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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

‘Cats pitchers to face fierce No. 8 Washington bats

Hallie Bolonkin/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Hallie Bolonkin
Hallie Bolonkin/Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Arizona softball team is set to face the No. 8 Washington Huskies in its first home Pacific 10 Conference action at Hillenbrand Stadium this weekend.

The No. 7 Wildcats currently sit in first place in the Pac-10 with a 5-1 record. Washington is one game back at 4-2 after losses to California and Oregon.

The Wildcats’ defense — which has surrendered just eight runs in its first six Pac-10 games — will face one of its toughest tests of the season. The Huskies are third in the nation in team batting average and first in average runs per game.

Washington also boasts one of the best offensive players in the nation in junior outfielder Kimi Pohlman. The Huskies’ center fielder is currently batting .492 — good for seventh in the nation — with a team-leading 17 stolen bases.

The Wildcats have previously fared well against high average hitters. Arizona’s pitchers held Stanford’s Ashley Hansen, who leads the nation with a .541 batting average.

Washington’s pitching staff has also performed well this season. Freshman Kaitlin Inglesby has been dominant at times, posting a 1.78 ERA en route to a 17-2 record.

The Huskies are also one of only eight teams in the nation with two players to be named to the top-25 finalists for the 2011 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Award. Senior shortstop Jenn Salling and junior first baseman Niki Williams are both on the list. Salling is hitting .404 this season and Williams boasts an average of .441 with a team-leading 10 home runs.

Arizona is another one of those eight teams with two players on the top 25 list. Senior outfielder Brittany Lastrapes and sophomore pitcher Kenzie Fowler both made the list.

Lastrapes has been brilliant in the leadoff spot this season. Her .469 batting average is third in the Pac-10 and she leads the conference with 60 hits.

Fowler has been outstanding in the circle this season with a 1.69 ERA and 170 strikeouts. She has allowed just four earned runs in 22.2 innings of Pac-10 play. She is also the only Pac-10 pitcher on the Player of the Year list.

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