COLLEGE STATION, Texas — If the Arizona Wildcats are going to advance out of the NCAA softball regionals, they’re going to have to win four-straight games over two days.
To do that, they’ll have to play exponentially better than they did in today’s 7-0 loss to Baylor at Aggie Softball Complex.
Junior Shelby Babcock started after fighting an illness for the past eight days, but lasted only six batters.
She walked the first three batters, and allowed the first run when Sara Smith grounded to Brigette Del Ponte. The shortstop threw home, but not in time to get the force.
Linsey Hays then ripped a single off the left-field wall to go up 2-0.
With the bases still loaded, Jordan Strickland singled through the left side of the infield, off the glove of third baseman Lauren Young, to plate two more.
That brought out coach Mike Candrea, who replaced Babcock with freshman Nancy Bowling. She retired the next three batters to escape the inning with no further damage.
The Wildcats loaded the bases in the bottom of the first with one out, but Alex Lavine chopped to the pitcher, who forced a runner at home, and Hallie Wilson grounded to second.
The UA wouldn’t have another hit the rest of the game.
Baylor left-hander Whitney Canion was almost perfect the rest of the way, allowing only one baserunner — Chelsea Goodacre on a hit-by-pitch in the sixth inning — until Mandie Perez’s seventh-inning single.
Canion got further support from the Bears in the fourth — when they scored one run on a walk, single, hit by pitch and wild pitch — and two more in the sixth on a Holly Holl home run.
The homer chased Bowling, who allowed four hits and three runs over five innings.
The Wildcats will play the loser of tonight’s Texas A&M-Penn game at 2:30 Saturday. Win that, and the UA would have to win again Saturday night to advance to Sunday.
Today’s loss was the UA’s first in regionals since the NCAA expanded the tournament in 2005. The Wildcats are now 78-7 all-time in regionals.