The Arizona softball team faced off against California State University, Bakersfield on Wednesday, March 1, at 4 p.m. at Mike Candrea Field at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats came into the game ranked No. 16 with a record of 10-5. CSU Bakersfield came into the game 3-15 on the season.
Sydney Somerndike started on the mound for the Wildcats with her roommate, Olivia DiNardo, back at catcher. CSU Bakersfield started Kirsten Martinez as pitcher with catcher Natalya Rodriguez.
The ‘Cats took the field first, taking on the first three batters in CSUB’s lineup. Somerndike struck out the first batter, and the Wildcat defense took care of the next two with a pop fly and a ground out to second base.
Arizona then came up to bat. Arizona's first two batters both got thrown out at first, but Carlie Scupin was hit by a pitch to give the Wildcats their first base runner. Scupin would be the first of three Wildcats hit by pitches in the game. The ‘Cats went through two more batters before Dakota Kennedy flew out to left field, ending the inning and stranding three runners on base.
The second inning went much like the first for the Wildcats. Starting in the field, first baseman Scupin handled a short pop out. Afterward, Somerndike struck out the next two batters. Arizona then came to the plate where they still could not get hits, leaving one runner stranded on base again.
With the defense continuing to roll through the CSUB batters, the Wildcats finally found some runs in the bottom of the third.
After loading the bases with one out, the ‘Cats got their first run when Dakota Kennedy got walked to first base. She would walk in Scupin, who had advanced to third after Allie Skaggs got walked before her. The Wildcats kept the momentum, and Paige Dimler hit a ground ball to first, driving DiNardo in before ending the inning up 2-0.
Arizona’s defense stayed strong and led them to the bottom of the fourth, where the Wildcats opened up the floodgates.
Getting the bases loaded again, DiNardo hit a single to left field, driving Tayler Biehl in from third to make the score 3-0. With the bases still loaded, Skaggs walked up to the plate. She took the first pitch she was thrown and launched it to left center field for her first home run and first grand slam of the season.
CSUB then changed pitchers from Martinez to Kaycie Kennedy. This however did not stop the Wildcats from scoring more. After Kaycie Kennedy hit Dakota Kennedy in the back with a wild pitch, the Wildcats loaded the bases and got 2 more runs in before the end of the inning.
The Wildcats defense finally gave up a run when CSUB’s Karissa Munsey hit a home run to left field, bouncing the ball off the foul pole. That was the only scoring CSU Bakersfield did all game and Somerndike finished her first full game while adding another win to her personal record.
The Wildcats won over CSU Bakersfield 9-1 in five innings with only four hits. They now advance their season record to 11-5.
The ‘Cats next game will be at home against Weber State University on Friday, March 3, at 4 p.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona will be hosting the Hillenbrand Invitational starting on Friday, March 3, through Sunday, March 5.
Follow Nathanial Stenchever on Twitter