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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball wins five games to sweep invite

The Arizona softball team got back to its winning ways at the Hillenbrand Invitational at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats were able to sweep the competition, outscoring opponents 44-7, improving their record to 8-3.

The Wildcats plowed through Friday’s opponents, Alabama-Birmingham and North Dakota. Arizona was able to beat UAB 7-0, with every Arizona run scoring on a home run. A grand slam by Kristen Arriola in the third inning gave the Wildcats a 4-0 lead and a three-run blast from senior Jessica Spigner in the sixth finished the game.

The UAB game was the first complete game for Arizona pitcher Kenzie Fowler, who has been battling a sprained disk in her back. Fowler allowed just one hit and struck out 11.

“We were planning on her getting a couple starts,” head coach Mike Candrea said. “She’s getting stronger every week, we just didn’t want to get to a point where we were taking a step backwards.”

The second game of Friday’s double-header was a run-rule shortened affair in which Arizona was able to put up 14 runs in just five innings of play. The game got out of hand quickly and the Wildcat lead was up to 10 after just two innings.

“This game is full of little moments that you either execute or you don’t,” Candrea said. “Sometimes, the little things will catch up to you in big games, and you have small margin for error. When you’ve got a lot of runs on the board, it’s easy to look over those things.”

Day two of the invitational was a little more challenging for the Wildcats, but ended with the same results. Western Kentucky put up the biggest challenge, leading most of the game until Arizona scored the final two go-ahead runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Fowler was able to pitch another complete game, giving up four runs on six hits. She struck out eight and posted her second win of the season.

In the last two games of the invitational against Southern Utah, Arizona was able to dispense of the Thunderbirds quickly, winning 9-1 on Saturday and 8-0 on Sunday in shortened games.

On Sunday, pitcher Jessica Spigner held Southern Utah to only two hits for the game and contributed to her own victory, hitting her fourth home run of the season, a two-run blast in the third inning. She was not the only Wildcat to go deep. Junior third baseman Brigette Del Ponte hit her third home run of the season, a grand slam that put the game out of reach.

With the sweep this weekend, Arizona is now 77-3 all-time in the Hillenbrand Invitational. Wildcat pitcher Kenzie Fowler said the home cooking helped them out, but they have work to do.

“It was a good weekend for us to be at home and put some runs on the board,” Fowler said. “We need to mentally prepare ourselves and not worry about any opponent. Offensively and defensively, we have to have a good mindset.”

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