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UA softball’s pitching not up to previous standards

Citizen Staff Writer



Here’s an amazing Arizona softball stat: The Wildcats have won 42 percent of their games in the past 16 seasons by shutout.

The 16-year time span isn’t an arbitrary figure. The 1993 season was the first that the NCAA introduced the harder, hitter-friendly optic yellow ball that brought more offense – and more popularity – to the college game.

Still, as always, it has been a pitcher’s game.

Of Arizona’s 1,038 games since the start of the 1993 season, 434 ended with no runs for the other team.

UA’s worst season ERA in that span was 1.77, in 1996. In 2008, it was 1.71.

This is all backdrop to Arizona’s pitching-troubled 2009 season. The 11th-ranked Wildcats are 7-2, but sophomore Lindsey Sisk and junior Sarah Akamine are off to less-than-typical starts for UA pitchers.

Arizona has a team ERA of 3.54 against modest competition. Sisk is 3-2 with a 3.73 ERA while Akamine is 4-0 with a 3.49 ERA.

The Cats have only one shutout in nine games and have allowed at least three runs in six games.

“It’s getting better,” UA coach Mike Candrea said of his team’s pitching. “I think we threw better last weekend than the weekend before, and at this stage, that’s all I’m looking for.”

Arizona is home this weekend for the first time this season, playing host to the Wildcat Invitational at Hillenbrand Stadium, Friday through Sunday.

UA will play doubleheaders against Utah and North Dakota State each day.

Starting shortstop K’Lee Arredondo pulled a hamstring last week, missing three games. She is questionable for this weekend, Candrea said. Second baseman Victoria Kemp slid over to shortstop in Arredondo’s absence, with Kristen Arriola and Sam Banister able to fill in at second.

Senior standouts Jenae Leles (.259 batting average, no homers) and Laine Roth (.091) are off to slow starts at the plate, but they have proven track records and aren’t as worrisome as the pitching staff.

“We were executing our pitches better last weekend,” Candrea said. “We’re starting to feel more confident that we’re going to get good results.”




> Utah vs. North Dakota State, 1:30 p.m.

> Arizona vs. North Dakota State, 4 p.m.

> Arizona vs. Utah, 6:30 p.m.


> North Dakota State vs. Utah, 1:30 p.m.

> Arizona vs. Utah, 4 p.m.

> Arizona vs. North Dakota State, 6:30 p.m.


> Arizona vs. Utah, 9 a.m.

> Arizona vs. North Dakota State, 11 a.m.

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