By Tom Knauer
CLAIRE C. LAURENCE/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Freshman Taryne Mowatt delivers a pitch at yesterday's game against Hawaii at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, February 21, 2005
All throughout this early season for the Arizona softball team, Kristie Fox has been there to deliver the big hit.
With her teammates waiting for another swing of the bat, this time in extra innings yesterday, Fox came through again - with an out.
Fox flied out to deep center field to score Caitlin Lowe, and the No. 1 Wildcats escaped with a 2-1 win over Hawaii in eight innings for a sweep at the Worth Wildcat Invitational at Hillenbrand Stadium.
The sophomore shortstop prevented a humiliating loss for Arizona (9-0), who defeated the Golden Wahine 4-0 in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader.
"Hawaii's a good team, so don't take anything away from them, but we're struggling right now," said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. "We're not playing very well, and like I told them (after the game yesterday), I'm going to keep throwing (advice) at them. Hopefully, some of it will stick."
Hawaii's Tracie Uchima hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth inning off Alicia Hollowell (5-0) to tie the score, 1-1.
Hollowell, who finished with 17 strikeouts, fanned five of the next nine Golden Wahine batters to set the Wildcats in the bottom of the eighth.
Junior outfielder Autumn Champion hit a grounder to send home outfielder Adrienne Acton, but the freshman was tagged out at the plate.
The junior center fielder Lowe moved from first to third on the play, setting up Fox for the game-winner.
"We've got a lot of improvement to make in a lot of different areas," Candrea said. "We made some baserunning mistakes, we made some mental mistakes. Offensively, I thought that girl (Hawaii's Melissa Coogan) handed it to us."
Coogan (3-3) allowed two runs on six hits in 7 2/3 innings, striking out three and walking two.
Freshman catcher Callista Balko carried the Wildcats' offense in game one, hitting a three-run home run in the third inning off Shannon Tabion (2-2) to cap the game's scoring. Balko finished 1-3.
Freshman pitcher Taryne Mowatt (3-0) gave up three hits and struck out eight in 5 1/3 innings, before being lifted for Hollowell.
Beneath thudding rain and an ominous sky Friday night, the junior pitcher shined again for Arizona.
Hollowell struck out 15 and walked two in Friday's 7-0 win over Marshall (6-6), giving the junior her second no-hitter in as many starts.
Hollowell's seven career no-hitters, including a combined effort with Wendy Allen last season, puts her in second place on Arizona's all-time list, behind eight from Jennie Finch (1999-2002) and Susie Parra (1991-1994).
"I don't even think about it," Hollowell said Friday. "I just try to go out and have a good game and make sure all my pitches are working. If it happens, it happens."
After rain cancelled most of the games scheduled at the Kajikawa Classic in Phoenix last weekend, poor weather again jumbled the itinerary for the Wildcats.
Showers shut down all play Saturday at Hillenbrand Stadium, putting Arizona's doubleheader with Hawaii in jeopardy.
The Wildcats were scheduled to play Northern Iowa at noon yesterday, but the Panthers had to catch a flight, leaving the Golden Wahine with two games to play instead of one.
The Wildcats hit the road again next weekend, as they travel to Waco, Texas, for the Compass Bank Invitational.
Arizona plays Sam Houston State at 11:45 a.m. Friday, followed by a game against Birmingham Southern at 2 p.m.
"When you're playing in the confines here, you're a little more relaxed," Candrea said. "When we start going on the road, that's not the case, because there's no one pulling for you. I think it's good for this group. I think they need it. Hopefully, it will help them develop some character."