UA softball drops 1st Pac-10 game to Stanford
Arizona takes 2 of 3 during weekend
After starting the Pacific 10 Conference 6-0, the UA softball team had its first conference setback against Stanford yesterday in extra innings.
The No. 2 Wildcats (42-4 overall, 6-1 Pac-10) were plagued by untimely hitting and mental mistakes as Arizona fell 4-3 in eight innings.
"We are all a little down right now, but we have to forget about it," sophomore first baseman/pitcher Jennie Finch said. "That's just Pac-10 softball."
Arizona had 10 hits off Cardinal freshman pitcher Dana Sorensen, but only junior catcher Lindsey Collins' fifth inning double RBI was for extra bases. Junior centerfielder Nicole Giordano paced the offense, going three for five and scoring the Wildcat's first run.
Sorensen struck out three UA batters and allowed only two earned runs, though the Wildcats pressured her continually throughout the game.
Arizona loaded the bases in the second inning and had runners on first and second with no outs in the third, but were unable to light up the scoreboard as Sorensen and the No. 9 Cardinal defense prevailed.
"We did not execute in crucial situations, and it came back to haunt us," UA head coach Mike Candrea said. "Usually, when you have 10 hits, you win the ballgame."
Stranding runners proved to be the team's Achilles heel, as UA left 10 runners on base in the game.
The defining moment of the game came in the fourth inning, when Tucson native and Cardinal sophomore first baseman Sarah Beeson hit a three-run homer off UA junior pitcher Becky Lemke to give Stanford a 3-2 lead.
The home run, which cleared the right field fence and hit the Ina A. Gittings building, traveled an estimated 250 feet.
Stanford freshman infielder Maureen LeCocq drove in the winning run in the top of the eighth, when she hit an RBI ground out to UA second baseman Katie Swan and drove in sophomore infielder Robin Walker.
"You got to give Stanford a little credit, the middle of their lineup really hit the ball well," Candrea said.
The run put the Cardinal (33-9, 2-6) up for good as junior shortstop Allison Andrade, freshman designated player Lindsey Rice and Giordano all went down in order in the bottom half of the inning to end the game.
Not all went bad for Arizona as they defeated Stanford 8-4 on Saturday night and No. 7 California Friday night.
Finch (20-0) remained perfect on the season, despite one of her poorer performances of the year against the Cardinal - giving up nine hits, three walks and two earned runs.
"I wasn't feeling my greatest, but my defense and offense came through for me," Finch said.
Collins led the UA offense going two for four with three RBI, including a solo home run in the fourth inning. The homer was her 11th of the year.
Swan and Giordano also had three hits apiece in the contest, and Finch helped her own cause, driving in two runs.
Against the Golden Bears, a balanced attack by Arizona proved to be the difference in a tight 4-1 ballgame.
UA took control of the game in the fourth inning with a RBI single from senior rightfielder Chrissy Gil, followed by a RBI double by Giordano and a RBI single by Swan, giving the Wildcats a 3-1 lead.
Lemke (22-4) picked up the win while giving up only one earned run on six hits while striking out six California batters.
Even with his team taking two of three games this weekend, Candrea was not pleased with Lemke's and Finch's performances in the circle.
"I thought we struggled on the mound, I though we struggled with our pitch count," the head coach said. "My most important concern is that we are taking the process of getting better."