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Candrea to start Sisk, Akamine in openers

Citizen Staff Writer



Arizona softball coach Mike Candrea said not to read too much into which pitcher starts the first game of the season – but that pitcher will be Lindsey Sisk.

The sophomore, who was an understudy to Taryne Mowatt last season, gets the call for Friday afternoon’s opener against Kansas at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.

Junior Sarah Akamine, who is devoting herself full time to pitching this season, will start the second game of Friday’s doubleheader against UTEP.

As for who finishes those games – which one becomes the ace – who knows?

Candrea typically has an All-American in the circle, which means he rarely has needed to show opponents a different look or to use relief pitchers late in games.

He also can use senior transfer Jennifer Martinez as a change-up.

“The thing is, we’re going to do whatever it takes to win a game,” said Candrea, whose team begins the season ranked seventh in the nation.

“Whether it’s going with someone once around the order and then bringing in someone else . . . that’s what it may take until things get established. That’s the only way you can go.

“Early in the year, I don’t know how many complete games we’re going to have.”

Sisk was 10-3 with a 1.62 ERA last season. Akamine appeared in only six games, starting four, and was 2-1 with a 1.72 ERA.

Sisk pitches with more speed and has more of a stone-faced demeanor, Candrea said. Akamine, who has mostly been a middle infielder at Arizona, relies more on movement and can be very emotional.

“I think both of them have made good progress,” Candrea said. “Now, it’s a matter of going out and seeing what we’ve got.”

Arizona will have plenty of hitting throughout the lineup, led by senior third baseman Jenae Leles (.349, 17 home runs) and left fielder Brittany Lastrapes (.364).

The Wildcats are scheduled to play five games in three days at the tournament.

“I’m anxious to see where we’re at,” Candrea said. “We have just about had as much practice as we can stand.”



vs. Kansas, 4:30 p.m. (Tempe Sports Complex); vs. UTEP, 7 p.m. (Tempe Sports Complex)


vs. Northwestern, 10 a.m. (Farrington Stadium, ASU campus); vs. Nevada, 12:30 p.m. (Farrington Stadium)


vs. UC Santa Barbara, 1 p.m. (Tempe Sports Complex)

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