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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball can’t come away with series win at No. 1 California

The No. 13 Arizona softball team hoped to go into this weekend and steal a series from No. 1 Cal, but the Wildcats took just one game.

Despite losing the series, Arizona (29-12, 8-7 Pac-12 Conference) handed the Golden Bears their first loss of Pac-12 play and just their second of the season on Saturday.

“This weekend showed us that on any given day, we can beat any team in the country,” head coach Mike Candrea said.

Arizona kept Cal’s Valerie Arioto — considered one of the nation’s top hitters — hitless for the first two games. But Arioto caught fire on Sunday, hitting two homers — one off of each of the Arizona pitchers Shelby Babcock and Kenzie Fowler.

Fowler’s two-hitter on Friday was not enough to stall Cal as Arizona dropped game one, 2-0. Fowler recorded six strikeouts and five walks against the Golden Bears, who own the fifth-best scoring offense in the country at 7.35 runs per game.

Babcock held up her end in game two with just three hits as the bats cracked 13 hits against Cal — the first time an opponent has recorded double digit hits against the Golden Bears this season.

Arizona hitters took over in the sixth inning, putting up five runs to take the game 8-3. Saturday’s game was Cal’s first home loss and Arioto’s first loss on the season. Shelby Pendley led the way with the bases loaded in the sixth, knocking a bases-clearing double.

Candrea stressed that production in the lineup needed to increase this weekend. Seven hitters recorded at least one hit on Saturday with Karissa Buchanan and Chelsea Goodacre having three apiece.

The Wildcats ran out of fuel in game three to surrender the series with Babcock and Fowler sharing the mound. Arizona found itself on the other end of the spectrum opposite game two, putting up one of the weakest offensive performances of the season with just three hits. The Wildcats posed little threat early in the game as they struggled to get on base.

“They’ve got great leadership and talent and they’re hungry to prove something,” Candrea said.

Candrea was hoping the team would click in time for this showdown but the Wildcats are still waiting for the game-changer that will cause the team to put all its parts together and generate consistency.

“We’re still maturing,” Candrea said. “We need to understand that we have to come back and finish the series.”

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