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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball sees effect of new schedule

The Pacific 10 Conference schedule always demands effort and focus of the eight colligate softball teams in the league.

But this year, it demands even more.

The Pac-10 has reorganized its weekend schedule so that every team plays a weekend three-game series against a single team, rather than switching off between a two-game series with one team and a single game with another team.

The change has redefined the conference momentum. 

“”I think this is a big weekend and Fridays have become a big game,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”Getting the win on Friday in a three-game series is huge.””

The idea of a sweep evolved from taking a 2-0 advantage in a season series to actually rattling off three wins over a three-day period.

In a conference where the softball IQ is so high that players can make adjustments between batters, seeing hitters and pitchers multiple times can change the way the game is played. The momentum swing goes to the team that can show as little as possible and still get the job done.

“”I don’t want to see teams that we’re going to see in postseason see Kenzie (Fowler) three times,”” Candrea said about keeping the element of surprise.

For the No. 3 Wildcats, starting the weekend on the right foot has become a crucial part of how the weekend plays out.

The Wildcats lost a heartbreaking 2-1 contest in their Friday game at the Washington Huskies as an unearned run crossed the plate in the third inning. The Wildcats were unable to rebound from the Game 1 loss, suffering their first three-game losing streak of the season after dropping Game 2, 7-0, and Game 3, 9-3. 

“”You get your backs against the wall, you find out a lot about yourself,”” Candrea said. “”What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I always say.

“”Last weekend didn’t kill us but the bottom line was how do we come out and react this weekend,”” he added after Friday night’s 3-2 win over No. 10 Stanford.

Against Stanford, Arizona was able to hold on for the 3-2 win in Game 1 on Friday. The Wildcat offense was able to chase Cardinal ace Teagan Gerhart from the game and was successful at getting at Stanford pitchers the rest of the weekend.

“”We needed to get our confidence back, especially with a good pitcher,”” freshman Brigette Del Ponte said. “”We needed to get our confidence. Our confidence was pretty low.””

Friday-night wins have given Arizona a way to get ahead and take the series momentum. If the Wildcats can jump on opponents early in the single series, they’ll continue to make adjustments and challenge opposing pitchers deep in the series.

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