TUCSON, Ariz. – Freshman Lauren Young led the Arizona offense with seven RBI, the most by any Wildcat this season A Nineteenth-ranked Arizona softball (25-13, 4-5 Pac-12) captured a 12-2 mercy win over UC Santa Barbara (21-14, 2-4 Big West) in game one of the two-game series at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.
Six of Young's seven RBI came from a pair of three-run home runs. The two home runs were Young's ninth and tenth of the season and her third multi-homer game of the year.
Arizona's offense overpowered UCSB's pitching on Saturday evening as Arizona recorded 15 hits, surpassing its previous season-high of 14 hits.
Six UA players recorded multiple hits with every batter reaching on base at least once. Young's three hits led the way while Hallie Wilson, Chelsea Suitos, Chelsea Goodacre, Brigette Del Ponte and Estela Piñon tallied two apiece.
Junior Estela Piñon started in the circle for the Cats and went the distance for the seventh time this season, allowing two runs on six hits and one walk. Piñon struck out two and improved to 9-4 on the year.
UCSB gained the game's first lead after driving in a run in the top of the first inning.
Arizona's offense responded in the bottom half of the inning with five runs. The inning began with three-consecutive hits from Wilson, Suitos, and K.Rodriguez. Wilson scored Arizona's first run from Rodriguez's hit. A Del Ponte single drove in Suitos for a second run and advanced Rodriguez to third to set up Young's first at bat. Sitting on a 2-0 count, Young launched her first home run of the evening; a three-run shot to straightaway center.
The Gauchos tacked on their second and final run of the game in the top of the second inning.
Arizona answered with a run of its own in the bottom half when Suitos scored from second base after Goodacre doubled to center field. Arizona led 6-2 after two innings.
The Wildcats went on to add six more runs in the final three innings as Arizona's line-up continued to string hits together.
Arizona held a 9-2 lead heading into the bottom half of the fifth inning. With two outs and K. Rodriguez on first base, Del Ponte singled to center field and advanced Rodriguez to second with Young coming up to bat. On a 0-2 count, Young swung at a pitch and sent the ball to deep left field to end the game via the mercy rule.
UP NEXT: Arizona softball returns to Hillenbrand Stadium tomorrow, as the Wildcats seek to sweep the two-game series over UC Santa Barbara. First pitch is scheduled at noon MST.
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David Kelly contributed to this story.