(Tucson, AZ) Bill McCulloch
In the final home conference series of the season, Arizona wanted to finish with a “Bang.” It did thanks to Ivy Davis and Jesse Harper, the Cats completed their sweep of the Oregon State Beavers at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Taylor McQuillin once again had her usual solid performance with eight strikeouts with just a small hiccup on a solo home run by Hope Brandner for the Beavers only run in the top of the fourth inning.
The Wildcats came out aggressive in the first inning loading the bases, but came away empty.
In their half of the second inning even with two out they managed to get two runners on but couldn’t get the timely hit. They were knocking at the door, just no one was home.
Finally in the third inning, a lead off double by Harper set the stage. After being held at second on a grounder to the third baseman, Aleah Craighton hit a sharp ground ball that took a precarious hop and through the glove of the second baseman sending Harper home and an RBI for the first run of the game.
A walk and an error on the first baseman then loaded the bases for the Cats as Davis sent a lofty fly ball to left field to sacrifice the second run home scoring Craighton.
Oregon State wanting to salvage at least one win, cut the lead in half when Brandner hit a shot over Carli Campbell and the left field wall to make it 2-1.
In the Wildcat’s half of the fourth, things got a little weird. With one out Reyna Carranco beat out an infield hit to the shortstop. Harper lined out to left field for the second out. Then three consecutive walks forced in the third Arizona run. With the bases still juiced, the Beavers made a pitching change in the middle of Joelle Krist’s at bat. New Oregon State pitcher Meehra Nelson proceeded to walk Krist for the fourth base on balls of the inning forcing in Dejah Mulipola and the Cats were up 4-1.
After the leadoff batter grounded out, the Beavers got two aboard with consecutive walks by McQuillin. A fielders choice got the lead runner at third, but the Oregon State still had the tying runs aboard.
Out came Wildcat pitching coach Taryne Mowatt to settle things down. After a brief meeting in the circle, McQuillin struck out Shelby Weeks and the threat was over.
The Beavers weren’t done trying to get back in the game. In the top of the sixth inning, two infield singles sandwiched around McQuillin’s sixth strikeout once again got the tying runs aboard. A final seventh strike out and fly ball to right field quickly squashed the rally.
Only needing to hold serve, Harper lead off the bottom, of the sixth inning with a no doubt line drive over the left field wall to put the Cats up by four, 5-1. The Beavers pitcher a little rattled, walked Mulipola.
With one out, third baseman Malia Martinez hit one under the glove of her counterpart at third for an error. Joelle Krist then singled to left but Coach Mike Candrea held up Muliopola at third to load the bases once again.
With the count 0-2, game hero Davis scorched a fastball over the right field wall for a grand slam and the Beaver’s dam was broken as they were swept away by the walk off run rule homer 9-1.
Arizona has now won eight of their last nine games. They will face a good Grand Canyon University team coming to town on Cinco de Mayo Saturday for a double header and final close out game on Sunday.