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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball wins first road series of year

Tyler+Baker++%2F++Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A+%0AThe+UA+Softball+team+lost+for+the+second+time+to+Washington+Monday+night.+They+played+a+total+of+3+games+against+Washington+and+lost+2+of+them.
Tyler Baker
Tyler Baker / Arizona Daily Wildcat The UA Softball team lost for the second time to Washington Monday night. They played a total of 3 games against Washington and lost 2 of them.

Arizona softball evened its conference record by winning its first road series of the year.

The No. 21 Wildcats (23-11, 3-3 Pac-12) lost 8-4 to Utah (14-15-1, 1-5) on Saturday to close out the series. The UA won the series though, with victories on Thursday and Friday.

“I thought this team battled very hard and did some good things, a few games and [Saturday], we played about as far as you can play,” head coach Mike Candrea said.

On Saturday, the UA and Utah both committed two errors which became three unearned runs for each side. Arizona was held to four hits.

Sophomore catcher Chelsea Goodacre went 2-for-3, driving in three runs. Goodacre leads the Wildcats in RBI with 40.

Junior Shelby Babcock (11-4) started and lasted 3.1 innings, allowing four earned runs, struck out three, walked one and took the loss. Junior Estela Piñon (8-3) relieved her, allowing a hit, a run and striking out two in 2.2 innings of work, despite pitching 11 innings the night before Saturday’s noon start.

“Estela, I thought, stepped up and pitched pretty well for us, that was the bright spot on the mound,” Candrea said. “Babs struggled again [Saturday] and [freshman pitcher] Nancy [Bowling] struggled with her appearances, so maybe we found our No. 1 right now and it’s coming at a good time, [be]cause we’re gonna need it.”

The Utes took a 2-0 lead off of a two-run homer in the first.

The first eight Wildcats were retired, but junior center fielder Alex Lavine scored on an error. Goodacre drove in two with a double to give Arizona a 3-2 lead.

Utah quickly took back the lead though, thanks to back-to-back doubles.

Then, in the third, the Utes scored on a double and a couple Wildcat miscues. The UA misplayed a ball in the outfield, then junior utility player Kelsey Rodriguez, playing her first career game at second base, dropped a pop up, allowing two runs to score.

The series was the first in the thin air of Utah Softball Stadium, whose dimensions are 235 feet to center field and 225 feet in right and left, compared to 200 feet down the lines and 220 feet in center at Hillenbrand Stadium.

“It takes a little bit of getting used to, the ball carries here quite well but that was not the reason,” Candrea said. “We just didn’t execute the game [Saturday]. We made too many mistakes and didn’t swing the bats well enough to deserve a victory and that’s exactly what we got.”

On Friday night, the Wildcats beat the Utes 6-5 in 11 innings. Sophomore first baseman Hallie Wilson had the game winning hit, an RBI single in the fourth extra inning.

Piñon pitched a complete game, tossing 165 pitches. She allowed five runs on five hits in the first four innings, but in the final seven pitched a two hit shutout.

Piñon, who struck out two, walked five and hit three batters, helped her cause at the plate as well. She had three RBI on a bases loaded triple, the first three-bagger of her career.

Arizona stranded runners in the seventh through tenth innings, finally scoring when Rodriguez tallied a run in the 11th. The Wildcats hit into four double plays, the most this season.

It was Arizona’s first extra inning game of the season.

In the fourth inning, Piñon cleared the bases with her triple, followed by an RBI fielder’s choice by Wilson to give the UA a 4-2 lead.

The Utes responded with a three-run home run to take a 5-4 lead before Piñon shut them down.

Arizona tied it with a sacrifice fly by senior short stop Brigette Del Ponte.

Up next for Arizona is a midweek series with No. 4 California, starting with a doubleheader on Tuesday at Hillenbrand Stadium.

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