UA SOFTBALL

Softball: Arizona 10, Arizona State 9: Hallie-lujah! UA skid over

Wilson's walk-off hit caps 10-run Cats' rally for 1st win in 2 weeks
2013-05-04T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:32:01Z Softball: Arizona 10, Arizona State 9: Hallie-lujah! UA skid overPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Chelsea Goodacre swears she called the Arizona Wildcats' most impressive comeback in years Friday night.

With the Wildcats down three in the sixth inning to No. 5 Arizona State and star pitcher Dallas Escobedo - a long ways away from trailing 8-0 in the third - the UA catcher turned to redshirting shortstop Kellie Fox and made a prediction.

"We're going to score three, they're going to pull Dallas," she said, "They're going to put in (reliever Mackenzie) Popescue, and we're going to score one."

That's, improbably, exactly, what happened.

Hallie Wilson lined a 2-0, two-out, bases-loaded single in the seventh as UA won 10-9 to snap a five-game losing streak before 2,407 giddy fans at Hillenbrand Stadium.

It happened because of Goodacre, too, who hit a pair of two-run homers - one in the fifth inning, another in the sixth - to inch the Wildcats (29-22, 6-13 Pac-12) closer and closer.

"We definitely didn't hit the panic button," UA coach Mike Candrea said. "You start looking at the scoreboard, and we're chipping at it."

No one would have blamed the UA for panicking.

For one, ASU (42-8, 13-6) scored eight runs off Shelby Babcock before making its seventh out. The Sun Devils were headed for a walkover, literally, having taken seven bases on balls in the first three innings alone.

For another, the Wildcats needed at least nine runs to overcome ASU - and had scored seven, total, in losing their past five games.

And finally, they were facing Escobedo, who had allowed 2.16 runs per game entering Friday night.

It was over. Wasn't it?

"We were down 8-0," Brigette Del Ponte, the team's lone active senior, said, "and we got in the huddle and said, 'We can't give up.'"

The Wildcats made their case for an NCAA tournament berth a lot more attractive by beating the rival Sun Devils, who were ranked No. 8 nationally in RPI.

The UA hadn't won a game in two weeks.

"As a team, that was probably our highest moment," Wilson said of Friday's game.

The Sun Devils scored five runs in the second inning, all with two outs.

With the bases loaded, Alix Johnson singled to left field. After one run scored, Nikki Girard, running from second, seemed to be a half-step slow in trying to score.

Left fielder Wilson's throw appeared to beat the ASU freshman to the plate, and Goodacre caught the ball on a hop toward the rear, first-base side of home plate.

But Girard slid her foot on the plate, letting the Devils go up 2-0.

The next batter, Cheyenne Coyle, struck while the Wildcats were dazed, launching a three-run homer.

Girard added a three-run shot in the next inning to make it 8-0.

The Wildcats - who put an ASU tackling dummy in their dugout - began to scrap back.

Mandie Perez started the third with a walk, and moved up, an out later, on an Alex Lavine single.

After Wilson popped foul to the third baseman, Chelsea Suitos drove in one run on a single to center. Another scored when Johnson bobbled the ball. Suitos, who advanced to second on the error, scored on a Goodacre blooper to right, and the Wildcats trailed 8-3. UA also scored one in the fourth.

ASU added one in the fifth, but the Wildcats countered with Goodacre's first two-run shot of the game.

In the sixth, Suitos singled home Lavine, who'd reached on an Escobedo throwing error, to cut the lead to 9-7.

Goodacre tied it at 9 with a two-run blast over the center field wall with two gone.

"We built off the energy and just kept going," she said.

Kelsey Rodriguez started the seventh with a single and moved to second when Del Ponte's bunt went untouched.

Mandie Perez walked to load the bases with none out.

But Gabby Sandstedt and Lavine struck out, bringing up Wilson, whose walk-off single to right saved the Cats from an emotional disaster.

"I've always been told that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," Candrea said. "If that's the case, then I should be able to bench press a damn Cadillac right now.

"It was at that point."

Instead, the UA was joyous.

And Goodacre called it.

"Genius," Del Ponte said.

Today

• What: Arizona State at Arizona

• Where: Hillenbrand Stadium

• Time: 6 p.m.

• TV: Pac-12 Arizona

Contact reporter Patrick Finley at pfinley@azstarnet.com or 573-4658. On Twitter @PatrickFinley

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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