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Softball makes way to Bay Area

Cal, Stanford give Devils chance for first Pac-10 win

 by Kyle Odegard
 published on Friday, April 16, 2004

Outfielder Kristin Farber heads to first base during a game against intrastate rival UA on April 9 at Farrington Softball Stadium.  ASU lost 6-0/issues/sports/662818
Outfielder Kristin Farber heads to first base during a game against intrastate rival UA on April 9 at Farrington Softball Stadium. ASU lost 6-0


After starting the Pac-10 season winless in its first four games, it might appear that the ASU softball team is already wading in troubled waters.

However, with 17 games still left in conference play, the Sun Devils still have plenty of time to turn their season around--they just need to be patient enough to do it.

"We just have to continue to play loose and not look too far ahead," ASU coach Linda Wells said. "We have to take the games one at a time and have fun with them."

The Sun Devils (30-18, 0-4) get their first crack at a Pac-10 victory when they travel to the Bay Area to face No. 4 California on Friday and No. 10 Stanford on Saturday and Sunday.

"Our confidence level is pretty low right now because we have been blown out the last few times we've played," junior left fielder Valerie Sevilla said, "but I think it will be a good matchup this weekend. I'm pretty sure we'll come away with a couple of wins."

The Cardinal and Golden Bears faced off on April 9 and 10, with Cal taking two of the three games.

ASU has had control of the series' against both Cal and Stanford, winning three of the last four against each of the two teams.

Cal's main offensive weapon is Haley Woods. The sophomore catcher leads the team with 11 home runs and 43 RBIs. Sophomore Kristina Thorson, the team's ace, has a 16-1 record and a 0.92 ERA.

Senior pitcher Dana Sorensen, who recently struck out the 1,000th batter of her prestigious career, leads Stanford on the mound. Catcher Jessica Allister anchors the offense with .336 average and 26 RBIs. Allister was recently named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after batting 7-for-9 with five doubles against Cal.

Despite Cal and Stanford's high national ranking, the weekend's games pale in comparison to what ASU has already faced.

The Sun Devils have had to play arguably the two toughest teams in the Pac-10 in the first two weekends of the season in Washington and UA. Both teams are 4-0 in the conference and are ranked No. 7 and No. 1 in the country, respectively.

ASU has had a reasonable chance to win each game, but big innings have done the team in.

With the four losses, Wells worries about the team losing confidence.

"We have to stay confident in our abilities," she said. "We're 0-4 in the conference but we have 30 wins and we've been in the top 25 most of the season. The important thing for us is to remember what that winning feeling is like."

The games against Cal and Stanford will be the first away games of the season for ASU. The Sun Devils have played 16 neutral game sites, winning nine of those contests.

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