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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

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Robert Alcaraz / Arizona Daily Wildcat

Softball vs. Pacific - 2.20
Robert Alcaraz
Robert Alcaraz / Arizona Daily Wildcat Softball vs. Pacific – 2.20

The Wildcats have been road warriors so far this season, but the Arizona softball team is back at home this weekend for the Wildcat Invitational. The last time the Wildcats played at home, they swept the weekend — the only time Arizona has done so this season. Here are three things the Wildcats will have to do to have a successful weekend at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Take advantage of playing in front of the home crowd

After a dismal weather weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., last weekend, Arizona is promised both the confines of its stadium and good weather.

“”It feels good to be back here in our home, on our field, and in front of all of our fans,”” said third baseman Brigette Del Ponte.

At home, Arizona is batting .400, compared to on the road play, where the Wildcats are hitting .282 on the season.

It may also be a good weekend for senior catcher Stacie Chambers, who is chasing both the Arizona and NCAA record for home runs. The Wildcats have hit almost half of their total 31 home runs at Hillenbrand Stadium.  

Don’t underestimate

Utah State, Portland State, Minnesota, Idaho State and the University of California, Riverside, aren’t traditional powerhouses around the softball world.

While the opponents’ names won’t jump out at Arizona this weekend, head coach Mike Candrea is just concentrating on winning.  

“”I don’t know who’s going to be our toughest (opponent),”” Candrea said. “”Right now you respect all, fear none. That’s kind of my motto.””

Portland State (8-5) is the only team that has a winning record at this point. Four of the Vikings’ losses were to teams ranked nationally.

Balance it out

Arizona has had a fickle relationship with the strikeout this season. Wildcats’ batters have been strikeout victims 104 times — 31 more times than any other team in the Pacific 10 Conference.

Candrea said the team would try to string together productive at-bats during the weekend.

“”This is a team that should score some runs and I think right now they kind of have a good idea of where they’re at and where they want to go,”” Candrea said. “”It’s a matter of working each day and do everything you can to get better.””

In the circle, sophomore pitcher Kenzie Fowler has a different view of the strikeout. Fowler has 76 strikeouts in 12 appearances, once again setting herself apart from the other Pac-10 pitchers early in the season.

However, Minnesota (7-7) brings pitcher Sara Moulton and her early-season success to the circle. Moulton has 75 strikeouts on the season, just one fewer than Fowler.

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