UA softball improves to 4-0 at host tourney

TUCSON, Ariz. – The Arizona softball team improved to 4-0 at the Wildcat Invitational on Saturday with a 4-1 win over Boston University and a 12-3 mercy-rule win over Portland State.

The Wildcats improved to 14-5 on the season with the wins while the Terriers fell to 2-8 and the Vikings dropped to 5-13.
            
Game 1: Arizona 4, Boston 1
 
The Wildcats scored three times in the first four at-bats to take control in the first game on the second day of the event.
 
UA scored four runs overall in the first inning on six hits and took advantage of four Boston errors. Shelby Babcock, who earned the complete-game victory to improve to 7-2 on the season, limited BU to one run on three hits. Babcock walked one and was one shy of her career high with eight strikeouts.
 
Boston starter Whitney Tuthill allowed four runs on four hits in the first two innings before settling to pitch four scoreless frames the rest of the way. Tuthill walked four and struck out three and dropped to 2-4 on the season with the loss.
 
Arizona stranded 10 runners on base in the game.
 
Hallie Wilson began the bottom of the first with a triple to left field, her first career triple. Chelsea Suitos followed with a walk and Brigette Del Ponte drove in a run with a double to right. Chelsea Goodacre’s fly ball to center was dropped by BU centerfielder Jayme Mask to allow two runs to score to give the Cats a 3-0 lead in the first.
 
UA added to its lead in the second. Mandie Perez walked to lead off the frame and moved to second on the Alex Lavine bunt single. Wilson sacrificed herself to move the runners up and Suitos singled a run home to give the Cats a 4-1 lead.
 
Arizona would leave the bases loaded in the inning, three of 10 stranded on the game.
 
Boston cut into the Arizona lead in the fourth. Babcock issued a leadoff walk and allowed a double to put runners on second and third with no one out. Babcock appeared to record the first out of the inning with a strikeout, however the pitch got to the backstop, allowing the BU batter Mandy Fernandez to reach base to load the bags with no one out. Amy Ekart brought home a run on an RBI fielder’s choice before Babcock got the next two batters in order to end the frame.
 
The Cats and the Terriers exchanged zeros on the scoreboard from the fourth on to give the Cats a 4-1 win.
 
Game 2: Arizona 12, Portland State 3 (5)
 
A seven-run fourth inning allowed Arizona to pull away for the mercy-rule win.
 
Facing a two-run deficit in the third, UA offense exploded for 11 runs over the next two frames to take control. The Wildcats’ 12 runs came on 13 hits. Hallie Wilson, Chelsea Goodacre, Kelsey Rodriguez and Alex Lavine had multiple hits in the contest.
 
Starting pitcher Estela Piñon notched her first career home run in the contest to help herself out. The junior hit a three-run shot to left in the third.
 
Piñon earned the win in the circle to improve to 4-2 on the season. The Tucson native allowed three runs, two earned on six hits while striking out five batters.
 
Arizona scored in the bottom of the first for the fourth consecutive game. Wilson led off the frame with a single and moved to second on Suitos’ sacrifice bunt. Chelsea Goodacre hit Wilson home with a single to right field; it was the sophomore’s team-leading 18th RBI of the season.
 
Portland State grabbed the lead with three runs in the third inning, marking the first time Arizona had trailed in the Wildcat Invitational. The Vikings scored three runs on four hits in the third, punctuated by Alicia Fine’s two-run single up the middle.
 
Arizona responded in a big way in the thrd inning with four runs, all coming with two out. Kelsey Rodriguez knocked home Suitos to trigger the two-out rally. Estela Piñon followed with a three-run shot to left field, her first career home run to give the Cats a 5-3 lead.
 
The Wildcats sent 11 batters to the plate and struck for seven unearned runs in the fourth inning with help from some shoddy defense from Portland State; the Vikings had two errors in the frame. Brigette Del Ponte, Chelsea Goodacre, Kelsey Rodriguez, Mandie Perez and Alex Lavine each notched RBI in the inning.