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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Frosh pitcher debuts with fire

    UA ace Taryne Mowatt drills a pitch to the plate during a 10-1 exhibition win over Eastern Arizona on Saturday at Hillenbrand Stadium. Mowatt, who pitched in relief against Eastern Arizona College, had nine strikeouts over five innings pitched in the doubleheader.
    UA ace Taryne Mowatt drills a pitch to the plate during a 10-1 exhibition win over Eastern Arizona on Saturday at Hillenbrand Stadium. Mowatt, who pitched in relief against Eastern Arizona College, had nine strikeouts over five innings pitched in the doubleheader.

    One thing remained consistent throughout the Arizona softball team’s doubleheader rife with pinch runners, defensive substitutions and temperature dips: stellar pitching.

    Arizona came two outs away from completing a combined no-hitter in a 4-0 win over Yavapai featuring 13 strikeouts and five 1-2-3 innings. Arizona later defeated Eastern Arizona 10-1 in five innings Saturday.

    In her college debut, freshman Lindsey Sisk picked up Taryne Mowatt’s first four hitless innings with five straight strikeouts against Yavapai. Sisk struck out eight batters in seven innings across both games at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    “”I was really nervous at first when I got out there,”” Sisk said. “”But I calmed down and the defense did a good job backing me up.””

    Sisk retired her first seven batters before Yavapai’s Shaunte Duarte ripped a single down the left field line in the seventh inning, representing the Roughriders’ only hit. Mowatt and Sisk combined to post a .005 opponent batting average from a Yavapai team with 19 freshmen and two sophomores.

    Sisk prepared with assistant coach Nancy Evans by adjusting pitches, and gave credit to stellar defensive plays like shortstop K’Lee Arredondo’s over-the-shoulder catch in the sunset-blinding seventh inning.

    “”For her it was a big moment, getting out here for the first time with a uniform on,”” UA head coach Mike Candrea said of Sisk. “”I was pleased with her composure. She got ahead of the hitters, which was huge.””

    Offensively, freshman Victoria Kemp ripped a double off the wall in the sixth inning to score Arredondo and Danielle Rodriguez and create a 4-0 lead. Arizona scored on sacrifice flies in the third and fourth innings.

    Mowatt worked a perfect game into the fourth inning before walking Yavapai’s Kacie Smith. Although she considers these exhibitions as merely practice, Mowatt said she believes the walk was preventable and worked for perfection in her first start since capturing the Women’s College World Series title in June.

    “”All of this is just practice and getting back into shape for games,”” she said. “”We’re working on hitting our spots and situations with batters up, so I think all that comes together and we’ll use that in the spring.””

    Long ball leads Arizona barrage

    Sisk started game two against Eastern Arizona in the same lights-out fashion as her debut.

    And as the temperature dropped, Arizona’s bats heated up with a contagious home run brigade. The Wildcats hit back-to-back first-inning home runs courtesy of Callista Balko and Jenae Leles.

    Balko, the catcher in both games, finished 3-for-3 with three RBIs, thanks to just “”looking for strikes.””

    “”We just gotta get that one hit, and then everyone can feed off of it,”” she said.

    Arredondo hit a two-run home run in the third inning to launch a quick 6-1 lead. The Wildcats strung together 10 hits over five innings.

    Mowatt struck out the side after relieving Sisk in the fifth frame – evidence that her command and control is much improved with a season of starting pitching experience, Balko said.

    “”All her nerves are out, so it’s just ‘go time’ for her right now,”” she said.

    While defensive play typically stays consistent, Candrea said, offensive performance remains the biggest challenge. He liked the increased maturity of players required to step up this season.

    Arizona out-slugged its opponents .795 to .105, with nine Wildcat extra-base hits to the opponents’ none.

    “”I like some of the progress I’ve seen with some of our hitters,”” Candrea said. “”As long as we do a good job with the process and continue to take care of the things we need to, (we will) be the team we want to be.””

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