TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The Arizona softball team is now 22-1 at Hillenbrand Stadium this year after a 4-1 victory over fifteenth-ranked Oregon, in front of 2,628 fans on Saturday night.
The third-ranked Wildcats improved to 9-2 in Pac-10 play and 33-9 on the year. With an ASU loss in Tempe, UA increased its lead in the Pac-10 standings to two games. Oregon, meanwhile, dropped to 38-10 overall and 3-7 in conference play.
UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt tossed her 28th complete game of the year to improve her record to 25-7. For the second straight night, the right-hander gave up one run on two hits. She struck out 15 Ducks, bringing her strikeout total to 322 on the year.
Oregon’s Melissa Rice (20-8) drew the loss, having given up four runs in six innings of work.
The first three Arizona hitters singled to start the game, but UA would manage only one run in its opening frame. Caitlin Lowe got things going with a base knock up the middle and promptly stole second base, for her 38th successful steal in as many attempts this year. Chelsie Mesa followed with a sharp single to right, placing runners on the corners for the Cats. With Kristie Fox at the plate, Mesa was thrown out stealing ?- marking just the fifth time in 83 stolen base attempts that a Wildcat runner has been thrown out all year.
After finishing a single short of hitting for the cycle last night, Kristie Fox completed a “carry-over” cycle of shorts with an RBI single up the middle to plate Lowe.
After a scoreless second for both sides, Oregon evened the score on Lovena Chaput’s sixth home run of the year on a solo shot to right.
In the third, Lowe notched her 20th multi-hit game of the year with a single to short to lead off the third. With Mesa at the plate, Lowe stole her 39th base of the year, giving her sole possession of seventh place on UA’s list for steals in a season. Additionally, she now stands two steals shy of Alison McCutcheon’s school record of 148 stolen bases.
UA took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth on a K’Lee Arredondo sacrifice fly to drive in pinch runner Jill Malina for UA’s second run of the contest.
With the Wildcats still leading by the one-run margin in the fifth, Callista Balko connected on her ninth home run of the year ?- a two-run job to right-center field ?- to increase the lead to 4-1. Balko’s blast drove home Mesa, who had doubled earlier in the inning. Mesa’s two-bagger was her ninth of the year and marked her 14th multi-hit game of the year.
- Taryne Mowatt’s fourth-inning strikeout of Amie Morris gave her 315 punch-outs on the year, placing her sixth on UA’s all-time list for strikeouts in a season. Jennie Finch’s senior year and all four of Alicia Hollowell’s marks are the only strikeout seasons ahead of Mowatt’s current campaign.
- The crowd of 2,628 marked the 16th largest crowd in Hillenbrand Stadium history.
Up Next: Arizona seeks a weekend sweep of the Oregon schools on Sunday with a noon date with the Ducks at Hillenbrand Stadium.