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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball drops 3 of 5 in tournament

    TEMPE – The Arizona softball team entered this weekend’s Kajikawa Classic in Tempe as the top-ranked team in the nation. When the polls are released later today, the Wildcats will be lucky to remain in the top-10.

    The Wildcats (2-3) dropped the first three of their five contests in the tournament and their only two victories came over Southern Utah, a team that is far from comparable to any squad in the top-25.

    “”I would assess the first three games of the tournament as embarrassing and definitely not Arizona softball,”” said UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt. “”We just need to be sharper and do a better job of thinking ahead.””

    The Wildcats arrived in Tempe on Friday looking to open their season against Notre Dame and Texas Tech, but rain caused both games to be cancelled, forcing Arizona to open up its season slate Saturday with a doubleheader against two top-10 teams: No. 7 Northwestern and No. 3 Texas A&M.

    Maybe Arizona could have used its Friday games.

    Arizona lost to Northwestern 8-5 and Texas A&M 3-2, possibly wishing it could have shaken off the rust against Notre Dame and Texas Tech, rather than jumping into play against two teams that made it to the Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City a year ago.

    “”It is always tough any time you get a game rained out when you are expecting to play, especially if it’s your openers,”” UA interim head coach Larry Ray said Saturday after watching his team fall to 0-2. “”Our team just has to understand that we need to be playing a lot better softball.””

    Mowatt (1-2) got the start in the first game against Northwestern and continued her trend of struggling early on in the season, as the ace gave up eight earned runs off of 12 hits – seven of which went for extra bases. Mowatt gave up two walk-off homeruns on consecutive days in last year’s Kajikawa Classic, one coming against Texas A&M.

    Northwestern was held scoreless by Mowatt until the third inning when it got five runs home, backed by an RBI single by Nicole Pauly, a two-RBI double by Michelle Batts, a sacrifice fly by Erin Dyer and a wild pitch from Mowatt.

    Pauley added a two-run home run in the fourth inning to give Northwestern a 7-1 lead.

    “”It was just one of those days for Taryne. She just didn’t have it,”” Ray said. “”She had plenty of those last year. She just needs to make sure she is focused and fully ready to go because we are certainly counting on her.””

    Arizona avoided a blowout loss with a four-run rally in the seventh inning.

    In the loss to the No. 3 Aggies, the Wildcats sent out freshman pitcher Lindsey Sisk (1-1) for her first career start in an effort to try and lead Arizona to a first day split.

    Though having her first career start against a top-five team isn’t an easy undertaking by any means, Sisk handled her early jitters and went on to pitch six innings while all of the Aggies’ three runs were unearned.

    With the game tied at one, the Aggies capitalized on an error from freshman left fielder Brittany Lastrapes. Texas A&M’s Macie Marrow hit a ball to left-center field and Lastrapes charged the ball while calling off center fielder Adrienne Acton and proceeded to drop the ball, allowing the Aggies to score the eventual winning run.

    “”We expect a lot out of ourselves always,”” said K’Lee Arredondo, “”but it was the first two games and we are still trying to get into the groove.””

    Arizona’s troubles didn’t disappear in the final day of the tournament, as the Wildcats lost to Nevada 1-0.

    Mowatt was sent out for her second start looking a little more like herself. Though the ace allowed one run and two hits while striking out nine over six innings, the Wildcats couldn’t find any
    run support.

    Arizona had the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh inning against Nevada, but failed to score any runs – let alone the go-ahead and winning run on second base – to either tie or win the game.

    Arizona stranded 12 runners on base – nine in scoring position – against the Wolfpack.

    “”I think most of our players were just pressing,”” Ray said of his team’s inability to bring runners on base home. “”It is extremely frustrating. We will just have to get that squared away.””

    The Wildcats finally found success against Southern Utah in their final two games of the tournament, as they run-ruled the
    Thunderbirds twice – 8-0 in five innings in the first of the doubleheader and won 11-3 in the nightcap.

    “”The weekend as a whole was really disappointing,”” Laine Roth said. “”It just wasn’t Arizona softball.””

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