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Del Ponte Leads Cats to Pair of Wins
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 04/10/2012
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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April 10, 2012

TUCSON -

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No. 13 Arizona Softball (27-10, 6-5 Pac-12) swept a double-dip with Utah (23-14, 0-8 Pac-12), downing the Utes 8-0 (6) in game one and 3-1 in game two. Brigette Del Ponte batted in five of Arizona's 11 runs on the day and had two homers, a double and a single in the two games.

Arizona run-ruled the Utes in the two clubs' first ever Pac-12 meeting, 8-0 in six. Fowler dealt a two-hitter while the offense exploded for five runs in the sixth inning, ended by Shelby Pendley's walk-off homer.

In game two, UA narrowly defeated Utah, 3-1, behind home runs by Lini Koria and Del Ponte.

Arizona and Utah will conclude the series Wednesday at 12:00 p.m. PDT at Hillenbrand Stadium with the Cats hoping for the sweep.

Game 1: Arizona 8, Utah 0 (6 innings)

Behind a two-hitter by Fowler and four RBI from Del Ponte, Arizona earned a mercy-rule victory over the Utes in game one, 8-0 in six innings.

Del Ponte homered, doubled in a run and singled in two runs to lead the Wildcats' 11-hit attack.

Fowler (11-3) took a no-hitter into the sixth inning but gave up back-to-back one-out singles in the frame to break it up. The hits would be the only two hits allowed by Fowler, who struck out six in her complete-game shutout.

Del Ponte's three hits led four Cats with multiple hits for the game; Hallie Wilson, Jessica Spigner and Pendley had two hits apiece.

Arizona plated single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings before the Cats brought seven hitters to the plate and scored five runs in the mercy-shortened sixth.

The Cats' run in the first came on the first of Del Ponte's RBI, a double crushed to right center to score Chelsea Suitos from second.

In the fourth, Arizona loaded the bases with no one out and managed a single run. A hit and a Utah error put the first two Wildcats aboard in the frame. Koria doubled in a run to left field. A walk would load the bases with no one out but Mariah Ramirez (2-2) would retire the next three Wildcat batters.

Del Ponte led off the bottom of the fifth with a homer to left field. Arizona would get two more runners on base in the inning but could not plate any further runs.

Fowler allowed just two walks until the top of the sixth when Utah leadoff hitter Kelsi Hoopiiaina singled up the middle with one out to break up Fowler's no-hit bid. The next batter, Tia Palauni, singled through the right side to bring the tying run to the plate. A Wildcat error loaded the bases and extended the inning, but Fowler induced a fly out to end the threat.

In the bottom half, Chelsea Goodacre was hit by a pitch to begin the frame. Karissa Buchanan grounded into a fielder's choice and Hallie Wilson recorded an infield single. The five runs in the inning would all come with two out. Del Ponte singled in a couple and moved to third on a Utah error. Spigner drove her home with a single to left field. Pendley then ended the game with a home run to left, her 14th of the season.

Game 2: Arizona 3, Utah 1

Arizona edged Utah in game two of the doubleheader, 3-1, behind a solid outing from Shelby Babcock and home runs by Del Ponte and Koria.

Babcock (14-7) allowed one run on six hits in seven innings. Babcock struck out four while issuing two walks.

The Cats and Utes had six hits apiece, coming off the bat of 12 different players. Del Ponte, Koria and Buchanan had Arizona's RBI while Utah's Chalese Fankhauser's third-inning solo homer was Utah's only run production of the day.

Utah's Generra Nielson (17-10), the conference's strikeout leader (224) allowed three runs on six hits to Arizona hitters. Nielson struck out seven and walked four in the six-inning outing.

The Utes appeared to have the first run of the game in the second. With runners on the corners and two out, an apparent Wildcat error would have scored a Utah run, but the runner at first was ruled to have left early on her steal attempt to end the inning before the ball was put in play.

The Cats got on the scoreboard in the second when Koria led off the frame with a deep blast past the center field fence. Kristen Arriola followed with a single. A pair of walks loaded the bases with one out. Buchanan grounded into an RBI fielder's choice to give Arizona a 2-0 lead after two.

Nine-hole hitter Fankhauser led off the Utah third with a homer to left field to give Utah its first (and only) run of the series.

Del Ponte led off the fifth with her second home run of the day and 11th of the season to give Arizona a 3-1 lead.

After the homer in the third, Babcock allowed only three hits the rest of the way and kept the Utes from crossing the plate, earning her 14th win of the season, and putting Arizona on the right side of .500 in conference play for the first time this season.

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