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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball to move on to super regionals

After defeating Notre Dame 8-3 in the second contest this weekend, the Wildcats move one step closer to their ultimate goal: a spot in the Women’s College World Series.

Wildcat bats remained hot, as they were able to knock through double the amount of hits Notre Dame was able to, 14-7. Arizona also blasted four balls over the outfield walls of Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium to defeat the Irish.

The scoring parade began in the second frame with Kristen Arriola, who was able to reach base for the sixth time thus far in NCAA play. Junior Brigette Del Ponte also kept her hot streak alive with her seventh NCAA hit, including an RBI single that extended the Wildcat lead to 4-0.

In the second inning alone, Arizona recorded four of its runs and six of its hits.

“We had some kids seeing the ball well and got hot,” head coach Mike Candrea said after the game. “The energy of this team and the focus is something, damn it, I wish they would have had in February, March, and April. It’s taken so long to get them to this point, but I’ll take it. Right now, we’re in a good place.”

This good place comes not only from the timely hits the Wildcats are getting, but also the mindset they have taken into the NCAA playoffs.

“We wanted to be the aggressor,” Candrea said. “We’ve been the opposite all year. We’ve always sat back and waited for someone to punch us, and then it took us three innings to get up. This weekend there were a lot of kids that I saw confidence in their eyes, which has been a struggle to get.”

The confidence of Candrea’s team shone through in the fifth inning when freshmen Shelby Pendley and Chelsea Goodacre launched back-to-back home runs after Notre Dame got back into the game with a two-run home run of their own.

Goodacre and Pendley had hit a combined previous .182 on the weekend.

“I just went up there trying to keep same approach,” Goodacre said. “I wasn’t successful yesterday, I came out here with a great mindset and saw the ball well.”

Junior pitcher Shelby Babcock, who Candrea says has been “throwing about as well as anyone right now,” said the insurance runs from her teammates pumped her up even more on her way to a one walk, seven hit performance.

“Oh my gosh, it pumped me up so much seeing back-to-back home runs,” Babcock said. “It was a huge pump up for me, I feel like it just gave me so much fire so I could just shove it.”

Arizona will have its next chance to “shove it” when they travel to Norman, Okla., for the super regional round of NCAA play.

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