Missed opportunities plague the ‘Cats as they lose 7-3 to UCLA

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Madeleine Viceconte | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Ashleigh Hughes (28) makes it safely to second base during the Arizona-Utah game on Saturday, March 17 at Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

 The Arizona Wildcats softball team lost to UCLA 7-3 on Saturday night, losing their second consecutive series and their third of their last four. Arizona will look back on rallies that were thwarted, and an inability to score more than a single run in an inning.

The ‘Cats had two rallies early in the game that looked incredibly promising but could only score one in each inning. In the third inning, UA loaded the bases with no outs.

“…We’re going to score a bunch of runs,” head coach Mike Candrea said, when asked what his thoughts were having the bases loaded with no one out.

However, a ground ball to the shortstop, a sacrifice fly, and a pop up to the shortstop killed the ‘Cats rally after allowing a single run.

The following inning, the ‘Cats looked to be in a position to put a crooked number on the scoreboard but had to settle for just one. 

The ‘Cats had runners on first and second when Aleah Craighton bunted to the pitcher, who committed both a fielding error and a throwing error, that allowed a run to score and put Dejah Mulipola on third and Craighton on second with no outs. But after Arizona scored, UCLA went to the bullpen and brought in Wildcat killer Rachel Garcia, who retired the next three batters.

Conversely, it was UCLA’s bats who started the game cold, but heated up as the game progressed. Arizona starter Alyssa Denham allowed just two baserunners over the first three frames but ran into problems her second time through the Bruin batting order.

“When you face good hitters, they start adjusting,” Denham said. “Like, they’re going to get hits, and they’re going to score runs, but it’s being able to control that and not let that get out of hand.”

 Denham, the losing pitcher of record, gave up four runs, but only two earned, over six innings. Denham struck out two batters and didn’t walk any. She gave up two runs in each of the fourth, fifth, and six innings.

 Despite having lost their second consecutive series, and third of their last four, the ‘Cats remain optimistic.

 In the long postgame huddle, coach Candrea relayed to his team the message that, “We’re so close to putting all the pieces together, and when we put all the pieces together, we’re not going to be able to be stopped,” according to Alyssa Denham.

 “To win at this level, you have to pitch well, you have to play good defense, and you have to hit well. I’m seeing bits and pieces of all that but we have to put it all together to be a team that will be able to compete down the road,” coach Candrea said postgame.

 Arizona will try to salvage a single game from the series Sunday, April 15 at 5:00 p.m. That game will be broadcast on TV on Pac-12 Networks, and on the radio on 1400 KTUC.



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