Arizona Softball strikes late to beat #13 Stanford

(Pac-12 Network) Lauren Young's 3-run home run in the 6th vaulted the Cats in front to stay.
(Pac-12 Network) Lauren Young's 3-run home run in the 6th vaulted the Cats in front to stay.

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Down two runs in the sixth inning, the Wildcats, continuing a recent trend, fought back. Lauren Young hit a three-run homer in the top of the sixth inning and Hallie Wilson added a solo shot in the seventh to give the Wildcats a 5-3 victory over No. 13 Stanford in game one of the three-game series.

Arizona (31-23, 8-14 Pac-12) trailed by eight runs on Friday against Arizona State, four runs on Saturday against the Devils and two runs in the sixth tonight against the Cardinal and earned hard-fought victories in all three games.

In their last four games, the Cats have scored 14 combined runs in their final two offensive innings. In its previous three games (April 26-28 at Oregon State) the Cats scored three total runs.

UA trailed the first five innings before coming to bat in the top of the sixth. Wilson walked and, with help from a throwing error, moved to third on Chelsea Suitos' infield single. Young followed with monster home run to the deepest part of the park, a no-doubter that brought Arizona from two runs down to a run ahead.

Stanford (36-18, 12-10 Pac-12) left 13 batters on base while Arizona stranded just three.

Shelby Babcock allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits in the start. The junior struck out four and walked four in 4.2 innings pitched.

Estela Piñon (11-8) pitched the final 2.1 innings and allowed just one hit while striking out six batters.

Teagan Gerhart (19-10) allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits with three strikeouts and a walk.

Suitos singled twice and scored the game's tying run on Young's homer.

Young's home run was her 12th of the season; Wilson blasted No. 7 on the season.

Stanford plated a pair in the third inning thanks to a Wildcat error. Two infield singles and a walk loaded the bases with no one out for the Cardinal. After Babcock struck Leah White out, Kayla Bonstrom hit a groundball to short where Brigette Del Ponte booted it to allow a run to score. A sacrifice fly, which would have been the third out, off the bat of Jenna Rich plated a second Stanford run to make it 2-0 Cardinal.

Chelsea Suitos led the top of the fourth inning with a single down the left field line and moved to second on a Chelsea Goodacre groundout. After a dropped foul by catcher Jessica Plaza, Kelsey Rodriguez singled home Suitos to cut the Stanford lead to 2-1.

Stanford, which loaded the bases in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings, scored just two total runs. The Cardinal added to the lead by rallying with two out in the fifth. Babcock retired the first two batters before allowing back-to-back hits, the latter of which, an RBI double from Erin Ashby made it 3-1 Stanford. A walk chased Babcock in favor of Piñon who struck out the next batter she faced, but a passed ball loaded the bases. Piñon struck out the next batter as well to leave the bases full.

UA responded in the next half winning with Young's homer.

In the bottom of the sixth, Bonstrom knocked a two-out double but was stranded when Piñon struck out Rich.

The Cardinal loaded the bases without a hit in the seventh inning after Wilson insured the Wildcat lead with a solo shot in the seventh. A leadoff hit-by-pitch followed by an error put the tying runs on with no one out. Piñon retired the next two batters before hitting the second batter of the inning to load the bases. The junior then struck out Hanna Winter to end the game.

Arizona goes for the series victory Friday at 7:00 p.m. PDT.

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