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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Fowler-less Wildcats swept by ASU

Fowler-less Wildcats swept by ASU

In the last 18 years, the Arizona Wildcats softball team has only lost one game against ASU at Hillenbrand Stadium. This weekend, it lost three straight.

Arizona also lost its first series of the Pacific 10 Conference season and dropped out of first place.

First baseman Lini Koria said losing to the No. 2 Sun Devils (42-5, 9-3) made the losses more painful.

“”We represent this side of the town,”” Koria said. “”And we have a lot of pride, and (we) wear it on our sleeves, wear it on our shirts and it’s just kind of heartbreaking.””

The No. 7 Wildcats (36-11, 7-5 Pac-10) lost two tough ones on Thursday and Friday night. Both games were decided by Sun Devil grand slams in the seventh inning, off the bat of Katelyn Boyd on Thursday and Katelyn Castillo on Friday.

Arizona ace Kenzie Fowler did not pitch this weekend due to lingering symptoms of a concussion sustained on April 17.

“”It’s kind of hard to walk into a series like this without your number one,”” said head coach Mike Candrea, “”but, you’ve got to play the game.””

Freshman Shelby Babcock started on Thursday and Friday night, and pitched in relief on Saturday. By the end of the series, she needed some help from the rest of her teammates in the circle.

Baillie Kirker, a first baseman, Victoria Kemp, a second baseman, and Brittany Lastrapes, the left fielder, all made their first pitching appearances for the Wildcats.

“”Well, we had to today,”” Candrea said. “”Just try to find a way to keep them off balance, and I figured we could get them one time through the lineup and keep the game close and then save Babcock for the end.””

Kemp started Saturday’s game and went two innings, giving up three hits and three runs. Kirker, who pitched both Friday and Saturday, pitched two innings with no runs allowed. Lastrapes pitched 1.2 innings on Saturday and gave up five runs.

After Thursday’s 4-0 nail biter, Friday’s game wasn’t as mellow. Twenty-three runs scored in the game that ended in a 13-10 loss for Arizona.

The Wildcats took a convincing 9-1 lead after the second inning, however they wouldn’t enjoy that breathing room for long.

The Wildcats let the Sun Devils slowly creep back into the game, scoring two runs in the fourth, one run in the fifth, three runs in the sixth and six runs in the seventh to take the 13-10 lead.

“”In 26 years, I haven’t had to swallow something like that,”” Candrea said. “”That’s the way it goes.””

ASU took advantage of Arizona’s poor fielding late in the game to close the gap to 10-9 before Castillo’s grand slam off Babcock sealed the win for ASU.

“”You need to get outs,”” said third baseman Brigette Del Ponte. “”That homerun should not have decided the game because we should have had outs before that, and they shouldn’t have been on base.””

“”I’m not going to make excuses,”” Candrea said on Friday. “”We just didn’t get it done. We score 10 runs, I expect to win. And it just didn’t happen.””

ASU took an early lead on Saturday, scoring three runs in the first inning and the fifth inning. They added two more in the sixth en route to an 8-3 win.

Arizona was able to muster six hits against Dallas Escobedo on Sunday, but it wouldn’t be enough to challenge the Sun Devils’ offense.  

“”What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,”” Candrea said. “”Right now the quicker we can get through this and move forward and get ready for Oregon, I think that’s what you have to do.””

Whether or not the Wildcats will have Fowler for that series remains to be seen. Candrea said there is still no timetable for his ace’s return.

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