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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Softball run rules New Mexico in both games of doubleheader

    It was good to be back home for the No. 5 Arizona softball team.

    Playing at Hillenbrand Stadium for the first time in nine games, the Wildcats (23-7) took both games of a doubleheader against New Mexico (7-12) by mercy rule on Saturday, including an 8-0 victory in the nightcap.

    “”When you get that many runs on the board it makes things kind of easy,”” UA head coach Mike Candrea said. “”Today I was really pleased with the way we played defense, and we got good pitching.””

    Despite starting only three of the Wildcats’ last 15 games due to a bicep injury suffered nearly a month ago, freshman Sarah Akamine got the nod in the second game.

    Akamine (7-1) looked sharp in the circle, allowing only three hits and one walk in a complete-game shutout.

    “”I think I did an OK job of hitting my spots,”” Akamine said. “”My team is really backing me up. I am feeling really confident, actually. When we score all those runs it takes a lot of the pressure off.””

    After being shut out last weekend by No. 6 Oklahoma, it was also Arizona’s offense that found its stroke. The Wildcats hit three home runs and added three stolen bases in the second game.

    “”The big thing is giving our bats some confidence,”” Candrea said. “”It’s a sign of what we can do. Hitting is so darn mental. When you are confident you don’t think about anything and you walk up there and it seems like the bat is a magnet, and when you are not confident you can’t pull the trigger.””

    After scoring two runs in the bottom of the first, the Wildcats put up six runs in the third, starting with back-to-back home runs from senior infielders Chelsie Mesa and Kristie Fox.

    The following three batters reached on a hit, error, and a walk. First baseman Sam Banister then hit a rocket over the left field wall for a grand slam to extend Arizona’s lead to 8-0 and an eventual run-rule victory.

    In the first game, it was much of the same story for the Wildcats as they cruised to a 13-0 run-rule victory.

    Arizona was fortunate to have the benefit of strong pitching and an explosive offense.

    It was starting pitcher Taryne Mowatt (16-6) on the mound for the Wildcats in the opener. She tossed five scoreless innings while striking out six.

    “”I’m excited about tonight’s performance because I think we put a lot of good things together,”” Mowatt said. “”This is the most rest I have gotten in between games before. I felt a little more loose and not as stiff as I have in the past.””

    Third baseman Janae Leles, Mesa and Fox all collected three RBIs.

    “”I was just going up there and swinging the bat and trying to hit the ball hard,”” said Fox, who knocked in her 200th career run. “”I have seen the ball really well, and I worked hard in practice this week, and I am just trying to stay confident and swing the bat because good things happen when you do.””

    Extra bases

    Center fielder Caitlin Lowe stole her 134th career base, moving her into sole possession of second place on the all-time list for Arizona. She is now only 14 behind Arizona’s all-time leader, Alison McCutcheon.

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