Information from the Arizona media relations department contributed to this report.
Arizona head softball coach Mike Candrea earned career win No. 1,600 on Friday when his team mercy-ruled Stanford with a 9-1, five-inning victory to clinch the series vs. the Cardinal.
Candrea joined Michigan’s Carol Hutchins, who won No. 1,600 last weekend, as the only two in NCAA softball history to reach the milestone. Candrea, who started at the UA in 1986, became the fastest coach in NCAA history – any sport, any division – to reach 1,600 career wins (with it occurring in his 2,013th game in his 34 years of coaching). He is the fifth coach in NCAA history to reach 1,600 career NCAA Division I victories.
Hutchins won 23 games at NCAA Division II school Ferris State before embarking on her Michigan career in 1985. She has 1,602 wins overall in 36 years of coaching. She has 1,579 wins in her 35 years at Michigan. Hutchins owns a career record of 1,602-515-5 (.756) while Candrea is 1,600-411-2 (.795).
The Wildcats run-ruled the Cardinal on Friday night, using a five-run fifth to walk off with their 19th straight win that cemented Arizona’s place as the second-best Pac-12 start in UA history at 14-0. Only the 1994 team’s 23-0 start to Pac-10 play is better. The Wildcats won the Women’s College World Series that year with a 63-3 record.
The 19-game winning streak is the 17th longest in program history. If the Wildcats win today, they will be tied with the 1995 and 2002 teams for the 15th-longest streak of 20 straight wins
Nine of UA’s 14 conference victories have ended via the mercy rule; Arizona has outscored its Pac-12 opposition 130-12 over the 14 wins.
Dejah Mulipola went 3-for-3 with two home runs and five RBIs, giving her four home runs over UA’s last three games and 20 for the season, one behind Jessie Harper for the Pac-12 lead. Arizona is now one of only two teams in the country with two players with 20-plus home runs (joining Mississippi State’s Mia Davidson, 22, and Ulufa Leilua, 20).
Mulipola’s night marked her sixth multi-homer game of the season and tied her season-high with five RBIs.
Mulipola’s three hits were three of UA’s nine on the night; Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza and Hillary Edior had a couple of hits apiece while Reyna Carranco went 1-for-2 and Rylee Pierce was 1-for-1.
Mulipola’s two homers gave Arizona a 4-0 lead entering the fifth inning before the Cardinal cut into the lead with a solo homer to trim UA’s lead to three.
Arizona responded with five runs to end the game.
Mike Candrea on winning his 1,600th game at Arizona: “To be able to sustain a level for this long, it takes a lot of different people. So it’s really a tribute to all that have ever been in this program.” pic.twitter.com/Wlcc3RXJIr
Alyssa Denham (11-2) earned the victory for the Wildcats, pitching four innings and allowing one run on three hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Hanah Bowen, who entered in the top of the fifth protecting a three-run lead with the potential tying run on deck, retired the only three batters she faced, the final three outs of the top of the fifth inning and earned her third save of the season.
Arizona improved to 37-7 overall and 14-0 Pac-12 with the win, securing the Wildcats’ eighth straight conference series win (dating back to last season). The loss marked Stanford’s first Pac-12 series loss of 2019. The Cardinal fell to 30-9, 7-4 Pac-12. Arizona will go for its fifth straight conference sweep on Saturday at noon.
No. 1,600! Arizona run rules Stanford, 9-1 to win Mike Candrea’s 1,600th game in Tucson. Arizona has a 19-game winning streak. pic.twitter.com/hci6auDktN