UA softball: Cats go deep 8 times in 11-7 win over Utah

2014-04-27T00:00:00Z UA softball: Cats go deep 8 times in 11-7 win over UtahBy Zack Rosenblatt Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Launched.

Smashed.

Belted.

Drilled.

Clobbered.

Smoked.

Blasted.

Cracked.

Those are eight ways to describe a home run.

But to describe Arizona’s hitting, just “power” will suffice.

Saturday’s game against Utah?

The Wildcats (38-9, 11-6 Pac-12) hit eight round-trippers, a school record, against the Utes at Hillenbrand Stadium, winning 11-7. The outburst broke a record set by the Wildcats in 2004 against Boston University.

“Crazy,” said Kelsey Rodriguez, who went 2 for 4. “Everyone’s just putting good contact on the ball, which is important — and if the ball goes over, it’s just a bonus.”

The ball went over once for Rodriguez, to left field in the fourth inning. That was good, but not quite on the level of some of her teammates.

Including Rodriguez — Arizona’s leading batter with a .453 average — four Wildcats hit homers.

Leadoff hitter Hallie Wilson hit two, as did shortstop Kelli Fox. Katiyana Mauga launched three, tying a Wildcats single-game record.

“Well,” Rodriguez said, laughing, “I’m not really a home-run hitter, anyway.”

Wilson isn’t actually, either, being the team’s leadoff hitter.

“I’ve never been the home-run hitter, driving runs in,” she said. “I’ve always been leadoff or a two batter. But it’s really fun to know that our lineup is so strong that I can score when I get up later in the game.”

Wilson and Rodriguez might not be power hitters, but Mauga definitely is.

She came up in the first inning with Chelsea Goodacre on base and crushed one to right field. Make it a 3-0 Arizona lead.

She then came to the plate in the third inning — with Arizona trailing 5-3 after a troublesome top half of the third — and hit one deep into the left-field bleachers. Tie game, 5-5.

Finally, she topped it off with a jack to right-center in the bottom of the sixth, all but sealing the deal for an Arizona win.

The home runs were her 16th, 17th and 18th of the season.

Mauga was happier with the team record than tying the individual honor.

“We trust our team,” she said. “Everyone trusts each other and we just play our game, and we’re so happy that we beat it. For me, I’m just here to play softball and do whatever I can. If that means tying records, that means tying records.”

The game might have been a little more relaxed and out of reach if not for a difficult third inning by the pitching staff.

To start the inning, starting pitcher Shelby Babcock walked two batters, forced an out, then gave up a two-run double.

After she was taken out, Kenzie Fowler came in and had similar problems.

Walk. Walk. Walk. Fielding error by the shortstop.

Finally, Fowler closed out the inning with a strikeout and a pop-up, but the damage was done. For the game, Arizona walked nine batters. In their past four games, the Wildcats have walked 25 batters.

As has been the case for much of the season, though, the Wildcats offense saved the day.



“It’s really nice,” Rodriguez said. “It definitely helps a lot, gives our pitchers confidence that, even if they give up a run or two, that we’re gonna come back and put up runs for them. I know that helps them.”

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

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