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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball swept by Devils for 1st time since 1988

    Junior third baseman Jenae Leles twists to swing before letting the ball go by for a called third strike during Saturday afternoons 9-8 loss to ASU in Tempe. The Sun Devils swept the season series from the Wildcats for the first time in 20 years. (Photo courtesy of Deanna Dent/The State Press)
    Junior third baseman Jenae Leles twists to swing before letting the ball go by for a called third strike during Saturday afternoon’s 9-8 loss to ASU in Tempe. The Sun Devils swept the season series from the Wildcats for the first time in 20 years. (Photo courtesy of Deanna Dent/The State Press)

    TEMPE – The last time ASU softball swept the season series against Arizona sophomore K’Lee Arredondo and junior Laine Roth were just infants. Despite Arredondo and Roth’s best efforts, the 20-year record fell this weekend.

    K’Lee Arredondo, the Wildcats’ shortstop, stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh of Saturday’s game having struck out all three previous plate appearances. When she made contact, she made it count, lining the ball into the right center field gap for a double. The next batter, Jenae Leles, walked and then Roth strode to the plate.

    Laine Roth turned on ASU ace Katie Burkhart’s 2-0 offering and hammered it down the left field line, just inside the foul pole, giving the No. 8 Wildcats (29-14, 6-6 Pacific 10 Conference) an 8-6 lead in the game.

    “”Oh yeah, I was (hoping it stayed fair,)”” Roth said. “”And I was so happy it did.””

    If Arizona was going to win the game and avoid a season sweep after losing 2-0 Friday night, however, it would have to earn it against the middle of No. 1 ASU’s order.

    After UA ace Taryne Mowatt struck out Jackie Vasquez in the bottom of the seventh, the leader in home runs and RBIs for ASU (48-3, 10-1), Krista Donnenwirth dug in, looking to cut the lead in half. UA interim head coach Larry Ray decided to have nothing to do with Donnenwirth, who had already homered twice, and gave her the free pass. Mowatt then plunked Lesley Rogers, giving the dangerous Mindy Cowles a chance to win the game. Cowles, who had homered Friday and twice off Mowatt in Tucson last Wednesday, hit a fly ball into deep left center, where UA center fielder Lauren Schutzler misjudged it, allowing it to fall for a double. The Sun Devils scored a run and put the game-winning run on second base with one out.

    ASU catcher Kristen Miller then hit a two-run single to center and just like that, ASU had come from a two-run deficit and swept the season series from Arizona for the first time since 1988.

    “”It hurts,”” Roth said. “”I’m from Phoenix so it’s kind of a dagger in the heart when we lose to them.””

    In a game matching up Burkhart (27-3), who shutout Arizona on Friday, and Mowatt (17-10), it seemed destined to be a low-scoring affair – except someone forgot to tell the hitters.

    After left fielder Brittany Lastrapes and Arredondo struck out to begin the game, Leles and Roth both hit infield singles before UA second baseman Sam Banister hit a three-run home run to left center. Stacie Chambers hit the first pitch she saw for a double, and after six batters, Arizona had equaled its entire hit total from Friday.

    Mowatt struggled with her control and allowed two singles and a walk on four pitches to load the bases with no outs. A wild pitch scored the first ASU run and a Cowles single made the game 3-2. Arizona freshman Lindsey Sisk started to warm up in the first, but never entered the game.

    ASU took the lead against Mowatt in the fifth, thanks to some less-than-stellar defense.

    In the bottom of the fifth, Donnenwirth hit a bomb to left field that nearly hit the ASU gymnastics facility about 300 feet from home plate. Chambers responded the next inning with a solo shot of her own to the deepest part of the yard in center field.

    It was not the start from Mowatt that Arizona was looking for, especially after the 8-1 shellacking she received from ASU last Wednesday in Tucson. She allowed nine runs (eight earned) over eight hits, while walking four and striking out eight in 6 1/3 innings.

    Mowatt declined to comment after the game.

    “”Taryne did pretty good,”” said UA catcher Callista Balko. “”She hit her spots well facing a team that likes to swing the bat. You’ve gotta be a little bit more careful and Taryne pitched every pitch like it is her last.

    “”But every once in a while you’re gonna have a great hitter who hits great and hits a pitch that you wouldn’t think they would be able to be hit. You have to give credit (to ASU).””

    Ray said he thought Mowatt’s biggest problem was the three errors her defense made behind her and is hoping that giving his team two days off will be beneficial.

    “”It’s a tough one,”” he said of the loss. “”But as I told the kids, as long as they played hard I could live with the results and I’m very proud of this group, even though we didn’t come out with a win.””

    A record crowd of 2,615 saw ASU’s string of dominance over Arizona continue as the Devils defeated the Wildcats 2-0 Friday night.

    Sophomore Sarah Akamine got the start for the Wildcats.

    The only scoring in the game came off the bat of Cowles when she hit a two-run home run into the newly erected bleachers beyond right-center field.

    Right fielder Cyndi Duran robbed Cowles of her second home run of the game in the bottom of the fifth to hold the score at 2-0.

    “”(My defense) backed me up so much,”” said Akamine, who gave up five hits and two earned runs in six innings. “”If Cyndi hadn’t of caught that ball, the game would have been much worse.””

    Ray said the team needs to look beyond this weekend’s losses and prepare for the Oregon schools next weekend.

    “”We’re gonna have to rebound,”” Ray said. “”This group has faced all kinds of situations this year and we’re just gonna have to tighten our belts a little bit and work a little harder.””

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