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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Hollowell expected to pitch for No. 1 Wildcats in Oregon

    Claire C. Laurence/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Senior outfielder Autumn Champion throws a ball back to the infields as No. 1 softball defeated No. 10 Louisiana-Layfeyette 4-2 yesterday in Hillenbrand Stadium.
    Claire C. Laurence/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Senior outfielder Autumn Champion throws a ball back to the infields as No. 1 softball defeated No. 10 Louisiana-Layfeyette 4-2 yesterday in Hillenbrand Stadium.

    SOftball opens Pac-10 play

    The No. 1 Arizona softball team has accomplished several feats during nonconference play on the way to the Pacific 10 Conference season this weekend.

    Wildcat team statistics include a .343 team batting average and a .953 combined on-base and slugging percentage, and two players have earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors. Pitching has been just as good, with a 0.58 team ERA and 374 strikeouts in 203 2/3 innings, while two different pitchers twice have been named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week.

    The Wildcats (29-3, 0-0) bring those stellar numbers into the start of conference play today at 4 p.m. in Corvallis, Ore., against No. 7 Oregon State (25-2, 0-0), before playing two games at Oregon (15-10, 0-0) in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

    Last year the Beavers were one of four teams to share the Pac-10 Championship title, along with the Wildcats, Stanford and California, and currently are riding a 25-game win streak.

    The Ducks, on the other hand, have not shared such good fortune, as they recently had to forfeit a tournament due to a shortage of pitchers.

    Arizona will almost certainly not be lacking pitchers this weekend, now that senior pitcher Alicia Hollowell has been cleared to pitch.

    “”I’m sure we’ll see her,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”She’s expected to pitch. I think at this point, it’s more of her feeling good mentally.””

    Last weekend, the Wildcats were without their ace Hollowell for a series against No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette because of the injury she suffered in the Wildcats’ semifinal loss to Texas March 19, but the team was still able to easily sweep the Ragin’ Cajuns out of Hillenbrand Stadium.

    “”I thought it was big last weekend to come out and play a good team without having Hollowell and (junior center fielder) Caitlin (Lowe) and being able to get the job done,”” Candrea said.

    Sophomore pitcher Taryne Mowatt has taken charge for Arizona in recent weeks, earning Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week honors twice in a row after posting similar, if not better numbers than Hollowell, helping to lessen stress of the coach’s job.

    “”Taryne has been throwing very well,”” Candrea said. “”If we had been going into last weekend without Taryne having the success that she has had then we’d be a little shaky, but I never have any doubt.””

    Another player who has raised eyebrows is last week’s Pac-10 Player of the Week, junior second baseman Chelsie Mesa, who hit in the No. 2 spot for the first time in her career. She responded by hitting .636 (7-for-11) over the series, and had a home run and five RBIs.

    “”We had other people step up, and that’s a sign of a good team,”” Candrea said. “”I really believe that somewhere along the line, that you’re going to see contributions one through nine with this ball club.””

    Candrea and his team are feeling good heading into conference play.

    “”Away we go,”” Candrea said. “”I think if there is any team ready for it, it’s us. We have played a very good schedule, and we know what we need to do.””

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