Arizona snapped a 14-game Pac-12 losing streak — its longest conference skid in school history — beating Oregon State 6-3 at Hillenbrand Stadium on Saturday evening.
“It feels better to win than for the other stuff to be over, to be honest. It felt like we showed up to play to win,” Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe said.
Lowe was especially impressed with the hitting on Saturday evening.
“We’ve been hitting a lot of balls right at people and letting that get to us, and tonight they were just relentless. They just kept pushing and pushing, and we could have had a bunch more hits that didn’t go through, but they just didn’t care, and they just went after it, so I was really proud of them.”
Ali Blanchard started the game for Arizona from the circle, and after Abby Doerr flew out to left field, Grace Messmer singled up the middle. Arizona (26-22, 4-16 Pac-12) then got out of the top of the first inning when Frankie Hammoude grounded into a double play.
Jasmine Perezchica walked to start the bottom half of the first for the Wildcats. A bunt by Dakota Kennedy moved her to second and got two on base for Arizona. After Carlie Scupin popped out to third base, Olivia DiNardo singled up the middle, scoring Perezchica.
The Wildcats eventually stranded two on base, holding on to a 1-0 lead after the first inning.
Then it was Oregon State’s turn to get on the board.
Blanchard walked two of Oregon State’s first three batters to open the second inning. Morgan Howey doubled to left field to score Kaiea Higa. The next batter Madyson Clark flew out to center field, scoring Des Rivera. The Beavers would strand two runners and held a 2-1 lead heading into the bottom of the second.
Perezchica led off the bottom of the third with a single to left field. Then Kennedy hit her eighth home run of the season to give Arizona a 3-2 lead.
But Arizona’s lead was short-lived.
Eliana Gottlieb hit a lead-off homerun to tie the game in the top of the fourth inning. With two outs and two runners on base, Netz struck out Doerr to keep the game knotted at 3 heading into the bottom of the inning.
“She (Netz) responded immediately after the home run,” Lowe said. “It was one run on the board, who cares and go back to work, so I was really proud of her today.”
PAC-12 SOFTBALL STANDINGSThrough games of May 5
* Stanford 2-1 vs. Oregon & 1-0 vs. Washington
** Washington 2-1 vs. Oregon
UCLA at Utah, 11 a.m.
Utah Valley at Washington, 11 a.m.
Oregon at California, 12 p.m.
Stanford at ASU, 12 p.m.
Oregon State at Arizona, 12 p.m.
Blaise Biringer was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning, prompting a pitching change for Oregon State when Tarni Stepto replaced starter Ellie Garcia.
With one out, Logan Cole singled to first base, and Biringer advanced to third on an errant throw from Clark that flew over the head of Hammoude. But Stepto struck out Perezchica and Kennedy to end the inning for the Wildcats, leaving two runners on base.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Scupin hit a lead-off single to right field for her first hit since returning from injury.
With one out, Netz was hit by a pitch before Allie Skaggs reached first on a walk to load the bases. Biringer then chopped the ball toward Oregon State second baseman Clark, reaching first on a fielding error that scored pinch runners Biehl and Altmeyer to give Arizona a 5-3 lead.
Cole would then single to first, scoring Skaggs to extend Arizona’s lead to 6-3 heading into the sixth inning.
In the top of the seventh inning, Netz finished off the game for Arizona from the circle to secure the win.
Netz (13-14) pitched five innings, allowing three hits with two strikeouts.
After the game, Netz reflected on how she got through the 14-game conference skid.
“Just knowing to stay competitive. I think that’s the biggest thing is that the score doesn’t really matter. I mean, to us, it does. A loss is a loss, and a win is a win,” she said. “But you know what? At the end of the day, knowing that you fought your ass off, and you can look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘you know what? I gave it my all.’ That’s the biggest thing.”
Arizona plays Oregon State (13-26-1, 4-14-1 Pac-12) in the series finale tomorrow at noon Tucson time at Hillenbrand Stadium.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.