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The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball goes 5-1 at the Bear Down Fiesta tournament

Arizona+softball+player+Regan+Shockey+throws+a+ball+to+a+teammate+on+Friday+Feb.+16+in+Rita+Hillenbrand+Stadium.+Arizona+went+5-1+in+the+tournament+and+making+them+10-1+on+the+season.+
Nathanial Stenchever
Arizona softball player Regan Shockey throws a ball to a teammate on Friday Feb. 16 in Rita Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona went 5-1 in the tournament and making them 10-1 on the season.

The Arizona softball team hosted the Bear Down Fiesta tournament at Mike Candrea Field at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium between Feb. 15-18, going 5-1 over the weekend

Arizona played each of the teams twice, starting with Long Beach State University (8-0) (11-3), the University of Arkansas (3-2)(2-3) and the University of Nebraska Omaha (13-2)(8-0).

During the opening day of the tournament on Thursday, Feb. 15, Arizona played back-to-back games against Long Beach State.

In the first game, Arizona got off to a quick start, scoring 4 runs in the first inning and another four in the second. Allie Skaggs and Kaiah Altmeyer each hit their first home runs of the season, which helped the Wildcats secure the win. Miranda Stoddard, who made her fourth start of the season, secured her second win of the season.

In the second game, Arizona started Brook Mannon. The Wildcats got off to another fast start, scoring another 4 runs in the first inning. Arizona continued its offensive barrage, scoring two more in the bottom of the third and four more in the bottom of the fifth inning. Mannon would be replaced in the fourth inning by Aissa Silva, who, after giving up 3 runs, would be replaced by Stoddard, who ended the game. 

During day two of the Bear Down Fiesta on Friday, Feb. 16, the Wildcats played a doubleheader against Arkansas and Omaha.

The Wildcats played its first complete seven-inning game against Arkansas, narrowly beating them 3-2. Arizona sent out Silva as the starting pitcher. The Wildcats would get on board early, scoring 2 runs in the first inning. The two teams then became locked in a pitching battle for most of the game. Arkansas, in the top of the seventh inning, broke the stalemate by hitting a two-run homer, tying the game. However, Arizona would answer in the bottom of the seventh, after a dropped third strike allowed Regan Shocky to steal home, scoring the winning run

In the second game of the doubleheader against Omaha, the Wildcats sent out Ali Blanchard as the starting pitcher for her first start of the season. Omaha would strike first, getting one run in the first inning, but Arizona responded with 4 runs of its own in the bottom half of the inning. The Wildcats would then continue its bombardment, putting up another 7 runs after home runs from Skaggs and freshman Emily Schepp, en route to the 13-2 victory.

On day three, Saturday, Feb. 17, Arizona only played one game, taking on Arkansas, who was coming off a win in their previous game against Omaha. Arkansas took the early lead this time, scoring 2 runs in the first inning, after a missed catch on a play at the plate. Arizona answered with a run in the second inning and another in the fifth inning. The Wildcats, unable to overcome the pitching battle a second time, suffered its first loss of the season 3-2.

On Sunday, Feb. 18, the last day of the tournament, the Wildcats played Omaha again. Arizona started the scoring again in the first inning with one run but they opened up the game in the third, scoring 4 runs. The Wildcats forced Omaha to go through three of its pitchers, Run-Ruling Omaha 8-0 in the bottom of the fifth.

After the tournament, Arizona softball head coach Caitlin Lowe said the team was fantastic all weekend. 

“It feels good to be in these close games and feel a little bit of pressure and see how the team responds,” said Lowe. “Also to lose not doing what we want to do but coming back and responding [today] because I think that’s what makes a good team.”

Following the Wildcats’ victory over No. 13 Arkansas and their 10-1 start to the season, the Arizona softball team secured its first ranking of the season, placing at No. 23 in both ESPN and NCAA DI polls.

Arizona will be back in action next Thursday through Sunday, Feb. 22-25, for the Hillenbrand Invitational at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium. Games to look out for are the two games against the University of Indiana on Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 4 p.m. 


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