TUCSON – Arizona scored nine runs on nine hits while limiting Southern Miss to just a pair of hits in Arizona’s season-opening 9-0, five-inning victory Friday night at Hillenbrand Stadium.
The Wildcats (1-0) were led by shortstop Kellie Fox and pitcher Kenzie Fowler (1-0), two players forced to redshirt the 2013 season. Fox, in her first game in Arizona uniform after transferring from UCLA, doubled, tripled and drove in four runs while supplying stellar defense at short. Fowler, in her first start since May 26, 2012, allowed just two hits and struck out two batters in four innings of work.
The nine-run season-opening victory was Arizona’s most lopsided victory since a 13-0, five-inning triumph over Western Michigan in 2010.
Hallie Wilson, who went 2-for-2 in the game, Chelsea Goodacre, Kelsey Rodriguez and Lauren Young also drove in runs for Arizona; Rodriguez plated a pair while going 1-for-2.
Freshman Michelle Floyd made her Wildcat debut in the circle, working a perfect fifth inning to preserve the UA victory.
Courtney Rodriguez and Alex Lavine went a combined 3-for-3 from the eight and nine spots, respectively, in the batting order, giving Arizona much needed production from the bottom of the lineup.
In addition to Arizona’s nine hits, the Wildcats took advantage of three Southern Miss errors in the game.
Southern Miss (0-1) starter Samantha Robles (0-1) pitched all four innings and allowed nine runs, eight earned in the contest. Robles walked two and did not strike out a batter.
In her first at-bat in an Arizona uniform, Fox doubled home Wilson, who singled to begin the game. Goodacre and Kelsey Rodriguez added RBI groundouts to give Arizona a 3-0 lead after one inning.
Arizona added runs in the second and the third. Wilson singled home a run in the second and Young grounded in a run in the fourth to give UA a 5-0 lead.
Arizona broke it open in the fourth when it loaded the bases with no one out. Fox tripled off the right-centerfield wall to empty the bases and then was brought in by Kelsey Rodriguez’s single to push the score to 9-0.
Floyd entered to pitch the final inning and worked a 1-2-3 fifth to preserve to 9-0 run-rule victory for Arizona.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 2:00 p.m. before concluding the series Sunday at 11:00 a.m. MST.