TUCSON, Ariz. – The No. 17 Arizona Wildcats came back from a three-run, ninth-inning deficit to hand the No. 23 University of Utah softball team a 10-9 loss on Saturday evening in Pac-12 Conference action inside Arizona’s Hillenbrand Stadium.
This defeat snaps Utah’s string of 11 consecutive victories, puts them at 4-1 in the Pac-12 and 20-5 overall. Arizona is now 20-8 and 3-2 in league games.
Through the game’s first six innings, the Utes had built a 2-1 lead, thanks in large part to the pitching of Sydney Sandez, who’d allowed only three hits, and a fifth-inning rally that included Sophie Jacquez’s second homer in as many days.
A Shelbi Ortiz round-tripper and an RBI double courtesy of Aliya Belarde in the seventh upped Utah’s advantage to 4-1, but the Wildcats put two runners on with one out in their half of the seventh, then used back-to-back hits, a walk and a passed ball to tie game and force extra innings.
Utah immediately rebounded in the eighth, jumping back in front thanks to a two-run single off the bat of Abby Dayton, but the Wildcats found a way to rally again, as a pair of two-out, run-scoring safeties knotted things at 6-6. The Utes were able to conjure up one most offensive outburst in the ninth to regain the lead at 9-6, but a three-run Arizona homer in the bottom of the ninth drew the hosts level again before a bases loaded walk to Allie Skaggs gave the Wildcats the walk-off win.
The series finale, which will determine the winner of the three-game set, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. MST (12 p.m. MT) on Sunday.
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