TUCSON, Ariz. — The 17th-ranked Arizona softball team hit three homers and scored eight times in the fourth inning to come from behind and mercy Oregon State 12-4 in six innings Thursday in the first game of senior weekend at Hillenbrand Stadium.
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Chelsea Suitos’ walk-off double in the sixth inning was the last of 15 hits for the Wildcats, their most all season and their most since a 16-hit outing against San Jose State on March 19, 2011. It was also their sixth double-digit hit game in the last 11 games,
something they had done just eight times in the previous 39 contests.
Arizona (34-16, 11-11 Pac-12) fell into an early 3-0 hole after stranding five runners in the first two innings and allowing the Beavers (33-20, 8-13 Pac-12) to plate a trio of runs in the second. The UA bats came to life in the fourth, though, racking up eight runs on seven hits, three of which landed past the fence and one of which was a grand slam by Brigette Del Ponte. Kristen Arriola and Lini Koria also homered in the inning.
Shelby Babcock (18-9) allowed four runs on six hits and walked one in six innings. The sophomore struck out five while earning her 18th victory of the year.
Oregon State used three pitchers, with starter Tina Andreana (9-11) taking the loss after pitching three innings. She allowed five runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out two. She was unable to get an out in the fourth and was lifted for Paige Hall, who faced four batters and allowed three runs on three hits. Aryn Feickert entered with one out in the fourth and got the final two outs of the frame. Feickert gave up four runs on five hits the rest of the way, including the walk-off Suitos double.
Seniors Karissa Buchanan (3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs), Koria (2 for 4 with a homer) and Arriola (2 for 3 with a homer, a double and three RBIs) started their senior weekends off on the right foot.
The Wildcats got their first two aboard in the bottom of the first, but the middle of the order could not bring them around. In the second inning, the Cats loaded the bases but again could not plate a run.
Oregon State took advantage in the top of the second, loading the bases with different results. An RBI walk and two singles plated three runs to give the Beavers a 3-0 lead that would stand until the fourth.
UA brought 11 batters to the plate in the fourth, eight of which scored, seven of which registered a hit and three of which homered. A leadoff walk followed by an infield single put two on for Arriola, who tied the score with her eighth home run of the season. The next three Wildcats singled before Del Ponte brought them all home with a grand slam that made it 7-3. Koria continued the homer parade with her 16th long ball of the season to give Arizona an 8-3 lead.
The Beavers got a run back in the fifth when Elizabeth Santana singled home Dani Gilmore, who had hit a one-out double.
UA scored three more runs in the fifth on four hits. Arriola knocked a leadoff double up the middle, Suitos drew a walk and a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners for Buchanan, who singled home a run. After a walk to Del Ponte loaded the bases, Shelby Pendley singled home a pair to give UA an 11-4 lead. With the potential winning run at second, Pendley, moving from first to second, was hit by Koria’s line drive for the second out of the inning. The Wildcats would strand two.
After a 1-2-3 top of the inning that was highlighted by an outstanding line-drive double play turned by Del Ponte, UA would win it in the bottom of the sixth on Suitos’ walk-off double.