COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The Arizona softball team allowed four runs in the first inning and was shut out by Baylor pitcher Whitney Canion in a 7-0 loss in the opening game of the NCAA regionals on Friday.
UA (32-25) will play the loser of the Texas A&M-Penn game at 2:30 p.m. Arizona time on Saturday. The Wildcats will need to win four straight games to advance out of the College Station Regional.
Both Arizona and Baylor scattered six hits in the contest, but UA pitchers issued six walks to the Bears’ zero. The Wildcats also stranded eight runners on base.
Baylor (40-15) will play the winner of the Texas A&M-Penn contest for a chance to punch its ticket to the regional championship.
Arizona starter Shelby Babcock (16-11) walked the first three batters she faced and did not record an out as she faced just six batters in her outing. Babcock was charged with four runs on two hits.
Her replacement, Nancy Bowling, allowed three runs on four hits the rest of the way. The freshman struck out four and walked three in five innings of work. She was relieved in the sixth after giving up two runs in the frame without recording an out.
Estela Piñon retired all three batters she faced in the sixth.
Canion (24-8) allowed just four base runners beyond the second inning. She struck out five, allowed seven hits and did not walk a batter in the shutout.
Babcock, after walking the first three batters of the game, gave up an RBI fielder’s choice that put Baylor ahead 1-0 lead in the first. The next two batters singled to score three runs and chase Babcock in favor of Bowling.
Arizona attempted to respond in its next at-bat, loading the bases with one out, but the next two Wildcats were retired on one pitch each to strand three runners and allow the Bears to escape the jam with their lead intact.
Baylor plated another run in the fourth inning on a bases-loaded pitch and then tacked on two in the sixth to put the game away.