Arizona softball wins twice in dramatic fashion

FULLERTON, Calif.The No. 7 Arizona softball team swept its two games on the second day of the Judi Garman Classic in dramatic fashion, crushing Cal State Fullerton — while accomplishing something it had not done since 2001 — and using a late-inning comeback to force extras against Houston, where the Wildcats would eventually win 6-5 in nine innings.

In the early game, Arizona scored 15 runs in the fifth inning — the most in an inning since setting a school record with 17 against Bowling Green in 2001 — en route to a 15-0 run-rule victory over host Cal State Fullerton.

In the later game, the Cats trailed by two runs in the sixth inning but plated one run in each of the sixth and seventh innings to force extras, where Lauren Young’s go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth proved to be the difference.

Chelsea Goodacre homered three times on the day, including twice in the fifth inning against Cal State Fullerton. The three homers gave her the Pac-12 lead with 11 long balls on the year.

Hallie Wilson went 5 for 7 with four RBI, including a game-tying RBI single in the top of the seventh inning against Houston.

ARIZONA 15, CAL STATE FULLERTON 0

In the last three years, the Wildcats have scored 15 runs just once — that was in a 16-2 victory over Ball State just four days ago. On Saturday, they plated 15 runs in just one inning.

Arizona’s 15-run fifth inning was the program’s highest-scoring frame since Feb. 16, 2001, when the Wildcats scored a school-record 17 runs in the fourth inning of a 29-0 five-inning victory over Bowling Green.

Arizona batted around twice in the inning, with six players recording multiple hits in the frame, including Chelsea Goodacre, who had two homers and batted in five runs in the frame. When it was all said and done, the Cats sent 18 hitters to the plate, 12 of whom recorded hits and 15 of whom crossed the plate. There were six extra-base hits in the inning.

The offensive explosion came on the heels of four scoreless innings for the offense. Arizona had not had a hit since the first inning.

Estela Pinon’s effort in the circle was nearly as impressive, as the senior tossed a complete-game one-hitter, striking out seven batters and surrendering two walks. Pinon improved to 5-2 with the victory.

ARIZONA 6, HOUSTON 5

The Cats rose to the challenge in their first extra-inning contest of 2014, outlasting Houston in nine innings in the nightcap.

Despite stranding a season-high 15 batters, the most since at least 2007, Arizona prevailed in extras after needing a late-inning comeback.

After Houston rallied for four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Arizona came to the plate needing two runs over the final six outs to extend the game. Goodacre came through with a solo homer in the sixth before Hallie Wilson tied the game with a one-out single in the seventh.

The offensive production would have gone for naught without a stellar relief effort from Pinon, who improved to 6-2 with the victory. Pinon allowed one run, unearned, on two hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 4 2/3 innings pitched. The senior excelled in extra innings, keeping the Cougars off the board in the eighth and ninth innings despite the international tiebreaker rule, which places a runner at second base to start each half-inning.

Pinon relieved Kenzie Fowler (1 1/3 IP, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 2 Ks, 2 BBs), who relieved starter Michelle Floyd. The freshman pitched the first three innings and gave up a run on two hits with three walks and two striekouts.

Wilson went 3 for 5 in the contest and drove in two runs, including the game-tying run in the seventh.

The Cats struck for a single run in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings before going ahead in the ninth on Young’s sacrifice fly.

Arizona was held scoreless in the first two innings despite putting five runners on base. The Wildcats plated their first run of the game in the third on Mo Mercado’s infield hit.

The lead did not last long, though, as Houston answered with a run in the bottom of the inning.

The Cats answered right back when Kellie Fox’s single through the box plated Wilson to give Arizona a 2-1 lead.

The lead grew in the fifth when Wilson picked up her first RBI of the game on a single through the left side to make the score 3-1 in favor of the Cats.

Things would fall apart for UA in the bottom of the fifth, though, when Houston scored four runs on just two hits. A single and a pair of walks loaded the bases for Houston with one out and chased Fowler in favor of Pinon. The first batter the senior faced hit a pop-up to shallow center. A lack of communication between shortstop Kellie Fox, centerfielder Courtney Rodriguez and left fielder Chelsea Suitos allowed the ball to hit off of Fox’s glove and land safely for an error to make the score 3-2. Still with one out and the bases loaded, Pinon threw a wild pitch to plate the tying run for the Cougars. After a Jaime Edwards sac fly gave Houston the lead, Kayla Holland hit a pop-up behind the pitcher. Another communication error allowed the ball to drop to give Houston a 5-3 lead.

In the top of the sixth, Goodacre hit her third homer of the day and 11th of the season, a two-out solo shot to cut Houston’s lead in half.

In the seventh, trailing by a run, Arizona sent the bottom of its order to the plate. Katiyana Mauga led off the inning by working a seven-pitch walk. Pinch runner Siera Phillips moved to second on Young’s sacrifice bunt and then to third on a wild pitch. Courtney Rodriguez drew a walk of her own to put runners on the corners with one out for Wilson. The junior singled through the box to plate Phillips and tie the game. Arizona would go on to strand two in the inning.

Pinon worked a scoreless bottom of the seventh to send it to extra innings.

After both teams were held scoreless in the eighth, the Cats got on the board in the ninth.

Mauga led off the inning by hitting a fly ball to right field deep enough to move Mercado, who began the frame on second, to third. Young followed with a go-ahead sacrifice fly.

In the bottom of the ninth, Houston had its 2-3-4 hitters at the dish with its leadoff runner on second, but Pinon set down the three hitters in order to preserve the 6-5 victory.