Arizona Softball

Arizona takes series with 3-2 win over Oregon in eight innings

Blaise Biringer leads the team with 10 doubles this season. (Arizona Athletics)

A solo home run by Olivia DiNardo and Aissa Silva’s steady arm in the circle gave No. 21 Arizona just enough to edge out No. 22 Oregon 3-2 in eight innings and claim the series on Sunday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The win for Arizona (28-13-1, 9-9 Pac-12) marked its first back-to-back conference series win this season. The Wildcats took two out of three at Utah last week.

Arizona held a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh when Oregon’s Paige Sinicki hit a solo home run over the center field wall to tie the game at 2-2, ultimately sending the game to extra innings. 

In the bottom of the eighth, DiNardo reached first on a fielding error by Oregon shortstop Sinicki. Emily Schepp then walked to put two on base before Tayler Biehl singled to Oregon pitcher Morgan Scott to load the bases. 

Jasmine Perezchica followed Biehl by hitting a chopper to third base, and pinch runner Ali Blanchard scored to seal the 3-2 walk-off win for the Wildcats.

“I was just running as fast as I could. I thought it was a really high chop, so I knew I had a chance,” Blanchard said of her game-winning run.

Silva (18-4) pitched six innings and allowed one earned run on four hits to pick up her second win of the series.

“I felt great all day,” Silva said. “I knew my defense had my back no matter what, and, obviously, my hitters had my back. Definitely sucks to give up a home run to tie the game, but we’re definitely used to extra innings, so it’s nice and fine to be able to play a little more and be a little more competitive.”

Brooke Mannon got the start, allowing one earned run in two innings.

Mannon pitched two shut-out innings in Arizona’s 7-5 win against Oregon in the series opener Friday.

Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe says Silva and Mannon played crucial roles in Arizona’s two wins over Oregon in the series, especially given the lack of options in the rotation. Arizona pitchers freshman Ryan Maddox, sophomore Sydney Somerndike and senior Devyn Netz have been out with injuries the entire season. Mannon is also dealing with a lingering arm injury and has been in and out of the rotation following the Alabama road trip in early March.

“I think Aissa’s done a phenomenal job, and I think the entire staff has done a phenomenal job,” Lowe said. I was very happy to get Brooke in this weekend, and she crushed her job. I think what people aren’t looking at necessarily as much is the fact that she took two innings off of Aissa today, which, if we didn’t necessarily have; maybe she’s (Silva) more tired at the end of the game. I think Brooke’s two appearances in both wins were massive for us.”

Oregon (24-15, 10-7 Pac-12) got on board first off an RBI double to right-center from Ariel Carlson.

A two-out RBI double to center by Blaise Biringer in the bottom half of the inning evened the game at 1-1, scoring Regan Shockey, who had earlier singled to shortstop. 

Olivia DiNardo hit a solo home run over the right field wall to put the Cats up 2-1 in the bottom of the third. 

Oregon threatened to get more runs on the board in the top of the fifth, but after Silva intentionally walked Carlson to load the bases for Oregon, Vallery Wong flew out to right field to get Arizona out of the jam.

Arizona plays its last home series of the season against Arizona State (18-21, 2-13 Pac-12) Friday at 5 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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