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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball heads north for battle with Sun Devils

    Arizona junior shortstop Kristie Fox makes an out Sunday in the No. 4 Wildcats 8-3 loss to No. 1 UCLA at Hillenbrand Stadium. After losing twice to the Bruins, Arizona looks to regroup on the road as the squad opens an eight-game road trip with games tonight and tomorrow at 7 p.m. against No. 9 ASU in Tempe.
    Arizona junior shortstop Kristie Fox makes an out Sunday in the No. 4 Wildcats’ 8-3 loss to No. 1 UCLA at Hillenbrand Stadium. After losing twice to the Bruins, Arizona looks to regroup on the road as the squad opens an eight-game road trip with games tonight and tomorrow at 7 p.m. against No. 9 ASU in Tempe.

    The No. 4 Arizona softball team is looking for redemption this weekend as it travels to Tempe to play No. 9 ASU in a sold-out two-game series at Farrington Stadium.

    Tonight marks the start of an eight-game road trip for the Wildcats that features games against the rest of their Pacific 10 Conference foes, excluding the Oregon schools, which Arizona played two weeks ago.

    “”Obviously it’s a new mindset, especially for the Pac-10 this year,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”There are no weak sisters. The road games are truly a test not only of the skills of the team but for mental capacity. We have to prepare for war each week. “”It’s very good. As a coach, it’s a great process to help get the team ready for the postseason.””

    This is an especially important weekend for the Wildcats (31-6, 2-3 Pac-10) because last weekend they suffered two rough losses to No. 1 UCLA after pulling out a 1-0 victory over No. 14 Washington.

    “”We’re hopeful,”” Candrea said. “”We’ve had some good practices, so hopefully we’ll come out and play better than last week.””

    ASU (38-5, 2-2) also went 1-2 last week, losing once to UCLA and splitting with Washington.

    “”It’s just like any other of our in-state rivalries,”” Candrea said. “”It’s very competitive, but we have pretty much beaten them over the years. However, this year is a new beginning for them. They are playing very well under their new coach, and I think this weekend will be a good one along the road.””

    Last year, ASU finished last in the Pac-10 after coming away with only four conference wins. This year, however, the team has a new head coach in Clint Myers and has been in the top 10 in softball polls for several weeks.

    “”ASU is a much better team than last year,”” Candrea said. “”I think they have a purpose now, and Clint does a nice job of preparing his teams. They are playing with much more confidence and are a team with much better skills than last year. It should be a battle.””

    The Sun Devil offense is led by freshman outfielder Kaitlin Cochran, who leads the

    conference with a .491 batting average, 51 RBIs, a .875 slugging percentage and a .592 on-base percentage and ranks third with 11 home runs entering the weekend’s games.

    Another threat is sophomore pitcher and utilityman Mindy Cowles, who has a conference-leading 13 home runs as well as 39 RBIs on the year. Last week, Cowles won ASU’s first Pac-10 Player of the Week honor of the year.

    “”We’ve got a plan for them,”” Candrea said. “”They’re both very good hitters and RBI threats, but we’re going to try and go at their weaknesses. It’s really no different than any other Pac-10 team. Each team has one or two girls on the team that really stand out offensively.””

    Both games have been officially sold out as of yesterday, so fans wishing to make the trek to Tempe for the games might have to wait until next year.

    “”It’s great that it’s sold out,”” Candrea said. “”That’s the way it should be.””

    Banister out for series

    Freshman first baseman Sam Banister will miss the weekend series after injuring her ribs diving to cut off a throw in Sunday’s game against UCLA. She has started all 37 games thus far.

    Candrea said that Banister might only be out for this week but possibly could be out for another.

    The coach also mentioned that junior All-American center fielder Caitlin Lowe will remain out of the lineup for the next few weeks but might be available this weekend for pinch-running duties.

    Candrea is also hurting after having knee surgery Wednesday.

    Candrea’s ASU roots don’t run deep

    Candrea, who graduated from ASU in 1978, said that he has gone a long way since his Sun Devil days.

    “”I’ve been here for so long that my veins bleed red and blue,”” he said. “”I’m a long ways unattached. I’ve been out of ASU for so long that I have too much Wildcat pride to show any real feelings for ASU.””

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