Washington rains on Arizona softball's parade
Home field advantage takes on a different meaning in the northwest.
No. 9 Arizona continued its road woes by losing two of three at No. 11 Washington in Seattle.
After blowing a 6-3 lead on Friday to the Huskies (30-13, 10-9 Pac-12) to eventually lose 11-7, Arizona (39-12, 12-7 Pac-12) was forced to play a doubleheader Sunday due to Saturday’s game being rescheduled because of rain.
However, the rain continued through Sunday and delayed the first pitch of the first game, which was originally scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. for the doubleheader.
Joshua Bessex at The Daily of the University of Washington / Washington freshman Ali Aguilar tags Arizona redshirt junior Chelsea Suitos at second base during Arizona's double header against Washington. Arizona lost 8-0 in five innings in the first game to lose the series, but won the final game 2-0.
After the tarp was removed from the infield, the first game began at 11 a.m.
The rescheduling and delay might have been a factor, as the Wildcats’ bats came out flat and Arizona starting pitcher Kenzie Fowler (7-6) gave up three earned runs in 2.0 innings pitched.
The three runs would be enough, as Arizona only recorded one hit in the first game. But for insurance, Washington ended the game with eight runs and run-ruled Arizona in five innings. It was only the second time this season the Wildcats have lost by the mercy rule.
Huskies’ starting pitcher Bryana Walker (17-8) silenced the Wildcats’ bats by being efficient. Walker pitched all five innings of the first game and only threw 55 pitches. When Arizona’s Hallie Wilson singled in the fourth inning to break up Walker’s perfect game, she ended up being the only Wildcat batter to reach base.
After the single, Kelsey Rodriguez hit into a double play to end any threat of starting a rally.
Rodriguez, though, would redeem herself in the second game.
Once again in the rain, this time Arizona hung on to a lead. Rodriguez’s third-inning two-run homerun were the only runs scored in the second game and ended up making the difference, as Wildcats’ starting pitcher Estela Piñon (15-5) went the distance and only allowed two hits on the day.
Though she walked five Washington batters through the 7.0 innings, Piñon did not give up a hit until the sixth inning.
The 2-0 win in the second game of the doubleheader prevented the Wildcats from being swept.
Arizona has only been swept once this season, and not since the middle of March when it lost three in a row at UCLA to open the Pac-12 schedule.
Arizona will likely fall in the rankings because of this past weekend, but lucky for the Wildcats, they will have a chance to make up for their poor performance this weekend when No. 1 Oregon comes to Tucson to finish up the regular season.
And according to weather.com, no rain is forecast for Tucson this upcoming weekend.
Arizona has yet to lose at home this season.
Over this past weekend, Arizona hit a modest three home runs. The Wildcats entered their three-game series with Washington as the nation’s leader in home runs. They still easily lead the way with 95 on the season.
The record for most home runs in a single season — including post-season — is 158 by Hawaii in 2010. If Arizona reaches 100, which it likely will, it will become the 17th team in NCAA history to reach 100. It will also become the fifth Arizona team to hit 100 or more home runs. The Wildcats have done it more than any other school. In 2009, Arizona hit 134 home runs, second on the all-time list.
—Follow Luke Della @LukeDella