Pitching dominates as Arizona softball splits doubleheader

SEATTLEThrough on-again, off-again rain, Arizona and Washington split a doubleheader Sunday at Husky Softball Stadium thanks to a pair of pitching gems. Bryana Walker’s five-inning one-hitter led Washington to an 8-0 mercy-rule victory in the early game, while Estela Pinon’s two-hit performance helped Arizona take Game 2 to avoid a series sweep.

The doubleheader was delayed 90 minutes due to rain after Saturday’s game was postponed for the same reason.

After the removal of the tarp, Washington came out swinging, needing just five innings to take Game 1. In the afternoon game, Pinon was able to cool the Huskies’ bats and was backed by Kelsey Rodriguez’s two-run homer in the third, which turned out to be all Arizona would need.

GAME 1: WASHINGTON 8, ARIZONA 0

The Huskies scored seven runs on three hits in the third and fourth innings to take control en route to a mercy-rule win.

Washington pitcher Bryana Walker faced the minimum number of batters, allowing just a single hit in five innings, a bunt single by Hallie Wilson in the fourth that was later erased on a double play.

The Huskies used a first-inning triple to take the early lead. Hooch Fagaly hit the three-bagger and scored on Kaitlin Inglesby’s single, making it 1-0 after one inning.

Arizona starter Kenzie Fowler allowed a single and a walk in the third and was removed in favor of Shelby Babcock. The senior walked the first batter she faced to load the bases with nobody out. After getting the next two batters out, a hit batter and a two-RBI single gave Washington a 4-0 lead.

Kelli Suguro led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to make it 5-0. After a pair of walks put two on, Kylee Lahners hit a three-run homer to put Washington ahead 8-0.

GAME 2: ARIZONA 2, WASHINGTON 0

Estela Pinon was brilliant in the late game, tossing Arizona’s 13th shutout of the season and taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning. The senior would end up allowing two hits to an offense that averaged seven hits in the first two games of the series.

Kelsey Rodriguez was responsible for Arizona’s only run production of the day, mashing her fifth homer of the season, a two-run bomb in the third inning, that also represented the only runs of the game.

The Wildcats had five hits against the Huskies’ pitching duo of Walker and Inglesby. In addition to Rodriguez’s home run, Cheslea Suitos and Kellie Fox picked up a pair of hits each.

In the bottom of the third, Suitos got on board thanks to a one-out bunt single and stole second with two down. Rodriguez then went deep to put Arizona ahead 2-0.

Washington got its first hit of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning and then, in the bottom of the seventh, put the tying runs on with just one out. After Whitney Jones reached on dribbler to first base, Dani Braun walked to bring the potential winning run to the plate. Kelli Suguro then grounded out to the pitcher, moving the tying runs into scoring position.

Pinon would leave them stranded, though, ending a dominant performance in fitting fashion with a strikeout of Marki Creger-Zier.