FULLERTON, Calif. ?- Arizona used a second-inning run and a three-hit pitching performance to defeat NC State, 2-0, in the Wildcats’ Judi Garman Classic opening game.
The fifth-ranked Wildcats (18-5) won the first game of their three-game pool play schedule behind seven hits. NC State drops to 18-10 on the year and 0-2 in pool play.
Taryne Mowatt (12-5) struck out 11 Wolfpack hitters in her fourth shutout of the season. At the plate, she and Callista Balko were responsible for all of Arizona’s runs. Mowatt drove Balko home in the second inning, and Balko hit a solo home run for the Wildcats’ other score.
Arizona got on the board with one run in the bottom of the second. Callista Balko led off the frame with a single through the left side and then proceeded to go station-to-station around the bases to score the game’s first run. Sam Banister laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Balko into scoring position. Arizona’s catcher then advanced to third on a wild pitch, before scoring on a Taryne Mowatt groundball.
Mowatt took a no-hitter into the fourth inning, which is when the Wolfpack used a single and a pair of walks to load the bases. However, Mowatt thwarted the rally by inducing Megan Dalthorp into grounding to short.
Arizona had a pair of runners on with one out in its half of the fourth, but the score remained firm at 1-0. Jenae Leles led off with a walk and one-out later Banister gave UA a pair of runners with an infield single. The Pack’s Ervin worked out of the jam by retiring the next two Wildcat hitters.
Mowatt allowed a leadoff double to Laura Klem to start the fourth inning, but a sacrifice bunt sandwiched between a pair of strikeouts left the Wildcats unscathed and the shutout intact.
Adrienne Acton led off the bottom of the fifth with an infield single, promoting her hit streak to a career-long eight games. Caitlin Lowe then followed suit with an infield single of her own, giving UA two runners on with nobody out. After Chelsie Mesa grounded into a fielder’s choice, Kristie Fox succumbed to a full-count strikeout, leaving the rally in Leles’ hands. Arizona’s third baseman hit a groundball in the hole, which NCSU shortstop Shanna Smith knocked down with a diving stop and flipped to third to retire Lowe on a fielder’s choice.
In the sixth, Balko handed Arizona a valuable insurance run in the form of her team-leading seventh home run on the year. The longball snapped an eight-game homerless streak for the backstop and doubled UA’s lead to 2-0.
- Chelsie Mesa’s first-inning double extended her hitting streak to 20 games. This is the longest Arizona hitting streak since Autumn Champion hit in 25 consecutive games in 2003. She is hitting .453 (29-for-64) in the score of games.
- Adrienne Acton’s leadoff single in the fifth inning extended her hitting streak to a career-long eight games. She is hitting .435 (10-for-23) over that timeframe.
- The win is Arizona head coach Mike Candrea's 1,099th career victory.
Up Next: Arizona returns to the Titan Sports Complex tonight to face No. 6 Oklahoma at approximately 8:30 p.m. in what is one of the marquee match-ups of the Judi Garman Classic.