SOFTBALL

Softball: Arizona 8, San Diego St. 6

2012-03-29T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T15:38:56Z Softball: Arizona 8, San Diego St. 6Patrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
March 29, 2012 12:00 am  • 

A most amazing moment happened at Hillenbrand Stadium late Wednesday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with the Arizona Wildcats' hottest softball topics of the week: a sweep by Arizona State and the health of coach Mike Candrea.

The Wildcats, instead, staged an old-fashioned, almost-impossible comeback over San Diego State, resulting in an 8-6, eight-inning win in front of 2,315 fans.

The UA scored seven straight runs - five in the seventh inning to tie and two in the eighth to win - to sweep the 18-19 Aztecs.

Trailing by one with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, UA starter Kenzie Fowler walked two to load the bases and coughed up a grand slam to Aztecs cleanup hitter Justeen Maeva.

The Aztecs led 6-1. Some fans got up and left.

This was going to be ugly.

"Getting swept by ASU and coming out here and getting beat by San Diego State, I don't think that woulda been good," shortstop Shelby Pendley said.

Assistant coach Larry Ray, coaching for Candrea for the second straight game, said the Wildcats (21-8) "kinda slept-walked for six innings."

"That could have been devastating, to play like we did (Tuesday) night (in an 8-0, mercy-rule win) and then have the complete opposite team show up today," he said.

Then the rally started.

Pendley bounced a home run off the scoreboard to start the seventh, pulling the UA within four.

"We're gonna need a lot more," Pendley thought as she rounded the bases.

The Wildcats took pitches until strikes were called, convinced the strike zone had shrunk.

Kristen Arriola singled to left, Chelsea Goodacre walked on a full count, and Lini Koria chopped an infield single up the middle to load the bases with none out.

Down four, Nicole Bryan hit a sacrifice fly to center field, making it 6-3.

Hallie Wilson also flied out to center, leaving Alex Lavine as the Wildcats' last hope.

The sophomore had posted only one hit all season and entered the game in the fifth inning only because Chelsea Suitos struck out twice.

She took strike one and fouled off the second pitch.

With two strikes and two outs, she rocketed a high, inside screwball from Bailey Micetich over the left-field fence.

"Right when I hit it, I was just like, 'No one's getting that. That's gone,'" Lavine said.

Pendley said it was "amazing for her to come in like that and hit a home run," calling the moment "awesome."

The home run forced extra innings. After the UA's Shelby Babcok retired three batters in relief, Jessica Spigner led off the bottom of the eighth with a single.

Pendley came to the plate knowing she wouldn't see another inside pitch.

Looking for an outside pitch, she parked a homer on a pitch over the batter's eye to end the game.

"It feels like we're coming together like we need to," the freshman shortstop said.

"It feels more like a team, team atmosphere, the way it should be."

The Wildcats will welcome Candrea back at practice today after he spent two nights at University of Arizona Medical Center and two more at home after suffering chest pains Sunday.

He did not return a voicemail message Wednesday.

"Sunday felt horrible," Lavine said. "We were at rock bottom for our season, I think. We just knew coming into the series that there's no way to go but up.

"We had a little speed bump, and we're through it now."

Up next

• Who: Stanford at Arizona

• When: 7 p.m. Friday

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