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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


No. 25 Arizona softball loses two of three against No. 8 Washington

Nathanial Stenchever
After walking a batter short stop Tayler Biehl talks to pitcher Miranda Stroddard at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium on March 16. The Wildcats lost the game against No. 8 University of Washington 11-3.

The No. 25 Arizona softball team lost two of its three games against the No. 8 University of Washington at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium in Tucson between March 15 and 17

Arizona (20-7-1, 3-3 Pac-12) dropped each of its first two games of the series on Friday (13-2) and Saturday (11-3) after only six innings due to the 8-run mercy rule being enforced. The Wildcats, however, came back on Sunday for game three and shut out the Huskies 2-0. 

Game one:

Arizona came into game one after being on the road for almost two weeks. Last weekend, the Wildcats concluded their road trip by winning two out of the three games against Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. The Wildcats, now down to only three pitchers after Brooke Mannon was injured during the road trip, sent out Aissa Silva as the starting pitcher. 

Washington took an early lead in the game after scoring 3 runs in the top of the first inning. The Wildcats could not answer Washington’s high-powered offense and strong defense. In the fourth inning, Ali Blanchard pitched for Silva in the hope of slowing down the Huskies. With the Huskies up 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Blaise Biringer hit a double to score Allie Skaggs and break the shutout. Skaggs would also score the second run for the Wildcats in the bottom of the sixth on a hit from Paige Dimler.

It was not enough, though, as the Wildcats were already down 13-1 heading into the inning after the Huskies had scored 7 runs in the top of the sixth after the Wildcats gave up three home runs. 

On top of losing 13-2, Arizona gave up 12 hits and had several errors on defense. After the game, head coach Caitlin Lowe said the team is better than that. 

“We have a higher standard for ourselves and I just think everything went wrong at the same time,” said Lowe. “Defensively we didnt take care of business and [Blanchard] stayed out there way longer than she should have to.”

Game two:

On Saturday, Arizona came looking for redemption after the blowout the night before. The Wildcats sent Miranda Stoddard out as the starting pitcher. 

Arizona flipped the script in the first inning, holding the Huskies to no runs and taking the lead 3-0 after a key hit from Skaggs and then a home run from Biringer, which was only her fourth home run in her career. 

Unfortunately, the lead would not last for long, as in the following inning, Washington tied the game at 3-3 after a couple of hits and a home run of their own. 

Head coach Lowe did her part in keeping the score down for the Wildcats after successfully challenging whether a Husky base runner left the bag early on a hit that would have been another home run for Washington. The successful challenge helped her ‘Cats get out of the inning. 

Arizona, however, was unable to get the offense going again after the first inning. The Huskies, on the other hand, only kept scoring. After a solo home run in the fourth, Washington scored a couple more runs and then hit another home run in the sixth to go up 11-3. 

With no answer in the bottom of the sixth, the mercy rule once again took effect and the Wildcats lost game two, 11-3

Game three: 

After back-to-back mercy rule games, the Wildcats went into a must-win game to avoid being swept. Arizona sent out Stoddard to pitch again. The Wildcats locked in with Washington as a pitching battle ensued. 

The score remained 0-0 until the sixth inning. Skaggs collected a key hit to get on base to start the inning and then Olivia DiNardo came up to bat and hit a 2-run homer to take a 2-0 lead.

Arizona would hold Washington scoreless in the top of the seventh to secure the 2-0 win. The Wildcats had 2 runs on six hits, helping them get back on track. 

Lowe said she felt great with how the Wildcats played game three. 

“We gave up a ton of runs in those first two games, but for them to just come out and absolutely go after it […], I just thought they were themselves today,” said Lowe. 

Looking ahead: 

Arizona heads to California between March 22 and 24 to play the University of California, Berkeley, in a three-game series. Cal is currently ranked No. 17 in the country; however, they just lost three games to Stanford University. 

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