Arizona softball seeks to fix road woes
After a three-game home sweep of Stanford, No. 9 Arizona softball will head back on the road this weekend.
Arizona (32-8, 7-5 Pac-12) travels to California (20-14, 3-4) to take on the Golden Bears for a three-game series.
After only scoring eight runs against ASU two weeks ago, the Arizona offense put up 35 runs against then-No. 24 Stanford last weekend.
The Wildcats could have similar opportunities to score runs against California, which struggles to keep runs off the board. The Golden Bears have a team ERA of 4.25, eighth in the conference, and have given up 69 more runs than Arizona.
“We’re excited to get on the road,” Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. “Hopefully we can turn the corner on the road, do a good job and win some games.”
To make matters worse, Cal scored only four runs in its most recent conference action against ASU and hasn’t beaten a Pac-12 foe this month. If the Golden Bears are going to upset Arizona, they probably need to play better than they have been recently.
Luckily for Cal, Arizona is 4-5 on the road and hasn’t been able to establish momentum on the road, as Candrea alluded to. This weekend will be the second-to-last chance for the team to play true road games before NCAA regionals begin in May.
For an Arizona team that has gotten 22 of its 32 wins at home, winning on the road has to be an area of concern. Redshirt senior starting pitcher Kenzie Fowler said this is an important series and the team needs to show improvement away from home.
“Coach [Candrea] wants us to be road warriors and to get where you want to go in postseason … you’ve got to win on the road,” Fowler said. “We need these wins for us to feel good on the road.”
For Arizona, jumping out early could effectively put away Cal and junior catcher Chelsea Goodacre said that’s exactly what the team plans to do.
“Setting a standard right when we get there,” Goodacre said. “From the first pitch just letting them know, ‘Hey we’re here to play,’ and playing our game.”
The Wildcats and the Golden Bears play at 3 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday. The Friday and Saturday games will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555