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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Arizona set to host Miners for mid-week doubleheader tonight

    UA pitcher Sarah Akamine rocks back to pitch during a 10-0 win against North Dakota State Feb. 20 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona hosts UTEP tonight at 4 and 6 p.m.
    UA pitcher Sarah Akamine rocks back to pitch during a 10-0 win against North Dakota State Feb. 20 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona hosts UTEP tonight at 4 and 6 p.m.

    After a disappointing weekend against the then-No. 21 Texas A&M in College Station, Texas, the Arizona softball team returns to Hillenbrand Stadium for a doubleheader with the UTEP Miners today at 4 and 6 p.m.

    “”I think we understand the fact we have to get back on a roll,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”We’ve learned some lessons from the weekend (in Texas) and hopefully we apply them.””

    Arizona dropped two games in the series against the Aggies, both late in the contest.

    Arizona (14-4) let big leads get away from them over the weekend and recorded its only win in a come-from-behind victory.

    “”We need to make up play here or there,”” said left fielder Brittany Lastrapes. “”It will be good to get back into the game and prove to ourselves that we can finish it out.””

    The No. 13 Wildcats will look to keep their home record perfect when they take to the field against the Miners. They will host eight home games by the end of the week with the arrival of the Hillenbrand Invitational this weekend.

    In their meeting with UTEP at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, the UA took the game in comeback fashion with junior Stacie Chambers and freshman Lini Koria both hitting their first home runs of the season. It was the first win of the season for the Wildcats, who eventually built up a 12-game winning streak that ended against Texas A&M.

    The Wildcats were offensively productive in all their games over the weekend, but failed to close out the final innings of the games. In the series finale, Texas A&M literally walked its way to victory, with the winning run scoring off a bases-loaded walk issued by the Wildcats. Arizona knows it needs to keep improving with each series, and perfect its game before Pacific 10 Conference play begins.

    “”As a team we have progressed and we have learned from situations,”” said pitcher Sarah Akamine. “”When we are on top of a team we need to finish strong and not let any other teams think that they can beat us.””

    UTEP was riding a winning streak before being swept by Texas this weekend, a series in which all three of UTEP’s pitchers saw action in the circle. Each Miners’ pitcher – Stacie Townsend (7-5), Kelly Curran (4-3), and Chelsea

    Mayer (0-1) – has an ERA of more than 3.00. Offensively against the Longhorns, outfielder Ashley Ellis blasted the Miners’ first grand slam of the season against Texas while senior Amber Bennett earned the school’s career-hits record with 168.

    And while both squads have a leadoff hitter who hits for more than a .400 average, Arizona has the ability to go long up and down the lineup. Chambers has a nation-leading 33 RBIs and leads the team with nine homers and two grand slams. With the return of junior shortstop K’lee Arredondo and the offensive firepower of Chambers, the Wildcats look to keep their bats hot before they start play this weekend in the Hillenbrand Invitational.

    “”It’s really nice when you go off from seeing live pitching for 20 games,”” Arredondo said, “”Hitting the ball and getting some RBIs, too.””

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