Just when the Arizona Wildcats thought their season was back on track came this curveball today: the team might be without No. 1 starter Shelby Babcock for the College Station, Texas, regional this week.
Babcock is fighting an undisclosed illness, UA coach Mike Candrea said today, and might not be able to pitch. She first fell sick after pitching at Stanford on Thursday, and was in the hospital for a brief time today.
Neither Candrea nor the team's trainer gave specifics, citing privacy laws, but said they would give an update later today.
"She’s at home right now and resting," Candrea said. "We’re just waiting on some tets to come back and see what kinda antibiotic they can put her on."
Babcock posted a 3.68 ERA in 169 1/3 innings this season, starting 24 of the UA's 56 games.
Without the junior, the Wildcats would enter the postseason with two pitchers — junior college transfer Estela Piñon and freshman Nancy Bowling — with a combined zero innings of playoff experience.
"I felt like we were getting close to being fully loaded again and feeling good," Candrea said. "To have something like this happen at this time is tough. The one thing where this team has grown is their ability to be resilient and fight back."
Candrea expects to know about Babcock's availability in the next 48 hours. The team leaves for College Station, Texas, on Wednesday afternoon, and will play Baylor on Friday.
"Whatever could happen this year has happened," Candrea said. "You just move forward. It’s all you can do. You can’t sit around and feel sorry for yourself."