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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Arizona shows Simon Fraser no mercy

    UA sophomore Corinna Gonzalez connects with a pitch during a 9-0 Arizona win against Simon Fraser Tuesday night at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats outscored The Clan 20-0 during a doubleheader sweep.
    UA sophomore Corinna Gonzalez connects with a pitch during a 9-0 Arizona win against Simon Fraser Tuesday night at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats outscored The Clan 20-0 during a doubleheader sweep.

    Arizona welcomed Simon Fraser, from Burnaby, Canada, to a doubleheader on Tuesday in Hillenbrand Stadium, though it wasn’t a friendly greeting. In two exhibition games, No. 13 Arizona won both in five innings under the mercy rule.

    The Wildcats continued to swing for the fences at home as they blasted seven pitches over the blue wall and scored 20 runs in the two games. The run support made it easy for Arizona’s pitching to shut down Simon Fraser’s offense in both games as no SFU player crossed the plate in either game.

    “”(Tuesday night) I thought some good things happened on the mound,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea, “”and offensively we’re swinging the bats well.””

    In their second game against SFU (7-6) the Wildcats knocked The Clan around. They scored five runs in the first inning, capped by Lini Koria’s three-run homer. Arizona (23-5) would add six more runs in the third inning off of Janae Leles’ two-run homer – a shot that hit off the top of the outfield bleachers – and Brittany Lastrapes’ grand slam.

    “”It had been a long time since I’ve hit one cleanly like that, so it felt really good,”” Lastrapes said. “”Our momentum was going a little down and we needed some runs so it came at a good time.””

    Arizona’s pitching duties were split against Simon Fraiser. Junior Sarah Akamine returned to the circle for Arizona after her loss to Creighton on Saturday. Between Akamine (11-3) and senior Jennifer Martinez (2-0), the Wildcats were able to play confident defense behind their pitcher and shut down The Clan’s offense.

    In the first game, Akamine worked three innings and only allowed one base runner. Martinez replaced her in the top of the fourth and threw the final two innings.

    When asked about the pitching strategy, Candrea noted that a win is more important than one player making it though the entire game.

    “”I just don’t feel like we have someone right now that can stay strong for seven innings and keep a team off balance,”” he said. “”So we might try that approach where we tell them to give them one time through the lineup and then we bring in someone else.””

    The second game was a reversal in terms of pitching. Martinez started, threw three innings and then was replaced by Akamine. Combined, Arizona’s pitchers only allowed four hits and struck out 10 batters.

    “”I think that we’re definitely on a good roll right now,”” Leles said. “”The pitchers are doing awesome, our hitting one through nine, and even the girls who are coming in to pitch hit, they’re doing their job, too.””

    The Wildcats jumped out early in their first game. They scored six runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back. Leles produced big on the offensive end for Arizona as she hit a double and a two-run home run. With the injury to shortstop K’Lee Arredondo and Candrea’s attempt to find a steady lineup, other players got to see some field time and made the most of it. Victoria Kemp, Sam Banister and Koria also hit homers in the Wildcats’ first game.

    “”I’m just seeing the ball really well, kind of like a beach ball right now,”” Leles said. “”I’m not thinking too much, just seeing the ball and keeping my mind clear, that’s my main thing I have to do personally.””

    Arizona heads into the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., on Friday. They will face five different teams during the weekend, including No. 10 Michigan on Sunday.

    Leles now twice honored

    After being named one of the finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award Friday, senior third basemen Jenae Leles was named the Pacific 10 Conference Player of the Week for her offensive explosion over the weekend.

    “”I was very proud of her last week. She did a great job of trying to prepare and make adjustments,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”It’s good to see that. It’s what the process is all about.””

    This is the first time Leles has received the award in her career and marks the 123rd time an Arizona player has received the award. Catcher Stacie Chambers was also named Pac-10 Player of the Week earlier this season for her offensive show during the week of Feb. 17-24.

    In the series against Minnesota on Friday, Leles knocked in nine RBIs and hit three home runs in the two games. In the total six games over the weekend, she batted in 18 RBIs and blasted six long balls. She now has 10 home runs total this season.

    “”Wow, I didn’t even know that,”” Leles said of the honor after Tuesday’s win against Simon Fraser. “”It’s a good feeling. It’s a compliment. I can’t wait to tell my mom.””

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