Cats split a doubleheader with New Mexico State

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Seventeenth-ranked Arizona softball (27-14, 4-5 Pac-12) stranded 16 runners in two games and the Cats split a doubleheader with New Mexico State (27-14, 8-1 WAC) at the New Mexico State Softball Complex.

Arizona dropped game one courtesy of a sixth-inning, two-out, two-run go-ahead home run 3-2 before overwhelming the Aggies in game two 8-1.

Game 1 – New Mexico State 3, Arizona 2

Emma Adams hit a two-out, two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to score the game's tying and go-ahead runs for New Mexico State, which downed Arizona 3-2 in game one of the doubleheader.

Arizona stranded nine runners, including six in scoring position. The Cats had multiple runners in four innings, but managed just two runs in the game.

Estela Piñon allowed three runs on six hits with five walks and five strikeouts in the game. The junior dropped to 9-5 with the loss.

Arizona's offense was kept at bay by New Mexico State pitcher Alex Newman. The hurler allowed two runs on eight hits with three walks and one strikeout in her complete-game effort. Newman improved to 14-8 on the year.

After striking out the first two batters of the bottom of the first inning, Piñon walked the next three batters. The junior would strike out Malena Padilla to get out of the jam. Piñon would record strikeouts for five of her first six outs.

The Cats struck first in the second when Brigette Del Ponte drew a leadoff walk, stole second and moved to third on a groundout. Mandie Perez singled to right to score Del Ponte.

New Mexico State drew even with a run in the third inning. Amber Olive led off the frame with a double and came home on a two-out RBI single by Kelsey Dodd.

The tie didn't last long as the Wildcats took the lead during their next turn to the plate. Piñon drew a one-out walk followed by an Alex Lavine single. The two moved up on Hallie Wilson's groundout. Chelsea Suitos' two-out RBI slap single gave the Cats a 2-1 lead.

Emma Adams homered in the bottom of the sixth, a two-run shot to left center to take a 3-2 lead.

Game 2 – Arizona 8, New Mexico State 1

Brigette Del Ponte hit a grand slam hit a grand slam and Chelsea Goodacre knocked a three-run homer to lead the Wildcats to an 8-1 victory in game two.

Shelby Babcock and Nancy Bowling combined in the circle to limit the Aggies to just a single run. Babcock (14-5) allowed one run on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in five innings. Bowling retired each of the six batters she faced, four by way of the strikeout.

The Aggies made three pitching changes, with starter Celisha Walker taking the loss. Walker allowed five runs, four earned, on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk. Makayla Adams pitched two scoreless innings while Alex Newman gave up three runs on three hits in two/thirds of an inning.

The Wildcats scored 10 runs on eight hits; Hallie Wilson, Chelsea Suitos and Del Ponte had two hits each.

After two quick outs recorded by Babcock, Kelsey Dodd hit a big fly to right center field to put the Aggies on the board in the bottom of the first.

The Cats broke through in the third with five runs on four hits. Alex Lavine led off the frame with a double and came around to score on Chelsea Suitos' RBI single. Two consecutive fielder's choices loaded the bases with one out for Del Ponte. The senior worked ahead in the count 2-0 before sending the next Walker offering beyond the left-centerfield wall for a grand slam.

Arizona benefited from another big home run in the sixth when Goodacre brought home three with a fly ball that cleared the trees beyond left center. The homer was Goodacre's 14th of the year, which leads the team.

Up Next: The Wildcats get two days of rest before heading to Oregon for a three-game series when they continue Pac-12 play with the Ducks. The two squads meet Saturday, Sunday and Monday at 5:00, 2:00 and noon PDT, respectively.

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