1.94 ERA would be the best since the 2007 team's 1.66 ERA. Also, the Wildcats' .978 fielding percentage would be tied for second best in school history.

- On the season, Arizona has 131 extra-base hits. Its opponents have 170 total hits.

- Opponents are just 4-for-38 (.105) batting with the bases loaded. Meanwhile, Arizona is 23-for-66 (.348) with the bases loaded, including the aforementioned nine grand slams.

ARIZONA AGAINST CALIFORNIA: The Wildcats own a 70-28 record all-time against Cal but the Golden Bears have had success recently as they have won nine of the last 12 games. Cal, ranked No. 5 at the time, won the first two games against the Wildcats last season in Tucson before Arizona bounced back to game the third game by a score of 7-3.

OPPONENT

California: The Golden Bears enter the weekend with a .307 team average with 32 homers and 162 RBI. Meanwhile, the pitching staff has compiled a 4.14 ERA for the year. The Golden Bears are led by Cheyenne Cordes as she boasts a .439 average with eight home runs and 30 RBI. The .439 average is tied for third in the Pac-12 among every day players.

HEAD COACH MIKE CANDREA: Arizona head coach Mike Candrea is in his 29th year at the helm of the Arizona softball program with a career record of 1,375-330-2 (.806). 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 four times in the last 26 years (2004, 2011, 2012, 2013). 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 152-47. An even 50 All-Americans with a staggering 90 total citations have played in the program since Candrea took over.

THE RANKINGS: Arizona moved up one spot to ninth in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 Poll and in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25. UA began the season unranked, marking the first time since the NFCA began publishing polls in the early 90s that Arizona was unranked in the preseason poll.

RECENT RESULTS: Arizona swept the three-game series against No. 24 over the weekend to improve its Pac-12 record to 7-5 on the season. The Wildcats hit .429 with eight home runs and 34 RBI in the series.  Katiyana Mauga hit an incredible .625 with four homers and 11 RBI, including a grand slam and a walkoff homer in the series finale.

RECENT RESULTS AGAINST CAL: The Cats have just three wins in their last 12 games against Cal including winning one of three in Tucson last season against the No. 5 Golden Bears.

4/2/13 - Cal Powers Way to Sweep of Doubleheader : Nineteenth-ranked Arizona softball (23-13, 3-5 Pac-12) was on the losing end of a pair of four-run decisions to fifth-ranked California (29-3, 5-0 Pac-12) Tuesday night at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The Bears used six homers in the two games to down Arizona 6-2 and 5-1 in front of 2,225 fans. Meanwhile, Jolene Henderson picked up two complete-game victories, pitching all 14 innings and allowing just three Arizona runs. Henderson struck out 12 total batters.

4/3/13 - Babcock, Goodacre Lead Arizona to Upset of Cal:  Nineteenth-ranked Arizona softball (24-13, 4-5 Pac-12) earned its first win over a top-five team of the season Wednesday when it downed fifth-ranked California (29-4, 5-1 Pac-12) 7-2 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Shelby Babcock shined in the circle as the junior tossed 4.1 innings in relief and kept the Bear bats at bay. Babcock struck out six batters while limiting Cal to one run on four hits and two walks.

 

PLAYER NOTES

Katiyana Mauga: The freshman went 5-for-8 with four home runs, including a walkoff homer in game three, last weekend against Stanford. Her performance earned her both NFCA and USA Softball Player of the Week, making her the first freshman to sweep the awards this season. In her last six home games, Mauga is 11-for-16 (.688) with six homers, three doubles and  16 RBI. It is a bit of a different story on the road, though, as she hits just .214 on the season away from Hillenbrand Stadium.

Hallie Wilson: Wilson is the table setter for the Arizona offense as she leads the Pac-12 in runs scored (49), while ranking second in walks (31) and triples (3),  third in total bases (83)  and fourth in RBI (40). She currently ranks third on the squad with a .402 batting average. Wilson hit .385 with a homer in five RBI in the sweep of Stanford this past weekend.

Cynthia Pelayo: The junior got her received her second and third starts of the season last weekend, and went 3-for-7 at the dish with a home run. Pelayo has eight hits in 13 at-bats (.615 avg) on the season plus has been hit by a pitch, walked and registered one sacrifice bunt. Two of her eight hits have gone for home runs. She has six RBI on the season.

Kelsey Rodriguez: In the first 72 games of her Arizona career (58 games in 2013, first 14 games of 2014), Rodriguez hit 12 total doubles, (.167 2B/G). In her last 24 games, Rodriguez has hit 10 doubles (.417 2B/G). The senior leads Arizona (and is seventh in the Pac-12) with a .434 average and is sixth in the conference with a .525 on-base percentage.

Courtney Rodriguez: After recording just eight hits in 36 starts as a freshman, C-Rod has more than quadrupled that in 32 starts this season. Rodriguez is 33-for-96 (.344) on the year, good for fifth on the team. Rodriguez is third on the team with eight doubles and has 13 RBI after having just one and three, respectively, in 2013. She is batting .217 points better than last season.

Kellie Fox: The junior leads the Pac-12 in two offensive categories and is second in three more. She leads the conference in on-base percentage (.543) and total bases (94). She is second to teammate Chelsea Goodacre in RBI (47), second to teammate Hallie Wilson in runs scored (43) and second to teammate Katiyana Mauga in slugging percentage (.847). Her 12 homers rank third in the Pac-12 behind Goodacre and Mauga.

Kenzie Fowler: Fowler has given up just 25 hits in 59.1 innings pitched this season. Her .130 opposing batting average ranks first in the Pac-12.

Mo Mercado: The freshman has a hit in nine of Arizona's last 10 games, including five multi-hit contests. The recent hot steak comes on the heels of a five-game hitless streak for the freshman.

NEARING THE CENTURY MARK: Kenzie Fowler has 86 career wins, eighth most in program history. With 21 wins in 2014, Fowler would become the eighth pitcher in Wildcat history to reach the 100-win milestone (Alicia Hollowell - 134, Nancy Evans - 124, Jennie Finch - 119, Carrie Dolan - 103, Becky Lemke - 103, Susie Parra - 101 and Taryne Mowatt - 100). Fowler is also on pace to become the fourth pitcher in school history to strike out one thousand batters.

HOME SWEET HOME: The Wildcats are a perfect 22-0 this season inside the friendly confines of Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. Since its opening in 1993, Arizona has put up a 605-69 record on the field. That's a .897 winning percentage at home in the last 20-plus 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 (since broken by Alabama). For the sixth consecutive season, Arizona is drawing over 2,000 fans per game in 2014. In 18 home dates, the Wildcats are averaging 2,175 per contest.

PICK YOUR POISON: The Wildcats have had production 1-through-9 in the order this season and boast a lineup that, for the most part, is void of any holes. This offensive balance is the reason Arizona is second in the country in runs scored (313). Here is what Arizona has had out of each spot in the order:

1 - .395 avg, 9 2B, 3 3B, 7 HR, 40 RBI

2 - .373 avg, 4 2B, 2 HR, 14 RBI

3 - .420 avg, 7 2B, 2 3B, 12 HR, 47 RBI

4 - .316 avg, 7 2B, 12 HR, 50 RBI

5 - .426 avg, 9 2B, 2 3B, 10 HR, 44 RBI

6 - .313 avg, 6 2B, 8 HR, 36 RBI

7 - .325 avg, 6 2B, 8 HR, 26 RBI

8 - .323 avg, 8 2B, 6 HR, 27 RBI

9 - .327 avg, 3 2B, 11 RBI

DEADLY D: One of Arizona's strengths in 2014 will surely be its defense. With athleticism at every infield position, head coach Mike Candrea has stated that this may his best infield D since he arrived at Arizona in 1987. The Cats own a .978 fielding percentage on the year, the top mark in the conference.

BEATING THE BEST: In 2014, Arizona is scheduled to play 21 games against teams currently ranked in the NFCA Top 25, including 13 against the top 10 and seven against the top five. This year, UA is 8-7 against the top 25, 3-6 against the top 10 and 2-4 against the top five. Since 1994, Arizona is 520-204-1 (.718) against ranked competition, 252-143 (.640) against top-10 teams and 122-97 (.557) against top-five teams.

THE K ZONE: In 1,000 at-bats this season, UA hitters have struck out just 155 times (15.5 percent of at-bats). On the other side of the ball, Arizona pitchers have struck out 225 batters in 242.1 innings pitched. Twenty-six percent of opponent at-bats have resulted in strikeouts. The Wildcats have not had a positive K/IP ratio since Arizona pitchers struck out 492 hitters in 392.2 innings in 2008. Offensively, the .155 strikeout rate would be the best since 1995 when it posted a .100 strikeout rate. In the leadoff spot, Hallie Wilson has struck out just three times in 117 at-bats, making her the 13th hardest batter to strikeout in the country.

STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Arizona is scheduled to play 21 games against ranked competition. In the nonconference schedule, the Cats played six games against ranked opponents, three of those coming against top-five competition. UA is 8-7 against ranked teams so far this season. The Pac-12 has two teams ranked in the top five in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25. Arizona still has series' scheduled at home with No. 1 Oregon and at No. 10 Washington.

FRESH FACES: The 2014 Arizona roster features nine newcomers. Five of the nine newbies are transfers -- Nikki Dunlap (Texas Tech), Payton Kornfeind (Colorado at Colorado Springs), Cynthia Pelayo (Pima College), Siera Phillips (Dixie State) and Erika Tapia (Paradise Valley Community College) -- and four are freshmen -- Michelle Floyd (San Marino, Calif.), Katiyana Mauga (San Diego, Calif.), Mo Mercado (Temecula, Calif.) and Eva Watson (Victoria, Va.).

FAMILY TIES: Prior to last season, head coach Mike Candrea had never had sisters come through the program, in 2014, 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). Additionally, third baseman Lauren Young's brother Brandon is one of the team's managers.

FOLLOW THE TEAM: Be sure to follow the Wildcats on their various social media platforms. To stay up-to-date on all the latest happenings with the team, follow Arizona softball on Twitter (@UA_Softball) and for behind-the-scenes photos and infographics, follow the team on Instagram (@UA_Softball).

UP NEXT: Following the road series at Cal this weekend, the Wildcats do not return to action until Wednesday, April 23 for a home doubleheader against New Mexico State.

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