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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Duck hunting

Mike Christy
Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Arizona Wildcats softball team took on the Arizona State Sun Devils on Thursday, April 21, 2011, at Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. A seventh-inning Sun Devil grand slam lifted the visitors to a 4-0 win.

Despite a sweep at the hands of ASU last weekend, the No. 10 Wildcats are now in a tie for second place in the Pacific 10 Conference with California and UCLA.

This weekend, they have a chance to improve their position against No. 16 Oregon, who has struggled to a 5-7 conference record so far.

One thing that Oregon brings into the series is one of the Pac-10’s top pitching staffs. The Ducks have the third best team ERA in the conference at 1.92. The highlight of the staff is Jessica Moore. The sophomore pitcher is second in the conference this season with an ERA of 1.42. The Ducks’ other pitchers Samantha Skillingstad and Mikayla Endicott have posted solid ERAs of 2.17 and 2.19, respectively.

In contrast, the Wildcats will likely put a group of position players in the circle for the second straight weekend due to the continued absence of sophomore ace Kenzie Fowler. This will help take some of the pressure off freshman Shelby Babcock, who is starting in Fowler’s wake. Fill-in pitchers Victoria Kemp, Baillie Kirker and Brittany Lastrapes have helped the team as best as they could. They did, however, give the Wildcats a chance to win against ASU on Saturday. The substitutes allowed eight runs against the Sun Devils, which may have been enough for the Wildcats to remain competitive if they had cashed in on the 10 runners they put on base.

According to senior catcher Stacie Chambers, who was the battery mate for four different pitchers on Saturday, the team is doing a good job of working through Fowler’s absence.

“”We have to play the game, we can’t just quit,”” she said. “”We have to work through it. That’s what we’re doing. We have Shelby (Babcock) and we have the other three helping us out now, so we gotta do what we gotta do.””

Head coach Mike Candrea has been positive about the effort that Arizona’s substitute pitchers have put forth.

“”I was very pleased with some kids that we called upon to do some things,”” he said. “”They did a good job, didn’t quite get it done. But we’ll move forward from it.””

The subs will likely welcome this weekend’s opportunity to pitch against a lesser lineup than ASU’s. The Sun Devils are first in the Pac-10 with a team batting average of .355 and every hitter in the order batting over .300, while Oregon is sixth in the conference with a .309 average.

The games take place at 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon on Sunday at Hillenbrand Stadium.

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