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The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 21 Arizona fails to upset No. 7 Stanford in pitching battle

Arizona+softball+pitcher+Aissa+Silva+throws+warm-up+pitches+before+the+top+of+the+fifth+inning+on+March+3+during+the+Hillenbrand+Invitational+at+Mike+Candrea+Field.+Arizona+won+four+out+of+the+five+games+in+the+tournament.
Nathanial Stenchever

Arizona softball pitcher Aissa Silva throws warm-up pitches before the top of the fifth inning on March 3 during the Hillenbrand Invitational at Mike Candrea Field. Arizona won four out of the five games in the tournament.

The Arizona softball team traveled to Stanford, California, for a three-game series against No. 7 Stanford University starting on Thursday, April 6. Arizona came into the series ranked at No. 21 in the USA Softball Poll with a 24-12 record on the season and a 3-6 record in Pac-12 play.

Game 1: Thursday, April 6, at 6 p.m.

The first game of the series was held on Thursday, April 6, in Stanford, California, at the Boyd & Jill Smith Family Stadium. The Wildcats started star pitcher Devyn Netz in the circle. Netz came into the game with a pitching record of 11-9, but she faced Stanford’s Alana Vawter who had a record of 13-2.

The two Pac-12 teams went back and forth in a 0-0 stalemate until the bottom of the fourth inning, when Stanford scored the first run on a fielder’s choice. Unfortunately, this was not the end of the scoring for the Cardinal. They scored 3 more runs in the bottom of the fourth in similar fashion. One run came down to a play at the plate where the throw was offline, letting the Stanford base runner score.

The Wildcats found some offense in the top of the fifth as they tried to answer the 4 runs Stanford had accumulated previous inning. With runners on second and third, Allie Skaggs hit a single down the third base line. The ball bounced in and out of the glove of Stanford third baseman Emily Jones. With this single, Paige Dimler scored from third, getting Arizona their first and only run of the game.

Stanford added to their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, scoring another run to make the game 5-1.

Arizona finished the game with only 4 hits and 1 run. Netz was unable to extend her record as she fell to 11-10 on the season.

Game 2: Friday, April 7, at 6 p.m.

Day two of the series brought Arizona’s 2-0 Aissa Silva to the pitching circle. She faced Stanford’s 8-3 Regan Krause.

As was the day before, Arizona and Stanford were locked at 0-0 until the bottom of the fifth inning when Stanford opened up the scoring with a solo home run to left field by Kylie Chung. Stanford added to their lead later in the inning after a double drove in 1 run, and a single drove in another.

With Arizona down 3 runs, the Wildcats needed some big hits to get back into the game. Starting the inning at bat was Netz, who made her impact for the team by getting hit by a pitch in the leg. With one aboard, catcher Olivia DiNardo came up to the plate and hit a monster home run to left field. The 2-run homer brought the Wildcats back within striking distance of Stanford, going into the bottom of the sixth down just 3-2.

With a quick bottom half of the sixth for the Arizona defense, the Wildcats looked for at least 1 run to send the game to extra innings. However, Stanford changed out their pitcher to their star, Alana Vawter, who not only pitched a complete game the day before to beat Arizona, but who also holds a 1.45 ERA. Vawter faced three batters in the top of the seventh inning and struck out all three to end the game.

Arizona took their second loss in the series, losing to Stanford 3-2 and only getting five total hits in the game. Silva also earned her first loss on the season, as she fell to 2-1.

Game 3: Saturday, April 8, at 12 p.m.

Day three brought back familiar lineups from day one and end of day two. The Netz vs. Vawter battle raged on as both pitchers got the start for their respective teams.

Even though lineups and pitchers were similar, the game was anything but as Stanford wasted no time getting their first run in the bottom of the first inning after a ground ball made it through the infield.

Arizona responded in the top of the second with a home run from Dakota Kennedy. Kennedy has worked her way up the batting order, starting the season in the ninth hitter spot and now hitting in the fourth spot.

With a tied ballgame, the pitching and defensive battle became key. Stanford broke that defensive battle after a couple hits off of Netz, got runners on base and brought two runners in to score.

With the Wildcats down 2 runs, head coach Caitlin Lowe gave Netz relief in the form of Silva, who finished the game. Stanford’s defense, however, still proved too strong for the Wildcat offense. Vawter pitched another complete game, beating Arizona 3-1. Netz fell to 11-11 on the season with the loss to Stanford.

With these losses, Arizona falls to 24-15 on the season and 3-9 in conference play.

The Arizona Wildcats will be back in Tucson on Friday, April 14, for a three-game series against No. 3 UCLA.

With the three losses against Stanford, the Wildcats dropped out of the top 25 but have received the most votes at 18 as of Tuesday, April 11.


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