May 12, 2012
TUCSON -Brigette Del Ponte sent seniors Kristen Arriola, Nicole Bryan, Karissa Buchanan, Lini Koria and Jessica Spigner home with a senior day to remember when she hit a walkoff, two-run homer to beat Oregon State (34-21, 9-12 Pac-12), 3-1 in the final regular season game of the season.
Arizona trailed by a run with five outs remaining in the regular season when Spigner, hitless in her last 15 at-bats and homerless in her last 77, tied the game with a home run to left-center. The home run ended 12.1 consecutive scoreless innings hurled by OSU's Marina Demore, dating back to her Friday night complete-game shutout.
In the bottom of the seventh, Del Ponte ended it with her 14th home run of the season. The win marks the second consecutive home series finale that Arizona won the game on a walkoff hit; Hallie Wilson hit a walkoff single to beat Oregon in eight innings in game three vs. the Ducks.
In addition to Spigner's heroics, fellow senior Buchanan saved perhaps her best career game for last. Buchanan had four of UA's seven hits and scored the winning run on Del Ponte's homer. Buchanan, starting her 200th career game, recorded four hits for the first time in her career.
While the offense came alive for three runs in the final two frames, Shelby Babcock (19-9) dealt a gem to keep the Cats in the game. Babcock did not have a run of support until the sixth, but kept the Cats in the game with a complete-game five-hitter. Babcock allowed only one run while striking out a career-high-tying nine batters and walking just one Beaver.
All the games' runs were scored via the long ball. Oregon State took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Lea Cavestany's solo shot. Spigner (1) and Del Ponte (2) recorded Arizona's only RBI in the contest with their home runs.
Arizona ended the regular season with a 35-17 record and a 12-12 record in Pac-12 play. The 35 regular season victories are the fewest since 1986 team won 27 in the regular season. Arizona's victory total is affected, however, by having six games rained out this season.
The Wildcats find out their postseason fate tomorrow night when the NCAA Championship bracket is announced. The selection show will be broadcast by ESPNU beginning at 7:00 p.m. PDT. Check Arizona's official Twitter page (@UA_Softball) and Facebook (Arizona Athletics) for updates during the show.