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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

In trouble

 

The Arizona softball team was shut out by the Oklahoma Sooners 6-0 in the first game of the NCAA Super Regional at Hillenbrand Stadium on Friday night. The Wildcats will now have to win two games on Saturday to avoid elimination.

“”At this stage of the game you can’t overanalyze and you just got less than 24 hours to turn it around and prepare yourself,”” said head coach Mike Candrea. “”We know where we are at. We need to have short-term memory right now, get rid of this one as quick as we can and get ready to play tomorrow.””

Scoreless in the top of the third with two outs, Kenzie Fowler gave up a double to deep center to Sooner catcher Katie Norris. An error charged to Wildcat shortstop Alex Lavine and a hit batter by Fowler, after allowing a bloop hit, gave the Sooners a one run lead. But Fowler found a way to escape the inning by forcing Keilani Ricketts to fly out to right field, and the Sooners left the bases loaded.

Loading the bases in the next inning with a pair of walks and another soft single over the infield, Fowler gave up a second run on a sacrifice fly by Sooner player Katie Norris. Fowler was called for an illegal pitch during the next batter, moving two runners in scoring position.

Fowler seemed to escape the inning again with minimal damage when Sooner Destinee Martinez hit a fly ball to right field. But Karissa Buchanan fell trying to field it, and the fly ball safely found the outfield grass.

Fowler was pulled after four innings of work. Shelby Babcock, Arizona’s second pitcher, took over for the final three innings. She gave up one run on a seventh-inning solo home run by Ricketts, who added to the Wildcat deficit and to her dominant complete-game performance.

The Arizona bats weren’t able to help their struggling ace. Although Ricketts faced many of the same situations Fowler did throughout the game, but the Wildcats did not capitalize on it. In the bottom of the third and in the bottom of the sixth innings the Wildcats loaded the bases but Ricketts found ways to get out of jams.

The Wildcats left 11 runners on base and went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.

“”We’ve always been on the grind this whole season. We are trying to win the game, not to lose, and we need to just play like it’s our last,”” said Lini Koria, the designated player for the Wildcats.

Friday’s loss is the first of the three-game Super Regional series, with the winner punching their ticket to Oklahoma City to play in the College World Series.

The Wildcats face the second game of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m., and a potential third game at 4:30 p.m. 

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