Arizona softball ends ASU series on high note

Despite winning the final game of the series in convincing fashion on Sunday, Arizona softball lost the series to ASU 2-1 over the weekend

s33015softballsallylugorgb
Sally Lugo | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona softball catcher Chelsea Goodacre (77) runs home to greet her teammates during Arizona's 11-1 win over ASU at Hillenbrand Stadium on Sunday night. Goodacre and the Wildcats lost the series to ASU 2-1 over the weekend.

Arizona softball lost two out of three games against ASU in a home series this weekend. The No. 14 Wildcats (29-9, 3-3 Pac-12 Conference) fell to their rivals on Friday and Saturday before salvaging a victory on Sunday.

Arizona defeated No. 21 ASU 11-1 (five innings) in the series finale behind strong pitching and four home runs, including a walk-off three-run shot from Katiyana Mauga.

“The one thing you don’t want to do is get swept at home,” Arizona coach Mike Candrea said. “No. 2, you don’t want to get swept by your freaking rival. So, there was a lot on the line.”

After struggling the first two games of the series, UA pitchers Michelle Floyd and Trish Parks combined to allow just one run on six hits.

Floyd pitched into a few early jams but never allowed ASU to cross the plate.

“I trust my team,” Floyd said. “I love my infielders and outfielders, so I knew that if I give them a pitch, my team will defend it.”

Floyd left the game after three innings and was replaced by Parks, whose only blemish came in the top of the fifth.

Arizona’s lineup provided the pitchers plenty of insurance. The Wildcats scored three runs in the second and one in the third to establish an early lead. Two more runs in the fourth gave the Wildcats a comfortable lead before Mauga delivered the walk-off homer the next inning.

Chelsea Goodacre, Hallie Wilson and Mandie Perez also hit homers for Arizona.

“With Goodacre and Fox, the seniors stepped up big time,” Candrea said. “In rivalry games, that’s what we need.”

Arizona took a one-run lead into the seventh inning in the Friday night series opener before the Sun Devils struck for five runs to earn a come-from-behind 8-5 victory. The defeat marked Arizona’s first home loss of the season.

The rivals traded a handful of home runs over the final innings, including a Lauren Young solo shot in the bottom of the sixth that gave the UA a 4-3 lead at the time.

Floyd could not close the door on the Sun Devils in the last inning, as ASU’s Chelsea Gonzales hit a grand slam off the sophomore to turn a one-run deficit into a three-run lead.

With Parks in for relief, ASU scored another run to push the deficit to four heading into the bottom of the seventh. The Wildcats managed to answer with a run but could not pull off a rally to extend the game.

Floyd, who did not allow a hit through 4.2 innings, picked up her fifth loss of the season.

What ended as a slugging match began as a pitcher’s duel, with Floyd and ASU starter Breanna Macha trading scoreless frames in the early going.

The teams combined for just a single run through four innings, which came off a first-inning RBI double from Mauga.

Arizona outhit the Sun Devils 11-8, led by a 2-3 appearance at the plate from leadoff batter Hallie Wilson.

The UA’s struggles on the mound continued Saturday afternoon in a 9-4 loss in which the Sun Devils built an early lead and never let go.

Parks gave up seven earned runs on seven hits over three frames, including a four-run third inning that broke open the Sun Devil’s lead.

ASU capitalized off a pair of two-run doubles, after grabbing a 1-0 lead in the first, to expand the lead to 5-1 through three innings.

Arizona’s Siera Phillips replaced Parks and offered two innings of scoreless relief. Floyd then relieved Phillips in the sixth inning and gave up two more runs.

The Wildcats will head to Corvallis, Ore., on Thursday for a series with Oregon State.

_______________

Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.


Share this article