UA SOFTBALL

Arizona Softball: UA freshman 'astonished' by 4-homer day in sweep

2013-03-14T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:56:11Z Arizona Softball: UA freshman 'astonished' by 4-homer day in sweepPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The major-league baseball record for home runs hit in a doubleheader is five: set first in 1954 by the St. Louis Cardinals' Stan Musial and, then 18 years later, tied by the San Diego Padres' Nate Colbert.

Colbert had seen the first feat - as a child in St. Louis, he sat in the stands during Musial's game.

College softball has no such record-keeping, or legendary tales, for doubleheader dexterity.

If it did, Lauren Young's super Saturday would rank, perhaps not at the top, but in the conversation. The freshman third baseman hit four home runs in one night.

"It's been a while since I've seen somebody absolutely see the ball so well," UA coach Mike Candrea said. "Almost like she was locked in."

The Anaheim, Calif., native hit two home runs and drove in six runs in Game 1 of Saturday's twi-night home doubleheader against Boise State.

In Game 2, she hit two more home runs, driving in three.

"I wasn't expecting to hit those home runs, one after the other," she said this week, as the 18-5 Wildcats prepared for the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., which begins today. "It felt really great. I was astonished at what I did."

Here are the three most amazing things about Young's night:

• She wasn't expected to be a power threat, having only five homers in her final high school season. Young almost matched last year's total in one evening, and now has seven on the season.

The reason, Young said: She has a plan when she walks to the plate, whether it's looking for a pitch inside or outside.

"It is a college level-thing," she said. "I never really had a plan before coming here. I think that's helped me a lot."

Candrea said his freshmen "are starting to understand the game a little bit, walking up with a little bit of a plan rather than whaling at anything someone throws."

• She could have had more at-bats. The Wildcats defeated BSU 14-4 and 10-2 in two mercy rule-shortened games.

Because the games ended after the Broncos' fifth-inning at-bat, the UA was shorted at least two innings, per game, of trips to the plate.

The No. 19 Wildcats don't figure to have the same fortune this week: their five-game slate features, among others, No. 21 Virginia Tech today, No. 14 Michigan on Friday and No. 1 Oklahoma on Saturday.

"They're all very formidable opponents," Candrea said. "I don't think there will be a game there that won't be a game where we have to earn the victory."

Senior shortstop Brigette Del Ponte hopes the Sooners start star pitcher Keilani Ricketts. OU did not use Ricketts in a 5-0 win over the UA three weeks ago.

"I think we're definitely going to see where we're at when we play Oklahoma," Del Ponte said. "That's going to be a big game."

• The Wildcats' offense is rolling. The UA scored 60 runs through its first 15 games - an average of four per contest. The Wildcats have scored 75 runs over their last eight games - more than nine per game.

A softer schedule has certainly helped: The Wildcats defeated UC Riverside, Boston University twice, Portland State twice and Boise State three times during the stretch.

Del Ponte said the team's young players have gained confidence by scoring so many runs, regardless of the opponent.

"I think the more games that they played, they loosened up a little bit," she said.

That goes for Young, too.

"It's a game of relaxed skill," she said. "I just have to focus on what I need to do.

"That's key for us, the freshmen, for everyone: to have confidence on the field, at the plate, everywhere."

Judi Garman Classic

In Fullerton, Calif.

Arizona Wildcats Schedule

• Today: vs. Virginia Tech at 11 a.m., vs. Notre Dame at 1:30 p.m.

• Friday: vs. Penn State at 12:30 p.m., vs. Michigan at 3 p.m.

• Saturday: vs. Oklahoma at 3 p.m.

Contact reporter Patrick Finley at pfinley@azstarnet.com or 573-4145. On Twitter @PatrickFinley.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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