March 28, 2012
Nineteenth-ranked Arizona Softball (21-8) used a dramatic comeback to down San Diego State (18-19) in extras, 8-6 to sweep the series.
The Cats entered the seventh trailing by five runs and in danger of dropping their fifth game in seven tries. Shelby Pendley pounded a home run to begin the inning. After a pair of singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly, right fielder Alex Lavine stepped in with two outs. Arizona was down to its final strike, trailing 6-3, when Lavine, who entered the at-bat with one hit and one RBI on the season, and three career home runs, tied the game with a homer to left field.
In the eighth inning, Shelby Babcock relieved Kenzie Fowler to pitch a spotless top half and Arizona's offense wasted no time in the bottom half. Jessica Spigner led off the frame with a single to center field. Pendley, who homered off the scoreboard in the seventh inning, took a full-count offering from San Diego State pitcher Bailey Micetich over the batter's eye in center field to win the game.
It was Arizona's first walk-off win of the season, and improved the Cats to 1-1 in extra-inning affairs.
Arizona's heroics came after the Aztecs had seemingly put the game out of reach in the top of the seventh. A single and a pair of two-out walks loaded the bases for SDSU, which was leading 2-1 at the time. Justeen Maeva cleared the bases with a grand slam to left field to put San Diego State ahead 6-1.
Entering the bottom of the seventh, the Wildcats had managed just three hits off Micetich, who tossed every pitch for SDSU. She went seven innings (plus two batters in the eighth), and allowed eight runs on nine hits and struck out seven Wildcats. Micetich fell to 8-6 on the season.
Babcock faced three batters in the contest, but picked up the win in relief of Fowler. Babcock pitched the eighth inning, retiring all three batters she saw, and improved to 11-5 on the year. Fowler pitched the first seven innings and allowed six runs on eight hits and struck out six.
Pendley's two-homer day was her second of the season. The freshman has 11 blasts on the season to lead the team. The feat marked the second straight night a Wildcat hit two homers; Brigette Del Ponte had a pair Tuesday. With her home run, Lavine became the eighth Wildcat to put one past the fence this season.
San Diego State started the scoring in the third inning. After retiring the first two batters of the inning, Fowler gave up the first San Diego State run of the series when Hayley Miles took her deep to left field. Fowler would walk the next two batters and Maeva doubled home a run to give the Aztecs a 2-0 lead.
The score would hold until the fifth inning. Pendley drew a leadoff walk in the frame and was sacrificed to second by Kristen Arriola. Pendley moved to third on a Chelsea Goodacre groundout and scored on a RBI single by Lini Koria.
In the top of the seventh, Maeva plated four runs on a grand slam that built a seemingly insurmountable five run lead with three outs left to play with for Arizona. The Cats, however, answered. Pendley homered to start the frame. A Goodacre walk was sandwiched by singles by seniors Arriola and Koria. With the tying run at the plate and no one out, Bryan cut the lead to 6-3 with a sacrifice fly. Wilson flew out to center field and Arizona was down to its final out with runners on first and second. Sophomore Lavine stepped in and took strike one and fouled off strike two before sending the third pitch she saw over the left field fence.
Babcock made quick work of SDSU in the top of the eighth before Spigner singled and Pendley bombed a walk-off homer to center field.
Arizona picks Pac-12 play up once again this weekend with a visit from No. 13 Stanford. The Cats and the Cardinal meet Friday (7:00 p.m.), Saturday (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday (7:00 p.m.) at Hillenbrand.