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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball takes down No. 2 Stanford

    Stanford pitcher Missy Penna led her No. 2-ranked Cardinal team into Hillenbrand Stadium Friday behind her 0.90 ERA, but the Arizona softball team didn’t get the memo as the Wildcats blasted Penna for 13 hits and won 12-4 in six innings due to run-rule.

    With three home runs on the night, Arizona (34-9) is one homer away from hitting 100 on the season as a team.

    “”Our whole team today, batting one through nine, they just hit the ball,”” said UA third baseman Jenae Leles. “”The girls came up with clutch hits at the right time and played good defense.””

    The Wildcats used momentum from a three-run first inning to down the Cardinal.

    “”When we can jump on people early, it gives this team a lot of confidence,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”They start swinging the bats with great confidence and they can put runs on the board.””

    After singles by lead-off hitter Brittany Lastrapes and shortstop K’Lee Arredondo, Leles lived up to her claim as the team’s longest home-run hitter, teeing off on a Penna pitch and sending it to the top rows of the left field stands.

    It wasn’t a cakewalk though, because Cardinal second baseman Maddy Coon roughed up Wildcat starting pitcher Sarah Akamine (15-4) in the third inning with a two RBI single, bringing her team within one run.

    Akamine gave up two earned runs but fought through her mistakes, never becoming flustered enough to make head coach Mike Candrea pull the plug.

    “”The team talks to me a lot, talks me through it,”” Akamine said of being in a jam. “”I think the defense gets tighter and makes the plays.””

    While three defensive errors didn’t aide the Wildcat’s cause, the offense made up for it. Reacting to the two Stanford runs, Arizona lit up the bottom of the third inning with a variety of scores.

    Arredondo hit a two-run homer to score Lastrapes and herself, then freshman Lini Koria whipped a ball off Cardinal first baseman Jenna Becerra’s glove, scoring Leles, who had found second after a single and a Chambers out.

    Soon after, Koria – playing in her first game back after sitting out due to a wrist injury – tapped home plate off fellow freshman Kristen Arriola’s chopper that straddled the left field line, putting the Wildcats on top 7-2.

    “”(Lini’s) always late on that first pitch,”” Candrea said. “”And I told her the biggest thing tonight, with your hand, is to make sure that you’re early, make sure you get the barrel square and she did a good job.””

    Stanford would find hope though, scoring a run in each the fourth and fifth innings and bringing the lead down to three, but Arizona wasn’t about to give up another 7-2 lead like it did last weekend against the Sun Devils.

    In the top of the sixth, every play went through Arredondo. She threw out a grounder to first, was tagged with an error to put a runner on, then got a force out at second.

    For the last out, Arredondo reacted to a speeding liner by Stanford’s Ashley Hansen by leaping to her left and catching the ball above her head before landing on her stomach.

    In the bottom of the sixth, right fielder Karissa Buchanan and center fielder Lauren Schutzler set the table for a Lastrapes three-run bomb before first baseman Sam Banister and Koria punched in an RBI each, giving Arizona a walk off win via the eight-runs-after-five rule.

    “”We’re lucky with three errors to win a game,”” Candrea said. “”…You can’t ever complain about the offensive production.””

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