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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Bay Area road trip unkind to Arizona softball

    Mike Christy/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

Wildcat softball downs the Cardinal on a run-rule 12-4 victory Friday night at Hillenbrand Stadium.
    Mike Christy
    Mike Christy/ Arizona Daily Wildcat Wildcat softball downs the Cardinal on a run-rule 12-4 victory Friday night at Hillenbrand Stadium.

    The road woes continued for the No. 7 Arizona softball team as it dropped two games to the Stanford Cardinal after the Wildcats’ bout with Cal was rained out Friday.

    Arizona’s contest with Cal will not be made up, and the UA no longer controls its own destiny in the Pacific 10 Conference standings after dropping the season series to the Cardinal for the first time in school history. Stanford and UCLA are tied for first place in the conference at 13-5.

    Arizona’s (39-13, 11-6 Pac-10) offense was shut down on Sunday after Stanford (44-6, 13-5) ace Missy Penna (31-4) held the Wildcats to one hit in the 2-1 loss. Although Arizona threatened in the fourth inning, its only score came by the long ball.

    “”I definitely think she pitched a little better; as a team we weren’t able to make an adjustment. She threw maybe twenty actual strikes and the rest were just there,”” said UA senior Jenae Leles. “”She knew that we were going to swing at them, so she just kept them off the plate.””

    The Wildcats’ rally in the fourth inning began with Leles’s 22nd home run of the season. Junior Stacie Chambers was then hit by a pitch before senior Sam Banister reached base on an error. After designated hitter Lini Koria popped out, Penna hit her second batter of the inning, sophomore Victoria Kemp, to load the bases. The Wildcats, however, failed to score as strikeouts by sophomore Lauren Schutzler and freshman Kristen Arriola ended the inning.

    “”We didn’t play our best softball,”” Leles said. “”We couldn’t get the crucial hits when we needed it and we couldn’t play a full seven innings as a team.””

    Leles’ home run marks number 119 for Arizona, as the Wildcats are just seven runs shy of tying the NCAA home run record for a single season.

    Sophomore Lindsey Sisk (12-4) started in the circle in the second game between the Cardinal and the Wildcats. She only lasted 1 1/3 innings before redshirt senior Jennifer Martinez (9-4) came in for relief. Sisk gave up two runs on three hits before Martinez took over.

    In Saturday’s game against the Cardinal, the Wildcats put up one run in the third inning off an RBI double by Leles. In the fourth inning, Kemp hit her sixth home run of the season, knocking in Koria in the process to give the Wildcats a three-run lead.

    “”I just saw the ball really well,”” Kemp said of her recent success at the plate. “”Once one person gets it going, everyone else will start.””

    Two costly errors during Stanford’s half of the sixth inning spurred four runs. Junior Sarah Akamine worked five shutout innings before giving up three runs in the sixth. Martinez replaced Akamine after Akamine gave up a double to Stanford senior Maddy Coon that scored freshman

    Ashley Hansen and put the tying run on second.

    “”It just wasn’t enough,”” Akamine said. “”I was a little bit off. I wasn’t really on top of my game on Saturday.””

    Martinez threw a wild pitch to Cardinal junior Alissa Haber that scored pinch runner Autumn Albers, and gave Stanford the one-run lead. Arizona’s seventh inning did not produce a tying run, and ended with two fly outs from Chambers and Banister.

    “”It’s definitely something that you have to learn from. It’s not a good feeling when you just hand a game to a team,”” Leles said.

    Arizona will finish its regular season on the road against the Oregon schools next weekend.

    If Arizona has any chance of contending for the Pac-10 season title, it will have to finish the weekend on a high note.

    “”We struggled this weekend,”” Akamine said. “”We just hit a little bit of a slump.

    “”I’m sure we’ll be fine,”” she added. “”We just had a little bit of a rough patch.””

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