TUCSON - No. 17 Arizona Softball (34-16, 11-11 Pac-12) hit three homers and scored eight times in the fourth inning to come from behind and help mercy Oregon State (33-20, 8-13 Pac-12), 12-4 in six innings in the first game of senior weekend at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Chelsea Suitos' walk-off double in the sixth inning was the final of 15 Arizona hits, its most all season and most since a 16-hit outing against San Jose State on March 19, 2011.
Arizona fell into an early 3-0 lead after stranding five runners in the first two innings and allowing the Beavers to plate a trio of runs in the second inning. UA bats awoke in the fourth inning when they registered eight runs on seven hits, four of which landed past the fence, including a grand slam by Brigette Del Ponte. Kristen Arriola and Lini Koria homered in the inning as well.
The Cats used a season-best 15 hits to plate 12 runs in five-plus innings in the game. Arizona's offense, which has been clicking recently, notched its sixth double-digit hit game in the last 11 games, something it had done just eight times in the previous 39 contests.
Shelby Babcock (18-9) allowed four runs on six hits and walked only one batter in six innings. The sophomore struck out five Beavers while earning her 18th victory of the year.
Oregon State used three pitchers in the game with starter Tina Andreana (9-11) taking the loss after pitching three innings and allowing five runs on seven hits while walking a pair and striking out a pair. 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 inning 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, RBI, 2 R), Koria (2-for-4, HR) and Arriola (2-for-3, HR, 2B, 3 RBI) 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 without scoring a run.
In the top of the second, Oregon State loaded the bases with different results. An RBI walk and two singles plated three Beaver runs to give them 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 sailed over the fence. A leadoff walk followed by an infield single put two on for Arriola who tied the game with her eighth home run of the season. The next three Wildcats singled and Del Ponte blasted them all home with a go-ahead grand slam. Koria added to the homer parade with her 16th home run 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 a one-out double in the inning.
UA scored three more in the fifth on four hits. Arriola knocked a leadoff double up the middle and Suitos drew a walk. A fielder's choice put funners 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 and the Beavers lived to see another inning.
After the Beavers sent three to the plate in an inning 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.
Arizona and Oregon State meet again Friday (7:00 p.m.) and Saturday (12:00 p.m.). The Wildcats are hoping to take their first Pac-12 series in the last four tries.