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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball hits the Bay

    Arizona shortstop KLee Arredondo rocks back to throw a fielded grounder to first base in a 4-1 loss to Washington Saturday at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats are coming off two wins vs. ASU and play the Bay Area schools this weekend.
    Arizona shortstop K’Lee Arredondo rocks back to throw a fielded grounder to first base in a 4-1 loss to Washington Saturday at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats are coming off two wins vs. ASU and play the Bay Area schools this weekend.

    With a three-game series in the Bay Area on deck – beginning at 3 p.m. today at No. 13 California and concluding with 1 p.m. Saturday and 12 p.m. Sunday games against No. 3 Stanford – the Arizona softball team wasn’t outwardly elated after a season sweep of the ASU Sun Devils.

    Based on their post-game reactions, the Wildcats’ players and coaches know there’s much work to be done.

    “”We get on a plane (today) and go to the Bay Area, that’s it,”” head coach Mike Candrea said on Wednesday, implying his team knows they can’t become too excited after the ASU series. “”You don’t talk about it, you just do it.””

    Despite the “”we’re-not-done-yet”” attitude, there is importance in Arizona’s season sweep of the Sun Devils.

    Retribution over an ASU squad that swept them last season is significant.

    Keeping their name in the Pacific 10 Conference championship discussion is also. That’s not to mention the Wildcats’ own fight to play their regional or super regional games in the friendly confines of Hillenbrand Stadium.

    While the result of the ASU series proved imperative for those three reasons, beating the Sun Devils made the latter two that much more important versus California and Stanford.

    “”You’re going to have to win it on the road,”” Candrea said. “”We have just been trying to grow a little bit and that’s been the name of the game all year, is to get better, try to eliminate mistakes and try to get all areas going.””

    The Wildcats (39-11, 11-4) will first face the Golden Bears (33-15, 8-7), who they soundly defeated twice at Hillenbrand Stadium just two weeks ago.

    Then, Arizona knocked Cal starting pitcher Marissa Drewrey around the park during an 11-2 UA win, but the Wildcats found more trouble in game two with utility player Valerie Arioto pitching. The sophomore is California’s leading hitter and best option in the circle with her .348 batting average and 2.12 ERA.

    Against the Cardinal (41-6, 10-5), Arizona will again face pitching ace Missy Penna and her 1.40 ERA. Last time the teams met, the Wildcats scored 12 runs and run-ruled Stanford in six innings, but that’s not likely to happen again.

    As for the Wildcats looking after themselves, Candrea is hoping to find consistency from pitchers other thanSarah Akamine. The first and third games on the weekend will likely see Akamine (18-5) start, but resting her the second game and possibly finding relief in the other two contests will be a key in making a postseason run.

    Lindsey Sisk (12-3) has found her way back into the starting lineup and Candrea hopes to build on her victory over the Sun Devils.

    “”We’re going to need a pitching staff, pure and simple,”” he said. “”I’m really pleased with Sarah and the way she’s throwing right now and we’re going to need the other two doing the same stuff. I think Lindsey took a step forward tonight.””

    Sisk struggled and was briefly yanked from the circle, but returned to finish off the Sun Devils. She knows she’ll be relied upon, and like Candrea, had a simplistic view on preparing for the Bay Area schools.

    Making a run

    Arizona is quickly making a run for the all-time home run record set by the 2001 national championship Wildcat team. Arizona belted three home runs in the nightcap against the Sun Devils to push its total to 117 long balls on the season.

    Catcher Stacie Chambers and third baseman Jenae Leles remain in first and second positions in the Division I softball for home runs with 26 and 21 homers, respectively.

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