Arizona softball drops two of three to ASU
Arizona softball finally got a victory against the ASU Sun Devils on Sunday, after two consecutive losses in a bittersweet series. But the Wildcats struggled to score runs during the three game series and are now near the bottom of Pac-12 conference records.
Before the breakout third game, Arizona (29-8, 4-5) had scored only two runs over the first two games of the series and struggled to string together the necessary hits in order to advance base runners. Add two solid performances from the ASU pitching staff, and the offensive struggles made a little more sense.
However, in Sunday’s extra-inning win, Arizona earned six runs, even though it faced ASU’s star pitcher Dallas Escobedo. She struck out 14 Wildcats in 10 innings in the 6-5 Arizona victory.
Arizona held a 2-1 lead entering the sixth inning on Sunday, but surrendered two runs in the inning and had to fight back to tie the game at 3-3 in the top of the seventh inning. Starting pitcher Estela Piñon threw 203 pitches in her 9-inning performance.
Kenzie Fowler gave it four runs and took the loss on Saturday at ASU. However, on Sunday she earned a save in Arizona's 10-inning, 6-5 win over the Sun Devils.
A two-run homer by Arizona freshman infielder Mo Mercado in the top of the eighth could’ve been the winner in extra innings but ASU (32-6, 6-3) tied the game with a two-run homer of its own from Alix Johnson in the bottom of the eighth. Unlike some of her teammates, Mercado was one of the few Arizona players who picked up multiple hits over the weekend.
The game ended in the 10th inning after Mercado drove in the game-winning run in the top half of the inning.The 10 innings played on Sunday marked a season high for most innings played in one game for the Wildcats.
Leading Arizona throughout the weekend was the offensive combination of juniors Hallie Wilson and Chelsea Goodacre. The duo, which bats first and fourth respectively, scored five of Arizona’s eight runs in the series.
Goodacre scored the only run during Friday’s 2-1 loss and was one of only four Wildcats to get a hit against Escobedo. A third-inning two-run homer from ASU catcher Amber Freeman plated the two runs needed to keep the Wildcats at bay.
Wilson scored the only run during Saturday’s 4-1 defeat and had three of Arizona’s eight hits against ASU pitcher Mackenzie Popescue. After giving up one run in the first inning, Popescue kept the Wildcats off the scoreboard for the rest of the game.
Despite leaving 11 runners on base, the Sun Devils used a three-run pinch hit double from Chelsea Gonzales in a four-run fifth-inning against Arizona pitcher Kenzie Fowler on Saturday. Fowler’s 10 walks set the table for the Sun Devils to get the win.
Now Arizona is off until Friday, when the Wildcats will take on Stanford at Hillenbrand Stadium in the first game of a three-game series.
—Follow Roberto Payne @HouseOfPayne