Arizona softball mercies 24th-ranked Stanford

TUCSON, Ariz.For the 21st time in 21 tries this season, the 10th-ranked Arizona softball team was victorious in front of its home crowd at Hillenbrand Stadium on Saturday, earning a 12-2 victory over 24th-ranked Stanford.

For the 17th time in those 21 games, the Wildcats needed just five innings to secure the victory, earning the win in mercy fashion.

Arizona (31-8, 6-5 Pac-12) scored eight runs in the third before plating four in the fourth, completing a comeback from an early 2-0 deficit.

Katiyana Mauga stayed hot at the plate with a two-run homer and an RBI single, giving her nine RBI in the series. In Mauga’s last 12 at-bats at home, spanning five games, the freshman has 10 hits (.833 average), including five homers and three doubles (2.333 slugging percentage) and 14 RBI.

After Stanford (24-13, 1-7 Pac-12) registered 12 runs on 11 hits the previous night, Arizona pitchers limited the Cardinal to just three total hits in the contest, two of which were home runs that accounted for all three of Stanford’s runs.

Starter Kenzie Fowler (7-3) allowed just one hit in four innings, a two-run homer by Kylie Sorenson in the first inning. The senior walked seven and struck out one in the contest. Shelby Babcock pitched the fifth inning and allowed one run on two hits with a strikeout and no walks.

Hallie Wilson went 3 for 4 at the plate, including a three-run homer, her seventh of the season. Mauga, Mo Mercado and Courtney Rodriguez added two hits each while Cynthia Pelayo, who has just 11 at-bats on the year, hit her second homer of the season in the contest.

Stanford got on the board in the top of the first inning when Sorenson homered to left-center, plating Kayla Bonstrom, who had walked earlier in the inning.

The Wildcats put pressure on the Cardinal in the bottom of the first inning, loading the bases against Sorenson (2-3). But the pitcher got out of the jam to keep Stanford ahead 2-0.

After a 1-2-3 second inning for the Arizona offense, the bats came alive in the third. Wilson and Kelsey Rodriguez led off the frame with singles, and Kellie Fox doubled them home to tie the score. Mauga’s double scored Fox before Mercado singled to left to put two on for Lauren Young, who doubled home Mauga. After a Courtney Rodriguez RBI single, Wilson hit her seventh homer of the season to left-center to give Arizona an 8-2 lead after three.

The Cats were back at it in the fourth inning when Mauga hit her 12th homer of the season, bringing in Goodacre, who had walked earlier in the inning. Mercado followed the homer with a single before Pelayo hit a homer of her own, her second of the season.

Stanford got one run back in the top of the fifth when Erin Ashby took Babcock deep, but the senior pitcher stranded a runner at first to preserve Arizona’s mercy victory.