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Softball Notes: The on-deck circle

By Brandon Johnson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday Mar. 5, 2002

Smooth sailing: Sophomore pitcher Jenny Gladding seems to have found her groove in the circle after a rocky start to her season.

The 5-foot-9 right-hander from Palm City, Fla., has allowed just one run in her last four starts.

Over that period she has struck out 38 batters in just 22 innings of work.

Gladding has also found the plate more often, walking only six batters.

Working hard: Sophomore Mackenzie Vandergeest is finding her way out of her early-season slump.

The all-time UA freshman home run leader has been taking extra swings in practice and also working hard in the batting cages with UA student assistant coach Mikel Candrea.

The work paid off Friday as Vandergeest had her first multi-homer game of the year against Southern Mississippi.

Her first long ball of the game was a grand slam that nearly went to the top of the left-field bleachers.

Please don't go: Sophomore first baseman/designated player Leneah Manuma probably wishes that Arizona had another tournament at home this coming weekend.

That's because the slugging sophomore had at least one hit in all 15 of Arizona's games at home during tournament play.

Overall, Manuma has hit safely in 21 of Arizona's 25 games this year including 15 of the last 16. She also had a 10-game hitting streak at one point.

Juiced balls: Opposing pitchers in the Hillenbrand Invitational must have wondered if their balls were juiced when facing Arizona.

That's because the Wildcat offense hit 13 home runs in five games, including six in an 18-0 romp of Southern Mississippi on Friday.

The 13 home runs gave the team 45 on the year and put them right on pace with last year's NCAA and UA record of 1.8 home runs per game.

Home sweet home: Arizona's victory on Sunday over Long Beach State gave them their 63rd straight home victory and helped them to go 15-0 in three tournaments at Hillenbrand Stadium this year.

Arizona treated its fans to some serious offense, outscoring its opponents 124-8 over those 15 ballgames.

In addition, Arizona won nine of the games by the eight-run mercy rule.

Third time not a charm: Prior to the start of Saturday's game with Arizona, Eastern Michigan coach Nancy Oestrike was approached about possibly canceling the game with the Wildcats.

Because of a 10-inning game earlier in the day, the Hillenbrand Invitational was a full game behind schedule.

In an effort to put the tournament back on schedule, officials thought that perhaps the Eagles would want to avoid a third loss in nine days to the Wildcats.

Oestrike refused to cancel the game though, and proceeded to watch her team get drubbed 9-0.

With Gladding in the circle for all three games, Arizona outscored Eastern Michigan by a combined score of 27-0 and prevented any Eagle runners from advancing past second base.


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