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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Softball sweeps weekend

    Alan Walsh/ Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Alan Walsh
    Alan Walsh/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

    Apparently the California Golden Bears haven’t watched game film on Sam Banister. For the third time this season, a team intentionally walked catcher Stacie Chambers to face Banister, and for the third time this season, Banister made them pay.

    The senior’s two-run bomb in the fifth inning against No. 14 Cal helped the Wildcats (36-9, 8-2 Pacific 10 Conference) score a comeback 7-5 victory and keep their perfect home record intact against conference opponents.

    “”We wanted (Cal’s pitcher) to walk Stacie,”” said sophomore Brittany Lastrapes. “”They did it and we were all clapping because we knew Sam was going to do it. She just does it every time. She knows her job when Stacie gets walked.””

    Although No. 9 Arizona had built a three-run lead in the third, Cal quickly answered in the fourth. The Golden Bears forced UA starting pitcher Sarah Akamine (16-4) from the circle after one run crossed the plate and with the bases still loaded. Jennifer Martinez (9-3) stepped in and allowed four runs coming off a grand slam by Taylor Kelly.

    The Wildcats scratched out one run in the fourth, but the shot off Banister’s bat in the next inning would seal the deal in the last game of the weekend.

    “”Our hitters are being very aggressive. They’re not being too careful,”” said UA head coach Mike Candrea. “”They’re doing a good job of starting their swing early and they’re ready to pull the trigger at any time.””

    Her home run wasn’t the only major long ball of the weekend, as Saturday night’s game had meaningful home runs as well. Against Cal (29-15, 5-7), Arizona hit two grand slams in the first inning thanks to Chambers and Lastrapes. The home run from Chambers was her fourth grand slam this year, and Arizona’s 100th home run of the season.

    “”I wasn’t really thinking about it at the time,”” Lastrapes said. “”When the ball went over I was like ‘Wow.'””

    Added Candrea: “”When we can jump on people early, I think it gives this team a lot of confidence. They can start swinging the bat with great confidence and putting some runs on the board.””

    The Wildcats went on to score three more runs in the game, including a homer from K’lee Arredondo, who has now homered in four straight home games. Arizona won the game in five innings by an 11-2 score.

    Saturday’s game marked the season-high and sixth-largest crowd in Arizona history, with 2,895 in attendance. The crowds during the weekend sweep saw Arizona take the sole possession of first place in the Pac-10.

    The Wildcats set the tone for the weekend when they faced No. 2 Stanford on Friday. The Cardinal (37-6, 7-5) made the game close in the third as they scored two runs off of a single by Maddy Coon. Arizona was quick to answer, however, with a two-run home run by Arredondo and RBI double by freshman Lini Koria. Freshman Kristen Arriola’s RBI single would also drive in another run for the Wildcats.

    Although the Cardinal’s ace Missy Penna brought her 0.90 ERA to the circle, the Wildcats blasted her for 13 hits, including three home runs. Jenae Leles’ blast reached the top row of the outfield bleachers.

    “”I got all of it. It was a huge, big old beach ball,”” Leles said. “”I was just hitting anything that was close.””

    The Wildcats run-ruled the Cardinal 13-4 in five innings. Despite a team total of three errors, Akamine pitched a complete game for Arizona, allowing only four runs.

    “”The top of the orders especially did a great job of not swinging at the stuff that she tries to get you to swing,”” Candrea said. “”Then she’s got to bring the pitch in the zone, and when she did they hit the ball hard.””

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