April 11, 2012
No. 13 Arizona Softball (28-10, 7-5 Pac-12) used a 4-2 victory over Utah (23-15, 0-9 Pac-12) to sweep the three game series with the Utes. It is Arizona's first Pac-12 sweep since taking three games from Stanford to open conference play in 2011.
The win was Head Coach Mike Candrea's 1,300th in his career. With the victory, Candrea becomes the sport's fastest coach, and second ever, to reach the landmark.
Kenzie Fowler (12-3) and Shelby Babcocktag-teamed for the victory, with Fowler pitching the first four innings and Babcock handling the final three for her first career save. Fowler allowed two runs on three hits with three strikeouts and three walks in the four innings. Babcock did not allow a hit in the final three scoreless innings but walked two and struck out one.
Brigette Del Ponteconcluded her phenomenal series with an RBI single in the first inning. On the series, Del Ponte batted .556 (5-for-9) with a double, two homers, six RBI, four runs scored and a 1.333 slugging percentage.
Kristen Arriolawent deep for Arizona, her fifth home run of the season.
Cheslea Goodacre notched her sixth multi-hit game of her career while going 2-for-2 at the dish.
Utah's starter Generra Nielson allowed four runs on seven hits while striking out three and walking two in six innings. The Utes, though, were hindered by a two-run error in the first inning which allowed two unearned runs to cross for the Cats.
The first batter of the game, Kelsi Hoopiiaina had apparently grounded out to third base on a 3-1 count for the first out of the game, but an illegal pitch was ruled and Hoopiiaina boarded first via the walk. The out-turned-base-runner would come back to haunt Arizona when Katelyn Elliott doubled in Hoopiiaina to give Utah its first lead of the series.
UA answered with three runs in the bottom of the first. A walk and a single put the first two Cats on base. Del Ponte singled down the left line to tie the game. After a successful double steal put two runners in scoring position for Arizona with no one out, Nielson got the next two Wildcat hitters. She appeared to have the final out before Hoopiiaina booted an Arriola grounder that scored two unearned Arizona runs.
Utah cut Arizona's lead in half in the third. Fowler issued a leadoff walk that would later score on an RBI single by Whitney Holm.
In the sixth inning, Babcock recorded the first two outs before Utah rallied. Back-to-back errors on grounders to left side followed by a Babcock walk loaded the bases with the go-ahead runs a base hit away from scoring. The sophomore pitcher, though, got a fly-out to end the threat.
Arriola then led off the sixth with a home run and Arizona never looked back.
The Cats head to top-ranked California for a three-game series. Arizona and Cal meet Friday (3:00 p.m.), Saturday (1:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.).