No. 4 Sun Devils Fall To No. 2 Wildcats

April 14, 2001

TUCSON, Ariz. - Kim Balkan's leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth gave No. 2-ranked Arizona a 4-3 victory over No. 8 Arizona State in the teams' see-saw Pacific-10 Conference softball battle and second consecutive extra-inning game.

The blast was Balkan's fourth of the year and made up for an earlier play which had given ASU a late-inning lead. She platoons in right field with fellow freshman Mackenzie Vandergeest.

Arizona scored an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings. ASU second baseman Missy Hixon misplayed Lauren Bauer's hard grounder and Nicole Giordano followed with a double to deep right field to tie the game at 3-3.

Hixon's high fly to right field bounced off the glove of Arizona right fielder Balkan and over the fence for a home run in the top of the seventh had given ASU a short-lived 3-2 lead.

Two-run home runs by Kara Brun of ASU in the first inning off UA starter Becky Lemke and by Lindsey Collins of UA off Sun Devils' starter Kirsten Voak in the bottom of the sixth were the only run-scoring hits until the seventh frame.

Arizona used three pitchers: Lemke for five innings, Jenny Gladding in the sixth and seventh and Jenny Finch in the eighth and ninth. Finch won in relief for her 16th victory against no defeats. ASU started Voak, subbed Beach for her in the sixth, returned with Voak in the top of the seventh and brought Beach back after Giordano's double. Beach (14-6) took the loss.

A crowd of 2,306 saw Arizona extend its home winning streak to 32 games and improve to 41-4 overall and 5-2 in league play. ASU dropped to 30-11 and 5-3. The teams had played an 11-inning game Friday night, with Finch besting Voak in a 3-0 victory ended by Finch's home run.

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