Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 4 Softball Takes Series Versus No. 2 Aggies
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: February 25, 2007
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- A pair of Callista Balko home runs and a strong pitching effort by Sarah Akamine propelled fourth-ranked Arizona to a 6-2 victory Sunday and a three-game series win over No. 2 Texas A&M.


Arizona, which defeated the Aggies 5-0 on Friday and lost 4-3 last night, bounced back with 11-hit performance that saw four Wildcats register multi-hit games.


The win improved Arizona’s record to 11-3 on the year, while Texas A&M drops to 13-2 with both losses coming to UA.


In the circle, Akamine (5-0) scattered nine hits and gave up two runs in six-plus innings of work.  Taryne Mowatt earned her second save of the year, striking out cleanup hitter Amanda Scarborough, Megan Gibson who previously homered in the game and Jami Lobpries. 


Arizona got on the board in the second inning with a brief rally largely due to K’Lee Arredondo.  The freshman from Tempe, Ariz., who started in the eight-hole for the first time all year after hitting second in the previous 13 games, got on base with a two-out double down the left-field line.  After a delay-steal of third, Arredondo scored on an Adrienne Acton slap that was mishandled by Aggie shortstop Macie Morrow.


From there, Balko provided some insurance for the Wildcats with her fifth and sixth home runs of the year.  With two out in the third, Balko displayed her opposite-field power by clubbing a solo shot to right-center, doubling UA’s lead to 2-0.


Kristie Fox, who returned to her usual third spot in the order after batting cleanup in UA’s previous three games, led off the fifth with a single.  After being sacrificed to second by Jenae Leles, Fox advanced to third in a Taryne Mowatt single and scored on a throwing error by A&M center fielder Sharonda McDonald.


With Mowatt on second and one out, Balko blasted her second homer of the day ?- this one to left field ?- to give the Tucson native her third career multi-home run game.


The Aggies broke up Akamine’s shot at her first career shutout with a run in the sixth, but the Wildcats would quickly make up for the blemish on the scoreboard with one of their own.  Fox cracked an opposite-field home run of her own, her fifth on the season, to give UA a 6-1 advantage.  The round-tripper gave Fox her team-leading 17th RBI on the year and tied her with Alison McCutcheon for eighth on UA’s all-time list for RBI in a career with 184.


Game Notes:

-         With a second-inning single, Chelsie Mesa tied a career-long, 11-game hitting streak.

-         Callista Balko hit her sixth home run through UA’s 14 games of 2007.  Balko, who hit 13 home runs in 2006, did not reach the half dozen mark until Arizona’s 40th game of last year (April 21, 2006 at Stanford)

-         Callista Balko’s two previous multi-home run games came against Virginia last weekend and at Washington on April 30, 2006.

-         Arizona’s game time versus Missouri next Sunday has been moved up to 11 a.m.


Up Next: Arizona will host the Arizona Battle of Champions at Hillenbrand Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 28.  The Wildcats will take on Phoenix College at 5 p.m. and Pima College at 7 p.m.  All three participating teams won the national championship in their respective divisions in 2006.  Admission is free.


The Wildcats will return to regular, Division I play next Friday, as UA will host Missouri for a three-game series from March 2-4.  Friday and Saturday’s games are at 7 p.m., with Sunday’s first pitch set for 11 a.m.