TUCSON, AZ - It may have been senior day at Hillenbrand Stadium on Friday afternoon, but it was Arizona's underclassmen that stole the show.
First-inning home runs by a couple of sophomores – Katiyana Mauga and Mo Mercado – paired with a gem from freshman Trish Parks helped 17th-ranked Arizona do what no team had been able to do in the previous 15 games, beat top-ranked Oregon.
The Cats (38-16, 13-10 Pac-12) took down the Ducks (45-6, 20-3 Pac-12), 6-4.
Parks (14-5) allowed three runs to the first five batters of the game, before settling in holding the Ducks to one run on four hits the rest of the game. Parks walked two and struck out four in her complete-game victory.
It was just Parks' second seven-inning complete-game of the season, and first since the second game of the year, Feb. 7 vs. Oklahoma State. Parks also owns seven mercy-shortened complete-game wins.
The victory came nearly exactly one year after UA's last victory over No. 1, when, on May 9, 2014, Arizona defeated top-ranked Oregon 11-8 in the penultimate game of the 2014 season.
Mercado, who had two hits in game 1, picked up a pair again in game 2, including a two-run go-ahead home run in the bottom of the first inning that put the Cats up for good. It occurred three batters after Mauga tied the game with her Pac-12-best 23rd home run of the season.
The five runs came in response to Oregon's three-spot in the top of the inning.
After the eight-run outburst in the first, both pitchers settled in, allowing just two combined runs the rest of the way.
Oregon starter Geri Ann Glasco (7-2) lasted just .2 of an inning, allowing five runs, three earned, on three hits. Karissa Hovinga followed with 5.1 innings of solid relief, allowing just one run on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
Parks retired 13 of the final 16 batters she faced, but found herself in potential hot water in the seventh. With the tying run at the plate and the meat of Oregon's powerful offense due up, the freshman induced a line drive off the bat of Oregon senior Janie Takeda. Lauren Young grabbed the liner and threw it to first to double off Nikki Udria and end the game.
And then after that, more celebration ensued as Arizona honored seniors Kellie Fox, Chelsea Goodacre, Chelsea Suitos and Hallie Wilson after the game, doing so due to the late start time of Saturday's series finale (8:30 p.m.).
The Cats will go for the series victory on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.