TUCSON, Ariz. ?C The Arizona softball team returned to action for the first time since capturing the 2007 Womenˇ?s College World Series last June. The Wildcats defeated Yavapai College, 4-0, and Eastern Arizona, 10-1, in five innings in a fall doubleheader at Hillenbrand Stadium on Saturday.
UAˇ?s Callista Balko and Kˇ?Lee Arredondo led a balanced offensive attack over the pair of victories. Balko went 3-for-5 with a home run, a double and three RBI across the two contests, while Arredondo had four hits in six at-bats with a double and home run of her own.
All told, UA out-slugged its opponents .795 to .105 with nine Wildcat extra-base hits to the opponentsˇ? none.
Arizona 4, Yavapai 0
UA pitchers Taryne Mowatt and Lindsey Sisk nearly combined for a no-hitter in UAˇ?s 4-0 victory over Yavapai.
Mowatt worked four innings of hitless ball against the Roughriders, retiring the first nine batters she faced. Throwing to the minimum 12 hitters over the four frames, Mowatt struck out six and allowed one walk before giving way to Sisk.
UA broke up the scoreless tie in the third inning on a Brittany Lastrapes sacrifice fly. Sarah Akamine led off the UA half of the third with a walk and was lifted for pinch runner Danielle Rodriguez. After Adrienne Acton moved Rodriguez to second with a sacrifice bunt, Lauren Schutzler put runners on the corners with a single up the middle. That brought Lastrapes to the plate for the sacrifice fly, putting UA up 1-0.
One inning later, UA tacked on an additional run using nearly the same forumula. Laine Roth opened the inning by reaching on an error. Sam Banister advanced pinch runner Jill Malina to second with a sacrifice bunt, and Kˇ?Lee Arredondo moved Malina to third with her first of two singles in the contest. With runners on the corners, Sarah Akamine drove the ball to right field, deep enough to plate Malina for UAˇ?s second run.
At the beginning of the Sisk took over where Mowatt left off, striking out the first five batters she faced.
The Wildcats rallied to double their lead in the sixth with three consecutive hits to lead off the sixth inning. Banister and Arredondo began the frame with a pair of singles, bringing up Victoria Kemp, who had entered for Akamine in the fifth. In her first at-bat, Kemp promptly doubled off the right-center field wall, scoring two runs and moving UAˇ?s lead to 4-0.
Yavapai finally broke through with its first hit of the game with one out in the seventh inning. The hit was sandwiched between a Wildcat error and a walk, bringing the game-tying run to the plate in the form of cleanup hitter Brittany Tucker. Sisk stepped up to strikeout the YC backstop, ending the game.
Arizona 10, Eastern Arizona 1 (5 innings)
After combining for just one extra-base hit as a team in its first fall game, UA teed off on Eastern Arizona right out of the gate of its 10-1 victory.
With two out in the first inning, Callista Balko and Jenae Leles hit back-to-back solo home runs to center field, staking pitcher Lindsey Sisk to a 2-0 advantage.
The barrage of hits continued in the second inning, when Kˇ?Lee Arredondo and Sam Banister opened the frame with consecutive doubles. However, Banisterˇ?s RBI two-bagger would mark the only Wildcat run of the inning, bringing the score to 3-0 after two frames.
EAC got on the board with a run in the third, despite never having the ball leave the infield. Brittany Brackenridge led off with an infield single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt and to third on a groundout. Leadoff hitter Marina Gusman-Brown singled to deep short, plating Brackenridge for the Gila Monstersˇ? first run.
The Wildcats padded the lead with three additional runs on three hits in the third. Balko notched a multi-hit game with a leadoff single up the middle. After a groundout and a Victoria Kemp walk, pinch runner Danielle Rodriguez scored on a throwing error. That brought up Arredondo, who crushed a two-run homer to right-center field ?C UAˇ?s third dinger in as many innings.
UA put up four runs in the fourth inning, as Balko doubled home in Brittany Lastrapes and Lindsay Schutzler; both of whom had singled. After Balkoˇ?s pinch runner Rodriguez scored on a wild pitch, Sarah Akamine connected on a line-drive solo home run, moving UAˇ?s lead to 10-1.
Sisk would throw four innings of one-run ball on three hits, before Taryne Mowatt struck out the side in one inning of relief.
Eastern Arizona 2, Yavapai 2
Up Next: Next weekend, the Wildcats will host the Arizona Fall Tournament. UA opens play on Friday against Arizona Western at 2:30 p.m. The Wildcats take on UTEP and Central Arizona on Saturday at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, before wrapping up play against Cypress College and Pima College on Sunday at 3 and 5 p.m., respectively. All games are free and open to the public.