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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona softball struggles against Utah

Nathanial Stenchever

Arizona softball player Olivia DiNardo swings at a pitch on March 15 in Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. Arizona swept New Mexico State in the two games they played. 

Over the weekend, the Arizona softball team hosted the University of Utah, a fellow Pac-12 school. The Wildcats played Utah in a three-game series with ups and downs in every game.

Game 1: Friday, March 17 at 6 p.m.

On Friday, March 17, Arizona played Utah for the first time this season. Devyn Netz started in the pitcher’s circle for the Wildcats, and she took on Utah’s Mariah Lopez.

Utah struck first early in the first inning with 2 runs, and then again in the second and fourth with 3 more. Arizona finally answered in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run from Netz that went deep to center field.

Utah, however, continued their offensive barrage, scoring runs in every inning. As the Wildcats struggled to recover offensively, Allie Skaggs and Dakota Kennedy both hit single-run home runs. Skaggs’ came in the bottom of the sixth inning and Kennedy’s was in the bottom of the seventh.

The 3 home runs were not enough to get the Wildcats the win as they fell to Utah 8-3 in the first game.

Game 2: Saturday, March 18 at 2 p.m.

With a loss to Utah the night before, Arizona showed no nerves coming into game two. Netz was a big part of that, as she again took the start for the Wildcats in the circle. In game two, Netz faced Utah’s Sydney Sandez.

After the previous game, Arizona was able to take control early in the bottom of the first inning with a Netz double that drove Jasmine Perezchica home. Utah answered in the top of the fifth with 2 runs, one coming from a solo homer from Utah’s Sophie Jacquez.

Utah added to their lead in the top of the seventh inning with 2 more runs. Arizona responded in the bottom of the inning with 3 runs of their own to tie the game at 4-4.

With the game tied, Arizona would go to extra innings against Utah to decide the game’s winner.

Utah tried to end the game quickly in the top of the eighth with 2 runs. However, Arizona refused to go quietly. They matched Utah’s 2 runs off hits from Netz and Olivia DiNardo.

With the game tied again after the end of the inning, the two teams went to a ninth inning.

Utah again tried to put the Wildcats away, this time scoring 3 runs in the top of the ninth inning. Arizona took up the bats and battled back into the game showing their resilience.

With two runners on, Sophia Carroll hit a home run to right field scoring 3 runs to tie the game at 9-9. Arizona was not done yet, though. After loading the bases, Skaggs stepped into the batter’s box. Getting to a three-ball, two-strike count, Skaggs watched the next pitch fly over the plate for ball four.

With that walk, Arizona walked in the winning run. They claimed the win after nine innings with a score of 10-9 over Utah.

Game 3: Sunday, March 19 at 11 a.m.

With both teams winning one of the two previous games, the winner of the last game not only would take the game but claim the series win.

For the final game of the series, the Wildcats started Brianna Hardy in the pitcher’s circle. This was Hardy’s first start this season as she had been primarily closing games for the Wildcats. Hardy faced Halle Morris from Utah.

Utah took the early lead in the final game, scoring 1 run in the top of the first inning. Arizona was not fazed, as they responded with 4 runs of their own after a Kennedy grand slam cleared the bases. Arizona kept the runs coming in the bottom of the second with 3 more. Utah responded in the top of the third with 4 runs, pulling themselves back into the game and making the score 7-5.

The Wildcats added to their runs after Skaggs hit a double to score 2 and then Netz homered to left center, bringing Skaggs and herself around to home. With the scoreboard reading 11-5, Arizona seemed in control.

In the top of the fifth, Utah came alive again. They scored 5 runs in the fifth and 3 more spread over the sixth and seventh innings.

Arizona fell to Utah again, this time in a 13-11 affair.

Arizona ended the weekend with a new season record of 20-9 and a conference record of 3-3. Arizona heads to Seattle to play the University of Washington in a three-game series starting on Friday, March 24. Arizona will be back in Tucson on March 31 for the Bear Down Fiesta tournament.

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