Arizona Softball

Arizona defeats No. 15 Arkansas, Omaha to remain unbeaten

Regan Shockey steals home to win the game against Arkansas in a 3-2 walk-off Friday evening at Hillenbrand stadium. (Arizona Athletics)

Arizona remains undefeated after facing its toughest opponents of the season, defeating No. 15 Arkansas in a walk-off and run-ruling Omaha in five innings in a doubleheader in the Bear Down Fiesta on Friday evening at Hillenbrand Stadium.

After taking a 2-0 into the seventh, Arkansas (5-2) showed a big sign of life when a two RBI home run from Rylin Hedgecock tied the game at 2-2.

In the bottom of the seventh, Regan Shockey hit an infield single off Arkansas pitcher Robyn Herron. Herron then walked Dakota Kennedy. A pass ball with Scupin at the plate advanced Kennedy and Shockey to second and third, respectively, before Scupin struck out on a foul tip. 

Arkansas cather Kylie Brockman hesitated before she threw the ball to first, and Shockey stole home for the 3-2 walk-off win.

“Scoop (Scupin) did a good job of getting down the line and creating havoc, and, it’s like, ‘I need to score for my team and let’s get this win, and that was it,'” Shockey said of her thought process in the game-winning steal at home.

Shockey says the team has been practicing more aggressive baserunning this season.

“Our whole thing this season is being aggressive, taking bases reading pitches down in the dirt, and I think our team does a great job of that and just showing that in the game what we do in practice,” she said.

Knowing her mentality on the base path, Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe wasn’t surprised by Shockey’s game-winning steal.

“Regan, specifically, is always looking for a ball in the dirt or something where she can make something happen. So that wasn’t unheard of for her,” she said. “To turn the strikeout into something good — I think it’s the biggest deal. Instead of being disappointed with that, she went ahead and kind of created some havoc. So it was great to see.”

Lowe is pleased with how the team responded to close out the game after Arkansas tied the game in the top of the seventh.

“I thought it was a big time growing up moment for Aissa (Aissa Silva) to get out of that in a tight ballgame and for us to have that chance,” she said. “I thought Regan Shockey grew up a little bit and just went to town on getting on base, and she knew her job to pass the bat to the next person, and Ko (Kennedy) did her thing. I’m just very proud of that performance and for them being stoked on an RBI strikeout. Like, any way we can, any way we can. So, it was fantastic.”

Arizona (9-0) scored early for the third game in a row, beginning the action with a leadoff double in the bottom of the first from Kennedy. The game couldn’t have begun worse for Arkansas starting pitcher Hannah Camenzind, who then hit Scupin with a pitch and walked Olivia DiNardo to load the bases.

Camenzind then walked  Kaiah Altmeyer to score Kennedy, and an RBI groundout from Blaise Biringer brought Scupin home to put Arizona up 2-0, prompting Herron to come in to relieve Camenzind with no outs and get the Razorbacks out of the inning.

Lowe is impressed with how Arizona’s offense has started its last four games. Arizona has outscored its opponents a combined 13-1 in the first inning of those games.

“I just think the way they’re showing up, and they’re hungry for the very start of the game,” she said. “They’re ready when the bell rings, if you will. I think that says a lot about a team. They’re just chomping at the bit to get started.”

Aisa Silva (4-0) allowed two runs, two hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings for the win.

Miranda Stoddard came in to relieve Silva with one out in the bottom of the fourth. 

Arizona run-ruled Omaha 13-2 in game two of the doubleheader.

Omaha (5-2) struck first with a two-out single from Emma Durr that scored Lynsey Tucker to put the Mavericks up 1-0.

Arizona answered in a big way in the bottom half of the inning when Scupin blasted an RBI double to center, scoring Kennedy, who had singled. 

DiNardo followed her with her third home run of the season to put the Wildcats up 3-1.

With two outs in the inning, Emily Schepp singled down the right field line, scoring Altmeyer to extend Arizona’s lead to 4-1.

Omaha’s Sammy Schmidt tripled down the left field line in the top of the second with one out, but Mannon got out of the half inning by not allowing another hit after Olivia Aden lined out to her and Marra Cramer grounded out to Skaggs at second base.

Shockey and Kennedy singled in the bottom of the second, setting up an RBI single from DiNardo before Skaggs crushed a three-run home run over right center to stretch Arizona’s lead to 8-1. 

After Abby Flanagan came into relieve Omaha starting pitcher Sydney Nuismer, Schepp hit a three-run home run that put Arizona up 11-1.

Tucker scored from third for Omaha on a pass ball in the top of the third.

Arizona added two runs in the bottom of the third off an RBI double from Scupin and an RBI single from Biringer.

Ali Blanchard (1-0) finished the game in the circle for the Wildcats and earned the win. She had three strikeouts, allowing four hits and a walk in three innings.

Arizona plays Arkansas at 2 p.m on Saturday at Hillenbrand Stadium before closing out the Bear Down Fiesta against Omaha on Sunday at 11:30 a.m.

FOLLOW @KEVINMURFEE ON TWITTER! 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.

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