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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona softball dominates the Candrea Classic to open its 50th season

Nathanial Stenchever
Arizona softball’s No. 22 Tayler Biehl tags out a University of Utah Tech player as they try to steal second on Thursday Feb. 8, at Mike Candrea field at Rita Hillenbrand stadium. Arizona went on to sweep the Candrea Classic winning all 5 of their games by mercy rules.

The Arizona softball team opened its 50th season last week, Feb. 8 to Feb. 11, by sweeping the Candrea Classic in Tucson at Mike Candrea Field at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium

In the four-day tournament the Wildcats beat Utah Tech University 9-1, Lipscomb University 8-0, the University of North Texas 8-0 twice and the University of Northern Colorado 8-0The Wildcats not only won all their games to open the season but also Run-Ruled all their opponents, winning by eight runs in each game in less than six innings. 

Arizona got off to a slow start in its first game against Utah Tech on Thursday, Feb. 8. The Wildcats found their stride, though, in the fourth and fifth innings. This is where the team got some separation from Utah Tech, who only scored once in the first inning after a home run from second baseman Carly Eldredge. Miranda Stoddard took the circle for Arizona in her first game as a Wildcat since her transfer from the University of Kentucky, and Ali Blanchard ended the game for the ‘Cats in the top of the fifth. 

Arizona’s second game on Friday, Feb. 9, saw freshman Brook Mannon against Lipscomb University. The Wildcats once again got the bats going, helping the team score 3 runs in the bottom of the second. Freshman catcher Emily Schepp helped the Wildcats win with an RBI double, scoring two of the eight runs. Arizona also finished with a perfect game allowing, no hits, no errors and no runs, making it only the 10th in program history. 

With a doubleheader on Friday, the Wildcats also played North Texas right after Lipscomb for their third game of the tournament. Stoddard took the mound again for the Wildcats but was replaced in the third inning by Aissa Silva, who closed out the shutout for Arizona. With a slow first two innings, the Wildcats rallied in the bottom of the third, scoring six runs, four of which came off a grand slam from designated hitter Olivia DiNardo. The ‘Cats scored one run in both of the following innings, ending the game in the fifth. 

On Saturday, Feb.10, the Wildcats played one game against North Texas. The ‘Cats sent out Silva as the starting pitcher for her first start of the season. Arizona scored one run in the second and fourth innings. However, it was the bottom of the third when the Wildcats ran away with the game. Scoring six runs, starting with a two-run homer from Carlie Scupin, the Wildcats kept the inning going with key hits from Kaiah Altmeyer and Tayler Biehl, who both got RBI singles

Arizona’s final game on Sunday, Feb.11, was against Northern Colorado. The Wildcats took the early lead after a lead-off home run from Dakota Kennedy in the first inning. With the Wildcats up two after the second inning, they would score in every inning until the eighth and final run came in the sixth inning. Even though the Wildcats hit the ball well, they struggled defensively. Arizona sent four pitchers out to the circle, the most in the tournament, starting with Stoddard, Blanchard, Mannon and finally Silva. 

“I think when we show up and play good gritty softball and [everyone] is clicking, we are tough to beat,” said Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe. “I do think like today, though, when we don’t show up, we are beatable, so it’s just being able to be consistent.”

The Wildcats will be back, starting on Thursday, Feb.15, for the Bear Down Fiesta four-day tournament. Games to watch for in the Bear Down Fiesta will be both games against the University of Arkansas on Friday and Saturday. 

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