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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball blasts UTEP in doubleheader sweep

    UA catcher Stacie Chambers blasts a home run during a 20-1 win against UTEP on Wednesday at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats swept the Miners in a doubleheader by the combined score of 25-3 in 12 innings of play
    UA catcher Stacie Chambers blasts a home run during a 20-1 win against UTEP on Wednesday at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats swept the Miners in a doubleheader by the combined score of 25-3 in 12 innings of play

    After losing two out of three games to a skilled Texas A&M squad in College Station, the Wildcats got back to their winning ways in the comfortable confines of Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona won 20-1 in the first game, then battled for a 5-2 win in the finale of a doubleheader against UTEP.

    “”The first ballgame, we swung the bats and pounded the ball all over the place,”” said head coach Mike Candrea. “”I’m probably more proud of the second game, being in a tight ballgame and finding a way to get some runs.””

    With Sarah Akamine (9-2) getting the start in the matinee game, Arizona (16-4) gave up just three hits and one earned run.

    In the bottom of the first inning, Miners’ pitcher Stacie Townsend walked the first three Wildcat hitters to load the bases with no outs. One batter later, UA catcher Stacie Chambers was walked, scoring lead-off hitter Brittany Lastrapes for a 1-0 lead.

    With the bases still loaded, freshman Lini Koria hit a bomb past the left field stands for a grand slam, forcing the Miners to substitute Townsend for junior Kelly Curran with just one Wildcat retired in the game.

    “”I just had a better rhythm today,”” Koria said. “”I had to make some adjustments the second game. I just try to see the ball and hit the ball.””

    Down five runs in the second inning, the Miners found a little magic – at least relative to the rest of the game. Arizona gave up a hit to shortstop Jennifer Davis, which resulted in an Ashley Ellis run for UTEP (11-11).

    After Lastrapes scored on a Chambers RBI later in the frame, the Miners’ struggles worsened in the third inning.

    Arizona punched in eight runs during the bottom of the third, highlighted by two three-run homers – one by Lastrapes and another by freshman Kristen Arriola.

    In the 5th and final inning, Arizona head coach Mike Candrea used the large lead to play his bench. Corinna Gonzalez found first base and was aided home by freshman Alicia Banks’ homer, which sailed over the right field wall. Arizona would go on to score six more runs, ending the game with an overwhelming 20-1 score.

    The second game proved to be more of a struggle than the first, mostly due to UTEP’s pitching style.

    “”As far as hitting, slow pitching is harder for us to adjust to because we’re not used to seeing that,”” Chambers said. “”It’s part of the game and you have to make adjustments.””

    In a surprise move, senior pitcher Jennifer Martinez started for Lindsey Sisk, who got hit in the shin during practice earlier this week. Martinez pitched well to start the game, striking out two batters in the first inning and getting seven straight outs.

    But the Miners threatened to come back when Martinez walked designated player Camilla Carerra and Townsend sent a ball off Lauren Schutzler’s glove in center field. With runners on second and third and just one out, Miner Amber

    Bennett hit a sac-fly to center field, scoring Carerra from third to take a one-run lead going into the bottom of the fourth.

    Arizona countered when Koria led off the bottom of the fourth with a double and Arriola bunted, allowing a UTEP error to score Koria, tying the game at one apiece. But giving the lead back, Martinez allowed the fifth inning lead-off hitter a solo home run and was soon replaced by Akamine.

    Schutzler led off the bottom of the sixth with her signature slap-hit single and Lastrapes ditched two bunting attempts, instead deciding to swing for the fences. That decision paid off as she drilled a two-run homer and Arizona regained the lead.

    Adding some cushion, Chambers extended her hitting streak to 14 games with her own two-run bomb, scoring pinch runner Jill Malina and giving Arizona the 5-2 lead it would end the game with.

    “”We have a hard time making adjustments, it takes a while,”” Chambers said on the difference between the two games. “”We come out flat sometimes. It’s hard for us to get back up, but once we’re up, we’re fine.””

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