Arizona is off to its best start to a softball season since 2004. Thank the Wildcats’ pitchers, some timely hitting — and a lucky break.
Pinch-runner Alexis Dotson motored home with the game-winning run when Oklahoma’s Shay Knighten threw wide on a force-out attempt at first base, and the Wildcats walked off with a 4-3 win against the Sooners Tuesday in Long Beach. The win was part of a doubleheader sweep for the fifth-ranked Wildcats, who topped Long Beach State in Game 2.
Arizona is now 26-1, its best 27-game start in 13 years.
Tuesday morning’s showdown between the UA and ninth-ranked Oklahoma was a pitchers’ duel between two left-handers.
Arizona’s Danielle O’Toole outlasted Oklahoma’s Paige Parker, allowing two earned runs on five hit. O’Toole struck out five and walked three.
Parker struck out a career-high 13 batters, but surrendered two runs in the seventh inning.
Arizona trailed by one with the bases loaded and two out when Mandie Perez hit a soft grounder to first base. Knighten fielded the ball and flipped to second baseman Caleigh Clifton as she ran to cover first base. The throw was wide, and two runs scored.
Taylor McQuillin pitched Game 2 for the UA, and struck out 11 49ers hitters while allowing six hits.
Arizona will open Pac-12 play with a series at Oregon State starting Friday.