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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pac-10 softball dominating

    Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Softball takes on UTEP in a double-header Wednesday evening.
    Michael Ignatov
    Michael Ignatov / Arizona Daily Wildcat Softball takes on UTEP in a double-header Wednesday evening.

    The Pacific 10 conference claims to be “”The Conference of Champions,”” and for collegiate softball, that title holds true.

    The Pac-10 has claimed more NCAA softball championships than any other conference in the country with its 21 titles. Eleven have gone to UCLA, eight to Arizona, one to California and the most recent one to ASU.

    The No. 10 Arizona Wildcats (32-9, 4-2 Pac-10) are keeping pace with the rest of the Pac-10. Their conference record puts them in a three-way tie for second place with ASU and Washington.

    The Pac-10 has proved to be the elite conference for college softball, and this season is no exception. The league leads many of the nation’s offensive statistical categories, including scoring, batting average, home runs, win-loss percentage, home runs per game, slugging percentage, RBIs, on-base percentage and sacrifice flies.

    “”I think the one thing that we have going for us is being in the Pac-10 and being in a very prestigious conference when it comes to the game of softball,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”When you look at the national championships that have come out of our conference, it’s been three-fourths of them or more.””

    Although the hardware and bragging rights are nice, the true reward for teams in the Pac-10 is looking back at the road they had to take to get there. Every win is earned and the task of playing against the best in the nation is good preparation for the College World Series.

    “”We know Pac-10 season is a very trying and tough season,”” Candrea said. “”You get to step up to the competition and play like it’s the World Series every time you step out there.””

    Arizona’s road to a return to the pinnacle of college softball winds through a challenging conference season. Currently, six Pac-10 teams rank in the top 25.

    The offense isn’t the only thing that sets the Pac-10 apart. In fact, the domination starts in the circle. Washington’s Danielle Lawrie ranks fourth in the nation in strikeouts per game with 10.9. Stanford’s Missy Penna has racked up 221 strikeouts and has recorded 24 victories already this season.

    Arizona has always known that Pac-10 season was coming, and that it would have to up the level of play each game. The road to their 22nd consecutive Women’s College World Series must be driven by consistent play and smooth transitions from one team to the next.

    “”We can’t take any team lightly. It’s the Pac-10; every team is a top competitor,”” said shortstop K’lee Arredondo. “”We just have to come out strong every game, every pitch, every inning and finish a weekend.””

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