LSU softball defeats Wildcats 3-0 in Palm Springs
The No. 14 Arizona softball team fell to No. 11 LSU in the finale of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Saturday in Palm Springs, Calif., by a score of 3-0, despite outhitting the Tigers four hits to three.
The Wildcats compiled an overall record of 2-3 at the event this year, earning wins in a 4-3 comeback effort over Long Beach State Thursday and a 5-3 victory over Loyola Marymount Friday, where Arizona put up 11 hits. In addition to falling to LSU, the Wildcats fell 6-0 to Ohio State and dropped a 5-0 game against No. 2 Oklahoma earlier in the tournament.
“There were some times when I was very pleased this weekend,” head coach Mike Candrea said. “We had some moments where we did some really good things offensively, defensively and on the mound; but we weren’t able to pull it all together.”
The Wildcats found themselves unable to muster up any runs against LSU, compiling four hits but failing to take advantage.
Freshman pitcher Nancy Bowling allowed three runs on three hits while striking out five and walking three in four innings pitched. Junior Shelby Babcock dazzled, after relieving Bowling in the fifth, allowing no hits and no runs while striking out three.
“I thought Babcock came in and threw really well in the last couple innings against LSU, but struggled in some other innings,” Candrea said. “It’s all a matter of putting a complete game together and getting some consistency both offensively, defensively and on the mound.”
In the first game of Friday’s double-header against Loyola Marymount, Arizona’s offense returned, exploding for 11 hits in a 5-3 victory. After two errors in the first left the Wildcats down 1-0, sophomore Chelsea Goodacre blasted a three-run home run to give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the first.
In her next at bat, Goodacre hit her fourth home run of the season and second of the day, lifting Arizona to a 5-1 lead in the third. Sophomores Chelsea Suitos and Hallie Wilson also collected two hits in the offensive onslaught.
LMU would not go down quietly, as they scored on an RBI double and continued to threaten Arizona’s defense, putting another run on the board in the sixth to make it 5-3.
Babcock (5-2) received the win after allowing three runs (two earned) and one hit, while striking out five and walking five in five innings pitched. Bowling relieved, pitching the final two innings, allowing two hits and earning her first career save while sitting four of the eight batters she faced via strikeout.
“I thought overall, they all had some good moments,” Candrea said. “I thought Estela [Piñon] threw some very good innings but made a couple costly mistakes. Nancy Bowling, I thought, threw very well against LSU — if you take away a couple of bad pitches, that’s a 0-0 ballgame.”
Arizona found itself in an early hole against the Buckeyes as Ohio State struck in the top of the first, due to a wild pitch and two errors committed by the Wildcats. Ohio State continued to attack, scoring on an RBI single, making the score 2-0 going into the second. A triple with runners on first and second resulted in the final two runs as Ohio State pulled ahead 6-0.
Piñon took the loss and fell to 3-2 after allowing six runs (four earned) on five hits while striking out five and walking two in 4.1 innings pitched.
The UA’s offense was part silenced, as Arizona left 10 runners on base and had two runners thrown out at the plate. Despite having runners in scoring position in the third through the sixth innings, the Cats were unable to get a clutch hit and were shut out for the fourth time this season.
“I thought we competed hard in all of the games expect for the Ohio State one,” Candrea said. “I was a bit disappointed with our approach. We had a bad first inning and could never recuperate from it.”