Arizona prepares for Wildcat Softball Classic
Riding a seven-game winning streak, the UA softball team will take on five opponents at the Wildcat Softball Classic this weekend.
The No. 4 Wildcats will begin play this afternoon at 3 against Penn State and at 5 against Texas Tech.
"We have to keep pitching to get better," junior shortstop Allison Andrade said. "I am excited to play all the teams, anybody who comes I am excited to play."
Leading the way for Arizona (8-1 overall) are pitchers Becky Lemke and Jennie Finch.
Lemke is reigning Pacific 10 Pitcher of the Week, and has a 0.95 ERA and a 5-1 record.
"I am happy with myself this far in the season, I feel a lot more confidence," Lemke said.
Finch has been equally impressive as she is 3-0 with a1.69 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 16 innings.
The Wildcat Softball Classic will be the first tournament this year in which Arizona will not face any ranked opponents.
UA has beaten No. 3 Fresno State, No. 5 Southern Mississippi and No. 18 South Carolina in their two previous tournaments.
"I think we are just looking forward to coming out here and playing hard like last weekend," junior third baseman Toni Mascarenas said. "We need to eliminate some mistakes and I think we are still working on eliminating some of the little mistakes."
Mascarenas is one of the leaders of the potent UA offense which hit a combined .394 in the Fiesta Bowl Classic Softball Tournament in Phoenix last weekend, outscoring their opponents 46-4.
Junior outfielder Nicole Giordano leads the team with a .560 batting average, in addition to her team leading 14 runs.
Six Wildcats have hit homers this year, led by Finch's three, two of which came last weekend.
Junior outfielder Lauren Bauer will also be key to the Wildcat attack as she leads the team in RBIs with 10 and stolen bases with six.
Arizona plays New Mexico at 3 p.m. and Kentucky at 5 p.m. tomorrow.
All games will take place at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.
Baseball team crushes Islanders; Aggies up next
The previews went fine.
Now it's on to the main attraction.
After disposing of Texas A&M at Corpus Christi Wednesday 23-8, the Arizona baseball team is in College Station, Texas, today for a weekend series against the Texas A&M Aggies.
"It's always an adventure to go play at Texas A&M," UA head coach Jerry Stitt said. "It's an interesting place to play, definitely one of the toughest. The fans are all over you."
The Aggies, who are currently 3-5, lost two out of three games against Southwest Texas State in their most recent series. A&M has played seven of their past eight games on the road.
Arizona, meanwhile, looked sharp in its seven-inning win on Wednesday. Four players homered as the Wildcats (9-6) defeated the understaffed Islanders, 23-8. With UA leading by more than 10 runs after seven innings, the game was called due to the NCAA's "mercy" rule.
Senior Mike Crawford pitched three innings of one-hit ball for Arizona as the Wildcats, led by home runs from Shelley Duncan, Ernie Durazo, Troy Gingrich and Ben Diggins, cruised to the victory.
The team's intended starter, senior Rob Shabansky, did not pitch for the Wildcats on Wednesday. His status for the weekend series is unknown.
Wildcat gymnasts slated for busy weekend
The Arizona gymnastics' team returns to McKale Center this weekend for two meets against nationally-ranked opponents.
The Wildcats (5-5 overall, 1-3 Pacific Conference) compete against the No. 15 Washington Huskies (3-3, 2-2 Pac-10) tonight at 7:30. Arizona will then face the No. 17 Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-3) Sunday at 2 p.m.
In Arizona's loss to Oregon State last Friday, the Wildcats scored season-highs on the vault (48.675) and the beam (48.4) and recorded the third-highest team score of the season.
"We earned a good score at Oregon State," head gymnastics' coach Bill Ryden said. "But we still have consistency issues to deal with in some events."
Senior Heidi Hornbeek returned to the all-around line-up last week for the first time this season and recorded a season-high 39.375 winning the title. She set season-highs on the vault (9.875) and the beam (9.85) earning fourth on both events.
Hornbeek also placed third on the floor (9.85) and tied teammate junior Kara Fry for third on the bars (9.8).
Fry marked a career-high on the beam with a score of 9.9 and tied for second place in the all-around with a season-high 39.150.
UA, ASU clash on ice in season finale
Three weeks before the American Collegiate Hockey Association tournament, the Icecats close out the regular season tonight against the Arizona State Icedevils at the Tucson Convention Center.
The Icecats, who will be seeded sixth at the tournament, have not lost to ASU in 11 straight meetings.
Head coach Leo Golembiewski said tonight's and tomorrow night's games would serve as good tune-ups for their opponents at the tournament.
"We are in good shape physically, so want to use this series to mentally prepare for Michigan-Dearborn and Wisconsin-Whitewater," Golembiewski said.
Arizona State received a bid for the upcoming tournament, but declined the invitation for unknown reasons.
Both games begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Tucson Convention Center.
Men's tennis faces Rice; women head to Oregon
The Arizona men's tennis team, surging recently partly because of its doubles strength, will battle Rice on Sunday at Robson Tennis Center.
Winners of three out of their last four matches, the No. 55 Wildcats (3-3 overall) will continue to stress the importance of winning the matches' first point, which is awarded to the team that wins two of three doubles matches.
"The main thing is the doubles, it sets the tone and mood of the match and influences singles play," sophomore Alex Aybar said.
Aybar (12-6) is ranked No. 86 and will continue playing in the top singles position. Sophomore Caleb Marquardt was scratched from the lineup because of an injured shoulder.
Rice is a veteran team, returning seven players - including two seniors - from the team that defeated UA 4-3 last year in Houston.
In recent matches, strong play from the five and six positions - held by freshman Tom Lloyd (5-7) and senior Alex Brown (8-6) - have allowed the Wildcats to clinch wins. Lloyd has won two out of his last three singles matches as Brown is on a current three-match winning streak.
The women's team (6-1 overall, 1-1 Pacific 10 Conference) travels to Oregon to take on the Ducks (2-4, 0-4) with the chance at matching their best start since 1995.
Oregon has lost two straight matches, falling to No. 11 UCLA, 5-4, and No. 12 USC, 7-2.
Laxcats hit road for game against UCLA
The forecast for the Los Angeles area this weekend is rain.
The Laxcats, who are used to playing in the dry heat of Tucson, will have to be able to handle not only the inclement weather this weekend, but also the UCLA Bruins (1-1).
"The unknown factor this weekend is the weather," head coach Mickey-Miles Felton said. "We are used to playing on a dry field so the weather might be a factor."
The Laxcats, ranked No. 10 in the U.S. Lacrosse Intercoliegate Association, lost to UCLA in overtime during the fall exhibition season. Prior to that game, the Laxcats had not lost to UCLA in the 25 years that Felton has been the head coach.
The Laxcats (1-1) will need the offense to step-up against the Bruins this weekend.
"We need the offense to make a step forward chemistry wise this weekend," Felton said. "The offense needs to keep the ball a little longer so the defense can rest."
The Bruins are currently ranked No. 23 in the USLIA polls and 6th in the Western Conference Lacrosse League.
Rugby in Calif. for conference matchup
While there might be rain in the sky, the temperature on the field will be hot this weekend as the Arizona rugby team plays rival San Diego St. Aztecs.
"The games between San Diego St. and Arizona are always very heated games," UA head coach Dave Sitton said. "These games are always a very hard-fought physical match, which has become the most heated rivalry for our program."
The Wildcats, who enter the game with a record of 2-1 in league play and 3-3 overall, take on the Aztecs (2-2) today at 2 p.m. at Qualcomm Park.
In addition to the rivalry, the game has playoff implications for both teams.
Sitton said Arizona would be in excellent position to win the conference should they beat SDSU.
"We are going to need the 15 players on the field to all be on the same page for us to win," he said.
Arizona defeated San Diego St. 30-13 in Tucson last season, though UA trails in the overall series, 19-20-1.
The two teams have won the conference title in four out of the last five seasons.
On Sunday, Arizona faces the University of San Diego Terreros (0-3) at Alcala Park.