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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Despite head coach Mike Candrea’s absence, Wildcats win big against San Diego State

Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA Softball vs Sandiego

The Arizona softball team has struggled to get hits when it needed them late in games. But hits were not an issue Tuesday night, however, as the Wildcats (20-8, 0-3 Pac-12), added their usual tough defense and pitching to the timely hitting in a convincing 8-0 win.

The win was all the more impressive considering Arizona’s head coach and eight-time NCAA champion Mike Candrea was at home resting following a nightlong stay in the hospital due to tightness in his chest. Assistant coach Larry Ray said the team was more focused than ever.

“We just wanted to focus on the game and not worry about outside influences,” Ray said. “I’m very proud of them. They pitched well. I’m thrilled.”

Prior to the game, Ray gave the team a speech, in which he emphasized how important a win on Tuesday would be. Following the game, Arizona third baseman Jessica Spigner pinpointed why the team was so motivated to get the win and put a weekend sweep at the hands of ASU behind them.

“It felt really good,” Spigner said. “This weekend was tough, but you have to learn from the past and forget about it. You have to learn from your mistakes and move forward. That’s what we did tonight. We got the win for him tonight.”

Sophomore pitcher Shelby Babcock had a strong start, shutting out the Aztecs and giving up just six hits after facing 21 batters, improving her record to 10-5 on the season.

San Diego State simply was never able to get going, falling behind 5-0 in the second inning after junior Brigette Del Ponte hit the first of her two home runs — a three-run blast into straight away center field. The Wildcats outhit the Aztecs 9-6 and were helped by two fielding errors by San Diego State shortstop Haley Miles.

“It’s relieving to be up on our runs and actually shutting another team out,” Del Ponte said. “Shelby let our defense work today.”

The Wildcats will face the Aztecs again in the final game of their series today at 3 p.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona was able to get a dominating win on Tuesday, but Spigner and the rest of the Wildcats have no plans to take their foot off the gas.

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