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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball suffers Bruin bruising

    Claire C. Laurence / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Softball lost to Pac-10 rival UCLA 8-3 on Sunday in Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.
    Claire C. Laurence / Arizona Daily Wildcat Softball lost to Pac-10 rival UCLA 8-3 on Sunday in Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.

    The No. 2 Arizona softball team started its home conference schedule off with a very rude awakening.

    After winning a 1-0 contest against No. 14 Washington (28-12, 2-4 Pacific 10 Conference) on Friday, the Wildcats (31-6, 2-3) dropped their final two games of the home stand to No. 3 UCLA (33-3, 5-1), including an 8-3 whipping yesterday and a 2-1 loss Saturday.

    “”It was a tough weekend,”” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. “”That’s all I can say. Hopefully it will be a weekend that can help us turn things around. If not, things will continue to get worse, and we’re in for a dogfight.””

    In the opener, Arizona senior ace Alicia Hollowell (16-2) made a triumphant return to Hillenbrand Stadium after missing two weeks of play. In her second outing since her injury, Hollowell gave up only two hits and struck out 14, including nine out of the first 10 batters.

    In the second game of the weekend, Arizona was shut down by UCLA junior pitcher Lisa Dodd, who had a no-hitter until the fifth inning, when sophomore right fielder Taryne Mowatt singled. The lone run for Arizona Saturday came on a home run by sophomore catcher Callista Balko.

    “”You’ve got to have support,”” Candrea said. “”Offensively, we have just not been good. We’ve got to find a way to get better. As you play in the league, you see better pitching every day. You’ve got to be able to make adjustments.””

    The Wildcats managed to muster up only three hits in Saturday’s loss, and yesterday the team doubled the total to six hits.

    “”We don’t have tough outs,”” Candrea said. “”We don’t have anyone walking up in our lineup where people are going, ‘Here they come again.’ And to me, that’s the mindset that we have kind of lost right now, and you’ve got to earn that. You’ve got to be able to go out and produce to make people feel that way.””

    In yesterday’s loss, which could go down as the worst defeat of the season, Mowatt pitched and never found her groove, coughing up four runs in two-plus innings of work. The Bruins pounced on Mowatt (13-4) early on, as she surrendered a home run on the first batter of the game, then gave up another two-run homer two batters later.

    Mowatt was replaced by Hollowell, who followed with two innings of work, giving up four more runs, only one of them earned, after two errors contributed to three runs.

    “”They were getting back to the top of the order, and the top of the order hit her pretty hard the first time around,”” Candrea said. “”With the score tied, I thought, we have new life; let’s try to get Hollowell in there.””

    In her rough pitching outing, Mowatt helped herself out at the plate, as she hit her first collegiate home run, a three-run shot that tied the game in the bottom of the second inning.

    “”It was good to see that we could get some runners on base and then be able to tie the game,”” Mowatt said. “”But unfortunately it didn’t last very long.””

    Candrea decided after the fourth inning to pull his ace Hollowell and try senior pitcher Leslie Wolfe on the mound, who pitched three shutout innings with three strikeouts.

    “”I thought Hollowell did a great job on (Saturday),”” Candrea said. “”But it ended up that no matter what we threw out there, it didn’t really matter today. We got beat by a much better team and a much better group of athletes.””

    Two Wildcats chosen as candidates for player of the year

    Hollowell and junior center fielder Caitlin Lowe were selected as two of the 25 finalists for the Amateur Softball Association’s USA Player of the Year award. While it’s not likely that Lowe, who has been out of action for more than three weeks after breaking her hand, can win the award, Hollowell can be expected to be a serious contender.

    “”I’m happy to be one of the 25 finalists,”” Hollowell said. “”But it won’t mean anything for me unless the team does something at the end.””

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