Arizona softball battles back in Judi Garman Classic
In just three days over the weekend, No. 7 Arizona softball had its 10 game winning streak snapped.
The Wildcats (23-3) lost 3-0 to No. 5 Michigan and 7-5 to Wisconsin on Friday in their opening games in the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif. The 3-0 loss to Michigan also ended Arizona’s eight-game streak of mercy rule victories.
“We didn’t do much well,” head coach Mike Candrea said. “It was the first time we looked out of sync.”
The Wildcats only had five base runners reach base against Michigan pitcher Haylie Wagner.
Arizona starting pitcher Estela Piñon (4-2) took the loss.
Then against Wisconsin, the Wildcats trailed 7-2 in the sixth inning, scored three runs and had the go-ahead run at the plate no outs in the bottom of the seventh, but failed to complete the comeback.
Arizona used three pitchers and starter Kenzie Fowler (3-1) took the loss after giving up four earned runs and a season-high six walks.
“Got to tip my cap to Wisconsin,” Candrea said. “They played well, we didn’t.”
On Saturday, Arizona returned to its typical form.
In the first game, the Wildcats beat Cal State Fullerton 15-0 in five innings. It was the second time this season but only the second time in three years Arizona has scored 15 or more runs in a game.
Those 15 runs came in the fifth inning and it is most runs they’ve scored in a single inning since 2001 when the Wildcats scored a school record 17 runs in a 29-0 win over Bowling Green.
In that one inning alone Arizona catcher Chelsea Goodacre homered twice and drove in five runs.
“It was pretty cool and fun to watch,” Candrea said of the fifth inning.
Then Arizona beat Houston 6-5 in extra innings.
The winning run came off the bat of sophomore Lauren Young who drove in freshman Mo Mercado from third on a sac-fly.
“I like the experience we got from an extra inning and tight win,” Candrea said. “We showed resiliency.”
Arizona finished off the weekend with an 8-1 victory over San Jose State on Sunday.
Sophomore pitcher Nancy Bowling (6-0) went five innings, gave up four hits and one run.
The Wildcats start the Pac-12 season on Saturday with a three-game series at No. 3 UCLA.
“We played well overall [in non-conference],” Candrea said. “I was disappointed in the finish, but we won the last three so I rather it be that way than the reverse.”
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella