UA softball rallies from eight down, stuns ASU

Arizona softball rallies from eight down, walks off with thrilling 10-9 win over ASU.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Down eight runs early, Arizona softball rallied for a thrilling 10-9 walk-off win over Arizona State on Friday.

The Wildcats rallied with the help of a pair of two-run homers by Chelsea Goodacre, then finished off the comeback on Hallie Wilson’s two-out, game-winning single in the bottom of the seventh inning.

UA plated three in the third inning, one in the fourth, two in the fifth, three in the sixth and one in the seventh to earn the come-from-behind victory.

The Cats (29-22 overall, 6-13 Pac-12) scored nine runs on nine hits off Sun Devils starter Dallas Escobedo, who entered the game with a 2.16 ERA. The nine runs and nine hits were season worsts for Escobedo, who took a no-decision. Additionally, the Pac-12’s strikeout leader registered just three strikeouts on the night. She was relieved in the sixth inning by Mackenzie Popescue, who gave up a run on three hits and took the loss, dropping to 17-4 on the year.

Shelby Babcock, who gave up eight early runs, was brilliant after the third inning, allowing just a run on four hits in the final four innings to allow the Cats to come back. Babcock retired the final six batters she faced. Overall, the junior allowed nine runs on 10 hits with seven walks, all in the first three innings, and two strikeouts. Babcock improved to 16-9 with the victory.

ASU (42-8, 13-6) got the scoring started in the second after an infield single and two walks loaded the bases. After Babcock recorded two outs to put herself in position to escape the jam, Alix Johnson singled home two, and Cheyenne Coyle followed with a three-run home run to make it 5-0 Sun Devils.

Nikki Girard added to the ASU lead in the third when she hit a three-run homer to left field to make it 8-0.

Mandie Perez led off the bottom of the third with a walk to represent Arizona’s first base runner of the game. Two batters later, Alex Lavine singled, giving UA its first hit of the game. Chelsea Suitos then singled home Perez, and an ASU error brought home Lavine and moved Suitos into scoring position. A bloop single from Chelsea Goodacre then plated Suitos to make it 8-3 ASU in the third.

The Wildcats cut into the Devils' lead once again in the fourth inning, as Kelsey Rodriguez led off the frame with a double and came into score on Lavine’s two-out single up the middle.

ASU responded, though, in the top of the fifth. After a pair of chop singles put two runners on for the Sun Devils, Coyle singled in Elizabeth Caporuscio to extend the lead to 9-4.

The Cats cut into the margin again in the bottom of the frame when Goodacre launched her 15th home run the season, a two-run homer, to make it 9-6.

In the sixth inning, a two-base throwing error by Escobedo helped Arizona tie it up. With one out, Escobedo’s throw to first to put out Lavine, who had laid down a bunt, sailed down the right-field line and allowed Lavine to move into scoring position. After a fly out, Suitos singled home Lavine to bring the tying run to the plate. And for the second consecutive inning, Goodacre launched a homer, this one to left-center to knot the game at 9-all.

After Babcock set down the Sun Devils in the top of the seventh to keep momentum on the Wildcats' side, Kelsey Rodriguez led off the bottom half with a single through the right side. Attempting to sacrifice her to second base, Brigette Del Ponte’s perfect bunt down the first-base line went for a base hit. Mandie Perez, also attempting to lay down a sacrifice bunt, walked on five pitches to load the bases with nobody out. Popescue would strike out the next two batters before giving up the single to Wilson to end the game.

UA, which scored three total runs in 22 innings in its previous series against Oregon State, plated 10 runs on 12 hits in the contest; previously, ASU had not allowed more than seven runs in a game this year. It was the first time the Sun Devils had allowed double-digit runs since 2011, when they allowed 10 to the Wildcats in a 13-10 victory.

Arizona’s last two wins have come thanks to two-out walk-off hits from Wilson, who ended the 8-6 victory over No. 18 UCLA with a three-run homer on April 18.

Goodacre, thanks in large part to her two homers, led the Cats with five RBIs, extending her team-leading total to 58. Suitos had a pair of RBI hits in the contest, part of her first-career three-hit game. Lavine and Rodriguez contributed two hits and scored two runs apiece.

For ASU, Coyle's homer was her 18th of the season, extending her team lead.

Eight of Arizona’s 10 runs, and six of ASU’s nine, were scored with two out.

The victory marked the first in the series since 2010 for Arizona, which had lost the previous six matchups.

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