The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

75° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball team returns home

    The No. 3 Arizona softball team celebrates the end of the top of the second inning in its last home game, an 8-3 loss to No. 1 UCLA April 9 at Hillenbrand Stadium. After a 5-3 road trip, the Wildcats return for eight straight games to end the season, including tonights 7 p.m. contest against No. 6 ASU at Hillenbrand Stadium.
    The No. 3 Arizona softball team celebrates the end of the top of the second inning in its last home game, an 8-3 loss to No. 1 UCLA April 9 at Hillenbrand Stadium. After a 5-3 road trip, the Wildcats return for eight straight games to end the season, including tonight’s 7 p.m. contest against No. 6 ASU at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    Softball: Arizona VS. ASU

    After a long string of Pacific 10 Conference road games, the No. 3 Arizona softball team is back in Tucson for the remainder of the season.

    On the eight-game road trip, the Wildcats (36-9, 7-6 Pac-10) compiled a 5-3 record. By most standards this would be excellent, considering the stiff competition within the conference this year, with six of its eight teams ranked in the top 15.

    Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said he still thinks there is much room for improvement with his young squad.

    “”Time will tell,”” he said. “”It’s a very interesting team to coach. The team is still trying to find the hot button. I’ve been trying to find their attention.””

    The team started out very strong, sporting a 29-3 record going into Pac-10 play. However, in one game of the Judi Garman Classic March 19, the team lost two All-Americans and arguably its two most valuable players in senior ace pitcher Alicia Hollowell and junior center fielder Caitlin Lowe.

    Hollowell missed only two weeks after a line drive hit her in the head, but Lowe missed nearly a month of action.

    “”Dynamics can be an important part for us,”” Candrea said. “”We need to get all of our players on the same drive, and it’s been a struggle.

    “”My biggest concern right now is our young kids might be thinking too much,”” he said. “”We need to clear our minds and simplify the game, and we have to be kinder to ourselves because we have a tendency to beat ourselves up.””

    The team started out Pac-10 play slowly, going 2-4 through the first six games, including a loss to No. 6 ASU (42-9, 6-6), against whom Arizona will face off tonight at 7 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    The first home game in a month is part of the annual “”Rivalry Red Out”” series against ASU.

    The two teams have had very similar Pac-10 success during the season, as both schools took two out of three in the Bay Area, and both have been swept by No. 1 UCLA.

    “”ASU is a good team,”” Candrea said. “”They have great pitching, good defense, and they swing the bats well. They have been playing very well overall and have definitely had a good year. They are a very, very tough team to beat.””

    The Sun Devils are playing with a new coach at the helm in Clint Myers and have had a complete turnaround from recent years, when Arizona mainly handled them with ease.

    Arizona played ASU in Tempe April 14-15 and split a two-game series. The Wildcats lost the first game in 10 innings when Sun Devils junior first baseman Sharee Zaleski hit a walk-off two-run home run off Hollowell.

    The team bounced back the following day, in what Candrea called a “”complete change of character,”” and won 3-0. Sophomore Taryne Mowatt pitched a three-hit complete-game shutout, tacking on a home run of her own as well, to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.

    ASU freshman outfielder Kaitlin Cochran is the main offensive threat, hitting .458 with a .817 slugging percentage, .563 on-base percentage and 52 RBI, while sophomore utility player Mindy Cowles is tied for the Pac-10 lead with 14 home runs.

    The Sun Devils are also not an easy team to face on the mound, as pitchers Katie Burkhart and Desiree Serrano have combined for 36 of the team’s 42 wins.

    For the Wildcats, tonight’s game should be a big motivation to start off the rest of the season.

    “”I would think they would obviously be looking forward to being at home,”” Candrea said. “”We’ve completed our road trip, and now we control our own destiny. I think the team knows that it would be a great opportunity to host a regional.””

    After the Wildcats tangle with the Devils today they will prepare for a weekend series at home that starts with No. 7 California on Friday and closes with a pair of games against the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal Saturday and Sunday.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search