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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball holds on to No. 1 spot despite weekend loss

    The No. 1 Arizona softball team (15-1) hit a bump in the road last weekend when the Wildcats suffered their first loss of the season. But with 10 first-place votes and 478 total points, the Wildcats remained in the top spot in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Poll announced yesterday.

    Arizona’s first loss came Sunday against No. 3 Texas (17-1) in a 1-0 pitcher’s duel at the Palm Springs Classic. It was the Wildcats’ second meeting with the Longhorns this season, after beating Texas 1-0 on Feb. 11 in Kajikawa Classic.

    Since then, Texas has compiled a 15-game win streak, tying ASU for best streak in the nation.

    In Sunday’s game, Texas senior ace and two-time NCAA Player of the Year Cat Osterman threw for a three-hit, 18-strikeout performance, and yesterday she was named USA Softball Player of the Week.

    The only scoring of the game came on a controversial home run in the first inning by Longhorns’ sophomore shortstop Desiree Williams. The ball was hit to left-center field and was caught by junior center fielder Caitlin Lowe. Umpires ruled that Lowe did not have possession of the ball before she knocked down the temporary outfield fencing.

    “”There was really no controversy,”” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. “”When you look at the play live, and you don’t get a chance to slow it down, obviously it may look closer.

    “”It was a good ballgame,”” he said. “”Osterman is obviously a good pitcher, but it was a good opportunity to get our young players to face her. Hopefully we learn from it, and we’ll be prepared a little better the next time we face her.””

    The rankings came as no shock to the 21-year head coach, but Candrea also said that there is still margin for improvement.

    “”Its nice to be recognized,”” Candrea said. “”It’s a compliment to this group, and the way they have played to this part, but we’ve got a long season ahead of us, and we’ve got to continue to prove ourselves.””

    Arizona’s play has been far from disappointing thus far, but the season is still young, and Candrea said he realizes that it can change at any time.

    “”I’m pleased with the team because they are making progress,”” Candrea said. “”They’re working hard and getting better, and we have to continue to do that. The big thing about the rankings is that the only ranking that is going to matter is at the end.””

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