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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Change for the better

Brittany Lastrapes was the first to know.

“”I need to do something because we’re stagnant right now,”” said head coach Mike Candrea. “”I went back to some basic numbers, and I said to myself if I go by the numbers, this is what our lineup should look like.””

In an unprecedented move, Candrea dramatically altered his batting lineup on Saturday by deciding the order strictly by the stats. He moved center fielder Lauren Schutzler from the two-hole to leadoff and moved usual leadoff hitter Lastrapes to the third spot in the order. Right fielder Karissa Buchanan went from the eight-hole to the two-spot.

He posted the new lineup 10 minutes prior to the first pitch. Only Lastrapes was informed of the switch.

“”I didn’t know I was the only one to know,”” Lastrapes said. “”I kind of agreed with his reasonings, and we just needed something different. It didn’t really matter what it was.””

The move paid off.

Schutzler led off the game with a triple and two batters later, the Wildcats scored the first of 13 runs on the night.

After leaving eight runners stranded and falling 3-0 to the No. 8 Washington on Friday, the No. 7 Wildcats blasted the Huskies 13-5 in five innings on Saturday. The game ended with back-to-back home runs from third baseman Brigette Del Ponte and catcher Stacie Chambers. Both Wildcats had two home runs in the game, and are tied for both the team and Pacific 10 Conference lead in home runs. Chambers first blast was her fourth grand slam of the year and was part of a seven-run inning for Arizona (36-8, 7-2 Pac-10).

“”I was just trying to get some good, hard hits because I’ve been struggling, obviously. I’ll take it.”” Chambers said.

Candrea’s change has the Wildcat power hitters shifted down to the middle part of the lineup with Del Ponte, Chambers, second baseman Kristen Arriola and first baseman Lini Koria making up the heart of the order.

“”Coach did it because we needed some change,”” Del Ponte said. “”I personally loved it. You get those butterflies again to be in those positions so it got us pumped up.””

The new lineup also produced success on Sunday. Arizona defeated the Huskies (30-6, 5-4 Pac-10) 6-1, winning their third straight conference series. With the win, the Wildcats retained sole possession of first place in the Pac-10.

Scary moment

In the bottom half of the third inning, pitcher Kenzie Fowler was hit on the right side of the head by a foul ball off the bat of designated player Nicole Bryan.

Candrea said Fowler was taken to University Medical Center to be evaluated for concussion-like symptoms. Fowler, who started on Friday and Sunday, had to leave Sunday’s game and walked off the field with an icepack on her head. She pitched three innings before having to be replaced by freshman pitcher Shelby Babcock.

“”Kenzie was sitting there looking at her paperwork, getting ready for the next inning,”” Candrea said. “”And next thing I see, boom! She’s down. Hit her square.””

Fowler has had an injury riddled season and it could make an impact this weekend when ASU visits on Thursday.

Chambers watch

Stacie Chambers went deep twice on Saturday, and once on Sunday to increase her career home run total to 83.

She is now two away from the Arizona career record held by Laura Espinoza and seven away from the NCAA career record.

The Wildcats have 12 more games in the regular season.

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