Arizona fell to No. 2 Oklahoma 5-0 and scored three runs with two out in the seventh inning to beat Long Beach State 4-3
Feb. 21, 2013
Long Beach State Box Score
Oklahoma Box Score
PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -
14th-ranked Arizona softball split its first two games of the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, Thursday. Arizona dropped a 5-0 decision to second-ranked Oklahoma before earning a dramatic, comeback victory over Long Beach State 4-3.
Game 1 - No. 2 Oklahoma 5, No. 14 Arizona 0
The Wildcats managed just three hits against OU hurler Michelle Gascoigne and were shutout in a 5-0 decision against second-ranked Oklahoma.
The Sooners, which improved to 12-0 on the season, have faced six ranked opponents and have not allowed a run in any of the games.
Arizona held Oklahoma, which entered the weekend averaging over eight runs per contest, to just one run through four innings before the power bats of OU got loose in the fifth. Jessica Shults led off the inning with a home run that chased Arizona starter Estela Piñon, who dropped to 3-1 with the loss. Freshman Nancy Bowling entered and allowed a home run to the first batter she faced, Keilani Ricketts, to put the Sooners on top 3-0. Oklahoma wasn't done though. Four batters later, Jessica Vest tallied her first hit of the season, a home run to left field that scored two and gave the Sooners a 5-0 lead.
The Cats put runners on board in the first, fifth, sixth and seventh innings against Gascoigne, who improved to 6-0 with the win. Arizona, though, couldn't score and was shut out for the first time since the Sooners shut the Wildcats out in the NCAA Super Regional last season, 6-0 on May 25, 2012.
Kelsey Rodriguez had two of Arizona's three hits, including a triple in the seventh inning, the first triple of the season for Arizona.
The two teams meet again March 16 in the Judi Garman Invitational.
Game 2 - No. 14 Arizona 4, Long Beach State 3
Down to its final strike with no one on and trailing by two runs, Arizona mounted a two-out rally, plated three runs and earned a triumphant 4-3 victory over Long Beach State.
Long Beach State broke a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning when Darian Tautalafua homered to straight away center field, a two-run shot to turn the pressure onto Arizona in the top of the seventh.
Erin Jones-Wesley struck out the first two batters she faced and was one strike away from striking out the side to end the game. Chelsea Suitos had other ideas. The redshirt sophomore worked a 2-2 count into a walk and extended the game. Hallie Wilson followed with a walk of her own to put the tying run on board. Brigette Del Ponte sent the first pitch she saw to the wall in left field. Suitos scored to bring the Cats closer and Wilson and Del Ponte represented the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. A walk to Kelsey Rodriguez loaded the bases.
Chelsea Goodacre, the fifth Wildcat to bat with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, took the first two pitches outside of the strikezone. With the count in her favor, Goodacre ripped a double, her second double of the game, to left field to score the game-tying and go-ahead runs to give UA a 4-3 lead.
While the offensive heroics in the seventh inning stand out, Nancy Bowling's effort in the circle was just as important.
Bowling replaced Shelby Babcock in the sixth inning after Babcock had surrendered a two-run home run and two walks with no one out in the inning. Bowling got the next three batters in order to keep Long Beach State from adding insurance in the sixth.
In the seventh, facing the 3-4-5 hitters in the 49ers' lineup, Bowling spared any dramatics by getting heart of the lineup in short order to preserve victory.
Bowling improved to 2-0 with the win.
Babcock, who started the game, went five innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out four and walking three.
Arizona scored its four runs on six hits; sophomores Wilson and Goodacre had two apiece.
Long Beach State got on the board first. Shayna Kimbrough led off the bottom of the first inning with a double and moved to third on a groundout to the right side. Kimbrough would score when Nalani St. Germain singled through the middle to give LBSU a 1-0 lead.
After giving the 49ers the lead St. Germain would cost Long Beach State a run in third inning. Arizona had two runners on with two out when Goodacre hit a routine grounder to St. Germain, the LBSU second baseman. St. Germain couldn't handle it and Arizona tied the game on the inning-extending error.
The teams exchanged zeros on the scoreboard until Long Beach State plated two in the bottom of the sixth.
Arizona would respond with its eventual game-winning three runs in the top of the seventh.
Up next: Two more games are on the docket for Arizona at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic on Friday. Arizona takes on Ohio State at 6:00 p.m. and Loyola Marymount at 8:30 p.m. PST. The Wildcats will conclude their participation in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic with a meeting with No. 11 LSU on Saturday.
For continued coverage of Arizona Wildcat Softball, visit ArizonaWildcats.com. Be sure to follow Arizona Softball on Twitter (@UA_Softball) and Facebook (ArizonaSoftball).