Arizona Softball

Izzy Pacho’s two-run blast helps Arizona hold off Oregon to open series

Arizona won a consecutive game in the Pac-12 for the first time this season and the Wildcats will go for their first series win of 2022 as well when they face Oregon again on Saturday at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Arizona overcame a four-run deficit in the first inning and an Oregon three-run rally in the sixth that tied the game before Izzy Pacho’s two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth that helped the Wildcats win 11-8.

Pacho, a former Ironwood Ridge standout who grew up attending schools in the Sunnyside School District, hit her fifth home run of the season. It was a deep shot to left field that scored Tucson High product Carlie Scupin, who previously doubled in Allie Skaggs (another Ironwood Ridge grad) with the go-ahead run.

Skaggs, who earlier hit her 11th home run of the season, started the two-out rally with a walk.

“Honestly, I calmed myself down, took a deep breath and I told myself I’m just gonna see the ball and go (when she hit the home run). I honestly wouldn’t be here without my teammates. I love them so it was great,” Pacho said to ESPN2’s Holly Rowe while her teammates mounted equipment on top of her head while she was being interviewed.

Arizona is feeling good again at Hillenbrand after suffering through an 0-8 start to the Pac-12 season. The Wildcats are 3-2 since including winning consecutive conference games for the first time this season with the victory Friday night.

Caitlin Lowe’s team that is 22-14 overall and 3-10 in the Pac-12 will go for its first conference series win Saturday at 5 p.m.

Lowe must be pleased with Arizona’s mettle after falling behind 4-0 in the first inning despite having ace Hanah Bowen in the circle and also allowing the Ducks to score three runs to tie the game at 8 in the sixth.

Arizona’s five-run fourth inning was essential, giving the Wildcats a 7-5 lead.

Pacho started that rally with a leadoff single and then Blaise Biringer walked before Paige Dimler belted a three-run home run.

After Sophia Carroll reached on a fielding error and Giulia Koutsoyanopulos singled on a bunt, Jasmine Perezchica followed with an RBI single to put Arizona ahead 6-5.

Perezchica was caught stealing for the first out but then Sharlize Palacios followed with a single to score Koutsoyanopulos for the last run of the rally.

Pacho again started a rally for a run by hitting a single to lead off the fifth. After moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Biringer and to third on a wild pitch, she came home on Dimler’s sacrifice fly to put Arizona ahead 8-5.

Oregon rallied for three runs to tie the game behind an RBI double by Ari Carlson and a two-run home run by Hanna Gailey.

The Wildcats’ three-run response in the bottom of the sixth started when Skaggs walked.

Scupin then doubled down the left field line to score Skaggs. Pacho followed with a moon shoot on the first pitch into the darkness where Arizona’s batting cages are located deep beyond the left field wall for the two-run home run.

“Honestly, I love where I come from,” said Pacho, when asked by Rowe about being the hero of the game playing in her hometown. “I’m so proud to be here and represent Tucson today.”

Hanah Bowen, who was relieved by Madi Elish in the third inning with one out after giving up a home run and single, returned to close the game in the ninth for her first save of the season.

Bowen entered after Devyn Netz walked Oregon’s leadoff batter in the seventh.

She got the first batter she faced to ground into a double play. After a walk issued to Ter McGowan, Bowen struck out Rachel Cid to end the game.

“Bowe has another level in her that a lot of people don’t have and when she’s on the mound, we trust her and we tell her, ‘Home run after home run — whatever it is — we’re gonna make outs for her and we’re gonna get those runs back. So (we) just trust in her,” Pacho told Rowe.

Pacho finished 3 for 4 with two runs and two RBIs, Dimler had four RBIs and Skaggs was 1 for 3 with two runs and an RBI.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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