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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “Softball to tackle UCLA, UW”

    Claire C. Laurence / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Softball lost to Pac-10 rival UCLA 8-3 on Sunday in Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.
    Claire C. Laurence / Arizona Daily Wildcat Softball lost to Pac-10 rival UCLA 8-3 on Sunday in Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.

    The Pacific 10 Conference is known for having some of the most prolific softball teams in the country, two of them being No. 1 UCLA and No. 3 Arizona, but for the Pac-10 schedule-makers, the fact that there are two schools in the conference without a team makes the scheduling a bit difficult.

    The Arizona softball team (34-8, 5-5 Pac-10) is set for a rather unusual three-game weekend series in which the team finishes the season series with the Bruins (37-5, 9-3) this afternoon at 1 in Los Angeles. The team will fly to Seattle tonight to finish its season series with No. 15 Washington (30-16, 4-8), with afternoon games tomorrow at 2 and Sunday at 1.

    In most other Pac-10 sports, Arizona would normally play a three-game series with UCLA and Southern California, but USC only fields a club team. The other school without a Pac-10 recognized softball team is Washington State, who Arizona would travel to play in the Washington series.

    “”I don’t know if the travel will affect the team’s performance,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”We’ve been doing it for many years, but it is a very tough way to play. We’ve had some success in the past, but it is one of the tougher trips I know of.

    “”We’ve done it before, but it is definitely quite the challenge,”” he said. “”I talked to the team this week to try and give them some pointers.””

    The weekend set will conclude the team’s eight-game road stretch that the team has started 3-2.

    “”I don’t think the travel will hurt us,”” said junior center fielder Caitlin Lowe. “”We’re used to playing right after we travel, so we have to get used to it. It’s good practice for regionals and the (Women’s College) World Series.””

    Before the stretch, the Wildcats played the same teams at home that they are set to play this weekend, going 1-2 by beating Washington April 7 before getting swept by UCLA April 8-9.

    In the series with UCLA, Bruins senior leadoff hitter Andrea Duran, a third baseman, went 4-for-7 with three runs in the two games. UCLA pitchers junior Lisa Dodd and sophomore Anjelica Selden combined for a 2.00 ERA in the games.

    The UCLA series was arguably the low point of the year to that point for the Wildcats, as they lost 2-1 and 8-3, respectively, in what Candrea called “”the series the bats fell asleep.””

    In that series, however, a missing bat was Lowe, who was out for a month after fracturing a bone in her hand. Lowe has since fully recovered and made her Pac-10 debut in last weekend’s series, going 3-for-12 with two runs scored, a walk and two stolen bases.

    “”It was great coming out to play against Stanford,”” Lowe said. “”I had been sitting out for four weeks watching the team struggle, so it was good to get out and play.””

    Lowe currently leads Arizona’s all-time list with a .472 career batting average, is fifth all-time with 96 stolen bases and is seventh all-time in career triples with nine.

    “”It’s good to have her back,”” Candrea said. “”Caitlin’s obviously a big part of our offense and defense, so it’s great to see her back out there.””

    UCLA and Washington split a doubleheader on Wednesday in Los Angeles. The Huskies won the first matchup 3-2 in a 3 1/2-hour, 12-inning game, then lost the nightcap 7-6.

    The first game was a completion of an April 15 game that began in Seattle and was postponed in the second inning due to rain.

    The Huskies have had their share of tough luck in their eight Pac-10 losses, as six of those losses have come from a combined seven runs.

    In Washington’s 1-0 loss to Arizona in Tucson, the Huskies mustered up only one hit in senior ace Alicia Hollowell’s 14-strikeout shutout.

    Candrea said he wants the current Wildcat squad to be separated from the Wildcats that lost two out of three that weekend.

    “”We’ll find out,”” Candrea said. “”We’re trying to get things turned. We’re trying to get more confidence and more aggressiveness.

    “”We just want to go out there and come out swinging.””

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