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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A sisterly softball pair

    A sibling rivalry will be renewed this weekend as the Arizona softball team plays host to Pacific 10 Conference foes Oregon State and Oregon at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    UA center fielder Caitlin Lowe will see a familiar face when she steps into the batter’s box tonight, as younger sister Paige will be lined up at second base for the Beavers.

    “”It’ll be fun because I haven’t seen her since Christmas break,”” Caitlin said. “”It’s fun just to be able to come out and do what we love against each other but it would be nice if we were on the same team. One of us has to win, so that’s obviously going to put the other person in a bitter mood.””

    Caitlin has never lost to her sister on the collegiate level. But as a freshman last year, Paige did help the Beavers upset Arizona in a game Caitlin missed while recovering from a broken wrist.

    “”Every game in the Pac-10, the way it’s going right now with everyone beating everbody, it’s really important for us to sweep this weekend.””
    – Chelsie Mesa,
    second baseman

    The two also met in the Women’s College World Series last season, a game in which Arizona defeated Oregon State, 3-2, in an epic, nine-inning affair.

    Neither sister will be getting anything easy at the plate as Arizona and Oregon State feature two of the best pitchers in the country.

    UA’s Taryne Mowatt (23-7) has a 1.68 ERA to go along with 299 strikeouts this season, while OSU’s Brianne McGowan (20-7) has a 1.54 ERA with 126 strikeouts of her own.

    “”I think it’ll be a good matchup,”” Mowatt said. “”We hit decently against (McGowan) in the World Series but she’s pitched well against us every time we’ve faced them in the two years I’ve been here.””

    After opening with No. 14 Oregon State (33-13, 5-3 Pac-10), No. 3 Arizona (31-9, 7-2) must then face the dangerous offense of the No. 15 Ducks (38-8, 3-5) – in what can only be described as a crucial weekend for the Wildcats, with their lead in the Pac-10 down to a single game.

    “”Every game in the Pac-10, the way it’s going right now with everyone beating everybody, it’s really important for us to sweep this weekend,”” said second baseman Chelsie Mesa.

    Oregon is hitting .329 as a team and is led by the three-headed monster of Jennifer Salling, Ann Marie Topps and Susie Barnes. Salling is second in the Pac-10 with a .504 batting average while Topps leads the conference with 17 home runs. Barnes is second only to Caitlin Lowe in stolen bases with 34, two shy of her tally.

    The elder Lowe is a perfect 36 for 36 this season and enters the weekend just five stolen bases short of tying Alison McCutcheon for the most career stolen bases in Arizona history.

    Arizona’s other All-American, Kristie Fox, brings her team-leading 10 home runs and 41 RBI to the table.

    Arizona’s offense has cooled off of late. Though the Wildcats are hitting .295 for the season, they’ve dropped to .242 in conference play.

    UA head coach Mike Candrea isn’t concerned, however, as he thinks drop-off at the plate can be attributed to facing tougher competition in conference play.

    “”You get in conference play and people have seen you many more times, they have a better scouting report on you,”” Candrea said. “”We have some of the best pitchers in the Pac-10 so it does get a little tougher sometimes to generate offense.

    “”So, as a result, you have to win games doing the little things – getting good pitching; playing good defense,”” he added. “”I’ve always said, ‘You win championships getting great pitching and good defense,’ and that’s not going to change.””

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