Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Softball Drops Series to ASU after 9-6 Setback
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 25, 2012
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 25, 2012

TEMPE, Ariz. -

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Fourteenth-ranked Arizona (19-7, 0-2 Pac-12) fell to No. 5 ASU, 9-6 in game two of the conference-opening three-game series. The victory assured ASU (30-3, 2-0 Pac-12) of its second consecutive series sweep of Arizona and just the second in the past two decades.

Wildcat pitchers walked 10 ASU batters, including eight in the final three innings, when ASU scored all nine of its runs. The 15 runs in the game came on a total of 12 hits, six for each squad.

The teams battled back and forth until ASU broke a 6-6 tie with three runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Shelby Babcock was issued the loss in relief. Babcock gave up three runs on three hits in 1.2 innings pitched. Babcock relieved Kenzie Fowler, who pitched the first 4.1 and left after walking the bases loaded in the fifth. Fowler's eight walks were a season high. Babcock fell to 9-5 with the loss.

Dallas Escobedo earned the win for ASU in relief of Hillary Bach. Bach pitched five innings and allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits while walking one and striking out five. Escobedo allowed two hits in two innings, a home run to Kristen Arriola and a double to Brigette Del Ponte, but struck out Jessica Spigner to end the game with potential tying run on deck. Escobedo improved to 12-2 on the season.

Jessica Spigner had two RBI for the second consecutive game. Spigner went 2-for-4 with a first-inning, two-run home run.

Arriola also went yard. Her three-run homer tied the game in the sixth inning.

Arizona got on the board in the first inning for the second consecutive night. Del Ponte drew a two-out walk and was hit home by Spigner's line drive homer to left center.

UA got on the board once again in the fourth with the assistance of Sun Devil second baseman Sam Parlich, who booted two balls, which allowed the Cats to plate an unearned run in the frame.

In the bottom half, though, ASU took advantage of two Fowler walks. After the free passes, a groundout moved both into scoring position with two out for Haley Steele, who scored them both with a double to left.

Katelyn Boyd led off the fifth inning with a game-tying homer to right field. Fowler walked the next three batters, allowed a run to score on a wild pitch and, after a strikeout, was lifted in favor of Babcock. The sophomore allowed a two-RBI single to the first batter she faced, which gave ASU a 6-3 lead at the end of five.

UA responded quickly. The first two Cats reached in the sixth, putting runners on the corners for Arriola. Escobedo entered for ASU and promptly gave up a three-run homer to Arriola to tie the game in the sixth.

Like Arizona, ASU's offense took little time to answer. A single and two walks loaded the bases with no one out in the bottom of the sixth. Annie Lockwood singled up the middle to plate a pair of go-ahead runs. Lucy Aubrecht added an RBI groundout in the frame to give ASU a 9-6 lead.

With just three outs to work with, Arizona brought up the top of its order in the seventh. The first two Cats were retired before Brigette Del Ponte doubled to left center. Spigner, though, struck out with the tying run on deck.

Arizona will attempt to avoid its second consecutive sweep to ASU in game three of the series, Sunday at noon. The game can be seen at or heard live on 1290 AM in Tucson.