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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball surrenders second straight series

Koby Gray Upchurch / Arizona Daily Wildcat
Koby Gray Upchurch
Koby Gray Upchurch / Arizona Daily Wildcat

What once looked like a promising season for the Wildcat softball team has rapidly gone downhill.

Arizona is now 1-5 since Kenzie Fowler went down with a concussion against Washington, leaving the team with only Shelby Babcock and a group of emergency fill-ins in the circle.

Until Sunday, the Wildcats were unable to put together a complete game against Oregon.

When Babcock held the Ducks to two runs on three hits on Friday, the Wildcats were unable to muster a single run in support. When the team managed six runs on Saturday, Babcock surrendered six of her own before being replaced in the sixth inning.

Sunday was a different story, as the Wildcats jumped out to an early 5-0 lead, which they never relinquished in a 7-6 victory.

With the loss on Saturday, the Wildcats had their first five-game losing streak since April of 1991, before any of their eight national championships. In fact, that 1991 campaign would end up in Arizona’s first National Champions banner.

Babcock started every game of the series, throwing an even 400 pitches on the weekend in 19 innings of work. She recorded 14 earned runs in the series.

Despite her six earned runs on Sunday, Babcock showed signs of improvement. In the top of the seventh she recorded three straight outs getting Oregon’s Monique Fuiava to ground into a double play and striking out Kailee Cuico to end the game.

Babcock had previously struggled in the seventh inning, allowing three last-inning victories in her last five games. Taking the mound with a one-run lead and 385 pitches on her arm was certainly not an ideal situation for the freshman pitcher, but she was able to earn the win.

For Babcock, it was simply a matter of buckling down and deciding to end the game.

“”Of course it’s in the back of my head that seventh innings have not been my greatest in the past,”” she said. “”And I just got on the mound and was like, ‘I’m sick of this. And I’m sick of giving up runs. And I’m sick of walking people. And I’m just gonna do it. I’m just gonna get it done.'””

Head coach Mike Candrea was encouraged by the effort that his pitcher gave on Sunday and hopes it is a sign of things to come.

“”I’m just proud of her. She was put in a tough situation, but that’s why I gave her a scholarship. I’m not gonna sit here and protect her. There’s some growth that needs to happen, and it’s happening maybe a little slower than I wished. But I thought today she deserved that victory.””

At this point, Fowler’s status is still unknown and Babcock says she expects to be the only pitcher in the Wildcats’ visit to UCLA.

For Candrea, the problem with the team is still in its attitude.

“”We’re missing someone that if I was taking about a football team, someone who I’d grab the mask and say ‘We need you right now.’ And we just don’t have that. We have a lot of nice kids. But you know what nice is. When you’re competing, sometimes you have to have a little fight and a little fire.””

Chambers watch

Stacie Chambers hit a three-run home run in the first inning. She is now one shy of tying Arizona’s career home run record set by Laura Espinoza in 1995.

Candrea shuffled the lineup once again, returning to his old batting order on Saturday and playing Matte Haack at designated player and Ashlee Brawley at shortstop on Sunday. Brawley was 3-3 in the game with three singles and one run.

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