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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Wildcats start fresh with series at Stanford

Ginny+Polin+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AWilbur+photoessay
Ginny Polin
Ginny Polin / Arizona Daily Wildcat Wilbur photoessay

In Pacific 10 Conference softball, winning on the road is what separates the good teams from the elite teams.

Being able to compete is something Arizona head coach Mike Candrea has long preached, but it will be even more important this season as the No. 7 Wildcats had a less than stellar non-conference record.

UA has two early road tests in its conference season, beginning with a three-game series at No. 12 Stanford tonight at 7.

“”I told the kids, for us to win, you have to play well on the road, so that will tell the tale,”” Candrea said.

With tournament play crossed off on the calendar and all three-game series for the rest of the way, pitcher Kenzie Fowler said it was essential to prepare for long weekends against the Pac-10.

“”We’re really going to focus Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and taking care of business and really trusting each other and having fun,”” Fowler said.

Arizona is trying to make up for its below-standard play during non-conference season. The Wildcat’s up-and-down play led to a team meeting last week and a refocused look the conference season.

UA starts Pac-10 play with a record of 29-6 compared to a 28-3 non-conference record in 2010.

Although play within the conference usually is the make-or-break factor that the season hinges on, left fielder Brittany Lastrapes said the Wildcats are using conference play as catch-up time.

“”We’re going to have to win a lot of games if we want to turn our season around and go where we need to go so Pac-10 is really important,”” Lastrapes said.

Although Lastrapes leads Arizona with an impressive .486 batting average, Stanford’s Ashley Hansen leads the Cardinal with a .548 batting average, which is best in the nation.

The Cardinal has had a much more consistent non-conference season, winning 15 of its last 16 games.

Stanford’s strength begins in the circle. Veteran pitchers Ashley Chinn, a senior, and Teagan Gerhart, a sophomore, return for the Cardinal. Chinn’s last start resulted in a perfect game against Coastal Carolina.

Pitching is something that hurt the Cardinal last year, but Candrea thinks that will change this year.

“”I think her and Chinn are going to be a little more deep than they were last year,”” he said.

The Wildcats will complete the series on Saturday at 1 p.m. and Sunday at noon.

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