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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona softball on the rebound

Keith Hickman-Perfetti
UA Softball vs New Mexico State on 21 March 2012. After an uninspired beginning UA won 6-3 after scoring five runs in the sixth inning. Keith Hickman-Perfetti/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

In its first mid-week series of the season, the Arizona softball team will face the San Diego State Aztecs tonight at 7 in the first of two games.

The last time the Wildcats trotted out on the field, defending NCAA Champion ASU swept them in three games, despite Arizona (19-8, 0-3 Pac-12) outhitting the Sun Devils 7-4 in the first game and holding a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning of the third game before falling 7-6.

To make matters worse, head coach Mike Candrea had to leave Sunday’s game in the third after feeling tightness in his chest. There has been no word on if Candrea will return to the third base line this week, but players are using that to fuel them to victory.

“He’s in our thoughts and we definitely know what he would say to us,” senior second baseman Kristen Arriola said. “Our assistant coaching staff knows as much as he does, so we can always count on them and what they bring.”

What the coaching staff brings is nothing compared to what the Wildcats need to bring if they want to win a tough weekend series against Stanford (25-6) starting Friday. Arizona led in every game against the Sun Devils, yet were unable to get a victory in its toughest series of the season.

“We just need to come together as a team and do what we’ve been doing,” sophomore pitcher Shelby Babcock said. “It’s not like we went up to ASU and got slaughtered. They were very close games. I thought our team did very well, we just need to fix things we made mistakes on and go out and win.”

The pitching and defense, especially as of late, have not been the problem for Arizona. Before the ASU series, the Wildcats were just two games out from a six-game streak in which opponents were unable to score on them.

The problem recently, as it has been for most of the season, has been the inability to get timely hitting when needed. Against New Mexico State and ASU, Arizona had a lead but was unable to keep its foot on the gas pedal long enough to finish off the opponent.

“We have to get back to work,” Arriola said. “I know it’s a nonconference game, but every game counts for us. We have to get back to doing what we know best and play our usual Arizona softball, play good defense and get timely hits.”

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