TUCSON--No. 8 Arizona got it going in the late going and batted around in the fifth to take an 8-1 victory over New Mexico on Friday night to open a three-game series at Hillenbrand Stadium.
UA senior pitcher Taryne Mowatt (7-4) didn't have her best stuff, walking four, but she scattered three hits, struck out 12, and clamped down in the final two frames after UA took the lead. She outlasted UNM ace Kelly Ninemire (8-3), who tossed one-hit shutout ball for four and one-third innings before the Cats got it going and chased her.
Ninemire held Arizona (16-5) hitless until the second time around in the order. Brittany Lastrapes hit a two-out single to short right field in the bottom of the third, and K'Lee Arredondo was hit by a pitch to put the first runner of the night in scoring position. But Sam Banister hit a grounder to second to end the threat.
New Mexico (13-6) got on the board in the top of the fourth after Mowatt walked Tianna George, gave up a single to Lindsey Elcess and walked Gabriela Parra. After Katie Gilmore struck out, Analise Rubalcava singled up the middle to drive in George for a 1-0 lead.
UA again put a runner aboard when Stacie Chambers reached on an error with one out in the bottom of the inning. But Ninemire struck out Callista Balko and got an infield grounder from Victoria Kemp.
Brittany Lastrapes drove in the tying run in the bottom of the fifth. Adrienne Acton beat out a one-out infield single, and Lastrapes lined a ball halfway up the rightfield fence, plus advancing to third when the throw from rightfielder Parra was wide at the plate. Banister doubled to drive in the second run, Jenae Leles was hit by a pitch and Stacie Chambers smacked a three-run home run.
Balko drew a walk off reliever Madelyn Machac, Kemp was hit by a pitch, and Lauren Schutzler doubled for another run, putting runners at the corners. UA executed a delayed double steal, with Kemp beating the return throw to the plate. Pinch-hitter Sarah Akamine then singled up the middle to drive in Schutzler to make it 8-1.
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Notes ... Mowatt got some run support to break a pattern that had held for three of her four losses this eyar. UA scored no runs in one loss and one run each in two others on her ledger... Chambers' four-bagger was Arizona's 40th of the year and continued a trend of an average of 3-plus runs per game driven in by the long ball...