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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA softball takes 2 over weekend

    UCLA catcher Jennifer Schroeder tags UA pinch runner Cyndi Duran out at the plate in the Bruins 2-1 win at Hillenbrand Stadium yesterday. The No. 9 Wildcats won 2 of 3 over the weekend after beating the No. 4 UCLA 8-0 Saturday and No. 25 Washington 5-4 on Friday.
    UCLA catcher Jennifer Schroeder tags UA pinch runner Cyndi Duran out at the plate in the Bruins’ 2-1 win at Hillenbrand Stadium yesterday. The No. 9 Wildcats won 2 of 3 over the weekend after beating the No. 4 UCLA 8-0 Saturday and No. 25 Washington 5-4 on Friday.

    Arizona softball interim head coach Larry Ray found it quite peculiar that he had to remind a Wildcat squad that it is capable of competing with the nation’s best teams.

    But when that team has been losing more than it has become accustomed to over the past few year’s – including an 8-1 loss to ASU last Wednesday – the team was in need of a little confidence boost heading into this past weekend in which it played three games against top-tier teams.

    “”We are a very good ballclub at times and we just need to make sure the players see we can play the best, and we are the best when we play our game,”” Ray said. “”It is a little strange, but again, I think this team sometimes is kind of living off of the (national championship banners) that are on the outfield fence and we need to make sure that we establish an identity of our own.

    “”If they want to put a sign out there,”” Ray said of his team, “”they are going to have continue to play not two out of three games, but three out of three.””

    No. 9 Arizona (29-12, 6-4 Pacific 10 Conference) has only had one complete weekend sweep this season – in which it hosted the Wildcat Invitational Feb. 29 to March 2 – and this past weekend yield another.

    Despite bouncing back from the ASU blowout by beating No. 25 Washington 5-4 in eight innings Friday and run-ruling No. 4 UCLA 8-0 Saturday, the Wildcats fell to the Bruins 2-1 yesterday to conclude the weekend series.

    After trailing by one run to the Bruins (36-9, 8-2) the entire game yesterday, Arizona got on the board off of an RBI double from Stacie Chambers to tie the game, but pinch runner Cyndi Duran, who represented the go-ahead run, was gunned down at the plate.

    The next inning, UCLA’s Jennifer Schroeder blasted her second home run of the season off of UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt, sending the Bruins to the victory. Mowatt had a strong game, giving up five hits while striking out nine, but the pitch she labeled as a “”mistake”” proved to be the difference.

    “”I thought one pitch changes everything,”” Mowatt said. “”Get rid of that one pitch and I thought we played really well.””

    Nevertheless, Arizona’s players felt the weekend was full of improvement for a team who has seen better days.

    “”I definitely think we did a great job of bouncing back (from the ASU loss) and our attitudes were better, and that was the main thing even though the results weren’t as planned (yesterday),”” said third baseman Janae Leles. “”We changed a lot this weekend, mentally, physically and emotionally.””

    The loss to ASU seemed to shake up the Wildcats more than just throwing one more tally into the loss column, especially for Mowatt.

    When Mowatt was asked why the loss to the Sun Devils was particularly bad for her, she had to excuse herself from the interview to compose herself as tears came.

    “”That game (on Wednesday) – I didn’t feel like myself,”” Mowatt said after composing herself. “”I felt uncomfortable and I felt really awkward out there and that was the first time since probably my freshman year that I kind of had no idea what to do.

    “”It was important to get out there, but I thought (yesterday) went well and hopefully next weekend will be a different story.””

    Mowatt’s teammates cited last week as a turning point, as they held a players-only meeting to figure out where they were. Some players said it was distance between the players and others said each person had different expectations.

    The meeting was used to clear the air, and taking two of three against two top-caliber teams seemed to put Arizona back on track.

    “”(Against) ASU, a lot of us were not on our ‘A’ game, by far,”” said senior catcher Callista Balko. “”We weren’t playing together. Sometimes teams are going to go through stuff like that and it is just about how well you handle it, and we handled it right. We got through it, we talked about it and then we came out this weekend and went two for three against some top teams.

    “”People were just frustrated with each other,”” Balko added. “”When you get 20 women together way too much things are going to happen, and we just kind of needed some space and we needed to talk about things we weren’t talking about and put things on the table. And that’s what we did and we got through it.””

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