TUCSON, Ariz. ?- No. 4 Arizona used four home runs to run-rule Virginia, 12-3, in a six-inning game, before riding a six-run inning in a 7-3 comeback victory over Middle Tennessee State in the Worth Wildcat Invitational.
Homers Power Cats Past Virginia
Arizona scored two runs in the second, third and fourth innings to take a 6-0 advantage over the Cavaliers entering the fifth inning. After Virginia scored three runs to cut the Wildcats’ lead in half, Arizona exploded for six runs to invoke the mercy rule.
With the victory, Arizona improved to 7-2 on the season, while the loss dropped the Cavs to 5-4.
Callista Balko went 2-for-2 with four RBI, as she homered twice for the Wildcats, including a shot to left to prompt the run rule. Balko’s first blast, ignited the UA offense in the second inning for its initial two runs of the contest.
Kristie Fox, who notched a pair of RBI hits, clubbed her third home run of the year to tie Balko for the team lead, to double UA’s lead to a 4-0 margin in the third inning.
In the fourth, K’Lee Arredondo made Virginia pay for intentionally walking Caitlin Lowe ?- who scored three runs while reaching base four times in the game ?- with an RBI single. Prior to the base knock, the crowning play of the game came as Lowe received the fourth ball in her intentional pass. Having been issued first base and with Balko on third, Lowe raced past first without hesitation and surprised the Cavaliers by stealing second immediately after the walk. Stunned, Virginia pitcher Karla Wilburn hesitated before realizing Balko had raced home in an unlikely but successful double steal.
Up 6-3 in the sixth, Jenae Leles followed a Fox RBI base knock by going deep for the second day in a row. Chelsie Mesa followed Leles’ bomb with a triple and would score on an RBI single by Laine Roth. That set the stage for Balko, who ended the contest with her second home run of the evening.
Taryne Mowatt (4-2) earned the victory, striking out seven Cavs while allowing three runs on four hits in six innings of work.
Cats Use Six-Run Frame to Come Back and Defeat MTSU
Arizona appeared to come out fired up for its second game of the evening, as the Wildcats scored one run on three hits in the opening frame against the Blue Raiders. However, UA played listlessly through five innings, trailing Middle Tennessee State (2-6) by two runs entering the sixth inning.
The Blue Raiders used a pair of solo home runs and a suicide squeeze to take a 3-1 advantage over the fourth-ranked Wildcats and appeared to be in control of the game.
Jenae Leles led off the sixth for Arizona with the first of what would be five hits and six runs for the Wildcats in the inning. Chelsie Mesa and Laine Roth followed Leles with singles of their own, loading the bases for Balko who drew an RBI walk, cutting the deficit to a 3-2 margin. A Sam Banister fielder’s choice tied the game at three runs apiece, setting the stage for pinch hitter Taryne Mowatt. The junior pitcher took advantage of the opportunity to hit by notching a game-winning, two-run single to center for UA. Two batters later, K’Lee Arredondo hit a towering double off the left field wall ?- good for one run, while Kristie Fox plated Arizona’s sixth run of the inning with an RBI groundout.
Mowatt would remain in the game to toss the final two innings of a game Sarah Akamine (4-0) started, as the two hurlers combined to strike out 11 Blue Raiders in a win that propelled Arizona to its eighth win in 10 games this year.
Other Worth Wildcat Invitational scores from Saturday:
Virginia 11, Temple 8
Texas Tech 10, Temple 2
Texas Tech 6, Middle Tennessee State 0
10 a.m. Third Place Game Virginia vs. Middle Tennessee State
12:30 p.m. Championship Game Arizona vs. Texas Tech
- Arizona’s 2006 national championship team was honored in between its games versus Virginia and Middle Tennessee State
Up Next: Arizona will play in the championship game of the Worth Wildcat Invitational at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Sunday versus Texas Tech. Fans in Tucson can tune in to KCUB 1290 AM The Source, as Brian Jeffries will call the action.