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Softball shuts out Sun Devils 6-0, 8-0

LAINA McWHORTER / The State Press
Players from the Arizona softball team congratulate Kristie Fox after scoring during Saturday's game against Arizona State. The Wildcats swept the Sun Devils in Tempe over the weekend, winning 8-0 Saturday and improving their record to 40-1.
By James Kelley
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, April 12, 2004
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TEMPE - There was some good news for the Sun Devils in a series where they were out-hit, out-pitched and out-coached by Arizona.

Arizona State had a pair of record crowds.

The No 1 Wildcats (40-1, 4-0 Pacific 10 Conference) sent the ASU (30-18, 0-4) faithfuls home in disgust, spanking the Sun Devils 6-0 on Friday night and 8-0 on Saturday in six innings. Friday's crowd was a stadium-record 1,663, while 1,641 attended the game Saturday in the 1,535-seat stadium.

Saturday, Arizona exploded for six runs in the fifth after ASU starter Bre DeSanta (19-7), held the Wildcats in check early on. Senior second baseman Samantha Quintero opened up the inning with a double, and junior right fielder Allyson Von Liechtenstein followed suit with another.

Quintero later scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman center fielder Caitlin Lowe. After Von Liechtenstein scored, Sun Devil head coach Linda Wells loaded the bases on an intentional walk, which was followed by an unintentional walk to freshman shortstop Kristie Fox, who had four RBIs and a solo home run in Friday's game.

"We've got to find ways to win. We have it all - we are just trying to manufacture runs and win the game any way we can," said junior third baseman Jackie Coburn. "We know that we're good. We've just got to get it done."

The walk caused Wells to put in Friday's starter, Desiree Serrano (15-6), who surrendered a two-RBI bunt to Coburn. Coburn said acting head coach Larry Ray called a squeeze play, though the ball found its way into the outfield and was ruled a hit.

"I called them over when they made the change here and I kind of thought that was the perfect opportunity to pull some kind of surprise," Ray said. "I thought she might try and get ahead of her - she doesn't throw the ball much in the upper part of the zone - so I thought it would be a perfect chance. Jackie laid down a perfect bunt and I thought it worked out well for us."

Both Ray and Coburn said they hoped the play would help the Phoenix-area native get out of a mini-slump that has caused her to drop in the batting order.

"He gave me the job to do and I just had to move the ball for this team and score runs," Coburn said. "It's a good ice-breaker for me, because I've been hitting the ball, but not like I need to. I'm trying to open my game up a little bit."

Coburn then advanced to second on an attempted steal. Sun Devil senior catcher Katie Cobos threw the ball into the outfield, which scored Fox. It was the third errant throw by Cobos of the night.

"I kind of felt like we could run on the catcher, and we just got into a perfect situation where we could put a little pressure on them," Ray said.

UA sophomore pitcher Alicia Hollowell (27-0) had a dominant night Saturday, allowing only one hit, to All-America third baseman Phelan Wright. Hollowell struck out 10, including five of the last seven batters.

On Friday, Hollowell allowed three hits and struck out 15. Fox paced the offense with a 3-for-3 performance in the 6-0 shutout win.

This weekend, the Wildcats travel to the Bay Area to take on No. 4 California and No. 11 Stanford. Arizona will return home to face ASU April 28.

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