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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball looking for sweep

    UA outfielder Brittany Lastrapes takes a hack at a pitch during Arizonas 13-1 win over Oregon State at Hillenbrand Stadium on April 27. The No. 8 Wildcats hit the road this weekend against much stiffer competition as they face No. 4 UCLA today in Los Angeles and No. 25 Washington in Seattle tomorrow and Sunday.
    UA outfielder Brittany Lastrapes takes a hack at a pitch during Arizona’s 13-1 win over Oregon State at Hillenbrand Stadium on April 27. The No. 8 Wildcats hit the road this weekend against much stiffer competition as they face No. 4 UCLA today in Los Angeles and No. 25 Washington in Seattle tomorrow and Sunday.

    When playing games on the road, the No. 8 Arizona softball team would usually be pleased with a series split at the very least.

    This weekend, anything short of a sweep would be a disappointment. With the postseason steadily approaching, the Wildcats are looking to put together a string of wins in order to earn a favorable slate in postseason play.

    “”We need three (wins this weekend). Hopefully three,”” said shortstop K’Lee Arredondo. “”I won’t be happy with two, and I know our team won’t be happy with two. We want to finish out the weekend with all three.””

    Unfortunately for the Wildcats, which have not registered a weekend sweep in Pacific 10 Conference play thus far this season, it won’t be easy to win all three games.

    Arizona (31-15, 8-7 Pac-10) has arguably the hardest road trip of its season lined up for this weekend, as it plays No. 4 UCLA (41-5, 13-2) tonight and immediately afterward have to turn around and fly to Seattle for two games against the No. 25 Huskies (26-18, 5-9).

    The Wildcats, however, took two of the three games when UCLA and Washington came to Hillenbrand Stadium and just missed the sweep after losing 2-1 to the Bruins in the weekend finale.

    “”It’s a tough road trip. By far the toughest we experience all year long because you get in late on Thursday night and you have to turn around and (play the next day),”” said Arizona interim head coach Larry Ray. “”The tough part is to hustle onto the LAX and catch a flight so we get in late Friday night and (play Saturday).””

    The latter portion of the road trip will be extra special for outfielder Brittany Lastrapes, as her older sister, Dominique, was a career .342 hitter for the Huskies as well as a four-time All-Pac-10 selection.

    Lastrapes remembers going to Seattle to watch her sister play, but is now preparing to knock off Washington on the same field she watched her sister excel on. Dominique is still on Washington’s staff as a director of operations.

    “”I am really nervous. I would go visit her when I was a freshman in high school and she was in college and that was her area, and to play on it is going to be really weird,”” Brittany said. “”It is exciting and I am glad my sister is going to be there to see it, but it is more fun for me than anything.””

    Arizona utility player Sarah Akamine pitched well in her outing against UCLA in Arizona’s 8-0 run-rule victory over the Bruins April 12 at Hillenbrand Stadium as she tossed six scoreless innings while striking out three batters.

    Akamine’s performance stuck with Ray, who is unsure whether he will throw her or ace Taryne Mowatt against UCLA.

    Mowatt is seemingly breaking out of the slump she was previously struggling with over the course of the past few weeks, and Ray has noticed.

    Ray said after Arizona’s 13-1 mercy-rule win over Oregon State on Sunday he felt Mowatt gave one of her better performances and the ace will most likely pitch twice over the weekend.

    “”She has to come in at a certain level and she pitched very well (against the Bruins in the teams’ last meeting),”” Ray said. “”I was very impressed with her on Sunday and as long as she continues to do that, she would be fine.””

    Mowatt understands the importance of the weekend and acknowledged how big of a boost a sweep near the end of the season would be for the streaky Wildcats.

    “”It is a big weekend and we need to win all three,”” Mowatt said. “”Hopefully we get a good performance with the bats. We have been very inconsistent. One game we will run-rule a team and the next we will maybe push across a run if we are lucky. The past two games hitting has been pretty good, so hopefully we will keep that up.””

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