Arizona Softball

Arizona Wildcats softball: Candrea hoping for repeat of 2009 comeback vs. Stanford

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Take your pick in which history will repeat itself Saturday at noon when the Arizona Wildcats’ softball takes on host Louisiana-Lafayette:

— The Wildcats have been swept in the last two NCAA Super Regionals after losing Game One, both at the hands of the Oklahoma Sooners (in Norman, Okla., in 2012 and Tucson in 2011).

— In the only other year Arizona lost Game One of a Super Regional — at Stanford in 2009 — the Wildcats rallied to win Game 2 and 3 to advance to the College World Series.

Arizona, the No. 11 seed, rallied in the seventh inning tonight at No. 6-seed Louisiana-Lafayette but came up short 5-3. Kellie Fox’s two-run home run off Christina Hamilton (28-2) with no outs, but Hamilton responded with consecutive strikeouts against Chelsea Goodacre and Katiyana Mauga.

After Mo Mercado singled, Hamilton got Lauren Young to ground into a game-ending fielder’s choice at third base.

Former Arizona All-American pitcher Jennie Finch, the color commentator for the game on ESPNU, said Arizona’s late spark from Fox’s bat could be a boost for the Wildcats (44-15) in Game 2.

“Regardless if Arizona takes this game, if they are able to come back or not, what they’re doing is they’re giving themselves a little momentum tomorrow, making Hamilton remember in the last inning that ball going over the fence,” Finch said during the telecast.


The trouble Arizona stater Estela Piñon (19-9) encountered with her control at the outset dug too deep of a hole for Mike Candrea’s team to resurface.

Hallie Wilson connected on her 17th home run in the first inning off Hamilton to put Arizona up 1-0, but the Raging Cajuns (48-8-1) capitalized on four walks and five hits allowed by Piñon in the first three innings to take a 5-1 lead. Candrea then relieved Piñon with Shelby Babcock, who battled with control problems as well in her three innings of work but did not allow a run.

Babcock had five walks and two strikeouts. She allowed only one hit, a performance that provides Candrea hope Saturday if Piñon does not bounce back from her control problems.

Another reason for optimism: When Arizona rallied to win the Super Regional at Stanford in 2009, the Wildcats trailed 6-1 in the first game before making a late rally that came up short in a 6-4 loss. Their momentum carried them to two victories over the host Cardinal.

ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes articles for Bleacher Report and Lindy’s College Sports.

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