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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Softball dams Beavers

Gordon Bates  /Arizona Daily Wildcat
Gordon Bates
Gordon Bates /Arizona Daily Wildcat

Fears of a letdown could have motivated the Arizona softball team coming into a weekend home series against the Oregon State Beavers.

But instead, the Wildcats (38-7, 8-4 Pacific 10 Conference) appeared motivated by how powerfully they could crush a .500 ball-club. They unmercifully swept the Beavers (22-24, 2-10) by way of three five-inning games, including a perfect game on Saturday by ace Kenzie Fowler — the eighth perfect game in school history — and a 20-1 shellacking in the Friday series opener.

“”It’s definitely a confidence-builder, run-ruling them all three games,”” said catcher Stacie Chambers, who tacked on seven RBIs during the weekend. “”It’s a learning experience for us to take advantage of opportunities when we have them.””

Opportunity was the theme of the weekend that saw the Wildcats extend their winning streak to six games. Arizona took advantage of whatever opportunities Oregon State gave it, many of which came off the Beavers’ five errors through the three games.

Meanwhile, the Beavers had few chances against an on-target Fowler (27-5).

The freshman’s perfect game in Saturday’s contest led to an 8-0 Arizona win. She only had four strikeouts but allowed the defense to field every ball put into play.

“”Usually credit goes to the pitcher (in perfect games), but anyone that was watching the game saw that our defense made some pretty big plays,”” a modest Fowler said of her performance, adding that she didn’t notice a perfect game was within reach until the final out.

“”I thought my control was a lot better,”” she added. “”I thought I stayed ahead of the batters.””

With that, the offense put up just enough runs to call it quits after five innings.

Small-ball and scores off errors helped Arizona in a four-run second inning. A walk with the bases loaded in the third gave the Wildcats a 5-0 lead before left fielder Brittany Lastrapes hit a three-run homer to give Arizona eight scores.

The defensive gem followed up an offensive explosion in Friday’s first game, where the Wildcats put up 20 scores before the Beavers drove in one run on the final out of the 20-1 victory.

Ten Wildcats tallied one or more RBIs on the evening. Senior shortstop K’Lee Arredondo led the way for Arizona with a 3-for-4 hitting performance and four RBIs.

“”We just played our game,”” she said. “”We wanted to prove a point that no matter who we play, we wanted to play our game.””

In Game 1, Fowler went four innings, striking out five and walking three. Ashley Ralston-Alvarez took over in the final stanza and gave up one run.

Altogether, the Wildcat pitchers saw a total of 23 batters while the Beavers’ three-pitcher rotation struggled through 37 Arizona at-bats.

After dominating the Beavers through two games, Game 3’s 9-1 Arizona win began in a similar fashion compared to the first two games. With the bases loaded, aided by an OSU error, the Wildcats drove in two runs in the first — both unearned.

That spurred Beavers assistant coach Dana Sorensen, visibly angry at her players’ lack of execution, to get in the face of her players as time was called.

From that point forth, the Beavers held strong until Arizona designated player Lini Koria hit a grand slam during a five-run third inning.

“”The one disappointment was when you see someone three times on the weekend that your adjustments would get better on the plate,”” head coach Mike Candrea said. “”A lot of that stems from the emotional state that you’re in — today, just a little bit flat.””

Arizona tacked on two more runs on a Chambers home run to close the Beavers out in five innings yet again. It was a positive finish to keep the Wildcats rolling on the road at California and Oregon in the next two weeks.

“”I looked at this weekend and they were focused, but they were having fun,”” Candrea said of his players. “”When you start hitting the ball like we did Friday night, it just breeds confidence and it just kind of flows.””

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