May 6, 2012
LOS ANGELES -
LOS ANGELES - No. 15 Arizona Softball (33-16, 10-11 Pac-12) used timely pitching to escape with a 7-6 victory over UCLA (35-16, 11-10 Pac-12) to avoid the sweep in a wild game with plenty of lead changes and momentum shifts.
Arizona took a 7-5 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning before UCLA made things interesting. Fowler allowed a leadoff walk before getting the next two batters out. With two out, UCLA notched back-to-back two-strike singles, the latter of which, off the bat of Samantha Camuso, drove home a run. The tying run was at second base with the winning run 45 feet behind her. Fowler struck out Dani Yudin to end the game.
Fowler's pressure pitches in the seventh came after she worked out of a bases-loaded, none out jam in the fifth. The Wildcat pitcher issued free passes to the first two batters she faced in the fifth and a bunt single to load the bases. With no one out and the 4-5-6 hitters up, Arizona was clinging to a two-run lead. Fowler struck out cleanup hitter B.B. Bates and induced a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning.
UCLA's Samantha Camuso drove home all six of UCLA's runs in the game and had two home runs.
Arizona's 10-hit attack was its fifth double-digit hit game in the last eight games. Del Ponte (2), Shelby Pendley (3), Chelsea Goodacre (2) and Arriola (2) all had multi-hit games for Arizona. Pendley and Del Ponte each had two RBI while Goodacre, Arriola and Lini Koria had one apiece.
Spigner got the start in the circle for Arizona and allowed a three-run homer in the first inning before receiving the hook in favor of Babcock (17-9). The sophomore pitched three innings of effective ball. She allowed just one hit, a two-run homer that followed her only walk of the game. Fowler notched her second save of the season by pitching the final three innings and allowing one run on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
UCLA got the scoring going in the first when Camuso hit her first of two home runs in the game. This, a two-out, three-run shot, gave the Bruins a 3-0 lead.
The Wildcats responded with a run in the second when the sun kept Bruin second baseman Talee Snow from catching a routine pop-up behind first allowing Pendley to score from second.
Hallie Wilson led off the third inning with a single and then trotted home on Del Ponte's 12th home run of the season that tied the game at three.
UCLA snagged the lead back when Camuso belted her second homer of the game. Babcock got the first two Bruins out in the third before walking Bates and allowing the homer to give UCLA a 5-3 lead.
In what was a wild top of the fourth, Spigner reached on an error to begin the frame and was picked off trying to move to second on a wild pitch. Goodacre singled off the wall in right and was picked off 9-4-3. After the two pickoffs, Arriola homered to cut the deficit to 5-4.
In the sixth inning, two walks and a single loaded the bases with no one out for Arizona's 4-5-6 hitters. Pendley grounded a go-ahead, two-run single up the middle to grab the lead and Koria followed with a sac-fly to give the Cats a two-run advantage.
UCLA would strand five runners the rest of the way and Arizona edged the Bruins 7-6 and salvaged a win in the series.
Arizona returns home to take on Oregon State for a three game series Thursday-Saturday. It will be the final regular season series of the year for Arizona and senior weekend for Kristen Arriola, Nicole Bryan, Karissa Buchanan, Lini Koria and Jessica Spigner.