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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA shows no mercy during Wildcat Invite

    Arizonas Sarah Akamine prepares to launch a pitch toward the plate during a 10-0 UA win against North Dakota State on Friday at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 53-5 in six wins this weekend.
    Arizona’s Sarah Akamine prepares to launch a pitch toward the plate during a 10-0 UA win against North Dakota State on Friday at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats outscored their opponents by a combined margin of 53-5 in six wins this weekend.

    The Arizona Softball team continued its recent win streak at the Wildcat Invitational, putting on a defensive show in every game it played. The tournament, which took place at Arizona’s home field of Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium, included the Utah Utes and the North Dakota State Bison.

    The No. 11 Wildcats (13-2) went 6-0 over the tournament, and extended their winning streak to 12 games, starting with the last game of the Kajikawa Classic two weeks ago in Tempe.

    “”Overall, this team has come a long way from the first weekend,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”In the last two weekends our team has made some really good adjustments and has been working hard during the week. Offensively, I think good things will happen for us.””

    Offensively, great things happened for Arizona over the weekend. The Wildcats scored double digits in four out of the six games they played this weekend, scoring a total of 64 runs over the course of the tournament. Arizona’s main weapon was the long ball as the team hit 18 home runs over the weekend.

    “”You never come out to the field expecting to have a great game,”” said center fielder Lauren Shutzler, “”but things fall into place the way they do and it’s a great feeling.””

    The staggering offensive stats for Arizona started with junior Stacie Chambers, who racked up 17 RBIs and pushed her season total to 30. She had 49 RBIs total last season. She hit a grand slam in Arizona’s third game against North Dakota State (7-3) on Sunday morning and during her next at bat, she would add a solo shot.

    “”I’m just seeing the ball really well right now,”” Chambers said.

    Candrea was also impressed with his catcher’s power surge.

    “”Stacie is a good hitter and when she gets good pitches and puts good swings on it, good things are going to happen,”” the head coach said.

    In the Wildcats’ first game against Utah, Chambers gave Arizona a 3-0 lead thanks to a three-run home run, all before Utah even picked up a bat. Chambers again hit a three-run home run in the third inning against Utah in their Saturday meeting to add to Arizona’s 6-1 lead.

    She wasn’t the only player to get hot early. Up and down the lineup, the Wildcats were seeing the ball exceptionally well.

    “”Hitting is very contagious, especially with this team,”” Shutzler said. “”When we were struggling a couple weekends ago, it was hard, because you just need that one hit to break through.””

    The pitching for Arizona also made an impact in the tournament. Lindsey Sisk, Sarah Akamine and Jennifer Martinez combined to allow only five runs. Akamine (7-0) remained perfect on the year as she allowed only six hits in three games and pitched a combined two-hit shutout with Martinez on Sunday against the Bison.

    Sisk (6-2) also kept Utah and North Dakota State off the bases. The only spot of trouble for Sisk was in her second game of the weekend. Against the Bison, she fell behind in the second inning after a string of three hits drove in two runs. Determined, Sisk did not allow another run for the rest of the game, and the Arizona offense came alive to win the game 9-2.

    “”I wasn’t nervous because I know this team,”” Sisk said. “”We battled back. We play really well when we’re behind and we put up a fight.””

    The Wildcats had an injury scare in Arizona’s first game of the Wildcat Inviataional when Chambers hit third-baseman Jenae Leles in the head during a practice throw to second base.

    “”Anytime a kid gets hit in the head you get a little bit concerned,”” Candrea said.

    Leles would be replaced by freshman Alicia Banks, but would return to play in the rest of the games of the tournament.

    Arizona will head to College Station, Tex., to duel with No. 19 Texas A&M Friday. Shutzler and the rest of the Arizona team hope that they will build off this weekend and take their confidence into Texas.

    “”I thought it was a really good weekend for us to pick up some ground,”” she said. “”We have a pretty big weekend next weekend and really good competition so I think we needed this tune-up to get ready for that.””

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