The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

72° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Taming the Tigers

Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat
The UofA Ladies Softball Team had practice which included a scrimmage this Saturday, February 6th, 2010 at the Hillenbrand Stadium.
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UofA Ladies’ Softball Team had practice which included a scrimmage this Saturday, February 6th, 2010 at the Hillenbrand Stadium.

They may have already completed their first games in colligate softball, but the six freshmen on the Arizona softball roster have never had the experience of playing in front of the Hillenbrand Stadium crowd.

One thing’s for sure: The season home opener against the No. 5 Missouri Tigers will be a weekend they’ll never forget.

“”It’s gonna be a surreal feeling coming out here in front of a big crowd and an intense game,”” said freshman pitcher Kenzie Fowler.

This will be the first chance for the Arizona crowd to officially see the promising freshman in action, something that the young Wildcats are hoping to deliver in Saturday’s double header and Sunday’s game.

Although the butterflies may have subsided a little after finally getting on the field and starting the season, a series against another top-notch program will stir them up again.

“”I’m very excited,”” said freshman Baillie Kirker. “”I’ve heard that there’s a lot of crazy fans here, and I’m very excited to be part of the experience instead of watching from the stands.””

“”I don’t know if (the butterflies) will go away for a while. The first game, it was kinda shaky, but as it went on, I got more relaxed,”” Fowler said. “”You know, just playing softball. The game hasn’t changed, it’s just a different level, a different atmosphere.””

After starting off the season with a six-game win streak in Tempe, the Wildcats return home for an early season test against Mizzou.

The freshmen won’t have any time to get used to playing at Hillenbrand Stadium before a formidable opponent comes into town. The meeting with another top-5 team is an opportunity to rack up big wins early in the season.

“”It gives us an idea of where (we) are real quickly,”” head coach Mike Candrea said of taking on Missouri.

This is the first time Arizona will start out a home season against a ranked team since it hosted then-No. 24 Virginia Tech on March 1, 2008.

“”(Missouri is) a very formidable opponent,”” Candrea said. “”They’re talented, so it will be a very good test for us.””

Both the Wildcats (6-0) and the Tigers (2-1) were in Oklahoma City, Okla., for the Women’s College World Series last year, but the two teams never met. They were both knocked out after losing two games — Arizona to Florida and Alabama, and Mizzou to Arizona State and Georgia.

In the 10 times the Wildcats have faced Mizzou, Arizona has come out on top the last nine times, with the most recent win coming in 2007, when they swept the Tigers at Hillenbrand.

Arizona’s freshmen are stepping into starting roles right away. Kirker, Matte Haack and freshamn Brigette Del Ponte will likely see time on the corners for the Wildcats. Regardless of if they’re ready, the Arizona newcomers will have to step up big this weekend.

“”There’s not a lot of places in the country where the fan support and the atmosphere is like it is here,”” Candrea said. “”For our young kids, it will be a good eye-opener for them and another step they need to take.

More to Discover
Activate Search