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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Leles’ home run puts ribbon on sweep of Missouri

    UA center fielder Caitlin Lowe watches a pitch during the No. 2 Wildcats 8-7 win over Missouri yesterday at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona swept the three-game series while Lowe hit .700 (7-for-10) with nine steals in as many attempts, eight runs scored and four RBIs.
    UA center fielder Caitlin Lowe watches a pitch during the No. 2 Wildcats’ 8-7 win over Missouri yesterday at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona swept the three-game series while Lowe hit .700 (7-for-10) with nine steals in as many attempts, eight runs scored and four RBIs.

    The No. 2 Arizona softball team wrapped up a sweep of Missouri with a dramatic 8-7 victory yesterday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    UA third baseman Jenae Leles led off the bottom of the seventh inning and hit the first pitch she saw over the left-field fence for a game-winning walk-off home run.

    “”I’m really proud of Jenae,”” UA head coach Mike Candrea said. “”She was struggling a little bit earlier in the game but kept her head screwed on and walked up and got the job done.””

    Because of strong winds blowing in from the outfield, Leles and her teammates weren’t sure if the ball was going to make it over the wall.

    “”Honestly I hit the ball and just ran,”” Leles said. “”We were surprised I got the ball out because of the wind.””

    Said Candrea: “”I didn’t think I was going to see a ball go out of the ballpark (yesterday). It was just amazing that that ball went out, and I’m glad it did.””

    Center fielder Caitlin Lowe ran wild on the basepaths once again, stealing four bases in the contest.

    Lowe stole nine bases in three games against the Tigers (14-9), bringing her career total to 129 and moving her into a tie with Vivian Holm for third place on Arizona’s career stolen-base list.

    Lowe was also 3-for-3 at the plate and scored three runs for the Wildcats (14-3).

    “”Caitlin is an impact player. She’s been an impact player since she’s been here,”” Candrea said. “”If there is a young lady that loves to compete and loves to play this game, it’s her, and she can definitely take control of a game. If we get her on base, good things happen.””

    Second baseman Chelsie Mesa wasted no time extending her career-long hitting streak to 14 games, singling home Lowe in the first inning for an early 1-0 Arizona lead.

    UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt got her third win in as many days, striking out eight in a gutsy 171-pitch, complete-game effort.

    Because freshman Sarah Akamine is unable to pitch due to soreness in her arm, Mowatt (9-3) is left as the team’s only pitcher. She is carrying the load despite suffering from blisters on her pitching hand.

    The burden showed yesterday, as she allowed seven runs on 11 hits and nine walks.

    “”It’s tough, but the hardest part is staying mentally focused,”” Mowatt said. “”No matter what, whether I’m hurt or perfectly healthy, I’m going to have to come out here and pitch, so I might as well make the best of it because our team needs victories.””

    Mowatt and Akamine aren’t the only injury concerns for the Wildcats.

    Kristie Fox, normally the starting shortstop, started at designated player for the second consecutive game because of soreness in her surgically repaired elbow.

    Fox was 2-for-4 at the plate and had three RBIs for the Wildcats. She leads the team with 23 RBIs this season.

    Fox’s replacement in the field, freshman K’Lee Arredondo, had started every game this season in left field but played flawlessly in two games at shortstop.

    “”K’Lee did a great job. She filled in very nicely and made some good plays,”” Candrea said. “”She’s a good athlete and comes to play.””

    Arizona was without assistant coach Larry Ray for the second straight game as he served the back end of his two-game suspension for pushing an umpire during an argument Friday night.

    Arizona defeated Missouri 8-1 on Saturday behind Lowe’s four RBIs and a two-hitter by Mowatt.

    Mowatt tied her season-high with 14 strikeouts.

    Lowe helped knock Missouri pitcher Megan Dennis (4-2) out of the game in the second inning when she came up with the bases loaded and cleared them with a triple.

    Arizona beat Missouri 5-4 on Friday thanks to a game-winning RBI single by catcher Callista Balko.

    With the game tied 4-4 in the bottom of the seventh, Lowe led off with an infield single, her second hit of the game.

    Lowe then stole second and third, giving her four steals in the game.

    Missouri elected to intentionally walk both Fox and third baseman Leles, loading the bases for Balko. Balko had been hitless in three at-bats.

    With the count full, Balko ripped a pitch down the third-base line, driving in Lowe.

    “”Outstanding. I love it to death,”” Candrea said. “”She’s made of nails, and she showed it right there.””

    Balko said she took it personally when Missouri intentionally walked two batters to get to her.

    “”That really made me mad,”” she said. “”I took it personally, and even though I was 0-for-3 before that, I had seen (the pitcher) enough times that I knew what she was throwing and knew my timing, so I felt a little more confident in the last at-bat.””

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