Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Cats Cannot Hold 6-0 Lead, fall 7-6 to Sun Devils
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 25, 2012
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 25, 2012

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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No. 14 Arizona Softball (19-8, 0-3 Pac-12) scored the first six runs of the game, but fifth-ranked Arizona State (31-3, 3-0 Pac-12) stormed back with a run in the fourth and six in the fifth to sweep Arizona for the second straight year.

With just nine outs remaining to be recorded, and a five-run lead, Shelby Babcock entered to pitch the fifth inning. Two pitching changes, a grand slam and two RBI walks later, the Sun Devils exited the frame with a 7-6 lead. Arizona would get just one base-runner the rest of the way.

Kenzie Fowler took the loss in relief. Fowler faced six batters, recorded just one out and walked in a pair of runs. Fowler fell to 8-3 with the loss. Fowler has lost three consecutive decisions, however, in all three she has been dealing with the flu.

Babcock pitched all but the one out recorded by Fowler, and allowed five runs on seven hits and four walks.

Dallas Escobedo and Hillary Bach tag-teamed for the victory for ASU. Escobedo pitched the first three innings and gave up Arizona's first five runs. Bach allowed just three Cats to reach base in the final four innings. Bach improved to 14-0 with the win.

Baillie Kirker led the Cats with three RBI, all registered on a pinch-hit double in the fourth.

Arizona got the scoring started in the third when a passed ball scored Nicole Bryan and Brigette Del Ponte drove home Hallie Wilson to give Arizona a 2-0 lead. During this frame, Head Coach Mike Candrea experienced chest tightness and was taken to the hospital in the fourth.

The Cats added four more runs in the fourth. Kristen Arriola led off the frame with a home run to left center. Arizona would then load the bases on a HBP, walk and error with no one out. Pinch-hitter Kirker brought three runs home with a double to right center. Arizona led 6-0 after four.

An RBI single by Bethany Kemp in the bottom of the fourth cut the Cats' lead to 6-1.

The Sun Devils scored six runs on five hits in the bottom of the fifth. ASU loaded the bases twice in the frame. After a grand slam by Haley Steele cleared the bases and chased Babcock, Fowler allowed two singles and a couple of walks to fill up the bases once again. Fowler would then issue a game-tying walk and a go-ahead walk which chased Fowler in favor of the starter Babcock. The sophomore stranded the bases loaded by inducing a groundout to end the threat.

The Cats, though, would get just one base-runner the rest of the way and ASU completed the sweep. In all three games, Arizona led and in all three games ASU came back to win, by bigger margins each time. Arizona led 2-0 in game one, 3-0 in game two and 6-0 in the third game.

Arizona returns home to play five games next week. Arizona plays San Diego State Tuesday (7:00 p.m.) and Wednesday (3:00 p.m.) and Stanford Friday (7:00 p.m.), Saturday (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.).