TUCSON, Ariz. – Down eight runs early, Arizona softball, with help from a pair of two-run homers by Chelsea Goodacre, chipped away and completed a grand comeback when Hallie Wilson's two-out single in the bottom of the seventh gave Arizona a 10-9 victory at home against third-ranked Arizona State.
The Wildcats plated three in the third inning, one in the fourth, two in the fifth, three in the sixth and one in the seventh to earn the come-from-behind victory that will go down as one of the classics on a field that has had its share of awesome moments.
UA, which scored three total runs in 22 innings at Oregon State, plated 10 runs on 12 hits in the contest; previously, ASU had not allowed more than seven runs in a game this year. This marks the first time the Sun Devils have allowed double-digit runs since 2011, when they allowed 10 runs to Arizona in a 13-10 ASU victory.
Arizona's last two wins have come off two-out walkoff hits from Wilson, who ended the Cats' 8-6 victory over No. 18 UCLA with a three-run homer on April 18.
Goodacre, who entered the game with just a single home run in her last 13 games, hit two, two-run home runs, including a game-tying blast to left-center with two out in the bottom of the sixth inning. The sophomore's five RBI paced the Cats, and extended her team best 58 batted in on the season.
Eight of Arizona's 10 runs, and six of ASU's nine, were scored with two out.
Chelsea Suitos had a pair of RBI hits in the contest, part of her first-career three hit game.
Alex Lavine and Kelsey Rodriguez contributed two hits and scored two runs apiece. Rodriguez scored the game winning run after leading off the bottom of the seventh with a single.
The Cats scored nine runs on nine hits off ASU starter Dallas Escobedo, who entered the game with a 2.16 ERA. The nine runs and nine hits were a season worst for Escobedo, who took a no-decision. Additionally, the Pac-12's strikeout leader registered just three strikeouts on the night. She was relieved in the sixth inning by Mackenzie Popescue, who gave up a run on three hits and took the loss, dropping to 17-4 on the year.
Shelby Babcock, who gave up eight early runs, was brilliant after the third inning, allowing just a run on four hits in the final four innings to allow her offense to mount the comeback. Babcock retired the final six batters she faced. Overall, the junior allowed nine runs on 10 hits with seven walks, all in the first three innings, with two strikeouts. Babcock improved to 16-9 with the victory.
An infield single and two walks loaded the bases with no one out for ASU in the second inning. After Babcock recorded two outs, Alix Johnson singled home two and Cheyenne Coyle followed with a three-run home run to make it 5-0 Sun Devils.
Nikki Girard added to the ASU lead in the third when she hit a three-run homer to left field.
Mandie Perez led off the bottom of the third with a walk to represent Arizona's first base runner of the game. Two batters later, Alex Lavine's single was the first UA hit of the game. Chelsea Suitos singled home Perez and an ASU error helped bring home Lavine and move Suitos into scoring position. A bloop single from Chelsea Goodacre plated Suitos to make it 8-3 ASU in the third.
The Wildcats cut into the ASU lead once again in the fourth inning. Kelsey Rodriguez led off the frame with a double and came into score on Lavine's two-out single up the middle.
The Sun Devils wasted no time in getting the run back as it responded in the top of the fifth. After a pair of chop singles put two runners on for the Sun Devils, Coyle singled in Elizabeth Caporuscio to make it 9-4 Sun Devils.
The Cats responded when Goodacre launched her 15th home run the season, a two-run homer, to bring Arizona closer.
In the sixth inning, a two-base throwing error by Escobedo helped the Cats tie it up. With one out, Escobedo's throw to first to putout Lavine, who bunted, sailed down the right field line and allowed Lavine to move into scoring position. After a fly out, Suitos singled home Lavine to bring the tying run to the plate. For the second consecutive inning, Goodacre launched a homer, this one to left-center to knot the game at nine.
Babcock did her job, getting the Sun Devils in order in the top of the seventh.
In the bottom half, Kelsey Rodriguez things off with a single through the right side. Attempting to bunt her to second base, Brigette Del Ponte's perfect bunt down the first base line went for a base hit. Mandie Perez, also attempting to lay down a sacrifice bunt, walked on five pitches to load the bases with nobody out. Popescue would strike out the next two batters before giving up a single to Wilson to end the game.
The victory marked the first in the series since 2010 for Arizona, which had lost the previous six matchups.
Arizona goes for the series victory, and Territorial Cup Series point, Saturday at 6:00 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.
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