Arizona softball comes up with victorious win against UCLA in extra innings
The No. 22 Arizona softball team came up victorious in extra innings as the Wildcats secured a 8-6 win over No. 18 UCLA in 10 innings on Thursday night at Hillenbrand Stadium.
“We really needed something like this,” head coach Mike Candrea said. “Hopefully it will give us a big boost and a little energy as we continue the series.”
After exchanging a pair of zeros in the first inning, the Wildcats came up big when they broke through with five runs in the bottom of the second. Freshman Lauren Young began the Cats’ offensive onslaught when she singled home sophomore Chelsea Goodacre to set the table for freshman Mandie Perez with runners at first and third with no outs.
Perez made the score 2-0 when she contributed with a sacrifice fly, and sophomore Hallie Wilson tacked on another as she smacked an RBI double to shallow left field. Sophomore Chelsea Suitos knocked in two more to make the score 5-0 after singling to left field.
Junior Shelby Babcock kept the Bruins under control and struck out five in her first three innings of work en route to her 15th win of the season.
She allowed six runs (five unearned) off eight hits, striking out 10 and walking five while recording 10 innings pitched.
Babcock unleashed her 100th strikeout of the season against Mysha Sataraka in the fourth inning and now has 103 to date on the year.
“My plan was to just stay relaxed,” Babcock said. “If I stay relaxed, I can pitch longer and stay stronger throughout the game. My team had my back and as long as we continue to work together, these are the types of results that will happen.”
The Bruins did not go quietly, and struck in the top of the fourth with an unearned run. They tied the game at 5-5 later in the frame when B.B. Bates launched a grand slam home run into the left field bleachers.
The score remained tied at five until the top of the 10th, when the Bruins struck as Ally Carda hit a home run to straightaway center to lift UCLA up 6-5.
Arizona retaliated in the bottom of the 10th in walk-off fashion when Wilson launched a changeup to right field for a three-run home run, her sixth of the year, to elevate the Wildcats and steal the show from the Bruins.
“This has probably been one of the coolest things I have ever done,” Wilson said. “[Carda] already got me out twice tonight on the changeup, so I just waited back and turned on it.”
Sophomores Suitos and Goodacre enjoyed multi-hit games and Perez collected three hits on the night.
“We fought tonight,” Perez said. “We had timely hitting, put pressure on their defense and really pulled everything together to get this win. This was by far our biggest win of the year.”