Wildcats welcome familiar faces, tune up for season with routs
The Arizona softball team's fifth and final game of its fall tournament was a homecoming of sorts last night at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Former Wildcats Candace Abrams and Jen Martinez shuffled through the Pima dugout as assistant coaches, and Aztecs head coach Stacey Iveson returned to the field where she helped nurse three national championship teams.
The Wildcats put together a complete effort for the occasion, winning 8-0 over Pima in five innings.
"It was a good weekend," said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. "It's a long weekend for us because I'm running a coaches clinic, so I've been here for, like, 14 hours a day. I'm ready to get out of here."
Sophomore pitcher Taryne Mowatt threw a no-hitter in her second start of the tournament, striking out nine and walking one. She gave up only two hits and struck out 11 in six innings in an 8-0, six-inning win over New Mexico on Saturday.
"Taryne has obviously matured," Candrea said. "Where last year, she would get in trouble and not get herself out of trouble, this year she's staying out of trouble. I think primarily, she's throwing her off-speed pitch."
Mowatt said that she alternated her riseball and her curveball throughout the game, using a changeup occasionally to keep hitters guessing.
"My curveball was working really well," she said. "They kept swinging at it, and when they didn't, it was a strike. It had a lot of movement."
Sophomore center fielder Caitlin Lowe anchored Arizona's offense over the weekend, going 12-of-17 and scoring 11 of the team's 59 runs.
Junior Chelsie Mesa, a transfer from Phoenix College who hit third in the order in each game, went 2-for-2 last night with three RBIs.
Her two-run triple in the first inning scored Lowe and senior left fielder Autumn Champion, keying a five-run charge that put the game out of reach early.
"I was very, very excited to see her play this weekend," said Candrea of Mesa, who went 7-of-14 with a team-high 10 RBIs. "She was everything I was expecting of her. She gives us a punch."
Freshmen Laine Roth, Sam Banister and Janae Leles, who started every contest at three of the team's four infield positions, finished a combined 15-of-36 with five RBIs.
"I think they did a good job," Candrea said. "I think, obviously, (the weekend) kind of helps take all the pieces to the pie that we work on practice and see why it's important.
"For freshman, especially, that's really important," he said.
The Wildcats swept their five opponents, outscoring Arizona Western, New Mexico, Central Arizona, Hum Babe and Pima 39-2.