FULLERTON, Calif. – No. 7 Arizona softball swept day two of the Judi Garman Classic in dramatic fashion, crushing Cal State Fullerton – while accomplishing something it had not done since 2001 – and using a late-inning comeback to force extras against Houston, where it would eventually win 6-5.
In game two, the Cats trailed by two runs in the sixth inning, but plated a run in each the sixth and the seventh to force extras, where Lauren Young’s go-ahead sacrifice fly in the ninth proved to be the difference.
Chelsea Goodacre homered three times on the day, including twice in the fifth inning vs. Cal State Fullerton. The three homers gave her the Pac-12 lead with 11 bombs on the year.
Hallie Wilson went 5-for-7 with four RBI, including a game-tying RBI single in the top of the seventh inning.
Game 1 – Arizona 15, Cal State Fullerton 0 (5 innings)
In the last three years, the Wildcats have scored 15 runs just once, a 16-2 victory over BallState just four days ago. On Saturday, Arizona plated 15 runs in one inning.
Arizona’s 15-run fifth inning marked the most since 2001, when Arizona scored a school-record 17 runs in the fourth inning of a 29-0 five-inning victory over Bowling Green on Feb. 16.
UA batted around twice in the inning, with six players recording multiple hits in the frame, including two homers from Chelsea Goodacre, who batted in five runs in the frame.
When it was all said and done, the Cats sent 18 hitters to the plate, 12 of whom recorded hits and 15 of whom crossed the plate. There were six extra-base hits in the inning.
The offensive explosion came on the heels of four scoreless innings for the offense. UA had not had a hit since the first inning.
Estela Piñon’s effort in the circle should not be overshadowed. The senior tossed a complete-game one-hitter in the outing, striking out seven batters and surrendering two walks. Piñon improved to 5-2 with the victory.
Game 2 – Arizona 6, Houston 5 (9 innings)
The Cats rose to the challenge in Arizona’s first extra-inning contest of 2014, outlasting Houston 6-5 in nine innings in the nightcap.
Despite stranding a season-most 15 batters, the most since at least 2007, the earliest accessible LOB figures that exist, Arizona prevailed in extras after needing a late-inning comeback.
After Houston rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Arizona came to the plate needing two runs over the final six outs to extend the game. Chelsea Goodacre came through with a solo homer in the sixth before Hallie Wilson tied the game with a one-out single in the seventh.
The offensive production would have been nothing without the stellar relief job from Estela Piñon, who improved to 6-2 with the victory. Piñon allowed one run, unearned, on two hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 4.2 innings pitched. The senior really excelled in extra innings, keeping the Cougars off the board in the eighth and ninth innings, despite the international tie breaker rule which places a runner at second base to start each half inning.
Piñon relieved Kenzie Fowler (1.1 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 Ks, 2 BBs) who relieved starter Michelle Floyd. The freshman pitched the first three innings and gave up a run on two hits with three walks and two striekouts.
Wilson went 3-for-5 in the contest and drove in two runs, including the game-tying run in the seventh.
The Cats struck for a single run in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings before scoring the go-ahead run in the seventh on Lauren Young’s sacrifice fly.
The Cats were held scoreless in the first two innings despite putting five runners on base. UA plated its first run of the game in the third on Mo Mercado’s infield hit.
The lead did not last long though as Houston answered with a run in the bottom of the inning.
The Cats responded right back when Kellie Fox’s single through the box plated Wilson to give UA a 2-1 lead.
The lead grew in the fifth when Wilson picked up her first RBI of the game on a single through the left side to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Cats.
Things would fall apart for UA in the bottom of the fifth, though, when Houston scored four runs on just two hits. A single and a pair of walks loaded the bases for Houston with one out and chased Fowler in favor of Piñon. The first batter the senior faced hit a popup to shallow center. A lack of communication between shortstop Kellie Fox, centerfielder Courtney Rodriguez and left fielder Chelsea Suitos allowed the ball to hit off of Fox’s glove and land safely for an error to make the score 3-2. Still with one out and the bases loaded, Piñon delivered a wild pitch to plate the tying run for the Cougars. After a Jaime Edwards sac fly gave Houston the lead, Kayla Holland hit a popup behind the pitcher Piñon. Another communication error allowed the ball to drop to give Houston a 5-3 lead.
In the top of the sixth, Goodacre hit her third homer of the day and 11th of the season, a two-out solo shot to cut Houston’s lead in half.
In the seventh, trailing by a run, UA sent the bottom of its order to the plate. Katiyana Mauga led off the inning by working a seven-pitch walk. Pinch runner Siera Phillips moved to second on Young’s sacrifice bunt and third on a wild pitch. Courtney Rodriguez drew a walk of her own to put runners on the corners with one out for Wilson. The junior singled through the box to plate Phillips and tie the game. UA would go on to strand two in the inning.
Piñon worked a scoreless bottom of the seventh to send it to extra innings, where the game would observe the international tie-breaker rule in which the last batter of the previous inning begins the next inning on second base.
After both teams were held scoreless in the eighth, the Cats got on the board in the ninth.
Mauga led off the inning by hitting a fly ball to right field deep enough to move Mercado, who began the frame on second, to third. Young followed with a go-ahead sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the ninth, Houston had its 2-3-4 hitters at the dish with its leadoff runner second. Piñon mowed through the three hitters to preserve the 6-5 victory for the Cats.
Up Next: Arizona finishes the Judi Garman Classic with a matchup with San JoseState at 11:30 a.m. PDT Sunday.