TEMPE, Ariz. – The Arizona softball team endured its first loss of the 2007 season, dropping a 3-1, eight-inning decision to Florida in the second day of the Kajikawa Classic.
With two outs and the game tied 1-1 in the bottom of the eighth, Florida third baseman Melissa Zick clubbed a two-run, walk-off homer to give the Gators the victory.
The loss drops UA to 2-1 on the young campaign, while Florida improves to 3-0.
UA pitcher Taryne Mowatt (1-1) struck out 11 Gators while surrendering two earned runs on four hits in seven and two-thirds innings of work. Florida’s Stacey Nelson (2-0) earned her second win of the year with the victory.
After a quiet first inning, the Wildcats manufactured one run in the second. Chelsie Mesa led off the frame with a base on balls and advanced to second on a Callista Balko single to right. In her first collegiate at-bat, Sarah Akamine advanced Mesa to third on a fly ball to right. One out later with runners on the corners, Cyndi Duran singled to center to give UA a 1-0 advantage.
With the game tied in the sixth, UF mounted a massive threat but failed to get on the board . With the top of the Gator order up, Kim Waleszonia drew a full-count walk to start things off. After Mowatt struck out Lauren Roussell, Francesca Enea singled to left to give UF runners at first and second. Melissa Zick drew UF’s second full-count base on balls of the frame to load the bases. Mowatt got behind Lacy Howard 3-0, but threw three consecutive strikes to punch out the Gator center fielder. With the bags still full, Mowatt induced Ali Gardiner into a groundout to end the threat and take 1-1 game into the seventh.
UF started its half of the eighth inning with Waleszonia placed on second base. Roussell sacrificed Waleszonia to third, putting the game-winning run just 60 feet away. Enea then fought off Mowatt’s 1-2 offering with a tapper to Akamine at third, who fired home to Balko to retire Waleszonia and save the game for the time being. Two pitches later, Zick sent the ball over the center field wall to secure a victory for the Gators.Game Notes:
- For the third consecutive year, UA’s first loss of the season came in extra innings.
- Caitlin Lowe extended her hitting streak to seven games, while Callista Balko’s carry over streak from 2006 now stands at six contests.
Up Next: Arizona faces 2006 Women’s College World Series finalist Northwestern later today at 3:30 p.m. at Farrington Stadium in the Kajikawa Classic.