Arizona softball sweeps Southern Utah, Purdue

TUCSON, Ariz. – The 16th-ranked Arizona softball team earned a two-game sweep Saturday for the second consecutive day at the Hillenbrand Invitational, winning the opener against Southern Utah 6-3 and then rallying to beat Purdue 5-4.

With the wins, the Wildcats improved to 7-2 on the season; Purdue dropped to 5-4 and Southern Utah to 2-6.

Game 1: Arizona 6, Southern Utah 3
Arizona’s three-run rally in the fifth inning secured the win over Southern Utah. The Wildcats lost their three-run lead in the top of the fifth but quickly regained it in the bottom half, scoring on a delayed steal before sophomore Chelsea Goodacre singled in two runs.

Arizona junior Estela Piñon pitched a complete game to earn her third win of the season. Piñon struck out three, gave up four hits and walked one.

In the bottom of the second, Arizona broke the scoreless tie after freshman Courtney Rodriguez singled in sophomore Chelsea Goodacre from second base.

Arizona added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. With Goodacre on first, Freshman Lauren Young launched her first collegiate home-run to deep left center to put the Wildcats ahead by three.

After four scoreless innings, Southern Utah’s offense tied the game in one swing when pinch hitter Meagan Neilson hit a three-run home-run to left field in the top fifth. The three were the only runs that Arizona pitcher Piñon would give up.

With the score locked heading into the bottom half, Arizona put together a three-run rally that would turn out to be the game’s final score, 6-3.

With one out, UA sophomore Chelsea Suitos bunted a single to set up the Wildcats in the bottom of the fifth. Arizona sophomore Hallie Wilson advanced Suitos to third with a base hit. Suitos scored on a delayed steal after Wilson drew a throw stealing second. Junior Kelsey Rodriguez singled and with Wilson going to third, Arizona had runners on the corners for Goodacre. Wilson and Rodriguez scored after Goodacre singled up the middle, giving the Wildcats a three-run cushion.

Piñon did not allow a baserunner in the sixth and seventh inning to record her second complete game of the season and the Wildcats recorded their sixth win.
Game 2: Arizona 5 Purdue 4

Arizona constructed its second late-inning rally of the day to come from behind and defeat Purdue in the second game of the doubleheader.

Shelby Babcock pitched a complete game to match Estela Piñon’s seven-inning effort in the opener.

Babcock started the game by giving up two runs on a leadoff home run and a RBI groundout. However, Arizona immediately regained the lead in the bottom half of the first, forcing Purdue to make a pitching change. Chelsea Goodacre hit her second home run of the season, a two-run shot to left center. With the score tied, 2-2, Kelsey Rodriguez walked and scored after Nancy Bowling doubled to left-center. The Wildcats led 3-2 through one.

In the top of the third, Purdue went back on top. After allowing a walk and single, Babcock yielded a base hit, which drove in Purdue’s two baserunners,
Purdue lead 4-3 until the bottom of the sixth. Kelsey Rodriguez singled to set the drama. Nancy Bowling sacrifice bunted to advance Rodriguez to second. A base hit by Lauren Young resulted Rodriguez to third and Young was pinched ran by Courtney Rodriguez.

With the Rodriguez sisters on the corners, Estela Piñon pinched hit for Mandie Perez and singled to tie the game at four. Arizona head coach Mike Candrea pinched ran for Piñon with Alex Lavine. From third base, C. Rodriguez scored the game’s deciding run when Lavine stole second, causing a throwing error by Purdue.
Babcock finished the seventh with three groundouts, leaving a baserunner on second.
The Hillenbrand Invitational continues Sunday with Arizona taking on Utah State.