May 19, 2013 1:42 AM
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The Arizona softball season came to a close Saturday when it was upended by Baylor 8-4 in an elimination contest in the College Station Regional after the Cats defeated Penn 3-2 in extras to extend its season.
The loss marks the first time that Arizona has failed to make it out of regionals since 2004.
The Cats' 33 wins on the season mark the fewest since winning 27 games in 1986 while its 26 losses are most in program history.
Game 1 - Arizona 3, Penn 2 (8 innings)
Down to its final out in the bottom of the seventh inning trailing by a run, Hallie Wilson ripped a single through the middle to plate Mandie Perez to extend the game and push it to an extra inning, where UA would walk off. A single and an error put runners at second and third with no one out for Kelsey Rodriguez who hit a sacrifice fly to center to end the game.
The Wildcats' 3-2 victory was their fifth consecutive victory in which it needed a late-game comeback to prevail. This effort extended their season and earned them a chance to take on Baylor in another elimination contest.
The game-tying hit for Wilson was her second of the game; Chelsea Goodacre notched a couple of hits of her own. Kelsey Rodriguez drove in two of Arizona's three runs.
Estela Piñon (13-8) was brilliant in relief once again. The junior hurled 4.1 scoreless innings and allowed just one hit. Piñon retired the final 10 batters she faced.
Nancy Bowling lasted 3.2 innings in the start and gave up two runs, both on a Georgia Guttadauro homer. The freshman allowed three hits, walked three and struck out three in the start.
Estela Piñon pitched the final 3.1 innings and allowed just one hit and two walks.
Alexis Borden (17-12) went the distance and allowed three runs, two earned, on seven hits.
After three scoreless innings, the Quakers opened the scoring in the fourth inning when Guttadauro hit a two-run homer.
Arizona cut into the Penn lead on a Kelsey Rodriguez RBI single in the bottom half. The Cats had runners at second and third with no one out but could not plate an additional run in the frame.
UA had just one base runner in the next two innings before mounting the comeback in the seventh. Mandie Perez led off the bottom of the seventh with a single and moved to second on Courtney Rodriguez's sacrifice bunt. Alex Lavine lined out to put Arizona down to its final out. Wilson singled up the middle to drive home Perez to tie the game.
In Arizona's last six victories, Wilson has two walkoff hits and a seventh-inning game-tying knock to her credit.
Goodacre led off the bottom of the eighth with a single and moved to third on a two-base error by Penn catcher Jessica Arneson. Kelsey Rodriguez followed with a walkoff sacrifice fly to end the game.
Game 2 - Baylor 7, Arizona 4
Arizona's season came to a close when Baylor defeated Arizona 8-4 in game 5 of the College Station Regional. With the victory the Bears earned a trip to the regional championship against Texas A&M on Sunday.
Wildcat pitchers issued nine walks in the contest.
Nancy Bowling allowed four runs on four hits in the start. The freshman lasted 1.2 innings and walked four batters.
She was replaced by Shelby Babcock (16-13) who gave up two runs on two hits with four walks and two strikeouts.
Estela Piñon pitched the final 3.1 innings and gave up two runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts.
Heather Stearns (11-4) tossed a complete-game for the Lady Bears and allowed four runs, one earned, on six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Stearns retired 11 of the last 12 batters she faced.
The Cats struck in the first inning when they loaded the bases with one out. Kelsey Rodriguez drove in a run with a bloop single that kept the bases loaded for Brigette Del Ponte, who hit a sac fly to left.
Baylor responded in a big way in the second. Bowling, who did not allow a hit the first time through the order, did not fair well her second time through. With two out and a runner at first the top of the order notched four consecutive hits, punctuated by a pair of two-run doubles to give Baylor a 4-2 lead and chase Bowling in favor of Babcock, who recorded the third out of the frame.
The Cats tied the game in the third inning with help from a pair of doubles. Chelsea Goodacre hit a one out double before Kelsey Rodriguez worked a 12-pitch, two-out walk. Del Ponte followed with a double to left-center that plated Goodacre. An errant throw plated Rodriguez and Del Ponte was tagged at the plate to end the inning.
Baylor responded with two runs of its own in its next at-bat when Babcock walked four batters and Baylor picked up a two-run single from Jordan Strickland.
The Bears added to their lead on a sacrifice fly in the sixth.
Another Baylor run scored in the seventh inning on an RBI double from Linsey Hays.
(Courtesy: Arizona Athletics)