Arizona Softball: Bowling green, but she's evolving, ready for Huskies

2013-03-23T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:32:35Z Arizona Softball: Bowling green, but she's evolving, ready for HuskiesPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 23, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Nancy Bowling has a nervous stomach.

Whether it's before a class presentation or a softball game, the Arizona Wildcats freshman can feel the weight of her task in her gut.

"I still have a lot of nerves," the pitcher said. "Every time I go out on the field, I get super-duper nervous.

"I get butterflies every single game."

Bowling keeps a journal of her games - how she felt and what happened - and noticed something the other day. When she was aware of her breathing, she did well.

"Breathe in, pause, blow out," she said.

It works.

"A lot of it is watching her go through her first year," UA coach Mike Candrea said. "It's kinda hard to know that until you see it.

"I think she's a very intense young lady. Works hard in practice, a little bit of a perfectionist. She wants it badly."

Candrea said that "having butterflies in your stomach is good," as long as you make them work for you.

"I've gotten to where I can kinda use them more," Bowling said. "There are times where it's overcome me."

The No. 22 Wildcats (20-8) hope Bowling can help them in their first Pac-12 series of the season, against Washington, starting tonight at 6 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Bowling, who has a 3.35 ERA in 39 2/3 innings, might be considered the Wildcats' No. 1 pitcher.

Last weekend, for the first time, Bowling pitched more than half the Wildcats' innings in a series. She started both the UA's games against ranked opponents.

In 15 2/3 innings against three opponents, Bowling struck out 14 batters and gave up 13 hits. However, she allowed seven earned runs, combined, in losses to Oklahoma and Michigan. She shut out Notre Dame for a win.

Ten of her strikeouts were against the No. 1 Sooners.

Candrea credited Bowling, but also that OU had never seen her.

"They hadn't had Nancy Bowling in their database," he said. "Things weren't matching up. She was hard to figure out."

Candrea said Bowling "has that chance of getting that strikeout when you need it."

They should this weekend against the No. 17 Huskies (22-7).

"They're, offensively, a good team," Candrea said. "Their pitching has gotten better.

"They usually play good defense and have an idea of what they're trying to do."

Bowling said she knows she has "to be careful" with everyone in the lineup.

Still, she's ready.

"I can't make mistakes with them," she said, "because they're definitely going to pounce."

Arizona vs. Washington

• Where: Hillenbrand Stadium

• When: Today, 6 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; Monday, 7 p.m.

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