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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball tries to reverse road trend

    UA second baseman Chelsie Mesa tags out Oregon first baseman Kristi Leiter as she slides into second. The Wildcats and Mesa, whos second on the team with 31 RBIs, travel to the Bay Area to start the second half of Pac-10 play this weekend.
    UA second baseman Chelsie Mesa tags out Oregon first baseman Kristi Leiter as she slides into second. The Wildcats and Mesa, who’s second on the team with 31 RBIs, travel to the Bay Area to start the second half of Pac-10 play this weekend.

    With a two-game lead in the Pacific 10 Conference, the No. 4 Arizona softball team hits the road and heads to the Bay Area for three games against California and No. 17 Stanford this weekend.

    The Wildcats (34-9, 10-2 Pac-10) will face the Golden Bears today before heading to Palo Alto to square off against the Cardinal Saturday and Sunday.

    The road trip could be a deciding factor in whether or not the Wildcats win the Pac-10 Conference this season. Both of Arizona’s conference losses and all but one of their overall losses have come on the road – a trend head coach Mike Candrea would like to see reversed this weekend.

    “”The winner of the Pac-10 is going to be the team that plays the best on the road, so I think we’re either going to win (the Pac-10) or lose it on the road. This trip has a chance to set a tone for us so obviously it’s important for us to go out and play well,”” Candrea said.

    The Wildcats hosted Cal and Stanford April 13-15, beating the Cardinal 4-1 and then taking two from Cal by scores of 6-4 and 5-2.

    “”We’ve definitely developed some extreme rivalries with Cal and Stanford and when we go in there their parents get crazy, their fans go crazy, so it’s always a hostile environment, but we just have to work harder,”” center fielder Caitlin Lowe said.

    Arizona has won 13 of their last 15 games, although they have played eight of their last nine at home. Winning on the road is a challenge this team has yet to master, but the Wildcats know it is something they need to be able to do to be successful in the postseason.

    “”We just need to make sure that we focus and play our game,”” shortstop Kristie Fox said. Fox teams with fellow seniors Lowe and second baseman Chelsie Mesa to spearhead a potent Wildcat offense.

    The trio is hitting .377 collectively and has combined for 115 runs scored, 94 RBI and 57 stolen bases on the season. The rest of the line-up combined is hitting .249 with 117 runs scored, 119 RBI and 23 stolen bases.

    Lowe enters the weekend on the precipice of Arizona history. She is one stolen base away from breaking former UA great Alison McCutcheon’s career stolen-base record.

    In the circle the Wildcats have the reigning Pac-10 Pitcher of the Week, junior Taryne Mowatt.

    She led the Wildcats to a sweep of the Oregon schools last weekend and was named Pac-10 POTW for the third time this season.

    “”While it’s nice having our home crowd that cheers for us all the time we need to learn how to play in hostile environments,”” Fox said. “”Because Oklahoma City – where the World Series is – no one wants us to win there, so we need to make sure that we can keep our composure and play well in front of people that don’t necessarily want us to win.””

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