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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball trounces Utah in doubleheader

4%09Del+Ponte%2C+Brigette
4 Del Ponte, Brigette

The Arizona softball team did not extend a cordial welcome to the Pac-12’s newest member, sweeping Utah in a Tuesday doubleheader and preventing it from picking up its first-ever Pac-12 win, 8-0 and 3-1.

Despite the lopsided score in game one, the UA bats were quiet at the start.

“Sometimes you’re seeing the ball well as a hitter, sometimes you’re not,” head coach Mike Candrea said. “Sometimes our hitters are thinking about what they don’t want to swing at instead of having a clear mind and a plan. It’s a mindset, it’s a comfort zone.”

In the fourth inning, with no outs and the bases loaded, Arizona (27-10, 6-5 Pac-12) choked away a golden opportunity to essentially put the game on ice against the Utes, who were unable to register a hit until the sixth inning. Instead, Arizona waited until the the sixth to put up five runs, including two big-time hits, a two-run triple from junior Brigette Del Ponte — who was 4-6 with two home runs and five RBIs on the day — and freshman Shelby Pendley’s 14th home run of the season, extending the lead to 8-0 and all but ending the game.

All-American pitcher Kenzie Fowler was back to her usual self, blowing the ball past batters while pitching a two-hit shutout and striking out six.

“A lot of times in the middle of the year, I feel the junior and seniors have been around, you know?” Fowler said. “You think about it because you know what you’re doing and what you need to do, you’re just not trying to put too much pressure on yourself.”

Game two of the day saw less scoring than the first, as the Wildcats mustered up six hits in a 3-1 win. Shelby Babcock was in the circle for Arizona. Her only blemish in tossing a six-hit, one-run complete game was a third-inning home run by Chalese Fankhauser.

In the fifth inning, Del Ponte and her bat were at it again, going deep for the second time in as many games — giving Arizona the boost it needed, pushing the score from a one-run game to a two-run lead the Wildcats would ‘t give up.

“I do my best when I’m having fun, I just need to relax and clear my head,” Del Ponte said. “I used a new bat. The black one wasn’t doing me good, and the brown one wasn’t doing me good, so I used a new mojo … Thank God.”

The final game of the Utah series will be played today at noon at Hillenbrand Stadium, before the Wildcats head to Northern California to face No. 1 Cal in a three-game weekend series.

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