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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball: Arizona softball earns first postseason win

Cornell senior Alyson Intihar, chin pointed high, looked deeply into the sky after a sprint to first base.

After her strong liner was handled by Arizona shortstop K’Lee Arredondo to throw a streaking Intihar out at first base during the fifth inning, the Big Red shortstop showed the frustration of a hard-fought game — frustration because her team had a zero on the scoreboard to show for a gritty loss.

A hot start propelled the No. 10 seeded Arizona Wildcats (44-11) to the 9-0, five-inning win Friday night at Hillenbrand Stadium. Not caught up in the 2,557 capacity crowd, Cornell (37-14) made Arizona work for the victory, but it wasn’t nearly enough for the over-matched team from Ithaca, N.Y.

“”We weren’t as overwhelmed by the stadium and the fans as much as we were by their lineup,”” said Cornell head coach Dick Blood. “”We tried to keep the ball in the yard. We didn’t keep it in the yard.””

Behind pitcher Kenzie Fowler, who spend most of the past week recovering from a pinched nerve, the Arizona win came hours after the No. 7 seeded Texas Longhorns were shockingly knocked out of postseason play.

Arizona is now in line to host next week’s NCAA Super Regional if it wins tomorrow and Sunday.

The Wildcats will play the Hofstra Pride tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium. In Game 1 of the Tucson Regional, the Pride defeated Oklahoma State University 8-6 on Friday night.

In the nightcap of Friday’s action, the Big Red got off to a bad start as Arizona loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the first inning, which led to Arizona catcher Stacie Chambers being walked to bring in the first Wildcat run. Another walk by Cornell pitcher Elizabeth Dalrymple to designated player Lini Koria pushed another Arizona batter to the plate before second baseman Kristen Arriola knocked in a third run by the end of the first.

By the end of the night, four batters posted two hits and Chambers and freshman Brigette Del Ponte led the team with two RBIs apiece. Center fielder Lauren Schutzler put an end to the game with a two-run home run in the fifth inning.

“”The toughest game, a lot of times, is the first,”” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “”I thought we came out and did what we needed to do.””

Arizona’s three-run lead after one inning would hold despite Fowler allowing two hits and a walk to load the bases in the second inning.

In the bottom of the second, Arredondo slid a grounder single into left field to set up a Chambers RBI double to give Arizona the 4-0 advantage. Next on deck, Del Ponte took a Dalrymple pitch to the left field stands, scoring Chambers and giving the Wildcats two more runs.

Fowler, who ended the evening with seven strikeouts while giving up five hits, all in four innings, was relieved by senior Sarah Akamine in the fifth inning.

“”You can see right now there’s a lot of parity out there,”” Candrea said of the postseason. “”Like I told the girls, ‘You can’t put the cart before the horse.’ You’ve got to battle every night.””

Notes

-The No. 7 seeded Texas Longhorns’ loss means Arizona could host Super Regional play at Hillenbrand Stadium once it gets past the regional round. Eastern Carolina and BYU will play for the Austin Regional winner.

-The Wildcats played BYU Feb. 26 and beat the Cougars 8-0 in five innings at the Cathedral City Classic.

– None of the seven Pacific 10 Conference teams participating in the postseason lost Friday.

 

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