UA SOFTBALL

Pac-12 softball: Long ball hurts Cats in doubleheader loss

2013-04-03T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:32:20Z Pac-12 softball: Long ball hurts Cats in doubleheader lossPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

They matched the nation's best pitcher hit for hit, almost, but not run for run.

Swept by No. 4-ranked Cal in a doubleheader - 6-2 in Game 1, 5-1 in Game 2 - the No. 22 Arizona Wildcats posted 13 hits to the Golden Bears' 15 on Tuesday night at UA's Hillenbrand Stadium.

Problem was, six of Cal's hits never came down.

"Kinda hard to defend that," UA coach Mike Candrea said.

Cal took the first lead of Game 1 when Danielle Harrison homered off Estela Piñon to start the second inning. The junior college transfer retired the next 10 batters, before Victoria Jones hit a solo homer to take a 2-1 lead.

One inning later, Cal's Lindsey Ziegenhirt hit a two-run homer, followed by the next batter, Jolene Henderson, launching a solo shot.

Each also homered against Shelby Babcock in Game 2, Ziegenhirt in the first and Henderson in the fifth.

"We just, to play at this level, you have to be able to match people pitch for pitch," Candrea said. "Right now we're just, we're … not keeping the ball in the ballpark."

During the two games, Ziegenhirt and Henderson, the Golden Bears' No. 3 and 4 hitters, combined to go 5 for 13 with a triple, four home runs and nine RBIs.

"Every pitch is important," said Babcock, who allowed five earned runs on five hits in seven innings of Game 2. "But to throw them to those two hitters, it's important to get them to move and hit your spots with them."

Henderson improved to 25-2 with complete-game wins in each of Tuesday's games and carries an ERA below 1. She struck out six in each game and scattered 13 hits and three walks combined.

"We just gotta get (hits) together like they did, and then we can get some runs across," UA designated player Kelsey Rodriguez said.

Babcock said the Wildcats "hit the ball hard and we had hits, but I don't think we strung them together like they did."

Henderson allowed a solo home run to Rodriguez in Game 1 and Hallie Wilson in Game 2, but otherwise avoided serious threats.

"I wish there was something I could say that would change things," Candrea said, "but it's all up to each individual to come out and put on a uniform and wipe the slate clean and find a way to feel what it's like again to win."

The Wildcats (22-13, 3-5) hope that comes in today's 2 p.m. series finale at Hillenbrand.

Arizona is looking for only its second win against a ranked team all year; the Wildcats beat No. 17 Washington on March 24.

"It's been so damn long since we've beaten a good team," Candrea said. "It's a little frustrating. On the other hand, the only thing you can do is, there are games to be played, and you play them.

"You just gotta find a way to eliminate mistakes. You get in that close game when you can win it, and maybe you kinda get a feeling of what it's like, and that can be a steppingstone for us."

Candrea added: "Right now, we're just not playing the game well enough - in all facets - to beat a good team."

Today

• What: California at Arizona

• When: 2 p.m.

• TV: Pac-12 Arizona

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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