May 11, 2013
PALO ALTO, Calif. -
In the final game of the regular season, Arizona used a ninth-inning solo homer from Chelsea Goodacre in the top of the ninth inning and an excellent effort in the circle from Nancy Bowling and Estela Piñon to take the game and the series from No. 13 Stanford. Arizona's 4-3 victory Saturday gave Arizona its second consecutive series win over a top-15 team.
Arizona, winners of four of its last six games against a pair of top Pac-12 opponents (ASU and Stanford), closed the regular season on a high note and will find out its postseason destiny Sunday at 7:00 p.m. PDT on ESPNU.
Goodacre's ninth inning homer came on the first pitch of the frame to break a 3-3 tie. It was the sophomore's 17th homer of the year.
Arizona was outhit by the Cardinal 8-6, but took advantage of 10 free passes issued by three Stanford pitchers.
Bowling and Piñon combined to toss a gem. Bowling allowed base hits to the first three batters she faced and fell into an early 2-0 hole, but was brilliant after that. The freshman allowed just four runners to reach base over the next five innings and ended up allowing three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
Piñon (12-8) continued to excel in relief, pitching 2.1 innings of one-hit ball. The junior struck out one and walked one in her scoreless outing. In her last seven appearances, all in relief, Piñon has pitched 12.2 innings and allowed only one unearned run on five hits with 15 strikeouts.
Arizona faced a trio of Stanford pitchers, the bulk of which was handled by Teagan Gerhart (19-11). The starter pitched the first four innings and the final 3.2 innings and allowed one run on six hits while walking four on her senior day. Kelsey Stevens pitched one inning and walked four batters, giving up a run with a pair of strikeouts. Nyree White faced three batters in the sixth, issuing two walks and recorded one out; both of those walks would end up scoring.
Hallie Wilson, Chelsea Suitos and Kelsey Rodriguez drove in runs to complement the Goodacre solo shot. Wilson and Suitos brought Arizona back from a run down in the sixth with back-to-back run scoring singles with one out.
Alex Lavine, who entered the game with two total walks on the season, drew two bases on balls Saturday and added a base hit to extend her career-best hitting streak to seven games.
In its first 50 games of the season, the Wildcats were 3-14 against ranked competition. Since then, Arizona is 4-2 with series wins over then-No. 3 ASU and 13th-ranked Stanford.
Stanford got on the board quickly when the first three Cardinal recorded hits in the bottom of the first. After two singles led off the inning, Kayla Bonstrom tripled to right field. Bonstrom, though, would be left at third when Bowling retired the next three batters in order.
The Cats used four Stevens walks to cut Stanford's lead in half in the fifth.
In the sixth, Mandie Perez and Lavine walked to put two on with one out for Wilson. The sophomore singled home Perez to tie the game before Suitos singled in Lavine to give Arizona the lead.
Bowling, trying to close the game out in the bottom of the seventh, allowed a leadoff single to Teagan Schmidt. After a fly ball moved Sarah Hassman, who traded placed with Schmidt on a fielder's choice, to second. With two out, Leah White launched a double over the head of Wilson in left to tie the game.
The teams exchanged 1-2-3 eighth innings before Goodacre's homer started the ninth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Hassman knocked a one out single and moved to second on a groundout. With two out and the tying run in scoring position, Piñon hit White to put two on before intentionally walking Bonstrom, who was 2-for-2 on the day, for the second time in the game. With the bases loaded, Jenna Rich popped out in foul ground to end the game.