March 29, 2009
TUCSON -- No. 11 Arizona homered on back-to-back pitches in the bottom of the seventh to score a dramatic come-from-behind victory over the Oregon Ducks, 7-6, in front of 2,214 at Hillenbrand Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
After surrendering a two-run lead in the top half of the final frame, K'Lee Arredondo followed a Brittany Lastrapes leadoff walk with a game-tying two-run shot. Brittany Rumfelt came in to relieve starter Sam Skillingstad and threw one pitch to Jenae Leles, who connected on a towering walk-off blast to right-center giving the Cats a 7-6 win.
It was Leles's second homer of the day, and fourth in two days. Her 17 home runs are now five shy of the national leader, teammate Stacie Chambers. Arredondo also hit two jacks, finishing with a team-high four RBI.
Arizona's (31-7, 3-0 Pac-10) bats got off to a hot start when Lastrapes led off the bottom of the first with a single down the left field line. Arredondo then hit her third home run of the season to give Arizona the 2-0.
Monique Fuiava doubled into the gap to leadoff the Oregon second. Blair Williamson, who recorded her first career home run off Sisk last night, placed a bunt single that moved Fuiava to third. UO (10-20, 0-4 Pac-10) attempted a suicide squeeze to get Fuiava home, but Carlyn Re's bunt fell right in front of catcher Stacie Chambers, who tagged Fuiava at the plate for the first out of the inning. A blooper to shallow right off the bat of Lindsey Chambers fell just in front of a charging effort by Sam Banister, allowing Williamson to cross the plate for Oregon's first run of the day. The Wildcat defense retired the next two batters to get out of the jam, up 2-1.
One night removed from a second inning in which six unearned runs were scored on two UO errors, Oregon fumbled defensively again with two outs. A throwing error credited to third baseman Ashley Kivett put runners on the corners for Lastrapes, who roped one to right and scored Laine Roth, giving Arizona a 3-1 lead.
Head Coach Mike Candrea went to the bullpen in the third, replacing Sarah Akamine with Sisk, but the sophomore gave up an RBI triple to Neena Bryant that cut the lead to 3-2. Oregon almost struck again when Bryant took off for home on a dribbler to third by Fuiava, but was downed at the plate on the throw from Leles. Re tied the game by knocking in another run when she singled to center with two outs, forcing Candrea to put in Jennifer Martinez. The senior got the third out of the inning on the first batter she faced.
The tie was short-lived, though, as Leles led off the Arizona third with a home run to centerfield, giving UA a 4-3 lead.
A pitchers duel ensued over the next three innings, as Martinez retired ten straight batters, and Skillingstad allowed only one Arizona hit until the seventh.
After a strikeout, pinch-hitter Kelsey Chambers singled to start the UO seventh. After a walk and a lineout, Bryant - who's three-run homer was the difference-maker in a 3-2 Oregon win last season in Eugene - smoked the first pitch she saw to deep center, putting the Ducks up 6-4. Fuiava then drove a ball deep to right that appeared to be gone, but freshman Karissa Buchanan had a different agenda. The Tucson native - who had replaced Sam Banister in right - sprinted back, collided with the wall and robbed Fuiava for the third out of the inning, suffering a facial injury in the process and keeping the Oregon lead at two.
Martinez (7-1) picked up yet another win in relief, only giving up two hits in 4.3 innings. Akamine gave up a run and three hits in two innings of action. Sisk tossed 0.2 innings, giving up three earned runs on two hits and a walk.
Despite throwing only one pitch, Rumfelt (1-6) received the loss. Skillingstad gave up six runs - five earned - on six hits in six innings. The freshman issued six walks and struck out four.
Up Next: Arizona will face arguably their toughest competition of the season, heading to Washington this Friday before traveling to Los Angeles for a two game series with the UCLA Bruins on Saturday and Sunday.