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Arizona Wildcats softball: Goodacre’s monster weekend; Fowler’s return

Chelsea Goodacre takes a cut vs. UCLA last season. Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics.

Chelsea Goodacre takes a cut vs. UCLA last season. Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics.

Home run. Home run. Home run. Home run. Home run.

Those were the results last weekend in five consecutive at-bats for Arizona Wildcats junior catcher Chelsea Goodacre during a fall tournament at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Yes, it’s only fall ball against junior college competition, but it’s hard to ignore the staggering numbers in five games: 13 of 15 with eight home runs and 24 RBIs. One of her home runs was a towering shot that landed on the roof of the three-story Gittings Building about 40 feet beyond the right-field fence.

“I don’t care who you are at what level, it’s hard to hit five home runs in a row,” coach Mike Candrea told TucsonCitizen.com. “It was impressive.”

Candrea is always process-oriented rather than results-oriented, and he liked what he saw there, too, from Goodacre.

“She has always had good power and she has worked really hard,” Candrea said. “The biggest thing with her is being selective at the plate. Last weekend, she was just on everything that they threw.”

Goodacre, a left-handed hitter, will be one of the centerpieces in Candrea’s efforts to rejuvenate the program, which has won eight national titles but hasn’t been to the Women’s College World Series since 2010. Goodacre earned All-Pac-12 honors last season, hitting .348 with a team-high 17 home runs.

There will be a lot more around her in the lineup this season, including freshmen Katiyana Mauga, Mo Mercado and Eva Watson. UCLA transfer shortstop Kellie Fox will be available in the spring semester. Candrea, who typically prefers a small roster, has expanded the team to 24 players, including several experienced walk-ons.

“The one thing we lacked in the last few years was competition and depth,” Candrea said.

“This roster was built on providing day-to-day competition, and our practices so far have reflected that.”

The other big news of the weekend was the return of senior pitcher Kenzie Fowler, who missed all of the 2013 season after undergoing a microscopic lumbar discectomy last October.

Fowler appeared in two games, giving up two runs in eight innings, striking out 12 and walking two.

“I was pleased,” Candrea said.

“It was a big moment for her to experience that after she hadn’t pitched in a game in a year or so. I thought she had good movement and good command. I’m just happy for her.”

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