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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Wildcats drop game one in Super Regionals

    In Palo Alto, Calif., No. 9 seed Arizona softball dropped their first game in NCAA Super Regional competition yesterday against No.8 seed Stanford. The nationally televised game, which ended in a 6-4 Arizona loss, was close for much of the contest, but Wildcat defensive errors spoiled their early lead in a costly fifth inning.

    “”That’s the biggest challenge at this time of year,”” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. “”You’ve got to be able to win the close ones; you’ve got to be able to shut things down.””

    Although the Cardinal (48-9, 13-8 Pacific 10 Conference) put up six runs in one inning, Arizona’s (44-15, 13-7 Pac-10) downfall was their inability to cash in with the bases loaded. The Wildcats would load the bases three separate times in the game but would not score more than two runs at any one time.

    The middle of the lineup struggled against Cardinal pitcher Missy Penna (35-6).

    They went 2-10 against the Stanford ace and couldn’t come up with the quality at-bats to score. National home run leader Stacie Chambers went 0-4, including three strikeouts.

    Arizona got to Penna early, and jumped out to a one-run lead off an RBI single by freshman Lini Koria. After the run had crossed the plate, the inning ended with a tag-out of senior Jenae Leles at home plate that stopped a potential breakout in scoring.

    “”I think from the first inning on we need to get runners on every inning and keep hitting at Penna,”” said left fielder Brittany Lastrapes. “”That’s the heart of their team.””

    The bottom of the fifth inning spoiled the early Wildcat lead. Pitcher Sarah Akamine (22-7) kept the Cardinal away from the plate for most of the game, but her pitching could not make up for two costly errors.

    A play that looked like an easy ground ball off the bat of Stanford’s Jenna Becerra launched the six run fifth inning. Instead of an out, Becerra’s swing resulted in a runner on second base thanks to a throwing error by Akamine. After a single by Sarah Hassman, an intentional walk of Alissa Haber and an error by first basemen Sam Banister, two runs had crossed the plate.

    “”You get in situations like that at the top of the order, and you have to shut down their best and we didn’t do that tonight,”” said Candera. “”In games like this you play a good team and give them a crack and they took advantage of it.””

    After an RBI single by Cardinal Melisa Koutz, teammate Maddy Coon cracked open the game by capping off the inning with a three-run jack, giving Stanford a 6-1 lead.

    Although their offense would rally, Arizona could not complete the comeback. The Wildcats answered with two runs in the top of the sixth inning, and missed the chance to do more damage with the bases loaded.

    They would score again in the top of the seventh off a two out RBI single by Banister. Koria, who already had two RBI singles in the game, was not able to convert with the bases loaded, and grounded out to end the game.

    “”I think even in the last inning when we had two outs, I still thought we could come back,”” said Lastrapes. “”As long as we have innings to play, I never think we’re going to lose until the inning’s over.””

    In a double elimination round, Arizona must win two games today to reach Oklahoma City and the Women’s College World Series. They will play a nationally televised game with play beginning today at 5:30 p.m., where they will be the designated home team. If the Wildcats are victorious, they will play a second game scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.

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