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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    No. 5 Cats opening trip just down the highway

    Softball season opener

    Junior center fielder Caitlin Lowe, the first batter of the season for the No. 5 Arizona softball team in the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe today, has the chance to get the Wildcats off on the right foot this season.

    The Wildcats will face Cal State-Northridge at 4:30 p.m. and Northwestern at 7:30 p.m. The women will play No. 4 Texas and No. 6 Texas A&M tomorrow and New Mexico and Cal State-Fullerton on Sunday.

    Lowe, who batted .510 last year while leading off all 57 games, said she is ready to get back in the swing of things this year.

    “”We are really excited because we have been practicing so hard,”” she said.

    Lowe led the team with a .560 on-base percentage last season. She said she is not too worried about leading the Wildcats in the right direction.

    “”We do a really good job of making sure we know each team we are playing,”” she said. “”A lot of the pitchers we face, we already faced in previous years.””

    Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said that Lowe is the key to making the offense go when she gets on base.

    “”Caitlin is a good player and has been consistent throughout her entire career here,”” he said. “”She’s very competitive and does a good job preparing.””

    Lowe is one of four Wildcats named to the USA Softball National Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List, after being named a finalist for last year’s award.

    As far as the pitching goes, the team does not have a set rotation but instead matches up who they think will perform the best against which opponent, Candrea said.

    He said that sophomore Taryne Mowatt will pitch the first game, and senior Alicia Hollowell will pitch the second.

    In last year’s Classic, Hollowell threw a perfect game against Tennesee-Chattanooga in the Wildcats’ 8-0 victory – the only game they played all weekend due to rain.

    Mowatt’s (8-1) only defeat came against eventual Women’s College World Series champion Michigan.

    Candrea said the Wildcats are primed to see what they are capable of this year.

    “”We are looking to find out a little bit about all of our players,”” he said.

    Arizona should have lots of hitting this season because the team returns junior shortstop Kristie Fox, who drove in a nation-leading 64 runs last year.

    Fox will bat third in the order behind senior outfielder Autumn Champion, who will bat second, and in front of junior second baseman Chelsie Mesa, who will be hitting cleanup.

    Candrea said he will finally get to see what his new players can do this season.

    “”I think it’s a time to get a chance to see where we are at,”” he said. “”You can practice for so long, but you don’t know how you will react to game situations and the pressure of the game.””

    This weekend’s tournament features a matchup between the Wildcats and Texas, who have ace Kat Osterman, who Candrea coached on the USA Olympic team in Athens.

    The coach said he knows his team can succeed against Osterman, last year’s USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year.

    “”Right now it’s gonna be just a matter of doing the things that we do well,”” he said. “”She doesn’t give you a lot of strikes. You have to be aggressive early in the count. The key to beating her is hit her mistakes, and she doesn’t make many of them.””

    Candrea said he has just one goal for this weekend.

    “”The big thing is wins right now,”” he said.

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