TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The fourth-ranked Arizona softball team came back from a two-run deficit to defeat California, 6-4, on Saturday night for the Wildcats’ fourth consecutive Pac-10.
The Wildcat offense was led by Chelsie Mesa, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI. The pair of two-baggers places Mesa in a tie with Kristie Fox for the team lead with nine doubles on the year. Incidentally, the pair of infield mates is also tied for the team lead with six Pac-10 RBI.
The victory pushes Arizona’s first-place conference record to 6-1 and 30-8 on the year, while California drops to 2-6 in league play 25-22 on the year.
Taryne Mowatt, who has pitched every inning of UA’s seven conference contests, moved her record to 23-7 with her 26th complete game on the year. Mowatt scattered six hits and five walks over seven innings of work, in which she gave up four runs.
Cal pitcher Lauren Frankiewicz (12-11) drew the loss after giving up six runs on seven hits and five walks.
Arizona whiffed on an opportunity to take command of the game from the get-go, as UA failed to plate any runs with runners on second and third and nobody out in the first inning. Caitlin Lowe led off the frame with a walk and stole second. After Mesa walked, the two seniors executed a double steal to put a pair of runners in scoring position with no outs recorded. That’s when Frankiewicz settled down and struck out the 3-4-5 hitters in Arizona’s lineup to retire the side.
Cal broke up a scoreless tie in the top of the third with two runs on three hits. Golden Bear catcher Julie Meyer led off with a double down the left-field line to get things going and came around to score a few batters later on one of Mowatt’s two wild pitches on the night. Later in the inning, with two outs Christina Shallig drove around with a double for Cal’s second run of the frame.
The Wildcats cut the two-run deficit in half with a run in the bottom half of the third. Lowe led off with her first of two hits on the night and scored all the way from first on a Mesa double to right-center.
The next inning, UA scored three times to take a 4-2 lead that it would not relinquish. Laine Roth led off with her second walk of the game and moved to second on a Sam Banister sacrifice bunt. Adrienne Acton put runners on the corners with an infield single, bringing up Lowe. UA’s three-time, first-team All-American came through with an RBI single to tie the game and keep a pair of Wildcats on the bases. Lowe’s hit brought Mesa back to the plate, as she promptly cracked her second RBI double ?- plating both Acton and Lowe to give UA a 4-2 advantage.
Arizona tacked on what would prove to be two needed insurance runs in the fifth, as Roth drove in pinch runner Jill Malina with a sacrifice fly and K’Lee Arredondo hit a Texas-Leaguer of a single to bring in Callista Balko, who had doubled earlier in the inning.
Cal scored two runs and had the bases loaded in the sixth to cut the UA lead to 6-4, but Mowatt shut the rally down and would retire the side in the seventh to end the contest.
- Caitlin Lowe extended her hitting streak to six games and has hit safely in all Pac-10 contests except for the conference opener.
- Caitlin Lowe had her team-leading 19th multi-hit game.
- Hillenbrand Stadium drew 2,336 fans for the 25th largest crowd in stadium history.
Up Next: Arizona will wrap up the weekend on Sunday with a 1 p.m. date with California at Hillenbrand Stadium.