Posted: Feb 8, 2013 8:13 PM
Updated: Feb 8, 2013 8:14 PM
TEMPE, Ariz. - University of Arizona Wildcat softball split its season-opening doubleheader at the Kajikawa Classic to open the season. The 13th-ranked Wildcats (1-1) defeated Northwestern (0-2) 4-3 and lost to Bradley (1-1) 2-1.
UA managed just seven hits total in the two games for a team .140 batting average for the day. The Cats left a combined 17 runners on base in the games.
The Wildcats put runners in scoring position in 11 of their 13 offensive innings but recorded just two hits with runners in scoring position.
Game 1 - Arizona 4, Northwestern 3
Arizona took advantage of Northwestern miscues to down NU 4-3 to open the 2013 season.
The Wildcats managed just two hits against Northwestern pitcher Amy Letourneau and did not score an earned run in the contest. UA had runners in scoring position in every inning and left nine runners on base.
Shelby Babcock was brilliant in her first start of the season. The junior struck out a career-high-tying nine batters, including five of the first six she faced. Babcock allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits while walking just one batter. The Broomfield, Colo., native struck out the first four batters she faced and was perfect until the fourth. Babcock improved to 1-0 on the season.
Letourneau struck out 11 Arizona batters in six innings and did not allow an earned run. Letourneau allowed just two hits while walking four and hitting three batters. Letourneau dropped to 0-1 on the year.
Kelsey Rodriguez and Chelsea Suitos notched hits for the Cats in the victory. Suitos' bases-loaded single in the fourth was Arizona's lone RBI knock of the game.
Courtney Rodriguez and Brigette Del Ponte were also credited with RBI in the fourth inning when they drew a bases loaded walk and hit-by-pitch, respectively.
Arizona stranded runners in scoring position in the first three innings before finally breaking through in the fourth.
An error by NU second baseman Brianna LeBeau and a walk put two on with no one out for Mandie Perez. The freshman hit a grounder to second base which rolled under the glove of LeBeau for her second error of the inning and third of the game to score Arizona's first run of the season. A walk to Lauren Young loaded the bases with no one out when Courtney Rodriguez drew the third walk of the inning to score another UA run. Two batters later, Letourneau hit Del Ponte to drive in the third run of the inning before Suitos' single up the middle gave UA a 4-0 lead. Arizona would strand the bases loaded, but the damage had been done.
Northwestern clawed back with an unearned run in the fifth and a two-run homer by Marisa Bast in the sixth to make it 4-3.
Aubrie May led off the top of the seventh with a base hit to put the game-tying run on base. She was sacrificed to second, but Babcock struck out the next two batters to strand the tying run in scoring position.
Game 2 - Bradley 2, Arizona 1
Despite outhitting Bradley 5-to-3 and getting 13 runners on base to the Braves' eight, the Cats dropped their first game of the 2013 season to BU, 2-1.
Arizona put runners on six of the seven innings, and had runners in scoring position with less than two outs in five of the six, but managed just one run on five hits in the contest.
Bradley, meanwhile, scored two runs on just three hits in a winning effort.
Five different Wildcats recorded hits in the game, however only Hallie Wilson's fifth-inning single brought in a run. Del Ponte and Alex Lavine roped doubles in the contest.
Estela Piñon got the start for Arizona and lasted four innings without giving up a hit. Piñon struck out five and gave up one run.The junior was pulled after walking her fourth batter to leadoff the fifth inning. Babcock pitched the final two innings and gave up one run on three hits while walking one and striking out three. Babcock was charged with the loss to drop to 1-1 on the year.
Madeline Lynch-Crumrine went the distance for Bradley and allowed one run on five hits while walking two and striking out five. Lynch-Crumrine improved to 1-0 on the year.
The teams exchanged zeros on the scoreboard for the first four innings before Arizona drew first blood in the fifth. Suitos reached on a fielder's choice and stole second with one out. Wilson's RBI single to center field brought Suitos in to give the Cats a 1-0 lead.
The lead didn't last long as Bradley responded with two in the bottom half. A leadoff walk chased Piñon in favor of Babcock. The junior would the next two batters before a bloop single to centerfield off the bat of Brianne Joseph scored Brittany Burgess from second to tie the game. The next batter, Shannon King, hit a ground ball up the middle. UA second baseman Perez dove to keep it in the infield. The ball deflected off her glove and into shallow center field, allowing Joseph, who stole second, to score the go-ahead run.
The Braves attempted to insure their lead by loading the bases with one out in the sixth. Babcock, though, would get the next two batters of the inning to keep Arizona's deficit at one run.
In the seventh, Arizona received a leadoff double from Lavine with the top of the order due up. Del Ponte grounded the first pitch she saw to Bradley shortstop Alex Chandler who flipped the ball to third baseman Kendall Duffy to putout Lavine. Del Ponte swiped second and moved to third on a passed ball but would be stranded there to end the game.
Up Next: Arizona continues its participation tomorrow at the Kajikawa Classic Saturday with a pair of games. UA takes on Cal Poly at 9:00 a.m. and San Diego State at 2:00 p.m. MST. Both games will take place on the southeast field at the Tempe Sports Complex. Arizona closes the Kajikawa Classic against 14th-ranked Florida on Sunday at 8:30 p.m. at ASU's Farrington Stadium.
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