SOFTBALL: ARIZONA 14, ASU 2

Fowler sharp in circle, hits slam in Cats' win

2010-04-04T00:00:00Z Fowler sharp in circle, hits slam in Cats' winAl Bravo Special To The Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

TEMPE - It was Arizona's turn to ride high in the amusement park world of college softball.

A pair of freshmen were the ticket Saturday - another run-rule-shortened game, this time with the Wildcats routing Arizona State 14-2.

"Definitely a wild roller coaster," said first-year pitcher Kenzie Fowler, as the Wildcats avenged a lopsided loss Friday night to take two of three from the Sun Devils. "It's going to be like this every weekend, so it's good to get one under our belt and get a winning series - and against ASU, it's even sweeter."

Arizona coach Mike Candrea had warned his team.

"I told the kids, the one thing that you are going to realize, from here on out, it is an emotional roller coaster," Candrea said. "I mean, 24 hours can be a huge difference, and today you saw the change of the tide. And so I was very proud the way we competed."

Fowler (20-2) tossed a complete game and hit her first collegiate grand slam in Arizona's win Saturday at Farrington Stadium.

In a matchup of two of the top softball teams in the nation - Arizona (30-4, 2-1 Pac-10) is ranked second by ESPN and USA Softball, while ASU (32-6, 1-2) is 10th and seventh in those polls - none of the three games was decided by less than six runs, and two were shortened by the mercy rule.

"I'm amazed," said Candrea. "I really thought these games could go to extra innings, be nail-biters."

It was Arizona putting runs on the board Thursday in a 12-6 win, then the Sun Devils routing the Wildcats 11-1 Friday.

"We were pretty frustrated with ourselves," said utility player Brigette Del Ponte. "We just all went to sleep (Friday night) and got up this morning, and we knew we could beat the crap out of ASU."

What the Wildcats finally figured out was ASU freshman pitcher Sam Parlich (6-3), who silenced the Arizona bats Friday, giving up a run and four hits. She got through the Arizona lineup one time unscathed Saturday.

But in the third, Brittany Lastrapes hit a one-out double down the right field line, and one out later, veteran K'Lee Arredondo bunted right in front of the plate to reach first base. Stacie Chambers followed with an RBI single that set up Del Ponte. The freshman had been fooled by Parlich's off-speed pitch, striking out in the second.

"My first at-bat, she threw two change-ups in a row," Del Ponte said. "So that's what I expected in my second at-bat. The one she gave me was right over the plate. It was a fat pitch."

Del Ponte, a graduate of Peoria Sunrise Mountain, said she struck out twice against Parlich, from Chandler Basha, last year as high schoolers. But in her second at-bat Saturday, Del Ponte fouled off a change-up before connecting on a 3-2 pitch, sending it over the center field fence.

Parlich did not return for the fourth inning, and Fowler capped a six-run uprising with a grand slam after ASU shortstop Katelyn Boyd misplayed Del Ponte's grounder to lengthen the inning. Fowler hit her homer off Megan Elliott, who also surrendered a three-run shot to Lauren Schutzler in the fifth, which gave the Wildcats a 14-0 lead.

Fowler, meanwhile, did not get into trouble, as she did in Thursday's win, when she walked the bases loaded and allowed four runs on one hit in the first. This time, she retired nine of the first 11 batters, giving up one hit and two walks in the first four innings.

With 14 runs behind her, she allowed a two-run homer to Lesley Rogers, which only delayed the inevitable.

"Today, I was a lot more calm and our bats were really confident, and that always helps a pitcher," Fowler said. "It's very cool for (the state of) Arizona to have two freshmen pitchers pitching in one of the biggest Pac-10 games."

UP NEXT

• What: UTEP at Arizona, doubleheader

• When: 4 p.m. Wednesday

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

Free Wildcats Sports Newsletter

University of Arizona sports news and blog headlines, delivered daily


Follow the Arizona Daily Star

Featured businesses

View more...