March 21, 2012
No. 14 Arizona Softball (19-5) split a doubleheader with New Mexico State (18-13), falling in game one 9-5 before rallying to steal the nightcap 6-3.
Arizona's one and two hitters, Hallie Wilson and Chelsea Suitos combined for 10 of Arizona's 19 hits on the day. Wilson's day included her first career home run, a career-best 4-for-4 showing in game two, which included a two-out, two-RBI, game-tying single in the bottom of the sixth. Wilson had a total of five RBI in the two games.
The Wildcats will begin Pac-12 play this weekend at ASU. The 14th-ranked Cats and fifth-ranked Sun Devils battle Friday (7:00 p.m.), Saturday (7:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.). The games can be seen live at http://www.foxsportsarizona.com/pages/sundevils_stream or heard live on 1290 AM.
Game 1: New Mexico State 9, Arizona 5
New Mexico State scored eight unanswered runs to down Arizona 9-5 in game one of the doubleheader.
The Aggies hit three home runs off Kenzie Fowler, who had given up just two all season entering the contest. The loss was the first of the year for Fowler and Arizona's first loss at home in 2012. The nine Aggie runs, just six earned, came off only five hits and two Arizona errors. Fowler struck out nine and walked five in the game. The junior fell to 8-1 on the season with the loss.
Alex Newman improved to 9-8 on the season with the win for NMSU. Newman allowed five runs on seven hits, walked two and struck out two.
Arizona had won 47 of the 50 games in the series between the two teams, including 13 in a row and 38 of the last 39 entering the day.
The loss was the worst of Arizona's season. Its previous four losses had come by one run (three times - Georgia Tech, Nebraska and Texas A&M) and three runs (Georgia).
The Cats lost despite outhitting New Mexico State 7-5.
Arizona used two home runs in the first two innings to take a 5-1 lead. Jessica Spigner went deep with a two-run blast in the first and Wilson hit a three-run homer in the second. UA would get just four base-runners the rest of the way. New Mexico State, meanwhile, scored eight straight - two in the fifth, three in the sixth and three in the seventh to win it.
UA got the scoring going in the first inning when Jessica Spigner nailed her sixth home run of the season, a two-run shot to give Arizona a 2-0 lead.
The Arizona lead was cut in half in the next half inning when New Mexico State's Teresa Conrad hit her first home run of the season.
UA got its first two runners aboard in the second. A couple of fielder's choices kept the runners on first and second with two out. Hallie Wilson emptied the bases with her first career home run, a dead-center shot that gave the Wildcats a 5-1 lead.
New Mexico State scored two unearned runs in the fifth on just one hit. An Arizona error and hit-batsman put two on with one out for the Aggies. A groundout to the right side advanced both runners and Amber Olive hit them both home with a single through middle to cut Arizona's lead to 5-3.
The Aggies tied up the game in the sixth on a two-run home run by Valerie Swedberg. With two out in the frame a walk and a hit put two on for NMSU, and a Wildcat error would score the go-ahead run.
Swedberg was at it again in the seventh. Fowler, trying to keep the game within striking distance for the offense, walked two batters and Swedberg hit them home with her second homer of the day that gave the Aggies a 9-5 lead.
UA appeared to have something going in the bottom half before a line double play killed any momentum the Cats were picking up.
Game 2: Arizona 6, New Mexico State 3
Arizona scored five unearned runs in the sixth inning to come back and down New Mexico State in the nightcap, 6-3.
With two-out in the bottom of the sixth, trailing by two runs, Arizona was facing the possibility of being swept at home in a doubleheader for the first time since 1991 before Wilson singled two runs home to tie the game. This came after a NMSU fielding error extended the inning. Brigette Del Ponte then took the lead with a pair of RBI herself and Spigner added some insurance by doubling Del Ponte home.
Wilson went 4-for-4 on the day, the first four-hit game by a Wildcat all season.
Shelby Babcock earned the win for the Wildcats. Babcock allowed three runs on seven Aggie Hits and struck out five. Babcock improved to 9-4 on the season.
New Mexico State took the early lead on a Briana Tovio-Asato home run in the second inning.
UA responded, however, in the third. Wilson led off the frame with a double, her Pac-12-leading 11th of the season, and Suitos brought her home with a single up the middle.
The teams traded zeros until New Mexico State took the lead in the top of the sixth inning. A couple of singles and a two-out walk loaded the bases for Malena Padilla who singled up the middle to bring two runs home.
Shelby Pendley led off the bottom of the sixth with a single. After a foul-fly out, a defensive error put two on and one out for the Cats. Pendley and Kristen Arriola moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Karissa Buchanan. Down to their final strike of the inning, the Cats got a clutch single by Wilson, who took a 1-2 Karysta Donisthorpe offering up the middle to score two runs and tie the game. A single by Suitos put two on for Del Ponte. The junior stepped into the batter's box just 1-for-her-last-17. Del Ponte doubled home Wilson and Suitos to give Arizona the lead. Spigner then doubled Del Ponte home to give Arizona the 6-3 advantage.
The first two NMSU batters reached in the seventh, giving the would-be tying run three chances to bat. Babcock, however, got the next three Aggies in order to end the game.