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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball faces final road series in Oregon

    UA second baseman Chelsie Mesa goes for the tag to force out Oregons Kristi Leiter in Arizonas 9-1 win over the Ducks April 22 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Mesa and the rest of the Wildcats will travel to Oregon to compete against both Oregon and Oregon State.
    UA second baseman Chelsie Mesa goes for the tag to force out Oregon’s Kristi Leiter in Arizona’s 9-1 win over the Ducks April 22 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Mesa and the rest of the Wildcats will travel to Oregon to compete against both Oregon and Oregon State.

    The Arizona softball team will have one more opportunity to correct its road woes as the Wildcats head to the Pacific Northwest to battle the Oregon schools Friday through Sunday.

    The No. 5 Wildcats (35-10-1, 11-3-1 Pacific 10 Conference) will face No. 20 Oregon in Eugene, Ore., Friday before traveling to Corvallis, Ore., to square off against No. 16 Oregon State Saturday and Sunday.

    “”We just need to jump on them early, score first inning, second inning and just keep their fans quiet,”” UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt said.

    Arizona played host to the Oregon schools April 20-22 at Hillenbrand Stadium, sweeping the three-game series. The Wildcats outscored the Ducks and Beavers by a combined score of 16-3.

    Although the Wildcats boast a 2 1/2-game lead in the Pac-10, they are coming off a tough weekend in the Bay Area that saw them win a game, lose a game and tie a game against California and then-No. 17 Stanford.

    The tie, Arizona’s first since 1986, resulted when Arizona’s game against Stanford on Sunday went into extra innings and eventually had to be called off after the 12th because the Wildcats had to make their flight back to Tucson.

    Arizona had plenty of opportunities to break the scoreless tie as it left 12 runners on base in the contest.

    Driving runners in will be the primary focus this weekend as the Wildcats look to get their offense going in support of Mowatt.

    “”We need to start coming up with the big hits when runners are in scoring position,”” shortstop Kristie Fox said. “”We got so many runners on base and put ourselves in good situations in so many innings (against Stanford) but we just didn’t finish the job. I think that’s what we need to come out and do this weekend.””

    For the season Arizona is now 23-1 at home and 12-9-1 away from the friendly confines of Hillenbrand Stadium.

    “”I think we come out flat sometimes on the road and act like we’re a little tired,”” Fox said. “”We need to come out and jump on Oregon and make a statement like we did when we played them at home and just finish up our last road weekend strong.””

    Head coach Mike Candrea agreed, saying he would give the team a “”C-plus”” for its effort on the road this season.

    This weekend marks the final conference road games of the season and therefore the final opportunity for Arizona to prove that it can play as well on the road is it does at home before the start of NCAA regionals May 18.

    Arizona’s Friday game against Oregon will feature two of the best hitters in the Pac-10. UA center fielder Caitlin Lowe is fourth in the conference with a .450 batting average while Oregon shortstop Jennifer Salling is second, hitting an even .500 for the season.

    Either Saturday or Sunday, or possibly both days, fans will be treated to a matchup of two of the Pac-10’s premier pitchers in Arizona’s Mowatt and Oregon State’s Brianne McGowan.

    Mowatt leads the conference with 27 wins on the season and in innings pitched while ranking third in ERA and second in opponents’ batting average. Mowatt is also second in the conference in strikeouts.

    McGowan is sixth with 20 wins, third in innings pitched and eighth and 10th, respectively, in ERA and batting average.

    “”It’s important to finish the job and win these games on the road because we’re going to have to win the World Series on the road,”” Lowe said.

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