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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Cats to play 5 in Hillenbrand tourney

    The No. 1 Arizona softball team left the Palm Springs Classic Sunday on a sour note after suffering its first loss of the season to No. 3 Texas, but this weekend the Wildcats hope to bounce back after returning home to host their second tournament of the season.

    That tournament, the Hillenbrand Invitational, features a round-robin schedule with Arizona facing Sam Houston, Long Beach State, Wichita State and South Florida. Tournament play starts today at 9 a.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium, and Arizona will begin play at 3 p.m.

    “”It’s going to be a good tournament,”” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. “”Long Beach State, South Florida, Wichita State are all very good teams.””

    The Wildcats (15-1) open tournament play today at 3 p.m. against the Sam Houston Bearkats (5-7), who have lost seven of their last eight contests after starting the year at 4-0. SHSU’s schedule has been more on the difficult side, however, as three of their losses have come to Texas and Baylor.

    Immediately following the first matchup, Arizona takes on the Long Beach State 49ers (8-6) at 5 p.m. The back-to-back Big West champions will be competing in their fourth tournament of the season, and have had an up-and-down season thus far, with losses coming against the likes of No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 13 Washington.

    The 49ers are coming off a disappointing 1-4 finish at the Aztec Invitational in San Diego last weekend.

    Arizona starts tomorrow off at 3 p.m. against Wichita State (9-5). The Shockers were riding a five-game winning streak until Wednesday, when the team fell to Missouri 1-0. Despite the loss, the Shockers have won eight of their last 10 matches.

    The Wildcats close out the day against South Florida (10-7).

    Sunday’s tournament play will feature three games, the first one at 9 a.m. with the No. 4 versus the No. 5 seed. The winner of this game would play immediately after its conclusion against the No. 3 seed at 11 a.m., with the championship game slated for 1 p.m.

    “”I think it will be a very competitive field, and it will be a good challenge for us, but we’re just looking forward to being back at home,”” Candrea said.

    Arizona senior pitcher Alicia Hollowell (8-0, 0.14 ERA) will get the nod in a Friday matchup. Hollowell passed former pitcher Jennie Finch in all-time wins with 120 at the Palm Springs Classic, and is currently in second place behind assistant coach Nancy Evans (124).

    Senior pitcher Leslie Wolfe (0-0, 0.00), who has pitched just nine innings this year, will get the Sunday start.

    Arizona’s pitching staff leads the Pacific 10 Conference in virtually every major category.ÿ

    The Wildcats have the lowest team ERA, walks allowed, runs, earned runs and opposing batting average.ÿThey also have the highest number of shutouts, complete games and strikeouts.

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