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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball struggles in season-opening weekend

After a promising start to the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., on Thursday, the Wildcats ended the weekend with a record of 3-3 after falling to Georgia Tech, No. 21 Nebraska, and No. 17 Texas A&M.

On Friday, the Wildcats dropped two winnable one-run games to Georgia Tech and Nebraska, 2-1 and 11-10, respectively.

Arizona was able to strike first in the Georgia Tech game with its lone RBI coming off the bat of senior transfer Jessica Spigner, who has seen some immediate success and is now batting .600 in six career games. Following Spigner’s RBI, the Wildcats were unable to capitalize on opportunities and stranded seven on base.

“Even when we lost, we are doing better at fighting and competing, and that is what coach wanted us to do,” Spigner said. “We are not going to dwell on it. We’re going to come out and get after it. We’re definitely close.”

The Nebraska game, which featured a matchup between Arizona pitcher Kenzie Fowler and her sister, Nebraska’s Mattie Fowler, started in much the same way the Georgia Tech game did. Arizona was able to jump out to a 5-0 lead through three innings thanks to a home run early in the game from senior Lini Koria and another from freshman Shelby Pendley.

Mattie Fowler was unable to register a hit on Kenzie Fowler, who lasted six innings, giving up seven hits and nine runs — eight of which were earned.

“Honestly, I thought it was going to be weird, but it really wasn’t,” Kenzie Fowler said. “It was just another batter.”

The third loss of the tournament came at the hands of Texas A&M 5-4, which drove in four of its five runs on home runs, including the go-ahead solo shot in the seventh inning. The Wildcats outhit the Aggies 9-6. Pitcher Shelby Babcock fell to 1-3 on the season.

In explosive wins against Syracuse Saturday and Cal State Northridge Sunday, the Wildcats’ bats recorded 19 runs, while giving up just one in run-rule shortened games. Babcock and Jessica Spigner gave up six hits combined between the games.

“We just have some growing up to do,” UA coach Mike Candrea said. “To be good at this game, you have to have good pitching, play good defense and get timely hitting. I was pleased with the way we battled, but we were a little bit snakebit.”

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