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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball wins 5th straight at home

    UA pitcher Sarah Akamine hurls a pitch during the No. 4 Wildcats 5-2 win over California yesterday at Hillenbrand Stadium. Akamine allowed two runs on five hits and struck out five over five innings to pick up her first career conference win.
    UA pitcher Sarah Akamine hurls a pitch during the No. 4 Wildcats’ 5-2 win over California yesterday at Hillenbrand Stadium. Akamine allowed two runs on five hits and struck out five over five innings to pick up her first career conference win.

    The No. 4 Arizona softball team has grown accustomed to relying on a solid performance from its starting pitcher, but it wasn’t the usual face in the circle yesterday at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    Sarah Akamine led the way for the Wildcats, as she struck out five batters en route to Arizona’s 5-2 victory over California in the final game of its two-week homestand.

    The Wildcats (31-8, 7-1 Pacific 10 Conference) won all five of those games, including a 4-1 win over No. 12 Stanford on Friday and a 6-4 victory over Cal on Saturday.

    Fr. pitcher targets May 11 debut
    “”Freshman pitcher Amanda Williams, who hasn’t played yet this season, targets the end of the
    semester for a possible debut.
    Williams has been out for what UA head coach Mike Candrea called an “”academic-oriented”” issue. If she returns May 11 when finals end, she would give Arizona some pitching depth behind junior Taryne Mowatt and freshman Sarah Akamine.
    “”Hopefully, I’ll be playing at the end of the semester,”” Williams said after Arizona’s win over California yesterday.
    Williams was the California Gatorade State Player of the Year as a senior at Freedom High School in Brentwood, Calif.
    Candrea remained guarded about the situation but agreed with the May 11 target debut.””

    – Savir Punia

    “”I was really pleased with Sarah’s performance,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”She just made a couple mistakes, and the ball leaves the ballpark, but I think overall she played well.””

    “”We are going to need her down the road, so I though it was big for her to get into a Pac-10 game and kind of get ready to go again,”” Candrea added.

    Akamine, who saw her first action against a conference opponent this season, said she felt a little out of form on the mound and was having some trouble hitting her spots.

    Akamine allowed two runs to cross the plate via the home run, but only allowed five hits and walked none.

    “”I was very rusty,”” said Akamine, who hasn’t pitched since a win against New Mexico on March 24. “”I haven’t been practicing a lot, pitching-wise. I think I did OK with hitting my spots, but I had a few mistakes.””

    Cal (25-23, 2-7) took an early lead for the second consecutive day off a fourth-inning home run by Christina Schallig that barely cleared the foul pole down the left-field line.

    Arizona responded in the bottom half of the inning when Adrienne Acton got an infield single with the bases loaded to tie the game at 1.

    Then, center fielder Caitlin Lowe popped a ball into shallow right field that eventually dropped due to an error on Cal’s Vernae Sevilla.

    After designated player Laine Roth scored on the play, Cal tagged Acton out at second as she was advancing. With the Cal infielders looking around and the ball still in play, Lowe decided to run for second base.

    The Golden Bears tried to throw Lowe out, but were unsuccessful. Lowe’s dash to second gave left fielder K’Lee Arredondo the opportunity to go home and score the third run of the inning.

    “”I think we did a good job of manufacturing runs (yesterday),”” Lowe said. “”They were throwing me inside, but I was able to come through at the end.””

    Just as the night before, Cal wasn’t done scoring after Arizona retook the lead.

    With Akamine still in the game, Cal’s Alex Sutton hit a two-out home run that cut the Wildcats’ lead to 3-2.

    Although Akamine retired the final batter following the homer, Candrea decided to return to ace pitcher Taryne Mowatt to close the game.

    “”I thought (yesterday) was a good day to give (Akamine) some opportunity,”” Candrea said. “”I really felt they were getting on her a little bit, so I thought it was a good time to bring Taryne (Mowatt) in.””

    Mowatt slammed the door on the Golden Bears in the final two innings as she struck out four batters and allowed only one hit. Mowatt earned her third save of the season.

    She uncharacteristically struggled from the pitcher’s circle on Saturday as she gave up four runs despite striking out 10 Golden Bear batters.

    Senior second baseman Chelsie Mesa came up big for the Wildcats, as she went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBIs.

    Catcher Callista Balko knocked in all four of Arizona’s runs against Stanford on Friday, including a two-run home run to left field. The homer marked Balko’s first round-tripper dating back to March 15 against North Carolina State.

    Extra Bases

    With two stolen bases yesterday, Caitlin Lowe gained her 143rd career stolen base. She is now only five steals away from eclipsing Alison McCutcheon’s career record of 148.

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