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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona softball goes 2-3 in TaxAct Clearwater Invitational

Nathanial Stenchever

Arizona softball player Dakota Kennedy catches a pop fly in warmups before a game against the University of Kansas on Feb. 10, during the Candrea Classic at Mike Candrea Field at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats won easily in five innings, blowing Kansas out 15-2. 

The TaxAct Clearwater Invitational took place in Clearwater, Florida, starting Feb. 16 and ending Feb. 19. The No. 10 University of Arizona was one of six teams invited to participate in the tournament alongside No. 6 Florida State University, No. 8 Virginia Tech, Texas A&M University, Mississippi State University and Indiana University Bloomington. The Wildcats played every team once and took on a double header on Friday, Feb. 17.

Feb. 16: No. 10 Arizona vs. No. 6 Florida State 

Arizona softball started the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational with No. 6-ranked Florida State Thursday, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m. Pitcher Devyn Netz got the start for the Wildcats taking on Florida State’s pitcher Kathryn Sandercock.

The Wildcats started off slow, giving up 3 runs to Florida State in the second inning and two more in the third. The ‘Cats would finally start to score in the fourth inning, putting up four to bring the score within two of Florida State.

Sadly, that is where the score would end. Netz and the Wildcats would take their first loss of the season, losing 4-6 after seven innings of play.

Feb. 17: No. 10 Arizona vs. Texas A&M (8 a.m.)

Arizona softball would face a doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 17, first taking on Texas A&M at 8 a.m.

Facing their second opponent, Netz again started on the mound for Arizona, this time battling Texas A&M’s Emiley Kennedy.

Both teams started slowly, as there were no hits until the top of the third, when Arizona’s Blaise Biringer hit a triple down the right-field line. Texas A&M also started getting hot, scoring once each in the fourth and fifth innings. The Wildcats only scored 1 run in the game in the top of the seventh.

Arizona suffered its second loss in the tournament and of the season, losing 1-2 to Texas A&M.

Feb. 17: No. 10 Arizona vs. Mississippi State (1 p.m.)

Later that day, Arizona softball played Mississippi State at 1 p.m., and Sydney Somerndike received the start for the Wildcats. She faced Mississippi State’s pitcher Aspen Wesley.

Mississippi State would strike first, scoring 2 runs in the top of the second inning. The Wildcats would respond with runs in the bottom of the second and third innings. Mississippi State, however, would take the lead back by scoring two more in the top of the fourth and then again in the seventh.

The ‘Cats could only answer with 1 run in the bottom of the seventh, losing their third straight game 3-6 to Mississippi State.

Feb. 18: No. 10 Arizona vs. No. 8 Virginia Tech

Saturday, Feb. 18, the Wildcats took on No. 8-ranked Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech’s Emma Lemley got the starting role as pitcher and Devyn Netz once again accepted the role as starting pitcher.

The Wildcats would strike first in the top of the fourth, scoring one. They would score again in the top of the fifth, making the game 2-0 in favor of Arizona. Virginia Tech would respond with a home run to left center field in the bottom of the fifth, cutting the Wildcats’ lead. After a dull sixth inning, the Wildcats would break through and get 4 runs in the top of the seventh after Olivia DiNardo hit a home-run and Biringer hit a three-run homer to left center field.

Virginia Tech scored one more in the bottom of the seventh, but the ‘Cats would stay on top to gather their first win in the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational, with a score of 6-3 over Virginia Tech.

Feb. 19: No. 10 Arizona vs. Indiana 

Arizona’s final opponent in the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational was Indiana University on Sunday, Feb. 19. Somerndike received the start on the mound for the Wildcats and she faced Indiana’s Heather Johnson.

Arizona jumped out to a two-run lead in the second inning. The ‘Cats added seven more to the lead in the third with no response from Indiana. The Wildcats finished their barrage of runs in the top of the fourth, scoring one more.

Indiana found 1 run in the bottom of the fifth, but it was not enough to stop a run-rule victory by the Wildcats. Somerndike got her first win of the season and the Wildcats finished the tournament with a 10-1 victory.

Arizona finished the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational with a record of 2-3 and a season record of 7-3. The Wildcats’ next slew of games will take place from Feb. 23 to Feb. 25 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the Razorback Invitational. The ‘Cats will be back in Tucson on March 1 when they play California State University Bakersfield.

After rankings were released on Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Arizona softball team was ranked No. 15 in the country by Softball America and No. 13 by National Fastpitch Coaches Association.

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