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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Balko hits out of slump, Mowatt continues dominance in UA win”

    UA catcher Callista Balko’s four RBIs, including a two-run homer into left field, led the No. 4 Arizona softball team to a 4-1 victory over No. 12 Stanford Friday night at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    The junior was mired in a slump dating back to her last home run against North Carolina State on March 15. She had driven in only three runs since March 2 before scorching Stanford pitcher Missy Penna (20-4).

    “”I looked at the ball basically like a beach ball tonight,”” Balko said. “”I was seeing it really well, and I was just really comfortable at the plate today.””

    Balko hit her eighth home run of the season and upped her RBI total to 21 for Arizona (29-8, 5-1 Pacific 10 Conference).

    “”Callista works really hard and it’s a huge boost to her confidence that she came out and put some at bats together,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”I think it’s really about showing consistency, whether it’s on the mound, on defense, or at the plate.””

    Arizona’s three seniors at the top of the order – Caitlin Lowe, Chelsie Mesa, and Kristie Fox – were the catalyst for Balko’s big hits.

    Both Lowe and Mesa were driven in by Balko’s two-run single in the first, while Fox scored on Balko’s home run. Those three typically make up a big part of Arizona’s attack, but often it’s Fox – who leads the Wildcats with 41 RBIs – who drive the latter two home.

    “”You can’t really expect three people to do the job all the time,”” Balko said. “”For them to have the confidence in us we need to do our job.””

    Ace pitcher Tayrne Mowatt’s 21 consecutive shutout innings streak came to a stop in the fifth when Stanford catcher Rosey Neill hit a solo home run deep into center field.

    Mowatt (22-7) continued her dominance of the Pac-10 against the Cardinal (27-10, 3-4), striking out 11 and allowing five hits while lowering her ERA to 1.61.

    She also set a career high in wins, eclipsing her previous high of 21 wins last season.

    Mowatt faced a tough situation in the top of seventh, loading the bases with two outs, but she ended the game after getting Stanford third baseman Michelle Smith to pop out to the shortstop Fox to end the game.

    “”I just wanted to get out of the inning without giving up any runs,”” Mowatt said. “”I wanted to show my teammates that those batters weren’t better than me and I wasn’t going to let them score.””

    Mowatt’s off-speed pitches were “”a little off”” all game long Candrea said, but it helped her finish the Cardinal off.

    “”I was pleased we kept calling it,”” he said, “”because at the end I thought it became huge in order to take care of the game.””

    The Wildcats will continue their home stand tomorrow when they play California Saturday night at 7 and Sunday afternoon at 1.

    “”The confidence in Taryne is growing, every weekend she’s stepping up and doing the job,”” Candrea said, “”and I think that’s going to be the key to our success.””

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