Softball team splits with No. 3 Huskies

By Craig Degel
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 1, 1996

Coming into the weekend, Arizona head coach Mike Candrea knew his team would have its hands full.

His No. 1-ranked Wildcats were getting set to face No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 Washington. The Wildcats had already defeated the Huskies twice this season, so logic would state that the Wildcats would have more trouble with the Bruins.

Not so.

The Wildcats swept UCLA with 5-4 and 5-0 victories on Friday night, but needed two runs in the fifth and sixth innings to gain a 7-4 victory in the second half of a doubleheader with Washington yesterday at Hillenbrand Stadium. To get the win, Arizona (30-4 overall, 3-1 in the Pacific 10 Conference) first had to shake the effects of a disappointing 10-4, extra-inning loss to the Huskies (33-6, 6-2) earlier in the day. The loss was Arizona's first at Hillenbrand since a 2-0 loss to UCLA on March 17 of last year a string of 30 games.

"I don't think I'm ever satisfied with three out of four," Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. "But three out of four is better than two out of four and definitely better than none out of four."

In the second game against Washington, left fielder Brandi Shriver singled in the fifth to score Tanya Farhat who was running for catcher Lety Pineda. The next batter, freshman shortstop Michelle Churnock, singled in pitcher Lisa Pitt and the Wildcats took a 5-3 lead. UA took a 7-3 lead into the top of the seventh and allowed a run before Pitt shut the game down.

Pitt did not even know she would have to pitch until midway into the first game.

"I was a little nervous," Pitt said. "I really wasn't focusing on their team. I was just pitching my game."

Junior Carrie Dolan pitched all 14 innings of the doubleheader on Friday night and all nine of yesterday's 10-4 loss, so relief from Pitt was essential.

"This makes me wonder what we're going to be able to do from here on out with doubleheaders," Candrea said.

The Wildcats went into the bottom of the sixth of the first game down 4-1, but junior transfer Tiana Hejduk came through for the second-straight game.

On Friday, with Arizona trailing the Bruins 4-3 in the sixth, Hejduk sent a double into left to score Jenny Dalton and Farhat to give the Wildcats a 5-4 win.

Yesterday, Hejduk blooped a bases-loaded single into left field to clear the bases and tie the game at four.

That is where the game stayed until the bottom of the seventh.

In that inning, senior third baseman Krista Gomez stole second base, but center fielder Alison Johnsen, who kept the Wildcats in the contest with two sterling plays in center, including robbing Mindy Williams of a three-run home run, was herself robbed of a hit by Husky center fielder Rebecca Brown.

The two teams stayed knotted at four until the top of the ninth when Dolan just ran out of gas. The Huskies touched her for six runs and put the game out of reach.

"Hanging your head at that moment, it's contagious," Candrea said. "You've got to pick it up."