Softball in-state rivalry showdown
Traveling to Tempe tomorrow evening, the UA softball team hopes it can continue its dominance over Arizona State.
The Wildcats (30-4 overall, 3-1 Pacific 10 Conference) enter the doubleheader in hopes of continuing where they picked up last season. In 1998, Arizona downed the Sun Devils (30-7, 1-2) in all four outings, 7-2, 5-3, 6-0 and 3-2.
"In my eyes, the rivalry certainly exists in softball," UA head coach Mike Candrea said. "ASU is a very improved team that thinks that they may have a chance at competing with us this year."
Candrea, a graduate of ASU, said he senses the rivalry as being stronger than ever and because of that, he wants to return to Tucson victorious.
"In order to win this game, we need to put the entire package together," he said. "Our girls have to have timed hitting, good defense and a solid performance from the mound."
Candrea said his team has had flashes of good pitching and has recently suffered offensively.
With the rivalry between UA and ASU, he said other than exiting the weekend with two more wins, he would like to have his whole team step up to its full potential.
Junior right fielder Chrissy Gil also said this game means a bit more than most, simply because beating ASU brings a "moral victory."
"Whenever we go up to Tempe to face Arizona State, my blood boils," she said. "I am filled with an unexplainable emotion and just want to kill them, go out and show them who's better."
Gil said she felt if the Wildcats were to go up to ASU and sweep the Sun Devils, it would be through a total team effort.
"It is going to be an emotionally intense outing," she said. "We need to all come out together and focused."
Gil thinks the victories will come if UA can put away the Sun Devils early.
"If we beat them down before they think they can compete, it is going to be our ballgame," she said. "Sit 'em down, shut 'em off."