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Wildcats sports teams gear up for postseason

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Caleb Villegas | The Daily Wildcat Alyssa Denham (22) celebrating with teammates at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on Saturday March 30 in Tucson Ariz. No. 11 Arizona softball run-ruled 17th-ranked Arizona State for the second straight night

The spring semester is almost complete, and several Arizona sports teams are starting to wrap up their seasons. Some have already hit postseason play, while others close out their regular season in the next couple weeks. Here’s a breakdown of where each sport stands:

Softball

After a remarkable stretch that lasted over a month, Arizona softball’s 21-game win streak came to an end over the weekend against the California Golden Bears. The Wildcats got off to a 16-0 conference record before falling to Cal on a ninth-inning walk-off in the second game of the weekend series. 

The ‘Cats were still able to win the series in games one and three to improve to 40-8 with six games remaining. As of now, Arizona remains firmly entrenched in the top-10 polls, ranking as high as No. 3 in the NCAA RPI standings. 


Hannah Martinez (2) running to home plate to celebrate after she hit a homerun at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on Saturday March 30 in Tucson Ariz. this was her first career home run.


Up next is perhaps the most difficult — and important — six-game stretch of the season, with No. 4 Washington, last year’s Women’s College World Series runner-up, coming to town, followed by a road trip to No. 2 UCLA, a place where the UA fell in last year’s Super Regionals. 

Women’s golf

The quest to defend the title will begin in East Lansing, Mich. After last year’s dramatic finish to win the NCAA national championship, UA women’s golf won’t be sneaking up on anybody this year and heads into the postseason with a favorable draw. 

After taking home second place in the Pac-12 Championships, the Wildcats secured the No. 2 seed in the East Lansing regional spot, home of the Michigan State Spartans. The NCAA Regionals are May 6-8, and the top six teams from each regional will advance to the National Championship at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark., May 17-22.

Arizona senior Bianca Pagdanganan and sophomore Yu-Sang Hou were named to the Pac-12 All-Conference team for their strong season and will look to carry their momentum in postseason play.


Haley Moore putts during the 2019 Pac-12 Championships on April 15 in Palos Verdes, Calif.


Beach volleyball

Despite having the best regular season in program history and entering the postseason on a 14-game winning streak, Arizona beach volleyball posted a 1-2 record in the Pac-12 Tournament over the weekend, losing to UCLA and Cal. 

Coming into the tournament ranked No. 13 in the country, the Wildcats needed to make a run to the conference championship match to solidify a spot in the NCAA Tournament where only the top eight teams make it, but they were unable to do so. 

The Sand Cats’ season comes to a close with an impressive 25-6 record, 13 of those wins coming at home. 


Jasmine Safar (4) ready to make a play on April 13 at Bear Down Bear, in Tucson, Ariz. Jasmine and Sarah Blacker won their match in doubles.


Track and Field 

Boasting some of the best athletes in the country, Arizona track and field will host the Pac-12 Championships over the next two weekends. The Multi-Event Championships take place May 4-5, and the Single-Event Championships go from May 11-12.

Most recently, the Wildcats hosted the Desert Heat Classic where several athletes set career-best or season-best marks. Junior Justice Summerset set a new high with a 2.25-meter high jump, good for No. 5 on UA’s all-time list. 

Sophomore Jordan Geist won the discus throw at 56.08 meters, earning him a season high, and freshman hurdler James Smith set the No. 2 mark in school history with a 50.11 time in the 400-meter hurdles. 


Track and Field stars Jordan Geist and Carlos Villarreal at the U of A track field on Friday April 26, 2019. Villarreal runs long distance and Geist is a shot put and weight thrower.  
 


Baseball

Arizona baseball has had a rough season, posting a 19-22 record heading into the final month of the regular season. UA’s biggest struggles have come away from Tucson, where the team has compiled a 4-14 record. 

The Wildcats most recently dropped two of three games in Palo Alto, Calif. to No. 3 Stanford. With not much time to turn things around, head coach Jay Johnson and his team will likely miss the NCAA Tournament for the second-consecutive year. 

The season hasn’t been all bad for the Wildcats, as junior Nick Quintana continues to try to prove he can play at the next level. Quintana hit his 10th home run over the weekend, marking the first time since 2008 a UA player has hit 10-plus homers in back-to-back seasons.


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