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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    No. 1 Cats to face Texas teams at Classic

    Sophomore pitcher Taryne Mowatt is from Corona, Calif., about a one-hour drive away from where the No. 1 Arizona softball team will play in the Palm Springs Classic today through Sunday.

    Mowatt (5-0, 0.45 ERA) said she plans on having a “”bunch of her family”” come out and watch the Wildcats (11-0) this weekend. Arizona will take on Texas Tech at 3 p.m. and No. 8 Texas A&M at 8:30 tonight and Maryland at 12:30 p.m. and Ohio State at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow and play in a nationally televised showdown at 1 p.m. Sunday against No. 4 Texas on ESPNU.

    “”It’s the highlight for them,”” Mowatt said.

    The right-handed pitcher comes into the game having allowed just one run and has struck out 63 opponents on the year.

    “”I have been hitting my spots,”” Mowatt said. “”But my defense has been amazing. I mean they make every play, and they are always there to cheer me on.””

    The other starting pitcher for the Wildcats will be senior Alicia Hollowell (6-0, 0.00 ERA), who has been named the Pacific 10 Conference Pitcher of the Week for the last two weeks.

    Hollowell has struck out 78 batters in 39 innings pitched this season.

    “”Taryn has had some really good outings and allowed us a chance to keep Hollowell halfway rested,”” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said.

    While the pitchers have kept opposing teams virtually off the scoreboard, Wildcat hitters have been able to contribute just enough to pick up the victories. They are batting a combined .312, and the pitching staff is allowing the opposition to bat just .087.

    Junior center fielder Caitlin Lowe leads the team in batting average at a .486 clip and has scored eight runs, collecting five RBIs.

    Still, Candrea said he feels his team struggled a little bit with the bats this past weekend.

    “”We left a few runners on base,”” he said.

    The coach said he would like to see a “”little more focus and a little more concentration”” on hitting this week in practice.

    “”We get into batting practice, and we start playing home run derby instead of working on things,”” Candrea said.

    Mowatt said she knows the team will need to play well on offense because opposing pitchers will be coming after them.

    One-two pitching punch
    Alicia Hollowell and Taryne Mowatt haven’t needed relief thus far this season, pitching every inning of the No. 1-ranked Wildcats’ 11 season-opening wins. With such a dominant starting tandem, coach Mike Candrea can be excused for giving his bullpen an extended rest:
    Alicia Hollowell
    Taryne Mowatt
    Won-loss Innings H BB SO SO/7 ERA WHIP
    11-0 70.0 20 4 141 14.1 0.20 .40

    “”Whenever we play anybody, we expect them to put their best stuff out there because everyone wants to beat us,”” she said. “”I expect pitchers that we are facing to go out there and have the games of their lives.””

    This season the Wildcats have already defeated Texas Tech (3-8), Texas A&M (7-2) and Texas (10-1), getting sweet revenge against the Longhorns, who eliminated the Wildcats in last year’s Women’s College World Series.

    But junior second baseman Chelsie Mesa said the team can’t just sit back and hope the victories come again.

    “”We can’t take them lightly just because we beat them already,”” she said. “”It’s gonna be nice to go out there and put them away again.””

    Mesa is batting .393 with two home runs and seven RBIs, but she said she will definitely feel the pressure against Longhorns senior ace Cat Osterman (7-0, 0.16 ERA), who won the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year award last season.

    “”It’s probably gonna be pretty nerve-racking,”” Mesa said. “”I know she doesn’t throw a lot of strikes, so I know I need to go out there and be patient.””

    Osterman has struck out 110 batters, but did not pitch in the 1-0 Texas loss to the Wildcats Feb. 11 in the Kajikawa Classic.

    “”Osterman is a lefty, and you don’t get a chance to see a lot of left-handers,”” Candrea said. “”She’s got very good movement. You got to realize she will get ahead in the count, and you have to hit pitches early in the count. If you let her get ahead, then you are in trouble.””

    Mesa said she hopes the team can take care of business so the players can enjoy the beautiful Palm Springs surroundings afterward.

    “”It’s always nice to relax knowing that you did well,”” she said. “”Hopefully we get out here and get the job done early so that we can enjoy ourselves a little bit.””

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