History was made Friday night at Hillenbrand Stadium dubiously for Arizona against Stanford, which is to the Wildcats’ softball program what Washington State is to the men’s hoops team.
The Cardinal run-ruled Arizona 10-0 in five innings, snapping a 15-game losing streak to the Wildcats at Hillenbrand Stadium dating to March 30, 2012, when Stanford won 4-1.
Stanford also beat Arizona for the first time while scoring at least 10 runs and it was the largest margin of victory for the Cardinal in the series. It’s also the most run production for the Cardinal against the Wildcats since Arizona won 18-12 on April 4, 2014.
Arizona (33-19, 8-15 Pac-12) will try to move beyond all that on Senior Day on Saturday at noon against the Cardinal (35-19, 10-13).
The Wildcats have the motivation to win the last game at Hillenbrand for seniors Peanut Martinez, Hanah Bowen and former CDO standout Bailey Thompson and also clinch the series win against the Cardinal.
Love this: Even after a difficult 10-0 loss to Stanford in five innings, Arizona’s players taking the time for autographs. pic.twitter.com/SHF4fPudRF
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) May 14, 2022
Asked about the significance of Saturday’s game for the Wildcats, first-year coach Caitlin Lowe said, “I think a lot, just for this team to prove to ourselves what kind of team we can be.”
“I thought yesterday we did that (with the 10-6 win over the Cardinal) and I was expecting the same today,” she continued. “I just thought we kind of came out sleeping just a little bit and expected to put the runs on the board. But we didn’t take the action to actually do it. So hopefully we come out on fire tomorrow with our girls.”
Stanford, the only team to beat Pac-12 leaders ASU and UCLA this season, scored in all five innings, starting with Kaitlyn Lim’s home run off starter Devyn Netz (13-7) in the first inning.
The Cardinal tallied 13 hits and took advantage of three Arizona errors.
Stanford starter Regan Krause (11-4) also kept Arizona’s lineup off-balance all game with the Wildcats finishing with only five hits without a runner reaching third base. Lowe’s team grounded into three double plays.
“(Krause) made us just a little bit uncomfortable and instead of kind of embracing that moment we took a little bit to get going and honestly later in the game, I thought we hit balls hard, but they made some great plays,” Lowe said. “That’s tough when you know you get those chances with runners on base and then their second baseman (Sydnee Huff) makes a great play twice (to turn the double play)
“I think it was just hard for us to get rolling and we took too long to hit the ball hard.”
The good news is former Tucson High standout Carlie Scupin went 2 for 2 with two singles after enduring a stretch of 2-for-9 in her previous four games against California last weekend and against Stanford on Thursday.
She is batting .185 in Pac-12 games with more strikeouts (16) than hits (12).
“I’ve been trying to work my way back, kind of since the middle of the (Pac-12 schedule),” said Scupin, who is still batting .358 overall with 17 home runs and 50 RBIs. “I’m feeling more confident than I have in a while. I’m really just trying to focus on line drives and trusting myself at the end of the day.”
Arizona had an RPI rating of No. 39 nationally entering Friday’s game while Stanford was at No. 33, so the Wildcats will not drop much if at all.
A victory Saturday will be what the Wildcats need to have more confidence heading into the postseason, which potentially will not include games at Hillenbrand this season.
“Tomorrow, we’ve got to come out from the first pitch,” Scupin said. “I think today maybe we came out a little flat.”
Another honor near the dugout for Arizona seniors Hanah Bowen, Peanut Martinez and Bailey Thompson on Senior Day on Saturday. pic.twitter.com/x8MjfXA0us
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) May 14, 2022
Lowe mentioned that Scupin has worked on her swing diligently in practice to get back into a groove.
“She got some pitches to hit and was really frustrated at just missing some yesterday, so I was so happy to see the line drives to left field,” Lowe said. “I think that’s what she’d been hoping for this whole time and hopefully that will get her rolling for tomorrow.”
Arizona is prepared for Senior Day with large photos of Martinez, Bowen and Thompson on the center field wall. The Wildcats’ grounds crew is also painting their uniform numbers — 2 (Martinez), 7 (Bowen) and 12 (Thompson) — on the center field grass near the “A” logo.
A banner with pictures of the three players that reads “Thank You Seniors!” is also adjacent to the dugout.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.