SB: 5th ranked Cats avert disaster and sweep Beavers - Tucson News Now

SB: 5th ranked Cats avert disaster and sweep Beavers

CORVALLIS, OR -

In its first extra-inning game of the season, fifth-ranked Arizona defeated Oregon State 7-4 in eight innings in the final game of the series with the Beavers and earn a coveted Pac-12 road sweep to kick off conference play.

The Wildcats were an out away from winning the game in regulation, leading the Beavers 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh with two out and nobody on base. Oregon State, which had had just two hits all game to that point, used a single and a walk to bring the tying run to the plate. Natalie Hampton homered to center field, her third of the year, on a ball that was nearly robbed by Alyssa Palomino, going in and out of her fully extended glove beyond the fence.

Three batters later, after a walk and a single put the winning run in scoring position, the game appeared to go from sure victory to sure defeat as Kayleen Shafer rocketed a deep fly ball to right center field between Ashleigh Hughes and Palomino. The two, in a dead sprint, collided, with Hughes making a spectacular running catch to save the game and send it to extra innings.

UA scored three runs in the top of the eighth to win the game.

Jessie Harper went 3-for-3 with two home runs and a double to lead the Wildcat offense. In her last 11 games, Harper is 18-for-34 (.529) with five doubles, five homers and a 1.177 slugging percentage. Harper, last week's Pac-12 Freshman of the Week, is tied for the Pac-12 lead with 10 homers on the year.

Danielle O'Toole and Taylor McQuillin teamed up to get the victory, with O'Toole taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning and McQuillin finishing the job.

Arizona improves to 29-1 on the season and is 3-0 to start Pac-12 play for the first time since 2011. The Wildcats have won 14 straight games, including a perfect 11-0 roadtrip. 

Now the Wildcats return home for a three-game series with No. 6 Washington Friday-Sunday at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Copyright 2017 Arizona Athletics. All rights reserved.

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