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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Softball coasts through Fall Classic

Colin Prenger
Colin Prenger / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA softball team defeated the University of New Mexico Lobos Saturday, Oct. 15. The Wildcats beat the Lobos 9-1

Arizona continued its fall ball schedule with a sweep this weekend in the Arizona Fall Classic at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats won all five games by a combined margin of 54-4. Four of the five teams they faced were victims of their powerful offense and pitching, losing via mercy rule.

“You always want to keep going, keep feeding off of it,” said junior pitcher Kenzie Fowler. “Once you score a run, you want to score another. Mercies happen, but it’s a good feeling to get that many runs on the board.”

Softball handled the Phoenix College Bears 6-2 Friday evening, registering two-hit performances from senior Karissa Buchanan, junior second-team All-American Brigette Del Ponte and sophomore Alex Lavine.

The Wildcat bats were at again, as extra base hits rained in from Del Ponte, who hit her first home run of fall ball, a triple from catcher Chelsea Goodacre, and a double apiece from Kristen Arriola and Lavine.

“Everyone was hitting throughout the lineup,” Del Ponte said. “No one gave up at bats, we didn’t see too many strikeouts, and everyone was swinging hard.”

Saturday’s games against New Mexico and Central Arizona College alone were won by the Wildcats by a combined margin of 29-2. Both games were shortened due to the mercy rule.

“It’s our goal; we want to compete, we want to let people know that we’re Arizona softball, and you’re going to have to work really hard to beat us,” Del Ponte said. “We worked really hard throughout the whole week, so that was our main goal, I guess.”

Fowler and fellow pitchers Shelby Babcock and Kiley Aldridge stole the show for the Wildcats, giving up seven hits and combining to strike out 14 batters on the day.

In the game against New Mexico, Fowler pitched a complete game. In 78 starts, she has completed 55 games or 70 percent of her starts. Head coach Mike Candrea was very pleased with the pitching this weekend.

Not to be outdone, the offense was yet again the focal point of Arizona’s second game of the day, compiling 14 hits in four innings and scoring 20 runs. Thirteen of the first 14 Wildcat batters reached base, bursting out to a 10-0 lead before Central Arizona could even step into the batter’s box.

“Our offense was awesome, it’s good it showed,” Candrea said. “We hit like that in practice, so it’s good to know we have hitting like that and I think our lineup is going to be awesome this year.”

On the final day of the Fall Classic, Arizona showed no signs of slowing down, beating Cypress College 9-0 and Pima College 10-0 in two mercy-rule shortened games.

Babcock, a sophomore, and Fowler combined to allow one hit in both games, but Fowler says there is still work to be done.

“There’s a lot I need to work on, but it was good to see some of the stuff I’ve been working on in the bullpen pay off in game situations,” said Fowler. “I definitely need to go back at it this week, and look at film, re-evaluate everything to see what was working, what’s not working. But it was a good first weekend for me.”

According to Del Ponte, the most important part of this weekend wasn’t the wins, the pitching, or the hitting: It was the experience with her teammates.

“These are bonding games, she said. “Everyone got to know where people stand in the lineup, or where people stand hitting-wise, so it was a really good weekend for us.”

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