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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball takes break from tournaments to host College of Charleston

Colin+Prenger+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AThe+UA+softball+team+defeated+the+University+of+New+Mexico+Lobos+Saturday%2C+Oct.+15.+The+Wildcats+beat+the+Lobos+9-1
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

For the first time this season, the Arizona softball team will play a weekend series instead of a tournament. The College of Charleston will play the Wildcats in a three-game series that starts tonight at 6 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

While the College of Charleston may not sound like it is a serious threat to Arizona, C of C’s junior pitcher Stephanie Saylors was named the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Week following a perfect game and career-high 12-strikeout performance. Arizona has struggled hitting early in games this season, and facing Saylors could present problems, said head coach Mike Candrea.

“Hitting is a very contagious skill, a difficult skill,” Candrea said. Sometimes you match up with pitchers you have a good database with, and the ball is big. Other times, it’s not that big and the ball looks like an aspirin. It’s hard to duplicate those things in practice.”

Arizona benefits from playing at home, where it is a perfect 5-0 after the Hillenbrand Invitational, while Charleston has yet to venture away from Patriots Point this season.

Last weekend, in the Cathedral City Classic, Arizona’s defense and pitching were able to get them out of ruts against some of the better competition it faced, but the real stars of the show were the younger players and role players that stepped up in lieu of the regulars getting it done. Candrea looks to have the same sort of luck this weekend.

“It was good that we had some other people step up,” he said. “The thing about a long season is that you’re going to have a pocket of people that are hot and a pocket of people that are not. Hopefully, if the lineup is good, you’re not relying on the same four all the time, it rotates. This team can rely on nine different people.”

Usually in midweek practice, players talk about trying to hit better or working on getting to the ball quicker, but this week senior Lini Koria wants to do something a little simpler.

“Most important is recovering,” she said. “In practice we need to work on our offense. We could have done a lot better offensively and defensively against the teams we played. We need to see the ball a little bit better.”

Aside from the stellar pitching that Kenzie Fowler has provided, pacing the team with her 1.98 ERA, the Wildcats have been helped by senior transfer Jessica Spigner’s .368 batting average and junior Brigette Del Ponte, who was named Pac-12 Player of the Week this week.

Del Ponte hit .571 in the Cathedral City Classic with two home runs. She also had eight crucial RBIs in the tournament, which led the team. Del Ponte also did not strike out the entire weekend. On the season, Del Ponte is hitting .426 with five home runs and 18 RBIs.

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