FULLERTON, Calif. – The 14th-ranked Arizona softball team split its first two games at the Judi Garman Classic on Thursday, losing to Virginia Tech 9-2 in the early game before shutting out Notre Dame 2-0 in the late game behind a Nancy Bowling gem.
Chelsea Goodacre batted in three of Arizona’s four runs on the day as the Wildcats improved to 19-6 on the season.
Game 1: Virginia Tech 9, Arizona 2
The Wildcats managed just two runs on four hits against Virginia Tech starter Kelly Heinz and as the Hokies overwhelmed UA in a 9-2 victory.
Virginia Tech, which improved to 16-2 with the win, scored nine runs on 11 hits against the Wildcat pitching duo of Shelby Babcock and Estela Piñon. Babcock, who started the game, allowed five runs on seven hits and took the loss to drop to 9-3 on the season.
The Hokies hit three home runs in the contest, a two-run shot by Kelsey Mericka, a solo homer from Lauren Gaskill and a two-run bomb from Courtney Liddie. Kylie McGoldrick, one, and Kat Banks, two, added RBI for Virginia Tech.
Lauren Young hit her sixth home run in four games to continue her hot streak from last weekend. Chelsea Goodacre batted in the other run for the Cats.
Virginia Tech scored a run in the first, two in the third, two in the fifth before plating four runs in the sixth inning.
Hokie hurler Kelly Heinz went the distance and allowed just one earned run. Heinz walked six and struck out five in the victory, which improved her to 8-0 on the year.
Game 2: Arizona 2, Notre Dame 0
Nancy Bowling tossed her first career complete-game shutout to lead the Cats over Notre Dame (15-7). Chelsea Goodacre drove in both Wildcat runs, including her team-high ninth homer of the season.
Bowling, whose previous career-long outing was five innings, went the distance and earned the win to improve to 4-1 on the season. The seven-inning shutout was UA’s first since Shelby Babcock kept Nebraska off the board in a 1-0 game on Feb. 15. Bowling allowed five hits, walked four and struck out three in the outing.
For Goodacre, her first-inning bloop RBI single and sixth-inning solo home run gave her 30 runs batted in on the season; no one else on the team has 20 RBI.
The Cats scored in the top of the first inning on a two-out single down the right field line by Goodacre to score Chelsea Suitos.
The run would be all the Cats needed, thanks to the gem in the circle by Bowling, and it nearly was all they got.
UA had just three base runners from the second to the fifth inning before Goodacre insured the lead with her ninth homer of the season to give the Cats a 2-0 lead.
Bowling had to escape a jam in the bottom of the sixth when the Fighting Irish loaded the bases with two out. A couple of singles and a two-out walk loaded them up for Kathryn Lux. The Notre Dame third baseman sent a fly ball to the warning track that was caught by Mandie Perez to end the threat.
Bowing issued a walk in the seventh but was able to retire the side to preserve victory for Arizona.