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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball could have a deeper offense this season

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Jordan Glenn

Arizona softball pitcher Trish Parks (24) prepares on the mound during Arizona’s 4-3 win against Oklahoma State at Hillenbrand Stadium on Sunday. Parks and the Wildcats could have a deeper lineup this season than even last season’s dominant offense.

It may be just three games into the 2015 season, but this Arizona softball offense might just be even deeper than last year’s offense.

For those who don’t know, the 2014 Arizona offense dominated statistics across the nation. Arizona as a team was first in total home runs (109), first in home runs per game (1.82), first in runs per game (7.5), first in slugging percentage (.636), tied for first in total runs (450), second in batting average (.350) and second in on base percentage (.439). 

In other words, the Wildcats were really, really good offensively. 

To say this season’s offense may be better than last season’s dominant offense may seem crazy, but there is a newfound depth at the bottom of the batting order in the form of talented freshman. 

Two of those freshmen, Ashleigh Hughes and Trish Parks, have made immediate impacts already in just the first series. 

Parks and Hughes have shined for Candrea’s squad in a learn-under-fire move that was necessary following the loss of outfielders Courtney Rodriguez and Alex Lavine. 

Parks leads the team with five RBIs and two wins on the mound and is third in both hits and batting average among starters. Hughes has only seen five at bats but her last at bat was a two-run, walk-off triple that won Sunday’s game against Oklahoma State. 

Every offensive player made an appearance in that win as Arizona coach Mike Candrea used pinch hitters and pinch runners to perfection. Hughes came in to pinch hit for Alexis Dotson on her walk-off hit, further proving Candrea’s point of the team having increased depth.

After Sunday’s win, utility Chelsea Suitos said she loves to see everyone contributing in wins. 

“It’s great to see production out of everybody,” Suitos said. “We used up all of our runners for pinch runners, which is a really crucial thing to do. Seeing the production from freshman and newbies, especially Ashleigh and then Trish Parks on the mound, it was a great team win.” 

Candrea has an opportunity as the season progresses to utilize these newcomers with a group of returnees that may be the best in the nation. 

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Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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