Cats Blast Golden Gophers for Sweep

March 6, 2009

TUCSON--Arizona pounded out 17 hits to score batches of runs in every inning in whipping Minnesota 20-3 for a doubleheader sweep in first-day Hillenbrand Invitational action Friday.

K'Lee Arredondo's grand slam highlighted a seven-run third that blew the mercy-rule shortened game open. Jenea Leles socked two home runs and drove in seven runs.

UA scored out of the gate as the designated visiting team, batting around in the first, with an RBI single by Leles and run-scoring ground balls by Sam Banister and Lini Koria.

Minnesota responded with a solo home run from Malisa Barnes, her first of the year, in the bottom of the frame.

But the Cats got two more in the second inning with run-scoring singles by Arredondo and Stacie Chambers.

And then in the top of the third, UA batted around again. Two walks and an infield hit helped set up runs off a wild pitch and an RBI-single by Lauren Schutzler. Another walk reloaded the bases and Arredondo turned on a pitch for a grand slam and an 11-1 lead. Jenae Leles followed with a back-to-back shot into the top row of the left field bleachers to make it 12-1.

Minnesota didn't give up. A base hit by Barnes and a double by Shannon Stemper put two runners in scoring position for Heidi Carls, who doubled them both in.

But Arizona wasn't finished, either. Koch walked the bases loaded and Arrendondo drove in a run with a ground ball, and then Leles singled in two more. In the top of the fifth, Leles' three-run homer highlighted a rally that finished Arizona's scoring, with all five runs in the frame unearned.

UA pitcher Lindsey Sisk improved her record to 8-2 for Arizona. The Cats are 18-4 heading into Saturday's doubleheader against Creighton (4 p.m., 6:30 p.m.) in the tournament. Minnesota dropped to 10-13. Pitcher Alissa Koch (0-6) took the loss.

Game 3 - Arizona 10, Minnesota 4

Arizona used a couple of rallies fueled by the long ball to beat Minnesota, 10-4, in the first game of a doubleheader in the UA's Hillenbrand Invitational tournament Friday afternoon.

UA wasted no time threatening, but Minnesota pitcher Briana Hassett got out of the first jam. Brittany Lastrapes led off the UA first with a walk and moved to third on K'Lee Arredondo's double. An out later, Stacie Chambers walked to load the bases. Hassett got a pop up and a strikeout to end the chance.

Arizona (17-4) squandered another bases-loaded situation in the second. Lauren Schutzler singled with one out, Karissa Buchanan reached on and error and Lastrapes walked. But Hassett struck out Arredondo and Sam Banister to thwart the rally.

Minnesota (10-12) made UA pay for an error by Jenae Leles, scoring four unearned runs in the top of the third to stake the Gophers to the first lead. Aubrey Davis got a one-out single, Sammie Howard reached on an error and Malisa Barnes collected an RBI single. Shannon Stemper then knocked a home run to left for three more runs.

Arizona answered right back. Leles provided some quick retribution with a home run after a Chambers' walk to cut the lead in half in the bottom of the third. The Cats then got bases on balls from Laine Roth and Schutzler and a passed ball to put two more runners in scoring position, and Lastrapes doubled down the left field line to knot the score at 4-4.

Arizona got things going again the in fourth. Lini Koria followed a Leles walk with another home run to stake Arizona to its first lead. Roth tripled down the right-field line and Schutzler singled her in for a 7-4 margin.

The Cats added three runs in the sixth, thanks to three walks and a wild pitch for the first one and a two-run single by Lastrapes for the others.

Sarah Akamine (10-2) earned the victory, with Lindsey Sisk pitching the seventh in relief and striking out the side. Hassett (10-7) was tagged with the loss.

Game 2 - Creighton 10, Saint Joseph's 2

Early runs, more rallies and steady pitching helped lift the Creighton Bluejays (7-5) to a doubleheader sweep over Saint Joseph's (4-5) with a 10-2 victory Friday afternoon.

Creighton started where it left off in its Tucson opener, smacking the ball around. Bailey Dawson led the game off with a double and crossed the plate ahead of Laura Kratochvil's first home run of the season to make it 2-0 in the top of the first.

Three walks issued by SJU starter Dani Gonzales loaded the bases with one out in the second. Gonzales struck out Dawson but Michelle Koch socked a three-run double off the left-center fence for a 5-0 lead.

The Jays rallied for a run in the fourth. Dawson drove in a run with a single after Liz McKewon single and stole second. Koch was hit by a pitch and Renae Sinkler drew a walk to load the bases, but reliever Erin Gallagher got two ground balls to end the threat.

Brooke Darreff followed a Laura Cardone single with a home run to left center to put Saint Joe's on the board. But CU answered, batting around for a four-run rally in the top of the fifth, with a two-run single by Dawson and run-scoring singles by Sinkler and Kratochvil to push the lead to 10-2.

Kylie Hovinga scattered three hits to boost her record to 2-1. Gonzales took the loss to drop to 3-2.


Game 1 - Creighton 8, Saint Joseph's 0

Creighton's Tara Oltman, the reigning Missouri Valley Conference pitcher of the year, showed why with a one-hit shutout to lead the Bluejays to a 8-0 victory over Saint Joseph's to open Arizona's Hillenbrand Invitational softball action Friday.

Meantime, the Jays banged out 15 hits and shortened the game with a five-run rally in the sixth. Oltman had a no-hitter through five and two-third innings.

The Bluejays put the first runs on the scoreboard in the second. Jessica Wakasugi singled with out one, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out and scored when Bailey Dawson beat out a roller to second. Michelle Koch followed with a single up the middle and advanced to second when Dawson beat a throw to third.

Renae Sinkler drew a walk to load the bases. The Jays added a run on a wild pitch from Erin Gallagher, before a nice sliding catch in center by Laura Cardone ended the inning.

CU added to its lead with a pinch hit in the third. Michelle Graner hit a two-out double into left center, and scored on a pinch single by Cassidy Nee to make it 3-0.

Laura Cardone drew a one-out walk off Oltman in the SJU sixth and moved up on a two-out double to left from Monica Aguilar, the Hawks' lone hit. But a ground ball for the third out stranded both runners.

Creighton improved to 6-5 while SJU dropped to 4-4. Losing pitcher Erin Gallagher emerged at 1-3 while Oltman boosted her record to 5-4.

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