Arizona Softball

No. 21 Arizona falls to No. 7 Stanford in third game of series

Arizona’s Dakota Kennedy makes a snow-cone diving catch against Stanford while teammate Regan Shockey looks on (Arizona Athletics photo)

The No. 21 Arizona softball team struggled heavily to muster up base hits against a stout No. 7 Stanford defense, dropping the rubber match of the series by a score of 7-0 at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial stadium on Saturday.

Arizona (22-11, 5-7 Pac-12) lost two out of three games to the Cardinal (27-6, 8-1).

The Wildcats fell into a 4-0 hole against Stanford by the top of the second inning, and couldn’t get their bats charged up enough to dig themselves out of it, despite a handful of fielding plays that kept Stanford’s offensive damage to a minimum in some innings.

Stanford sophomore pitcher NiJaree Canady was a big reason for Arizona’s offensive woes, as she struck out 13 Wildcats out of 26 by the end of the game.

“I feel like she (NiJaree Canady) has the best rise-ball we’ve seen all season, that was a struggle for everyone,” Arizona catcher Emily Schepp said. “Her change-up was on today. We had to adjust to that as well. Just making sure, early in the count, we’re looking for all our pitches.”

Aissa Silva, who got the start inside the circle, found herself in an early jam with two runners on first and second base in the first inning.

Stanford’s Kyra Chan hit the ball deep into left field, driving in two runners. Emily Jones doubled into center field and drove Chan in, giving the Wildcats an early 3-0 deficit.

Silva ended the first inning by striking Jade Berry out swinging.

Canady, who was the final batter of Silva’s night, homered between right and center field, putting the Cardinal up 4-0 at the top of the second inning.

Miranda Stoddard, who stepped in for relief of Silva, ended the second inning, thanks to some help from the defense behind her, including an fantastic snow cone catch by Dakota Kennedy for the second out of the inning.

Stoddard then pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the third, once again in large part to the fielding of the defense.

Things quickly began to unravel again for Arizona in the fifth. Caelan Koch homered into left field and Emily Jones did the same thing towards center, widening the Wildcat deficit to 6-0.

The damage of the Stanford bats were once again shortened due to incredible fielding plays by the Wildcats. Center fielder Regan Shockey turned a potential scoring opportunity for the Cardinal into a double play, ending the fifth inning.

The Cardinal’s final run scored came in the seventh inning. Johnna Schroeder singled towards left field, driving in Kaitlyn Lim, and advancing Jones to second base, putting the Wildcats down 7-0.

Arizona left eight runners stranded on base by the end of the game.

Amongst a struggling batting lineup tonight was a bright spot in Schepp, who batted 2 for 3 with two singles, both of which rolled to the left field wall.

“That’s what you wanna see, “Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe said about Schepp’s at-bats. “From game one to game two, you wanna see her making those adjustments, understanding what she’s gonna get, really.

“I thought she did a good job of not really trying not to be too big. She just took the pitches that she was getting and was simple to them. (She) took care of the barrel and they found their way to the infield. Just very proud of the progression throughout the entire time facing her (Canady) this weekend.”

Aside from the costly first and second innings, along with the two homers, Arizona’s fielding and pitching was still highly efficient.

Stoddard pitched three innings and only allowed the two earned runs on four hits. Blanchard pitched the final two innings and allowed just one earned run on two hits.

“It’s a true message to our pitching staff too that when they pitch into the defense, we’re gonna work for them and we did a really great job of that, “Lowe said. “We had some really great spots in innings too, and it’s just putting it all together. We started out rough, I thought Miranda looked great tonight

“I thought she played good softball, got unlucky with a ball in the Jetstream tonight, but at the same time, I thought she came in and did well. I thought AB (Ali Blanchard) came in and did well and proved what she could do moving forward and that we can really use her.”

Arizona will travel to Salt Lake City next week to play Utah (19-15, 3-9 in Pac 12) in a three-game series. The first game is Friday at 3 p.m., Tucson time.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
To Top