Arizona softball suffers season ending 7-1 defeat to ULL
Inconsistent pitching and an inability to string together consecutive hits doomed the Arizona softball team on Saturday as their season ended.
Louisiana-Lafayette (49-8-1) defeated the Wildcats 7-1 in the second game of the NCAA Super Regionals.
Needing to win two games on Saturday to extend their season, Arizona (44-16) struggled mightily against ULL star pitcher Christina Hamilton. The sophomore held the high-powered Arizona offense to three runs Friday in game one and just one run in game two.
Hamilton allowed five hits and one run over seven innings of work in game two and dominated the strike zone, only needing 89 pitches to close out Arizona. By comparison, Arizona starting pitcher Shelby Babcock needed 127 pitches to get through six innings.
Arizona third baseman Katiyana Mauga reacts to being tagged out at first base during Arizona's 5-1 loss against LSU in the NCAA tucson regional at Hillenbrand Stadium on Sunday.The Wildcats finished the season 44-16.
From top to bottom, the Arizona lineup battled to string together multiple base runners in an inning until the 7th inning. By that point it was too little, too late.
The middle of the order could not figure Hamilton out as the 3-4-5 hitters combined to go 2-for-8 against Hamilton on Saturday. Those three hitters happened to be three of the best home run hitters on the team: junior shortstop Kellie Fox, junior catcher Chelsea Goodacre and freshman outfielder Katiyana Mauga.
For a team that led the NCAA in home runs coming in to this weekend, having the middle of the batting order struggle was not foreseen. Especially considering those three combined for 57 home runs this season.
The Ragin’ Cajuns are second in the country in team home runs and showed why they’ve won 49 games this season. Saturday alone saw Louisiana-Lafayette hit two home runs and several hits that easily could’ve been home runs at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Speaking of Hillenbrand Stadium, this weekend further proved that the 2014 Arizona softball team struggled to win on the road. The team had only seven of their 44 wins come in true road games and actually lost more road games (10) than they won.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne555