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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

‘Cats struggling at the plate

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Hallie Bolonkin
Hallie Bolonkin/Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona softball team won its weekend series at Oregon State and now sits in sole possession of first in the Pacific 10 Conference. However, there was plenty to be concerned about in Corvallis.

Arizona left a total of 35 runners on base in its three-game series against the Beavers. The Wildcats also saw very little production out of what is supposed to be the strongest part of their lineup.

Stacie Chambers, Lini Koria and Kristen Arriola were a combined 5-for-28 against Oregon State. The four, five, six trio also managed to record just three RBIs for the weekend, which is well below the 107 they recorded in the team’s first 38 games.

Head coach Mike Candrea says the lack of production out of this spot hurts the whole team’s offense.

“”Obviously when it comes to offensive production,”” he says, “”there’s a purpose for everyone, and those four, five and six hitters are the ones who are driving in runs normally. So when it happens, it looks easy and we put a lot of runs up, and when it doesn’t we leave a lot of runners

on base.””

The hitting woes did not end with the team’s three primary hitters. Alex Lavine and Baillie Kirker, who have struggled for most of the season, continued to do so against Oregon State. The pair recorded just two hits on 17 at-bats and failed to drive in a single run. Kirker is now hitting a dismal .194 on the season with just 14 RBIs.

The bright side of five of the hitters having off weekends was that the Wildcats’ talented roster was able to pick up the slack and win the series. Junior Karissa Buchanan was 6-10 on the weekend, and senior Lauren Schutzler was 5-12 with three of the team’s 11 runs.

Senior catcher Stacie Chambers, who hit 2-9 on the weekend, does not see the trend continuing for the Wildcats’ hitters.

“”I think it was just a bad coincidence,”” she said. “”We hit well, and we will score runs.””

Arizona will have to improve their hitting quickly, as they face consecutive series against Washington and ASU. Both teams are currently just one game behind the Wildcats for first place in the Pac-10, and ASU was ranked No. 1 in the nation a week ago.

Both teams present difficult challenges if Arizona fails to get production from the best power hitters in its lineup. Washington and ASU are the top two teams in the country in average runs per game with 8.52 and 8.44, respectively. If these teams continue to produce against the Wildcats, 11 runs may not be enough to win a game, let alone a series.

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