Cats' Home Runs Help Sweep Miners

March 4, 2009

TUCSON--Some late timely hitting helped propel No. 13-ranked Arizona to a come-from-behind victory over UTEP and a doubleheader sweep of the Miners Wednesday night at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium.

Sixth-inning home runs by Brittany Lastrapes and Stacie Chambers proved the difference in a game marked early by solid pitching on both sides.

The Cats pounded UTEP in the opener, 20-1. but the second game was a low-scoring give-and-take affair through five innings.

UA had the first scoring threat with a leadoff walk by Brittany Lastrapes and a single by K'Lee Arredondo, moving the former to second. But UTEP pitcher Stacie Townsend got Sam Banister to pop up, and Stacie Chambers and Jenae Leles to hit into force outs.

Jennifer Martinez pitched no-hit ball in her first career start for three and one-third innings before the Miners put a run on the board in the fourth. UTEP got its first baserunners of the game when Camilla Carerra drew a walk and Townsend doubled off centerfielder Lauren Schutzler's glove at the wall in deep center. Amber Bennet then knocked in the run with a sac fly to deep center.

The Cats (16-4) came right back to tie. Lini Koria doubled past a diving Becky Smith in center field to lead off the UA fourth. Kristen Arriola sacrificed her to second, but was safe at first on an error, and Koria scored on the miscue.

Jennifer Davis lined Martinez' first pitch over the batter's eye in center to put UTEP back on top, 2-1. After Courtney Ware singled, UA brought in Sarah Akamine to replace Martinez.

Leles doubled with two outs in the UA fifth to get into scoring position. Koria singled to right to move Leles to the corner. Arriola worked her way to a 3-2 count, but Townsend struck her out looking to strand two.

UTEP (11-11) looked to add an insurance run in the sixth with consecutive two-out singles by Bennett and Ashley Ellis, but Akamine got a force out at second to end the threat.

Lastrapes followed a Schutzler single with a home run to straightaway center to put UA ahead for the first time in the sixth inning. It was her fifth homer of the season. After Banister reached on an error, Chambers followed with her 10th homer of the year to give UA two unearned runs and a 5-2 lead.

Townsend dropped to 7-7 on the season while Akamine improved to 9-2, winning in relief.

Arizona plays host to the Hillenbrand Invitational Friday through Sunday.

. . .

Game 1 - 4 p.m.

Arizona used five home runs -- two by Lini Koria -- and a host of base runners to thump UTEP, 20-1, in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon.

It was the most runs by a Wildcat squad since May 10, 2003, when UA outlasted Washington, 21-17, in the regular-season finale that year.

Koria's big hit got UA off to a quick start in the first inning. Arizona loaded the bases with consecutive walks by UTEP pitcher Stacie Townsend. Sam Banister flied to left, but Stacie Chambers drew another walk to drive in the first run. Koria then launched a ball deep beyond the left field fence to make it 5-0, chasing Townsend (7-6) in favor of Kelly Curran.

UTEP responded. With two outs in the second, Ashley Ellis singled up the middle and Jennifer Davis doubled off UA starter Sarah Akamine (8-2) for the Miners' first run.

UA answered. The Cats put two runners with scoring position in the second after Brittany Lastrapes walked and moved to third on a two-base error by left fielder Chelsea Troupe. Curran got a pop out for the second out, but then walked Banister to load the bases again. Chambers singled to right to make it 6-0.

Another rally pushed UA well ahead in the third. Lastrapes followed a walk by Kristen Arriola and a single by Schutzler with her fourth home run of the year to make it 9-1. K'Lee Arredondo and Banister walked, and Chambers collected her third RBI with a single to right. Koria walked to load the bases and then Arriola hit a grand slam to make it 14-1.

The Cats used three pinch hitters in the bottom of the fourth, and the reserves helped produce for the final Arizona runs.

After Jill Molina popped out on an great over-the-shoulder catch by shortstop Jennifer Davis, Corinna Gonzales drew a walk, and freshman Alicia Banks crushed her first career home run. Later in the inning, freshman Koria doubled to right center bringing in Chambers and Banister for Koria's sixth RBI. The very next batter, Arriola, collected her sixth RBI of the day, floating a ball over the left field wall. It was her second homer in consecutive at-bats.

Akamine tossed a three-hitter, giving up the third safety to Amber Bennett in the third inning.The Cats knocked out 11 hits and drew 12 bases on balls.

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