The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

93° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball loses two of six

    UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt winds up for a pitch in No. 1 Arizonas 3-1 loss to Florida Saturday in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe. Mowatt allowed a two-out, walk-off home run in the eighth, leading to the first of two Wildcat losses in their six games this weekend.
    UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt winds up for a pitch in No. 1 Arizona’s 3-1 loss to Florida Saturday in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe. Mowatt allowed a two-out, walk-off home run in the eighth, leading to the first of two Wildcat losses in their six games this weekend.

    The No. 1 Arizona softball team was three outs away from finishing an up-and-down, season-opening weekend on a high note.

    Instead, one swing of the bat has the Wildcats searching for answers as they try to regroup from a disappointing finish at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.

    Megan Gibson hit a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning yesterday to give No. 14 Texas A&M a 3-2 victory over Arizona.

    The Wildcats (4-2) led 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh when UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt (2-2), who had relieved freshman Sarah Akamine (2-0) an inning earlier, gave up a double to A&M pitcher Amanda Scarborough to start the inning.

    Gibson then came to the plate and with two strikes sent a Mowattpitch deep toward center field.

    Arizona center fielder Caitlin Lowe, who had scored the go-ahead run in the top of the inning, made a spectacular effort, timing her jump perfectly and getting a glove on the ball before crashing through the outfield fence.

    “”If you are going to make mistakes you want to make them now so you can learn from them and figure out ways to not make them again.””
    – Nancy Evans, UA assistant coach

    Unfortunately for Arizona, she couldn’t bring the ball in, and the Wildcats dejectedly walked off the field as the Aggies (5-0) celebrated at home plate.

    For the second straight day the Wildcats found themselves on the wrong end of a walk-off home run.

    “”It was definitely a tough loss, but luckily it’s the beginning of the year so we have a lot of time to improve,”” said UA assistant coach Nancy Evans. “”If you are going to make mistakes you want to make them now so you can learn from them and figure out ways to not make them again.””

    Facing unranked Florida in their first game Saturday, the Wildcats managed only a single run against UF pitcher Stacey Nelson, falling 3-1 on Melissa Zick’s two-run game-winning homer in the bottom of the eighth inning.

    Mowatt matched Nelson pitch for pitch, forcing extra innings by allowing only an unearned run through seven innings.

    The next game featured a rematch of the 2006 national championship series. No. 4 Northwestern, who Arizona swept in June to claim the title, was in search of revenge.

    In an emotional and hard-fought game, which Arizona won 4-3, tempers reached a boiling point in the third inning.

    With Arizona leading 1-0, Northwestern (4-3) had runners at the corners when catcher Erin Dyer lofted a fly ball to right field. Adrienne Acton caught the ball and fired it as Northwestern’s Tammy Williams tagged up and headed home.

    Acton’s throw was right on the money and got to UA catcher Callista Balko a fraction of a second before Williams did. Williams then plowed into Balko headfirst.

    The collision jarred the ball loose from Balko’s glove, and Williams was called safe. Anger and confusion ensued, with both teams unsure of what had transpired. Balko appeared to be hurt as her teammates came to her defense.

    The most visibly upset Arizona player was Fox, who shouted at Williams and started to walk toward home plate. Both sides exchanged words, but cooler heads eventually prevailed, and Balko shook off the hit and remained in the game.

    “”I personally didn’t agree with the play,”” Fox said after the game. “”I didn’t think she was playing softball the way a classy person should, and I’m just protecting my teammates. “”I’m always going to back them up.””

    Said Balko: “”I’ll be honest, I think she’s a dirty player. There’s a way to play the game, and that’s not how you play the game.””

    In the seventh Mowatt struck out the only two batters she faced to earn her first career save.

    Akamine (2-0) was impressive once again, striking out six and allowing only one earned run in 6 1/3 innings.

    “”After that first game (Saturday), we really needed her to come out and give us a performance, and she did a great job,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea.

    Yesterday’s first game saw the Wildcats matched up with Wisconsin (3-2), a team that had defeated Florida later Saturday.

    Mowatt started, and she bounced back in her first start after the loss to the Gators. She struck out 11 Badgers en route to a complete game three-hitter, as Arizona won 4-1.

    One of those three hits accounted for the Badgers’ lone score, as second baseman Ricci Robben belted a solo home run in the fourth inning. Robben’s homer was the fifth surrendered by Mowatt in 21.1 innings of work heading into the weekend’s final game.

    All nine runs Mowatt allowed over the weekend came via the home run.

    Akamine, despite allowing opponents to hit .316 against her compared to Mowatt’s .200 mark, did not give up a single home run.

    In their season opener against Ohio State on Friday, the Wildcats dominated the Buckeyes (2-3), winning 12-3 in five nings.

    In the nightcap, the Wildcats defeated Nevada (0-5) 6-2, with Akamine earning the win in her collegiate debut. The freshman went six innings, allowing only one earned run on six hits and no walks.

    Players said their early problems are relatively minor, and that more focus and intensity will cure their ails.

    “”We just need to really come out in the beginning of the game with more intensity,”” Lowe said. “”I think we kind of wait until the last second.””

    Evans remained upbeat about her pitching staff and the team as a whole.

    “”Nothing is broken – it’s just a matter of learning and improving and staying mentally focused,”” she said. “”We just need to find a way to fight through it next time.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search