Arizona Wildcats softball
Wildcats put away Arizona Western with nine-run third inning
The University of Arizona softball team recovered from a slow start to beat Arizona Western 14-2 in the opening game of the Arizona Fall Classic on Friday.
The first three innings were played in a steady drizzle before the sky cleared and made for a nice night at Hillenbrand Stadium.
The Wildcats fell behind early, surrendering two runs on five hits before recording a hit of their own in the bottom of the third. However, after the rain stopped, it was all Arizona, scoring 14 runs in the next two innings and not giving up a hit to the visiting Matadors.
Shelby Babcock got the win for the Cats, giving up two runs in four innings of work. Rena Herrera was charged with the loss. Herrera gave up five runs, all in the third inning, without recording an out.
Arizona got back-to-back long-balls in the fourth from Brigette Del Ponte and Stacie Chambers, the only two homers of the game.
Arizona Western struck quickly, getting four hits in the first inning and scoring twice. Babcock got the first two outs before giving up two hits and walk to load the bases for Marina Quijano, who registered an RBI single. Babcock issued a wild pitch to the next batter to bring home another run before getting Victoria Rich to pop out to end the inning.
A HBP and a double by Jessica Soria put two runners in scoring position with only one out, but Babcock retired the next two batters to end the threat.
Arizona didn't record a hit until the third inning on a Chelsea Suitos slap single that advanced pinch runner Alex Lavine to second. A wild pitch moved the two up a bag before a slap single left the bat of Karissa Buchanan, driving in a run.
Brittany Lastrapes walked, giving Lauren Schutzler the bases loaded with no one out. She walked, too, driving in Suitos from third. It was Herrera's third free-pass of the inning and fifth of the game, it would also be her last as she was relieved by Yesenia Perez following the base-on-balls.
Brigette Del Ponte singled to left to bring in another run to give UA the lead. With no one out and the bases still loaded, the Matadors got Lastrapes out at home on a fielder's choice off the bat of Stacie Chambers.
Lini Koria, Kenzie Fowler, Victoria Kemp and Alicia Banks all get consecutive hits, driving in five more runs. Chelsea Suitos grounded out to shortstop, but did her job, driving in a run, Arizona's ninth of the inning. Buchanan skyed a ball to center field that was caught to end the inning.
An error and a walk gave Del Ponte two-on with no one out when she blasted a three-run home run into Candrea's Corner. Chambers made it back-to-back jacks with a liner over the right field wall that chased Perez in favor of Patricia Porter. Koria singled, was relieved by pinch runner Lavine who moved over on a passed ball. Fowler laced an RBI into left center before being caught trying to extend the single into a double for the first out of the inning to give us the final score: 14-2.