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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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The Arizona softball team lost all three games and was outscored 20-14 against ASU in Tempe, Ariz., over the weekend.

The Wildcats’ team morale received a blow in Sunday’s game, when head coach Mike Candrea was taken to the hospital after experiencing tightness in his chest.

Players and coaches were unavailable for comment on Candrea’s condition.

“You know, the girls are in a little bit of a depression right now,” said assistant coach Larry Ray, who took over coaching responsibilities upon Candrea’s departure in the third inning. “We got caught once or twice on defense.”

The loss leaves the team at a slow 0-3 start in conference play.

“Defensively, we did make some critical errors and that’s what really got us,” third baseman Brigette Del Ponte said.

Candrea worked the Wildcats in practice during preparation for ASU, stressing that a perfect defense was the key to winning the series. His absence from the game may have affected the outcome, as Arizona gave up seven unanswered runs after taking a 6-0 lead.

“It’s about understanding what certain players are capable of doing in certain positions and what they are not,” Ray said. “But we did extremely well today.”

After going extra innings to settle the first game, the Wildcats proved to be an offensive threat, outhitting ASU 7-4 on the first day. Game two proved just as difficult, with Arizona giving up three runs and the series in the sixth inning.

Prolific hitting from Arizona third baseman Jessica Spigner, who drove home two RBIs in games one and two, along with key runs and hits from Hallie Wilson and Kristen Arriola, kept the team alive. Solid pitching from both Kenzie Fowler and Shelby Babcock held the top-five ASU offense, which averages close to eight runs per game, to just four hits and four runs in game one.

“Offensively we did great, we walked a lot and stayed in it,” Ray said.

Despite timely hitting, the defense fell short against ASU and buckled under the pressure, giving up ties and leads in each game. Arizona couldn’t maintain a commanding 6-0 lead as the Sun Devils closed the series, coming back to win 7-6.

“Reading bunts and doing our homework on the opposing hitters is something that hit home today,” Del Ponte said. “We need that for upcoming games.”

Discouraged but determined, the Wildcats prepare for a long week with a two-game series on Tuesday against San Diego State at home and a tough three-game conference showdown against Stanford.

“We need to reach a little deeper right now and make games,” Ray said. “Make them go our way. These next few series have a lot to tell about the team.”

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