TEMPE, Ariz. - In a back-and-forth affair that saw three ties and five lead changes, No. 8 Arizona outlasted No. 11 Arizona State in a 10-inning thriller, 6-5, on Sunday night inside Farrington Stadium.
Mo Mercado had four go-ahead RBI in the contest, in three separate at-bats, including the eventual game winner on a groundout in the top of the 10th inning.
Mercado and Arizona's extra-inning heroics would not have been possible without the Cats' seventh-inning two out rally. UA was down to its last out, down a run with no one on base in the top of the seventh, needing a run to avoid being swept. Hallie Wilson singled to left field before Kelsey Rodriguez doubled her home to tie the game.
Mercado hit a two-run homer in the top of the eighth to put the pressure on ASU in the bottom half. The Sun Devils would respond with a two-run homer of their own off the bat of Alix Johnson to push the game to the ninth.
After a scoreless ninth, Mercado's groundout scored Kellie Fox, who led off the 10th inning with a single, to give UA the lead back at 6-5.
In the bottom of the 10th, after Estela Piñon issued a leadoff walk with her 205th pitch of the game, Kenzie Fowler inherited the the go-ahead runner at the plate.
After a walk and an error loaded the bases with two out, Fowler's 1-2 changeup caught Bethany Kemp looking to end the game.
Fowler struck out two while earning her first save of the season.
Piñon tossed a career-high 205 pitches in her nine innings of work. The senior improved to 10-5 with the gritty performance. The Tucson native surrendered five runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and 11 walks.
After notching just one run on two hits over the first five innings, UA's bats came alive over the final five, plating five runs on seven hits off of Dallas Escobedo to down the Devils.
In addition to Mercado's two-hit, four-RBI game, Kelsey Rodriguez (2-for-5, RBI) and Chelsea Goodacre (1-for-3, solo home run) shined offensively for the Cats.
With the victory, Arizona improved to 3-0 this season in extra-inning contests.
ASU's first hit of the game came in emphatic fashion when Amber Freeman's third-inning two-out homer to deep left gave the Sun Devils a 1-0 lead.
UA responded in its next turn at the plate when Goodacre hit her NCAA-best 15th homer of the season.
In the top of the sixth, Kelsey Rodriguez led off the inning with a single. After a sacrifice bunt and intentional walk to Chelsea Goodacre, Mercado singled to right on an 0-2 pitch to score the pinch runner Eva Watson and give Arizona a 2-1 lead.
The lead did not last long as ASU led off the the sixth with a single followed by a double followed by a two-run Elizabeth Caporuscio triple to give the Sun Devils a 3-2 lead in the sixth.
The Cats were down to their final out in the top of the seventh with bases empty when Hallie Wilson singled to left to put the tying run aboard. Kelsey Rodriguez sent the next pitch to the left centerfield gap to score Wilson from first to tie the game.
Goodacre led off the top of the eighth with a walk and, after a sacrifice bunt, Mercado launched a two-run homer to left-center, marking the second time today Mercado had come through with go-ahead RBI.
ASU, after a leadoff walk in the bottom of the eighth, tied the game on Alix Johnson's two-run homer with one out in the frame.
After a scoreless ninth, Kellie Fox led off the 10th with a single and moved to second on an error by left fielder Caporuscio. A Katiyana Mauga single put runners at the corners for Mercado, whose RBI groundout gave the Cats a 6-5 lead in the 10th.
ASU loaded the bases with two out but Fowler ended the game with a backward K of Kemp.
Arizona returns to action when it hosts Stanford Friday through Sunday at Hillenbrand Stadium.