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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball powers its way to a sweep

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The Arizona softball team showed its potential in all areas at the Hillenbrand Invitational this weekend with wins over Drake, Kennesaw State, and University of the Pacific as well as two wins against Texas A&M Corpus Christi. Whether it was on offense or defense, the No. 4 Wildcats used their first home stand of the season to display their capabilities.

The team’s bats were particularly impressive, producing 45 runs in five games with 15 home runs. Senior catcher Stacie Chambers provided five of those, including two grand slams in the Wildcats’ first game against Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Friday. Chambers also singled in a run, giving her nine RBI for the game, tying her career high. Junior Lini Koria added four home runs, senior Brittany Lastrapes and sophomore Brigette Del Ponte each had two, and senior Lauren Schutzler and sophomore Baillie Kirker both hit their first of the season.

The Wildcats were equally impressive in the field, allowing only 10 runs for the tournament. The Arizona pitching combo of sophomore Kenzie Fowler and freshman Shelby Babcock was solid for the first four games, giving up just one earned run. Babcock rebounded well from a rough outing against Oklahoma at the Kajikawa Classic last weekend, giving up three hits with no earned runs in two innings of relief work against Texas A&M Corpus Christi on Friday and turning in a two hit shutout against Kennesaw State. The growing pains continued for Babcock against Pacific on Sunday when she was replaced after the Tigers scored three runs in the first three innings.

Fowler continued to perform well, going all seven innings against Drake on Saturday and giving up just three hits and one earned run in a 5-3 Wildcats victory. The sophomore pitcher’s first earned run of the weekend came on a home run by Drake second baseman and fellow Tucson native Torey Craddock.

It wasn’t all good news this weekend, however. The Wildcats had a close call against Drake on Saturday when an error by junior second baseman Kristen Arriola in the seventh inning allowed the Bulldogs back into the game. Arizona also committed four errors in the 9-1 victory over Texas A&M Corpus Christi. The errors did not prove to be damaging for the Wildcats, but it was their most since a four-error game against California in 2005. The biggest scare for Arizona came in the final game of the tournament against Pacific, a back and forth affair that ended in an 8-6 win for Arizona on Del Ponte’s go-ahead solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning. The 3-1 second inning score was the first time Arizona trailed all weekend.

The Wildcats took care of business at home — something head coach Mike Candrea has always preached to his teams.

“”We want to make it very uncomfortable for people,”” Candrea said. “”We’ve tried to do that throughout the years and home field advantage is very important for us, and we expect to win.””

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