More than five years after leaving the UA for an NFL career, Earl Mitchell returns to campus...
UA Softball to Host Wildcat Invitational
In the second, and final, hosted tournament of the season, Utah State, Portland State, Minnesota, Idaho State and UC Riverside will come to Tucson for the Wildcat Invitational, March 4-6.
No. 4 Arizona (14-2) welcomes Utah State, Portland State, Minnesota, Idaho State and UC Riverside to Tucson for the three-day, 15-game Wildcat Invitational beginning March 4.
It will be the second, and final, hosted tournament of the season.
Arizona is ranked in both polls, falling from No. 3 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 1 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25.
Arizona went 5-0 in the 2010 Wildcat Invitational, allowing only one run in five games vs. Northern Colorado, Illinois Chicago, St. John's, Creighton and Minnesota. The Cats got 54 runs of offense on the weekend including four run-rule victories. Sarah Akamine tossed a no-hitter vs. Northern Colorado.
Last game, the Cats went 4-1 at the Cathedral City Classic in Palm Springs, Calif., losing only to the No. 1 team in the country, Georgia.
Arizona has given up 40 total runs in 16 games. In its two losses, it has given up 19 runs. Taking away the two losses, the Cats are outscoring their opponents 107-21.
The Cats have nearly as many runs (108) as they do hits (125) on the season while holding opponents to a much slimmer ratio: 40-82. (Arizona has more hits – 108 – than opponents have runs - 82). Lauren Schutzler (17/17) and Lini Koria (14/14) each have a 100 percent runs to hits ratio, much thanks to the hitters behind them driving them home.
There is a close battle for top home run honors on the team, with four Wildcats within three home runs of each other. Stacie Chambers leads the way with eight, Brittany Lastrapes and Brigette Del Ponte each have six and Koria has five.
The Wildcats have 31 multi-hit games, including a team-leading eight by Lastrapes. The senior has had a trio of hits in five games, including two of the last three.
Arizona's entire usual starting lineup has had a multiple RBI game, with Chambers leading the way with six multi-RBI games. The senior has recorded two-two RBI outputs, two-three RBI games, a four RBI performance and a nine-RBI masterpiece vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi.
The strikeout has been Arizona's best friend and worst enemy thus far this season. Kenzie Fowler leads the league in Ks, while Arizona leads the league offensively with the most strikeouts.
Fowler recorded 76 strikeouts on the season over 10 victories, easily putting her atop the Pac-10 in that category. Only one other conference pitcher has more than 60 Ks.
On the other side of that coin, Arizona hitters have struck out 104 times, by far the most in the Pac-10, 31 more times than the conference's second-place team in that category, Oregon.
Wildcat Invitational Team Notes
Utah State: The Aggies (3-7) return to action after a 12 day break. Utah State comes in having lost three games to top-25 Pac-10 teams, including two to then-No. 1 UCLA. Kelley Kaneshiro is batting .462 and has four home runs to pace the Aggies in both categories.
Portland State: The Vikings (8-5) are off to their best start with four of their losses coming to teams currently ranked in the top-20. Nichole Latham was named the Pacific Coast Softball Conference pitcher of the week for two consecutive weeks.
Minnesota: The Golden Gophers (7-7) come in winners of five of the last six. Sara Moulton has 75 strike outs on the season, a figure that would rank second in the Pac-10, one behind Fowler.
Idaho State: The Bengals (2-6) are led by Terah Blackwell who has three home runs through eight games. Brittany Olsin has chimed in two homers of her own to go along with three doubles, a figure that would tie for first on the Arizona roster through half the games.
UC Riverside: The Highlanders (3-10) look to end a string of six consecutive losses with the visit to Tucson. Kayla White was named Big West player of the week Feb. 14 and has since kept up that pace, hitting .439 on the season and has five two-baggers. In the circle, UC Riverside is led by Feb. 21 pitcher of the week Jordyn McDonald.