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Arizona Uses Long Ball to Mercy Cardinal
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 03/31/2012
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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March 31, 2012

TUCSON -

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No. 19 Arizona Softball (22-9, 1-4 Pac-12) earned its first conference win of the season with a 9-1, five-inning win over 13th-ranked Stanford (27-7, 1-4 Pac-12). Arizona plated seven of its nine runs on home runs.

Brigette Del Ponte hit home runs in consecutive at-bats, both two-run shots to take over the team lead in RBI (35). Kirker matched Del Ponte's four RBI with a quartet herself. Kirker drove home a run on a bases-loaded walk in the first and ended the game with a three-run, walk-off home run in the fifth. Nicole Bryan drove home the other Arizona of the game with a free pass in the first inning.

Kenzie Fowler (9-3) earned the win for Arizona; the junior allowed one run on seven hits while striking out seven and issuing just a single free pass in five innings pitched.

Arizona got to Stanford starter Nyree White (5-4) for nine runs, eight earned, on eight hits. White struck out four and walked five in four innings plus three batters in the fifth.

Six different Wildcats recorded hits on the night, with Del Ponte and Kristen Arriola notching a pair apiece.

After registering two hits in seven innings in Friday's 4-1 loss vs. the Cardinal, the Arizona bats came out firing in game two of the three game series. Arizona brought 10 batters to the plate in its four-run first to take the early lead. Hallie Wilson led off the frame with a single to left field. She was sacrificed to second by Chelsea Suitos and driven home by Del Ponte's shot to left field. Jessica Spigner walked and Shelby Pendley and Arriola singled to load the bases for the Cats with one out. After a Lini Koria strikeout, Kirker, making her first start in the Arizona batting order of the season, walked home a run. The nine-hole hitter Bryan walked in another and Arizona led 4-0 after the first inning.

In the second, Del Ponte homered for the second consecutive inning with a line drive home run down the left field line. The laser brought home Suitos, who singled to begin the inning.

White would then get the next eight Cats in order until Del Ponte stepped into the batter's box once again in the fourth. The Cardinal chose to intentionally walk the third baseman, the first IBB issued to a Wildcat on the season.

This was after, in the top of the third inning, Stanford's Ashley Hansen, who had two hits on the game, tripled to center field to score Hanna Winter for Stanford's first, and only, run of the game.

Arriola started the fifth inning with a single and Koria reached on Stanford fielding error. Kirker bombed a home run over the batter's eye in center field to end the game. It was Kirker's first home run of the season and seventh RBI in her last four at-bats.

Arizona and Stanford compete tomorrow for the series. The two clubs will meet Sunday at 12:00 p.m. PDT.

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