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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball: Wildcats top Pride 6-0

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Junior Brittany Lastrapes dives into second base on a controversial out in Arizona’s 6-0 victory against the Hofstra Pride Saturday. The Wildcats will play the winner of Hofstra and Oklahoma State Sunday.

The Arizona softball team shutout the Hofstra Pride for the fourth straight time on Saturday as the Wildcats took the game 6-0 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

“”We did what we needed to do,”” said head coach Mike Candrea. “”Kenzie (Fowler) threw a very good ball game and put us in a position to come in tomorrow and finish the job.””

Pitcher Kenzie Fowler threw a one hit, complete game for the Wildcats, extending her record to 33-6 on the season.

Arizona improved its NCAA regional play record to 69-8 and advance to the regional finals, playing in the first game of the series on Sunday at noon.

The Wildcats took a 4-0 lead in the third inning and never looked back. No. 10-seeded Arizona struck first when left fielder Brittany Lastrapes muscled a ball over the left field fence.

“”I just felt like we needed to score,”” Lastrapes said. “”I wasn’t trying to hit a home run at all. It just happened that way.””

That opened the floodgates for the Wildcats as they rattled off five straight hits off of Hofstra’s Erin Wade, including back-to-back singles by shortstop K’Lee Arredondo and centerfielder Lauren Schutzler.

“”We got beat by the short ball,”” said Hofstra head coach Bill Edwards. “”We didn’t get on the bunts quick enough and they’re speed is at times more than we’re used to playing with.””

Freshman slugger Brigette Del Ponte showed some patience at the plate and walked to bring in another Wildcat run. Second baseman Kristen Arriola would send a ground ball to the shortstop position that was mishandled by Trisha Dreslinski to drive in the last run of Arizona’s four spot.

Arizona loaded the bases three times in the game, but was unable to blow the game open. Instead the Wildcats tacked on one run in both the fifth and sixth innings to keep the game out of Hofstra’s reach.

“”We had the one inning there where a couple things happen and they put up the crooked number,”” said Edwards. “”I think we got beat by a better team today.””

Five Wildcats had two or more hits in the game. Karissa Buchanan had three hits on the day — all recorded in the infield.

In the circle, Fowler got the start for Candrea and worked through all seven innings for the Wildcats allowing only one hit.

Fowler got on a roll after a visit from pitching coach Teresa Wilson in the bottom of the fourth inning. She had loaded the bases via a walk, an Arredondo error and a hit batter.

Becca Bigler thought she was hit by a pitch which would have scored a run for Hofstra and kept the bases full with only one out. Home plate umpire Steve Arnold indicated that Bigler was not in fact hit, and sent her back into the batters box.

From that call, the momentum swung in favor of Arizona.

“”I had some balls that I wasn’t throwing right. It was a big inning for us,”” Fowler said. “”They were getting momentum with those batters on. I just needed to shut it down at that point.””

Fowler then proceeded to strike out four Pride batters in a row to clean up the bottom of the fourth inning and move quickly through the fifth. The freshman ace only allowed one more base runner throughout the rest of the game.

Fowler finished with 10 strikeouts, two walks and hit Hofstra’s Jess Hirschbuhl twice.

“”I know I can throw three games in a series but just with the recent events it’s nice to know it’s not going to be anything I can’t pitch through,”” Fowler said.

Although the offense poured out of the visitor designated Arizona dugout, defense was also on display at the hot corner for both teams. Plays by Arizona’s Del Ponte and

Hofstra’s Sara Michalowski stole the show at third base. Michalowski’s defense early in the game kept the Wildcats off the board until the fourth inning and Del Ponte countered early, but capped off her defensive performance when she caught a screaming line drive off the bat of Tessa Ziemba to end Hofstra’s half of the sixth.

The Wildcats will take on the winner of tonight’s elimination game, which could either be Hofstra, Cornell or Oklahoma State depending on the outcome of the matchup between Oklahoma State and Cornell and then the game between Hofstra and the winner of the earlier contest.

“”You take it one game at a time,”” Candrea said. “”Any time you can control your own destiny it makes things a little easier. Either way we have to finish tomorrow.”” 

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