Arizona Softball

Arizona scores two runs late behind solid pitching to beat Washington in series finale

Miranda Stoddard, left, and Aissa Silva combined for a shutout against Washington on Sunday. (Arizona Athletics)

No. 22 Arizona defeated No. 7 Washington, 2-0, behind solid pitching performances from Miranda Stoddard and Aissa Silva to avoid a series sweep at Hillenbrand Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The game was scoreless through six and a half innings, with Arizona leaving six runners on base and Washington stranding three at that point.

In the bottom of the sixth, Allie Skaggs singled to third. After Carlie Scupin popped out to center, Olivia DiNardo hit a two-run home run to give Arizona (20-7-1, 3-3 Pac-12) a 2-0 lead. 

Silva struck out Alana Johnson in the top of the seventh before walking Kinsey Fiedler, prompting starting pitcher Stoddard to return to the circle to finish the game. Olivia Johnson flew out to center, and Brooke Nelson grounded out to Stoddard to seal the win for the Wildcats.

Silva (12-3) pitched 2 1/3 innings for the win, and Stoddard held Washington (20-4, 4-2 Pac-12) scoreless in the first four innings, striking out two while allowing three hits and a walk, before returning to the circle in the seventh to close out the game for Arizona.

Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe said she was feeling great after the win, especially after Stoddard and Silva’s performances. Arizona had given up a combined 24 runs in two mercy-rule losses to Washington to open the series. 

“I can’t say enough about Miranda and Aissa. We gave up a ton of runs in the first two games, and for them to come out and absolutley go after what they’re good at, I thought they were themselves today,” she said. You saw fiesty Aissa with swagger on the mound, and Miranda was just nails today, tough as nails, and I thought it was just a huge character-type win. Just gritty and awesome.”

With one out in the bottom of the third, Jasmine Perezchica reached first on a throwing error before Washington pulled starting pitcher Sidne Peters and inserted Ruby Meylan. Regan Shockey then walked to put runners on first and second. After Dakota Kennedy struck out, Blaise Biringer walked to load the bases, but Skaggs popped out to third to close out the inning. 

In the bottom of the fourth, Scupin singled to center with a line drive off the wall. With one out, Emily Schepp doubled to left field, advancing Scupin to third. Kaiah Altmeyer then came in to pinch-run for Scupin. Tayler Biehl reached first on a fielder’s choice, but Altmeyer was caught in a pickle and was tagged out. Perezchica struck out to close the inning and keep the game scoreless.

Silva came in to relieve Stoddard in the circle in the top of the fifth after Brooke Nelson singled to right-center field. Sydney Stewart then fouled out, and Giselle Alvarez grounded into a 6-2-3 double play to get Arizona out of the top half.

DiNardo believes the win will serve as a confidence booster ahead of a road series at California later this week.

“I think it’s a big thing,” she said “I think we’re getting better each day and we’re just trying to chip away. I think every win we get is a confidence booster and every loss, we just work harder to get back together as a group and figure out how we’re going to win.”

Arizona plays at California (21-6, 1-4 Pac-12) Friday at 3 p.m. Tucson time.

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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