Softball faces rivals in Tempe, Ariz.
Fresh off three wins against Oregon State, the No. 9 Arizona softball team takes to the road for a matchup with its arch-rival, the No. 8 ASU Sun Devils.
The Wildcats (28-6, 3-3 Pac-12) used the recent home stand to regroup after losing the first three conference games against UCLA.
After scoring four runs over the three-game series with UCLA, Arizona broke out by putting up 36 runs on the scoreboard in the Oregon State series. The 36 runs were the highest Arizona runs scored in a three-game series for the season. The previous high was 35 runs scored in the season opening three-game series against Southern Mississippi.
Leading the offensive revival was a bevy of home runs coming from all over the batting order. Junior utility Hallie Wilson hit a home run in each game against Oregon State to go along with her 11 runs batted in throughout the series. Wilson said the team facing ASU this weekend is not the same one that faced UCLA last weekend.
Junior Hallie Wilson (5) forces out CJ Chirichigno (21) at first base in Arizona's 14-1 five-inning win over Oregon State on Monday. The Wildcats have won five straight games before their trip to No. 9 ASU this weekend.
“Since that UCLA series, we’ve had a different mindset,” Wilson said. “We grew and we learned [that] pitching in the Pac-12 is at an entirely different level. We learned our weaknesses and our strengths, and how to counteract.”
As the No. 8-ranked team in the nation, the Sun Devils possess a potent combination of offense and pitching that could be trouble for the Wildcats.
Leading ASU (30-5, 4-2) on the mound is the pitching duo of Mackenzie Popescue and Dallas Escobedo. The duo is a combined 28-5 on the season.
Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said the Wildcats know what they will be facing and will look to improve upon their last few games.
“If we’re moving the ball, if we’re making solid contact, then it’s just a matter of time,” Candrea said. “That’s the key for me.”
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555