After dropping the first two games of the series in narrow one-run losses, No. 7 Arizona had its back against the wall versus No. 12 Oregon in Eugene, Ore.
The Wildcats started the second game of the Saturday doubleheader trailing 1-0 after a leadoff home run by Haley Cruse. However, thanks to clutch hitting from local freshmen Allie Skaggs (Ironwood Ridge grad) and Carlie Scupin (Tucson High), Arizona was able to end its 11-game losing streak at Jane Sanders Stadium after a 4-3 victory to improve to 34-10 overall.
Throughout the series, Arizona has struggled to hit with runners on base, going 1-for-13 giving the pitching staff little help in the circle.
In the third game of the four-game series, Arizona’s offense got a spark when Skaggs hit a pinch-hit two-run home run to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth.
The home run was Skaggs’ fifth of the season and the second pinch-hit blast of her young career.
After giving up the lead in the bottom of the inning, the Wildcats were able to load the bases with one out and Scupin up to the plate.
On the first pitch, she hit a single into the left-center field gap that fell before the center fielder Deijah Pangilinan could make the diving catch giving her team the 4-3 lead in the sixth.
Hanah Bowen started the game in the circle for Arizona and gave her team a solid outing going five innings on 74 pitches, giving up three runs on five hits and collecting two strikeouts.
Once Arizona was able to regain the lead, Mike Candrea turned to Alyssa Denham, who pitched the first game of the doubleheader, to close things out.
With all the pressure on her, Denham worked her way out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth to hold the score at 4-3 heading to the seventh.
In the bottom of the seventh, Denham allowed one walk but was able to work around it to end the team’s two-game losing streak and improve to 3-9 against top 25 opponents.
In the two innings Denham pitched, she threw 52 pitches, allowing two hits and a walk while collecting two strikeouts.
Arizona was not available for interviews after the game.
The Wildcats now trail Oregon 2-1 in the four-game series and will face the Ducks on Sunday at noon in a must-win game to capture momentum heading into the final week of the regular season against No. 2 UCLA at Hillenbrand Stadium. That series between the rival programs starts Friday.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.