Softball sweeps ASU

By Katie Miles

Arizona Daily Wildcat

It was a cold Friday night at Hillenbrand Stadium and the almost-packed crowd rocked the stands, demanding a Wildcat victory over intrastate rival Arizona State. The Wildcats answered the call.

In a doubleheader, the No. 2 Arizona softball team dominated the Sun Devils, winning 4-2 and 10-0.

In the first game, pitcher Nancy Evans came into the game with a 20-3 record and ended the first game with a total of eight strikeouts.

"I was very pleased with the way Evans pitched game one and how Dolan pitched the second game," UA coach Mike Candrea said. "Our pitchers have been improving greatly and have been a key to our success this year."

Junior second baseman Jenny Dalton made her presence known with a home run in the bottom of the first inning, her 21st of the season.

The crowd was getting restless in the second inning, afraid that the Wildcats might fall behind with an eventless second inning, but catcher Leah Braatz was not going to let the crowd down. In the bottom of the third, Braatz stepped up to the plate to pound out her 13th home run of the season.

"Leah had an impressive performance tonight. She was good at the plate and helped out the team with her batting," Candrea said.

In the fourth inning, the Sun Devils started to put some pressure on the Wildcats, but Candrea did not have any worries concerning his team's abilities.

"There was a period in the first game that the competition started to make a comeback, but I truly believed that we had the game under control at all times," Candrea said.

At the end of the first game, the Wildcats gave the crowd what it

wanted a 4-2 victory over ASU but it wanted more and in the second game, and the Wildcats came through again.

Arizona brought in sophomore pitcher Carrie Dolan (23-1) to begin what seemed to be a reminder to their state rivals that the UA was highly ranked.

Things were relatively quiet in the stands of Hillenbrand Stadium up until the bottom of the third inning, when the Wildcats stepped up to the plate ready to rock that softball game.

Dalton led the team off with a single and then Braatz came up to the plate to remind ASU whose field that they were playing on. With Braatz's second home run of the evening, she brought in Dalton to make the score 2-0.

"Those key hits that we had in the second game really opened up the game for us," Candrea said.

The UA was far from being through with the Sun Devils. Evans, refusing to be outdone by her teammates, hit a double and then scored off Andrea Doty's home run. That made the score 4-0. The scoring continued as Amy Chellevold and Leah O'Brien finished off the inning with two doubles. With Chellevold and Krista Gomez's doubles in the second, Arizona was in front of the Sun Devils 8-0.

All the Wildcats had to do was to score two more runs and the game would be called on account of the 10-run mercy rule, but the Sun Devils were not going to let the Wildcats off that easily. For the next few innings the two teams struggled back and forth until the sixth inning, when the Wildcats tacked on two more runs to finish off the Sun Devils.

"Our defense was a little shaky at times, but we really held together when we had to," Candrea said. "The team made a few errors, but they really proved their ability when they knew they had to."

Arizona (49-4 overall, 13-3 in the Pacific 10 Conference) finished a four-game sweep of the Sun Devils Saturday night in Tempe with 12-2 and 9-0 wins.

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