April 29, 2012
No. 13 Arizona Softball (32-14, 9-9 Pac-12) did not lead the 16th-ranked Oregon Ducks (34-12, 11-8 Pac-12) until the bottom of the eighth inning when Hallie Wilson broke a 4-4 tie with a two-out single to center field in the bottom of the eighth that scored Chelsea Goodacre from third.
The Cats avoided the sweep with the hit and got back to .500 in conference play after Oregon took the first two games of the series.
The victory marked the second consecutive year that Oregon won games one and two and Arizona bounced back to win game three in Tucson.
The hit was Arizona's second walk-off, extra-inning victory of the season; Arizona downed San Diego State 8-6 in eight on March 28 on a Shelby Pendley homer.
It was Wilson's second hit of the day and fifth hit of the series.
The team's offenses traded blows early with Oregon taking a two run advantage in the top of the first and the Cats responding with two of their own in the bottom half. Likewise in the third, the teams traded two-spots. Zeros would fill the next four innings in the line score.
Oregon put a runner in scoring position with only one out in its extra inning but could not score.
Arizona took advantage of a similar situation. Jessica Spigner popped out to begin the frame before consecutive singles by Goodacre and Alex Lavine had the Cats in business. Pinch-hitter Baillie Kirker grounded into a fielder's choice and put runners on the corners for Wilson. The freshman sailed a ball out of the reach of Oregon centerfielder Janie Takeda near the warning track in right-center to win the game.
Lini Koria led the team offensively with a pair of RBI as well as her third home run of the series, and fifth in five games. Along with Wilson's RBI, Spigner and Nicole Bryan each brought home a run in the contest.
Kenzie Fowler (14-6) picked up the win for Arizona in relief of starter Shelby Babcock. Fowler entered in the fourth to pitch five scoreless innings in which she allowed just four hits. Fowler walked two and struck out five.
Jessica Moore (24-9) was credited with the loss in relief of UO starter Karissa Hovinga. Moore entered with two out in the seventh inning, got the first two batters she faced out before allowing three singles in the bottom of the eighth, including Wilson's walk-off. Hovinga pitched 6.2 innings and allowed four runs on nine hits while walking one and striking four Wildcats out.
Kailee Cuico got the scoring started in the top of the first inning when she homered to left field with two out and one on to give Oregon a 2-0 lead.
Arizona answered back with two runs of its own when Koria drew a bases-loaded walk and Spigner was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to tie the game at two.
In the third inning, Oregon scored a couple more two out runs on an Alexa Peterson double to right field.
Like they did in the first, the Cats responded right away. Koria led off the bottom of the third with her 14th homer of the season. Spigner followed with a double to left field and was batted home by Bryan's single down the left field line to re-tie the game.
Arizona had just one hit from the fourth to the seventh innings, while Oregon put runners in scoring position in both the fourth and fifth frames.
The Cats brought the heart of their order up to try to win it in the bottom of the seventh but went down in order.
In the extra inning, Oregon got a leadoff walk followed by a one-out single to get the go-ahead runner into scoring position with just one out. Fowler struck out Jamie Rae Sullivan and got pinch-hitter Hannah Melick to ground out to end the threat.
In the bottom half, Goodacre and Lavine singled and Wilson won it with an RBI single to center.
The Cats salvaged a win, but dropped the series to the Ducks 2-1. It is Arizona's third series loss of the season.
Arizona is back in action when it travels to UCLA for three games May 4-6. The Cats and the Bruins battle Friday (7:00 p.m.), Saturday (6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.).