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The Daily Wildcat

Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Numbers indicate offensive showing

    After making a recent statistical blip in their own historical radar screens, the Arizona Wildcats and ASU Sun Devils will collide today and tomorrow at 7 p.m., in Hillenbrand Stadium.

    Arizona’s significant mark came after it tallied zero hits against the Washington Huskies, the first time that has occurred in nine years.

    In the opposing dugout, the Sun Devils are coming off two wins against UNLV, whom they jacked 15 total home runs against, including 10 in one game, which tied an NCAA record.

    “”All the little things we’ve talked about throughout the year become magnified when you play a good team,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”When you’re in a prize fight and you’re trading punches, you’ve got to continue to take it one punch at a time and not get ahead of yourself and execute in that moment.””

    Most likely, the Wildcats won’t fail to place a runner on base again, and that’s where this series gets fun.

    The Sun Devils, like Arizona, will have plenty of firepower behind their bats. In fact, the series will showcase the nation’s top-3 home run hitters – Arizona’s Stacie Chambers (23) and Jenae Leles (18) are followed by ASU’s Kaitlin Cochran (17).

    But Cochran isn’t just going to swing for the fences. She currently ranks first nationally with a 1.100 slugging percentage and a 0.642 on-base percentage, leading ASU’s strong overall lineup.

    How will Arizona soften the powerful ASU offense?

    “”Honestly, trusting my pitches, hitting my spots and relying on the defense (are key),”” said Arizona pitcher Sarah Akamine. “”That’s our gameplan.””

    As a team, Arizona scores the most runs in the nationÿ- 8.73 per game to be exact. Right behind them are the Sun Devils, who come in averaging 7.23 runs per contest. Likewise, Arizona leads the nation in batting average with the Sun Devils right on its tail.

    An offensive explosion is to be expected, but how the teams perform defensively is probably more of a mystery. Neither team will likely shutout the other, but whomever keeps the opposition off-kilter will likely come away with the victory.

    Freshman Hillary Bach has become the Sun Devils ace, compiling a 19-2 record and an impressive 2.31 ERA. On the bright side for the Wildcats, ASU head coach Clint Myers has shown restraint in overusing Bach.

    Myers has split Bach’s time with pitchers Megan Elliott (9-4) and Megan Ellsworth (6-1) who have lesser ERAs of 3.43 and 4.05.

    “”I think the big thing for us is going to be our success, being able to play defense,”” Candrea said. “”When you’re able to put 15 runs on the board, it doesn’t really matter.””

    For Arizona, Jennifer Martinez (7-4) has leveled the playing field between herself, Lindsey Sisk (11-2) and Akamine (14-4), and Candrea may use all three pitchers throughout the weekend.

    Despite having a dominant ace, ASU’s 2.93 combined ERA is slightly higher than the Wildcat’s 2.82 team ERA.

    What’s the point of this jumbled compilation of statistics?

    It provides good reason to call this series a must-see; a tactical, offensive battle between two teams that have denied the Women’s College World Series crown from the other 49 states over the past three years.

    Oh, and that’s not to mention it’s a bitter in-state rivalry.

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