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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Softball takes regional opener

    Just like a bully in the neighborhood schoolyard, Arizona softball’s Taryne Mowatt was punching people out left and right.

    Behind the starting pitcher’s no-hitter – the third in Arizona’s postseason history – the Wildcats (40-12-1) run-ruled Howard 9-0 in the NCAA Regional opener Friday in front of 1,810 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    Mowatt (32-10), who lost two of her last three starts entering the postseason, said it was good to have her pitches working for her.

    “”I tried to stay really focused and take it one batter at a time and one pitch at a time,”” Mowatt said after striking out 12 of the 16 batters she faced and walking one. “”I just focused on hitting my spots. Strikeouts are great but ground balls and pop-flies are just as good.””

    Dale McNeal (21-12) is credited with the loss for the Bison (35-20). The ace pulled a muscle in her back in the third inning when she fielded a bunt, causing her to leave the game. She was relieved by freshman Christina McCoy. McNeal returned but could not stop the Wildcats from scoring six runs to put the game away.

    Arizona’s offense was backed by senior shortstop Kristie Fox and sophomore third baseman Janae Leles. Fox went 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs while Leles went 2-for-3 with two home runs and four RBIs.

    Fox’s home run came in the bottom of the first inning, helping the Wildcats jump out to a two run advantage. Then Leles chipped in with her own home runs in the third and fourth, each to left field.

    “”I have been working this last couple of weeks to get on the right track and try to help my team out as best as I can,”” Leles said. “”It felt really good to get back into the swing of things.””

    Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said he was pleased with the way his team came out and took care of business.

    “”No matter what, it is always good to get the first one under your belt,”” Candrea said. “”I was pleased to see some runs put on the board. … In tournaments like this, you don’t look past the first one. You have to win the first one to get to the second one.””

    The Wildcats now turn their attention to Saturday’s afternoon match against Mississippi State at Hillenbrand Stadium, beginning at 1:30. The Bulldogs knocked off Pacific 7-1 behind center fielder Hayle Guess, who went 3-for-4 while driving in all of Mississippi State’s seven runs on Friday.

    “”At this stage of the game you just need to come out and execute,”” Candrea said. “”From what I saw, (Mississippi State) is a good team. They have some good speed. … We expect a very aggressive game.””

    Extra Bases

    Becky Lemke (May 18, 2000) and Jenny Finch (May 21, 2000) are the only other two pitchers to throw a postseason no-hitter in Arizona history . . . . Leles had a multiple home run game for the second time in her career, with the first one dating back to March 3, 2006 against Long Beach State.

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