Candrea fastest to 1,300 wins
Arizona coach has second-most victories in DI softball history
TUSCON, Ariz. -- No. 13 Arizona (28-10, 7-5 Pac-12) used a 4-2 victory against Utah (23-15, 0-9 Pac-12) to sweep the three game series with the Utes. It is Arizona's first Pac-12 sweep since taking three games from Stanford to open conference play in 2011.
The win was head coach Mike Candrea's 1,300th. With the victory Candrea became the fastest coach, and second ever, to reach the landmark.
Candrea (1,300-287-2, .819) only trails Fresno State's Margie Wright (1,421 wins entering 2012). Wright's wins have come in 32 seasons while Candrea is coaching his 25th season at Arizona.
"I've been blessed to be in a profession that I've thoroughly enjoyed and had a passion for," Candrea said. "I've also been blessed to have coached some great players that have given us those 1,300 wins."
Candrea is in his 27th year at the helm of the Arizona softball program. A winner of eight national championships (1991, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2006, 2007), he has guided the Wildcats to 22 Women's College World Series appearances, missing twice in the last 24 years (2004, 2011). Under Candrea, Arizona has a spectacular postseason record of 148-43. He has also coached 50 All-Americans with a staggering 90 total citations have played in for Candrea.
|Eight national titles|
|22 WCWS Apperances|
|Gold medal in 2004 Olympics|
|No. 2 on all-time victory list|
Kenzie Fowler (12-3) and Shelby Babcock tag-teamed for the victory, with Fowler pitching the first four innings and Babcock handling the final three to earn her first save.
Fowler allowed two runs on three hits with three strikeouts and three walks in the four innings. Babcock did not allow a hit in the final three scoreless innings but walked two and struck out one.
Brigette Del Ponte concluded her phenomenal series with an RBI single in the first inning. For the series, Del Ponte batted .556 (5-for-9) with a double, two homers, six RBI, four runs scored and a 1.333 slugging percentage.
Kristen Arriola went deep for Arizona, her fifth home run of the season.
Cheslea Goodacre notched her sixth multi-hit game of her career while going 2-for-2.
Utah's Generra Nielson allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking two in six innings. However, the Utes were hindered by a two-run error in the first inning which allowed two unearned runs to cross for the Cats.
The first batter of the game, Kelsi Hoopiiaina, had apparently grounded out to third base on a 3-1 count for the first out of the game, but an illegal pitch was ruled and Hoopiiaina boarded first via the walk. The out-turned-base-runner would come back to haunt Arizona when Katelyn Elliott doubled Hoopiiaina home to give Utah its first lead of the series.
UA answered with three runs in the bottom of the first. A walk and a single put the first two Cats on base. Del Ponte then singled down the left line to tie the game. After a successful double steal put two runners in scoring position for Arizona with no one out, Nielson put out next two Wildcat hitters. She appeared to have the final out before Hoopiiaina booted an Arriola grounder that scored two unearned Arizona runs.
Utah cut Arizona's lead in half in the third. Fowler issued a leadoff walk that would later score on an RBI single by Whitney Holm.
In the sixth inning, Babcock recorded the first two outs before Utah rallied. Back-to-back errors on grounders to the left side, followed by a Babcock walk loaded the bases with the go-ahead runs a base hit away from scoring. However, she got a fly-out to end the threat.
Arriola then led off the sixth with a home run and Arizona never looked back.