Softball: Wildcats see mixed results in Arizona

Kevin Casey, Sports Editor

One weekend into the season and Northwestern is already under .500, but the Wildcats aren’t fretting.

NU (2-3) opened its season on Friday in Tempe, Arizona, for the Kajikawa Classic, facing down five teams during its three-day stay. The quintet of competitors included No. 2 Oregon, and every opposing squad finished with an RPI rank of 82 or better to end the 2014 campaign.

Despite losing five key contributors to graduation, the Cats and their robust freshman class experienced smooth sailing on Friday. NU fell down to North Carolina 2-0 in the top of the third, but the Cats scored three in the bottom half of the inning and cruised from there to a 7-3 win. Later in the afternoon, the team pounced on UC Santa Barbara, pummeling the Gauchos 13-4 in five innings.

The key for the Cats early on was an efficient offense. A plethora of upperclassmen held sway on offense against the Tar Heels, and the robust effort continued versus UC Santa Barbara. In the latter contest, junior catcher Caylor Arnold went 1-for-3 with 2 RBIs, junior shortstop Andrea Filler went 2-for-2 with 3 RBIs and senior right fielder Andrea DiPrima went 2-for-2 with 4 RBIs.

Then, the runs evaporated. The same trio went a combined 1-for-6 with 2 RBIs against Texas on Saturday in a 5-4 loss, and the high-powered Ducks shut down everyone on NU’s roster. The Cats mustered a single hit in five innings in an 8-0 Oregon thrashing.

The team finished Sunday against California, and didn’t fare much better. NU was in a 5-0 hole after four innings and could only muster two runs before the Golden Bears took the victory.

The Cats out-batted their opponents .256 to .248 for the weekend, but this didn’t quite match the overall results. NU went 3-1 in Tempe to start the season last year, on the way to a 35-18 record and an NCAA Regionals appearance.

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