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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Late runs doom Arizona softball on road

In a battle of two Pac-12 Conference heavyweights, UCLA delivered a decisive blow to Arizona softball’s chances of hosting an NCAA Regional, sweeping the Wildcats three games to none in Los Angeles.

The three losses move No. 16 Arizona to 37-15 overall and 12-9 in Pac-12 play heading into the final weekend of regular season play. With the sweep, the UA faces an uphill battle of earning a national seed for the postseason as No. 2 Oregon looms this weekend.

Facing its toughest conference competition thus far, the Wildcats could not keep up with the No. 7 Bruins, who opened the series with a 9-1 run-ruled victory Friday evening.

The Wildcats grabbed a second-inning lead on a home run from outfielder Katiyana Mauga, but that would be the UA’s only offensive production of the day.

Arizona could not break through against UCLA’s pitching, stranding seven runners on base, five of those in scoring position.

The Bruins, on the other hand, did break through with a seven-run fifth inning rally that ended with a walk-off walk.

Michelle Floyd started on the mound for Arizona and allowed two runs over two innings before handing the ball over to Siera Phillips, who also pitched a pair of innings while giving up three runs.

Trish Parks closed out the loss for the Wildcats and fared no better than her counterparts, allowing four runs over .2 innings.

In the second game of the series on Saturday, Arizona again struggled on the mound and at the plate in a 6-3 defeat.

Similar to game one, the UA took an opening lead on a homer, this time a three-run first inning shot by catcher Chelsea Goodacre. Those would be the first and last runs of the game for the Wildcats.

Arizona’s lineup, which entered the weekend with the highest batting average in the country, was held to four hits the entire game.

The Bruins’ first three runs also came off homers. First a solo shot in the opening inning and then a game-tying, two-run blast in the third.

Floyd allowed a pair of walks that started a UCLA rally in the fifth inning. Floyd, the starter, was relieved by Parks, who then gave up a two-run single to make it 5-3 in the Bruins favor.

Another run on a bases-loaded walk made it 6-3.

Floyd was credited with the loss after allowing five earned runs over four innings, while Parks gave up one earned in two innings of work.

Arizona picked up its scoring in the series finale but self-inflicted errors cost the Wildcats in a 15-7 run-ruled loss.

UCLA got on the board early Sunday by scoring four first-inning runs, all off Arizona’s Parks. Another run in the second made it 5-0 Bruins.

The two teams traded a pair of runs in the third inning to make it 7-2 UCLA heading into the fourth.

That’s when the Wildcats broke out for five runs, including a game-tying grand slam by shortstop Kellie Fox. The redshirt senior began her career at UCLA before transferring to Arizona.

While Fox’s slam put the UA back in it, she also hurt the Wildcats by committing five of the team’s six errors, including a pair in the bottom of the fourth.

UCLA capitalized on Arizona’s fielding mishaps to score eight runs in the frame, all unearned, giving the Bruins a commanding 15-7 lead.

With the lead at eight, the Wildcats needed a run in the fifth inning to continue the game but could not muster any more production.

Arizona now has a few days to prepare for Oregon before the series opener on Thursday.

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Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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