Arizona softball again overpowers Utah, finishes sweep

TUCSON, Ariz.With 6 1/3 scoreless innings of relief from Estela Pinon and four home runs to back her up, Arizona defeated Utah 8-3 on Sunday to complete a series sweep.

A day after Arizona (39-9, 12-6 Pac-12) set a school record with eight homers, the power was back at Hillenbrand Stadium. The Wildcats hit four more homers Sunday, bringing their NCAA-leading total to 92 long balls.

The victory kept the Cats perfect at home, stretching their winning streak at Hillenbrand Stadium this season to 27 games, the fifth-longest in program history.

Pinon (14-5) was nearly unhittable in relief, pitching the final 6 1/3 innings of the game and giving up just a single hit, a bunt single in the fourth. The senior struck out eight, her most since striking out nine Alabama hitters in her second appearance of the season. She entered in relief of Nancy Bowling, who lasted 2/3 of an inning and gave up three runs on two hits with four walks and a strikeout.

Hallie Wilson, Chelsea Goodacre, Mo Mercado and Lauren Young all homered for the Wildcats, who hit 22 homers in five games this week.

Young’s homer, a three-run shot in the third inning, broke a 3-3 tie and put Arizona ahead for good.

Utah (23-24, 5-15 Pac-12) struck for three early runs to chase Bowling with two out in the first. After a pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases, Bridget Castro scored two with a single. Bowling then walked two more batters to bring in a run and make it 3-0. Pinon entered to get the final out of the inning and strand the bases loaded.

Arizona responded in the second when Goodacre led off the inning with her 20th homer of the year. Katiyana Mauga and Mo Mercado followed with singles, putting runners at second and third with nobody out. Courtney Rodriguez singled in Mauga before Mercado scored on Hallie Wilson’s sacrifice fly.

The Wildcats took the lead in the bottom of the third when Young hit a three-run homer to left field.

Wilson then led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to give Arizona a 7-3 lead.

The Cats used another solo homer, this one off the bat of Mercado, to taken an 8-3 lead in the fifth.