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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball digs home advantage

    Senior outfielder Caitlin Lowe lays down a bunt in a win against Creighton March 5 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Lowe and the Wildcats put a 24 game home winning streak against ASU on the line today and tomorrow.
    Senior outfielder Caitlin Lowe lays down a bunt in a win against Creighton March 5 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Lowe and the Wildcats put a 24 game home winning streak against ASU on the line today and tomorrow.

    Never.

    That’s the last time ASU beat the Arizona softball team at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    Not once. Zero, nada, zilch.

    The Wildcats (26-8, 2-1 Pacific 10 Conference) haven’t lost to the Sun Devils since the stadium opened in 1993, a span of 24 games. The last time the Sun Devils won in Tucson was April 17, 1991.

    “”That’s the past,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”Presently, I think ASU is a very good team that’s playing very well. We expect a real challenge.””

    After going 4-17 in the Pac-10 only two years ago, No. 9 ASU (36-8, 2-1 Pac-10) comes to Hillenbrand to face No. 6 Arizona for a two-game series today and tomorrow, with games set for 7 p.m. Tomorrow’s game will be shown on ESPN2.

    The Sun Devils are led by pitcher Katie Burkhart. The junior recently became the Devils’ all-time leader in career strikeouts and is averaging over 12 strikeouts per game this season.

    “”She’s a very good pitcher,”” said UA catcher Callista Balko. “”You have to go after her right from the get-go or she’ll feed from (success). We just have to get in her head, and then we’ll be fine.””

    Both Balko and shortstop Kristie Fox played with Burkhart last summer on the USA World University Team and feel the experience will help them when they dig in against her this weekend.

    ASU’s offense is led by outfielder Kaitlin Cochran. The sophomore, who also played on the USA team with Balko and Fox, leads the Sun Devils in every offensive category except RBIs.

    The task of shutting down Cochran will fall primarily on the arm of Arizona’s Taryne Mowatt.

    Mowatt (19-7) has a 1.77 ERA and has held opponents to a .161 batting average this season.

    The Wildcat offense will once again be led by the senior duo of center fielder Caitlin Lowe and Fox. Both were named as finalists for the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award on Wednesday.

    Lowe leads the team with a .445 batting average and is 30-for-30 on stolen bases this season. She is only 12 steals away from passing Alison McCutcheon for the UA career record.

    Fox leads the Wildcats in both home runs and RBIs this season. The San Diego native recently passed Jennie Finch for seventh place on UA’s all-time career RBI list.

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