The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

78° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Offense remains consistently string for UA softball

Arizona+softball+coach+Mike+Candrea+looks+on+during+Arizonas+18-10+win+against+Washington+at+Hillenbrand+Stadium+on+Sunday.+The+Wildcats+continue+to+put+high-level+offensive+numbers+up+despite+the+pitching+staff+still+struggling.
Jesus Barrera

Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea looks on during Arizona’s 18-10 win against Washington at Hillenbrand Stadium on Sunday. The Wildcats continue to put high-level offensive numbers up despite the pitching staff still struggling.

The opponents change, but the theme remains constant for Arizona softball.

Score runs — lots of them.

The Wildcats engaged in another high-scoring series over the weekend, this time with the Washington Huskies. The UA scored a combined 40 runs on 43 hits over the three-game span.

The Wildcats powered 10 of those hits over the Hillenbrand Stadium fence, and a few nearly cleared the left-field bleachers.

Arizona shortstop Kellie Fox, who hit a pair of home runs over the weekend, simplified Arizona’s offensive strategy down to “swing the bats hard.”

“We just try to put some runs on the board and compete out there,” Fox said.

While Fox and her teammates may see nothing out of the ordinary with the Wildcats’ production, the offensive numbers are staggering on a national scale. Arizona’s .373 batting average ranks second in the country, only trailing Oklahoma (.380).

The UA also ranks in the top five nationally in on-base, scoring and slugging percentage.

Individually speaking, UA sluggers Katiyana Mauga and Chelsea Goodacre rank in the top 10 with 19 and 17 home runs, respectively. Goodacre’s 64 RBIs are second best in the country.

For a team that has built itself around offense, such numbers are not only eye-popping, they are necessary.

Arizona is still trying to find a solid pitching situation over 40 games into the season.

For a few weeks, it looked like Michelle Floyd would turn into the go-to starter, but the sophomore was quickly relieved by Trish Parks both Friday and Saturday.

Parks threw 2.2 scoreless innings to close out the win on Friday, but she was taken out in the fifth inning due to arm soreness in game two of the series. Floyd reentered for Parks and ended up blowing a four-run, sixth-inning lead. Not even the Wildcats’ bats were enough in Saturday’s 9-8 loss.

Siera Phillips got her first start of the season on Sunday and kept the Huskies in check through three innings.

Yet with a more than comfortable 15-2 lead heading into the fourth inning, Phillips, and then Floyd in relief, allowed Washington to answer with eight runs.

Floyd was able to hold the Huskies scoreless over the final two innings, and Arizona won 18-10 in a six inning mercy-rule victory.

“Every inning that we could put a zero on the board, I was pretty darn happy,” Arizona coach Mike Candrea said after winning the series finale on Sunday.

That’s not quite a boost of encouragement, although Candrea added that he told Floyd to remember the last two scoreless innings she pitched after Sunday’s victory.

With Parks potentially sidelined with soreness, the margin for error on the mound is even smaller. And as Washington’s comeback victory on Saturday shows, the offense can only do so much.

The Wildcats still have four more regular-season series to figure out their pitching issues, and the next two opponents, Utah and Stanford, should not provide as much havoc at the plate as Washington.

“A win is a win right now,” Candrea said, “whether it’s ugly or it’s pretty.”

_______________

Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

More to Discover
Activate Search