TUCSON, Ariz. – After splitting the first two games, 22nd-ranked Arizona softball (28-19, 5-10 Pac-12) fell, 9-1 in six innings, to eighteenth-ranked UCLA (29-15, 6-12 Pac-12), on Saturday evening at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium.
Arizona's early 1-0 lead in the second inning quickly disappeared as UCLA responded with six runs over the following two innings. UCLA tacked on three more in the top of the sixth to seal the game and the series.
After recording a season-high ten strikeouts in Thursday's game against UCLA, Shelby Babcock got the start in the circle again for game three. The Arizona junior tossed five innings, allowing nine runs, six earned, on eight hits and striking out six batters. Babcock's record dropped to 15-8 for the season.
Estela Piñon replaced Babcock in the top of the sixth to finish the game.
Arizona's offense managed to only score one run and was limited to five hits by UCLA's Ally Carda, who tossed 85 pitches and recorded a complete game.
Arizona went ahead in the bottom of the second, scoring its only run on a Mandie Perez base hit.
A walk from Lauren Young and a single by Brigette Del Ponte put runners on second and first. Perez followed with a base-hit to score Young and record her 25th RBI.
UCLA immediately scored three runs in the top half of the third to claim the lead. UCLA's Stephany LaRosa knocked a two-run home run off Babcock to put UCLA up 2-1. After an UCLA walk and single, Arizona committed a throwing error that allowed UCLA to record its third run.
In the top of the fourth, UCLA added another three runs from a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and an Arizona error that brought in two runs to make it 6-1.
Babcock's night was finished when she surrendered a three run home-run in the top of the sixth that extended UCLA's lead to 9-1. Piñon came into the circle and went 1-2-3.
UCLA's six-inning rout over Arizona was the first time that the Wildcats suffered a mercy-rule loss at Hillenbrand Stadium since 1999; when then-ranked No. 1 UCLA shut-out Arizona, 8-0, in five innings.
UP NEXT: Arizona softball will head to Corvallis, Ore., for a three-game series against Oregon State, starting on Friday, April 26, at 3 p.m. PT.
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