Arizona softball has split season-opening weekend
Arizona softball opened the season at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., in a weekend that featured pitching duels and blow-outs.
The No. 13 Wildcats (3-2) closed out the tournament with a 14-3 loss to No. 14 Florida. The Gators were the star of the tournament, going 5-0 and beating No. 3 California and No. 5 Oregon.
Florida scored five runs in the first and hit a grand slam in the seventh.
Sophomore catcher Chelsea Goodacre hit her first home run of the season, while senior shortstop Brigette Del Ponte notched her seventh RBI of the season.
Junior pitcher Shelby Babcock (2-2) allowed seven runs, four earned on four hits in 2.1 innings. Junior pitcher Estela Piñon (1-0) pitched well in relief until the seventh, when she gave up three home runs, including the grand slam.
The UA won its second game on Saturday, 3-2 over San Diego State, thanks to a walk-off home run by Del Ponte. It was her second homer of the day.
Babcock earned the win, striking out four Aztecs, giving up two runs on eight hits and walking two.
Junior utility Kelsey Rodriguez drove in sophomore first-baseman Hallie Wilson in the sixth inning to tie it.
In her first career start, freshman first baseman Darcy Taylor earned an RBI in her first at bat.
Arizona beat Cal Poly 10-3 on Saturday morning.
Del Ponte hit a three-run home run and freshman second baseman Mandie Perez hit her first round tripper, a solo blast. Del Ponte had four RBI.
Nine different Wildcats had hits.
Piñon, a junior college transfer, earned her first win of the season, allowing four hits and striking out nine. She also had two hits of her own.
Piñon pitched her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning unscathed and then gave up a run in the second, but retired eight in a row after that.
Arizona scored five runs in the sixth, but Cal Poly was able to avoid the mercy rule with a two-run homer in response.
In the nightcap on Friday, Arizona lost 2-1 to Bradley after stranding a slew of runners.
ESPN reporter Graham Hays tweeted that Bradley’s upset was the “most surprising result of the day.”
The Wildcats got 13 runners on base, reached the bases in six of the seven innings and had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in five innings, but scored only one run on five hits. The Braves only had three hits.
Wilson earned the RBI with a single in the fifth, which drove in Chelsea Suitos. Del Ponte and junior outfielder Alex Levine hit doubles.
Piñon lasted four innings in her Wildcat debut, but was pulled from the game despite giving up zero hits after she walked her fourth Brave.
Arizona opened up the season with a 4-3 win over Northwestern. Arizona struck out 11 times, but scored four unearned runs against NU.
Babcock tied a career-high nine strikeouts, including five of the first six batters she faced and was perfect until the fourth inning,
Suitos had an RBI thanks to a base-loaded single and freshman utility Courtney Rodriguez, and Del Ponte earned RBIs with a bases-loaded walk and hit by pitch.
The Wildcats host the Hillenbrand Invitational this Friday through Sunday. On opening day they face Nebraska and Drake.