Wins on road crucial for UA softball’s title chaseby Anthony Gimino on Apr. 29, 2009, under Sports
Citizen Staff Writer
There’s nothing left but road games in the regular season for the Arizona softball team, and the Wildcats will have to win their share if they want to get back home.
UA finishes the season with eight consecutive road games, starting with something of a doubleheader at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Arizona State.
The teams will conclude a suspended game from April 11 in Tucson. UA, still the designated home team, will be batting in the bottom of the third with Jenae Leles on first base and no outs. The score is tied at 2.
After that game, the teams will play their regularly scheduled game.
Arizona (37-11 overall, 9-4 Pac-10) is one-half game behind league-leading UCLA (10-4). ASU is 37-11 and 7-6.
How teams finish in the league is one factor in determining which schools get to play host to an NCAA regional, which starts May 15.
Seventh-ranked Arizona can help its cause by finishing ahead of Arizona State. Traditionally, the NCAA does not award home regionals to both schools.
“There is a lot on the line there,” UA coach Mike Candrea said of Wednesday’s games.
UA will bus back to Tucson after the games and leave Thursday afternoon for the Bay Area. The Wildcats play 13th-ranked Cal on Friday and third-ranked Stanford on the weekend.
“The way I look at it is that it’s going to prepare us,” Candrea said of the season-ending stretch. “If you’re going to win this thing you have to win it on the road.”
The Wildcats have hit 111 home runs, the second-best season mark in NCAA history. Arizona’s 2001 team holds the record at 126.
Arizona hit five homers in an 11-0 victory against Washington’s second-string staff on Sunday, but it was shut down by the Huskies’ Danielle Lawrie and UCLA’s Megan Langenfeld in the games before that.
“We have a long ways to go,” Candrea said. “This team has to learn how to compete against the great pitchers.”
Wednesday: at ASU, 5 p.m. (completion game) and 7 p.m.
Friday: at Cal, 3 p.m.
Saturday: at Stanford, 1 p.m.
Sunday: at Stanford, noon