Arizona Softball

No. 21 Arizona run-rules No. 7 Stanford, 11-3, in five innings

Dakota Kennedy, left, Aissa Silva and Miranda Stoddard have a discussion near the circle on Friday night at Hillenbrand Stadium. (Arizona Athletics)

Arizona handed Stanford its first conference loss of the season, defeating the Cardinal, 11-3, in five innings on Friday evening at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Arizona held a 2-0 lead after the first inning, and a six-run bottom half of the second put much more distance between the Wildcats and Stanford.

It started when Emily Schepp doubled to center to open the bottom of the second. Tayler Biehl singled to first on a bunt, advancing Schepp to third before an RBI single to third from Jasmine Perezchica scored Schepp and advanced Biehl to second to put the Wildcats up 3-0. 

At that point, Kylie Chung came in to relieve Regan Krause in the circle for Stanford. The first batter she faced was Dakota Kennedy, whose RBI single up the middle scored Biehl to extend Arizona’s lead to 4-0 with no outs. 

Olivia DiNardo hit a two-RBI double to center with one out, scoring Perezchica and Kennedy to put the Wildcats up 6-0. After Allie Skaggs walked, Blaise Biringer doubled to left center, scoring pinch runner Aissa Silva to extend the lead to 7-0.

After Stanford’s Ava Gall made a fielding error at first base, Skaggs scored from third to extend Arizona’s lead to 8-0.

Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe thought the Wildcats’ early eight-run lead boosted their confidence, but she could tell the team was locked in before the game.

“I just thought they were contagious today,” she said. “It felt like a real complete team win all across the board — the dugout, the offense, the defense, the pitching. The pitching was connected with the defense when they were out there, and it just felt great to see them all put that together at the same time.”

Arizona was coming off a 9-0 five-inning run-rule loss to Stanford on Thursday evening.

Kennedy says evening up the series with the Cardinal in mercy-rule fashion took contributions from everyone.

“Honestly, it was really huge for all of us,” she said. “It was a complete team effort. Every single person on this team just worked this whole game, and no one let up, and I can’t be more proud of us.”

Arizona starter Silva (14-3) allowed three runs off eight hits in four innings for the win.

“She (Silva) set the tone for us on defense, and then we were able to carry that over,” Lowe said.

Krause (10-2) allowed five runs off six hits in one inning in the loss.

Regan Shockey singled to the circle, and DiNardo followed her with a two-run home run over the left field wall to give Arizona (22-10-1, 5-7 Pac-12) a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.

Stanford (26-6, 7-1 Pac 12) saw two runners thrown out in the second inning. Emily Jones singled through the right side. With one out, Kaitlyn Lim reached on a fielder’s choice to shortstop, as Jones was thrown out at second. Kyra Chan then singled to center, advancing Lim around second, but Shockey threw her out at third to close out the top half. 

The Cardinal got on the board in the top of the third when Gall hit a two-run home run to narrow Arizona’s lead to 8-2.

Silva walked the first two batters — Lim and Chan — in the top of the fourth. After two pop outs, Aly Kaneshiro singled to the left side to load the bases before Caelan Koch fouled out to left field to close out the top half.

Arizona added two runs with two outs in the bottom of the fourth to go up 10-2 on Schepp’s RBI single to left and Biehl’s standup RBI triple down the right field line that brought Schepp home.

Miranda Stoddard relieved Silva in the circle after Jade Berry walked, and Emily Jones singled to lead off the top of the fifth. Chan’s two-out RBI single up the middle trimmed the Arizona lead to 10-3.

A walk-off solo home run from Kennedy in the bottom of the fifth closed the game for Arizona with a mercy rule win.

Arizona plays Stanford on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium.

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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