Behind hot bats and precision pitching, No. 12 Arizona dominated the Candrea Classic from start to finish.
The Wildcats’ pitching and defense held opponents to a cumulative total of five runs in five games while the offense scored 63 runs, winning by run-rule in every game.
Arizona’s senior catcher Izzy Pacho spoke about the team’s mindset going into the tournament.
”Just feeling good about ourselves,” she said. “Individually, swings and pitching and fielding. Just feeling good so that you have the confidence when we’re playing these great teams to just step in there and do what we do.”
Coming into the Candrea Classic, Arizona coach Caitlyn Lowe didn’t have a lineup solidified.
”We were just so ready to see what it looked like,” Lowe said. “We’ve done a lot of things in our inner squads and mixed a lot of people in and out. We just hadn’t put a line up together. So, it was really cool to see people hitting next to each other and where we could plug people into different spots.”
Lowe praised her freshmen, including starter Aissa Silva, who last semester was attending Mountain View High School before she became an early-eligible enrollee at Arizona.
Infielder Taylor Biehl, outfielder Dakota Kennedy, pitcher Sydney Somerndyke and catcher/first baseman Olivia DiNardo are other freshmen who contributed during the Candrea Classic.
“This weekend was the first time we got to see what the freshmen could do and I thought as far as nerves go they didn’t have any which is so great,” she said. “They settled into the box and played defense very well, very excited to see that.”
In the final game of the Classic, Arizona had 26 at-bats with 15 runs on 15 hits. Pacho led the way going 3 for 4 with three RBIs and a run.
Silva, a left-hander, had a solid first career start, only giving up a solo home run to NC State shortstop MaKayla Marbury in the first inning. Silva ended the Wolfpack’s half of the inning when she struck out Hannah Goodwin.
Arizona scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning and never looked back.
The Wildcats plated three runs in the second inning, three in the third inning and exploded in the fourth inning with seven runs.
Tucson High graduate Carlie Scupin had the only home run of the game, a two-run shot.
Princeton transfer Ali Blanchard (2-0) got the win after coming in to relieve Silva to start the third inning. Blanchard allowed only one hit with five strikeouts and a walk in her three innings of work.
Arizona next hits the road to participate in the TaxAct Clearwater Invitational in Clearwater, Fla., that runs from Thursday through Sunday.
Arizona’s first opponent is Florida State on Thursday.
Lowe spoke about how this team has jelled even with transfers leaving the program.
“From the fall on, they’ve jelled better,” she said. “This will be our first true test. We’re going to face adversity. We’re going on the road. It’s a long road trip and just seeing how they handle that.
“I thought the coolest thing is when we got hit or we didn’t feel great at the plate we responded well. You couldn’t really read anything negative on the field. The stability is just there.”