Cats Rally Twice, Sweep Doubleheader

March 18, 2009

Game 2 - Arizon 10, New Mexico State 5

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- No. 12 Arizona used another late-inning rally to overcome another deficit, defeating the New Mexico State Aggies 10-5 in the second game of a doubleheader in front of a season-high 1,173 in attendance at the Aggie Softball Complex on Wednesday night.

UA was down 4-3 in the sixth inning when it took the lead for good. Kristen Arriola led off with a single, then Jenae Leles reached on a fielder's choice with Arriola thrown out at second. Stacie Chambers followed with her 20th long ball of the season to dead center, giving UA a 5-4 insurmountable lead.

Jennifer Martinez (5-1) picked up her second win of the day, as all three Wildcat hurlers saw time in the circle. The senior tossed 4 innings, giving up a run on four hits with five whiff balls. Sarah Akamine threw 2 frames, surrendering a run on two hits. Lindsey Sisk lasted only an inning of work.

Kim Watson (8-6) was credited with the loss - one of three Aggie pitchers on the evening. Watson tallied four strikeouts, but gave up five runs on five hits. Vanessa Fitzgerald didn't record an out and gave up four runs on three hits, while issuing a walk. Sydney Williard finished the game for NMSU, tossing an inning and giving up an earned run.

Before the pregame euphoria ended, Brittany Lastrapes took the first pitch of the game over the right centerfield wall. The lead was short-lived, though, as Sisk was touched up for three runs on five hits, including a monster shot onto the baseball field in left center from Hoku Nohara. The blast gave NMSU a 3-1 lead after one.

Sisk got the hook after one inning, as Sarah Akamine pitched the bottom of the second and retired the side in order.

In the Aggie (19-10) third, however, Western Athletic Conference leading hitter Tiare Jennings smoked a solo-shot to dead center, giving NMSU a 4-1 margin.

Sam Banister trimmed the lead to one with her eighth home run of the season - a two-out, two-run shot following a Chambers walk in the fourth. A popup ended the half with Arizona down, 4-3.

The Cats (28-7) added five runs of insurance in the seventh. Fitzgerald inherited a 1-0 count to Laine Roth, after Watson was pulled. Roth walked, Lauren Schutzler singled on a bunt and Lastrapes slapped a high bouncer for an infield single loading the bases for Arriola. The freshman hit a bases-clearing double into the left centerfield gap to up the lead to 8-4. Leles then singled in Arriola, and Banister knocked in Leles from second with a single. At the half's end, UA was up 10-4.

Kristi Randall hit a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to account for NMSU's final tally.


Game 1 - Arizona 8, New Mexico State 5

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LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Some seventh-inning heroics lifted the No. 12 Arizona Wildcats to an 8-5 come-from-behind victory over New Mexico State in Game 1 of a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon.

Arizona rallied from a one-run deficit in the final frame. After Kristen Arriola nabbed a one-out double, Jenae Leles hit a two-run homer - her second of the game - to give Arizona their first lead since the first inning. Lini Koria went deep with two outs after Stacie Chambers had singled, giving Arizona an 8-5 margin.

Jennifer Martinez (4-1) picked up the win in relief. The senior tallied five strikeouts and scattered three hits, giving up a run. Sarah Akamine had pitched the first three innings, giving up four runs on four hits while issuing a walk.

Vanessa Fitzgerald (8-3) was credited with the loss - also in relief. Two other pitchers saw action for the Aggies; the pitching staff scattered 11 hits, but struck out six and issued only two walks. Kim Watson started the contest, pitching 4.1 innings and giving up four runs.

10 of the 11 hits Arizona tallied went for extra bases.

Brittany Lastrapes hit yet another leadoff double in the first and was brought home off the bat of Leles, who knocked in her 41st RBI of the season with a double off the wall. Two groundouts ended the half, UA up 1-0.

NMSU (19-9) tacked on a three-spot in their half. Leadoff hitter Kylie Randall walked on an at-bat that included three illegal pitches, then Kandis Jones moved her to second with a single. Stacy Lien's one-out fielder's choice scored Randall an out later, then Jones came home on a Hoku Nohara single. Lien scored on a wild pitch to give the Aggies a 3-1 lead after one.

Arriola led off the Arizona (27-7) third with her fifth home run of the year - a line drive off the batting cages in left field - putting the Cats within one. After Leles drew a walk, Koria tied the game with a two-out RBI double.

Akamine was lifted after giving up a leadoff double to Nohara in the NMSU third inning. Martinez came in a delivered a strikeout, but gave up a two-run dinger to Angie Ortega, giving the Aggies a 5-3 lead. An out later, Kristi Randall doubled, but Kylie Randall struck out swinging to end the inning.

Leles cut the New Mexico State lead to one with her 12th blast of the year, a one-out solo shot to center in the fifth. Fitzgerald came in to pitch to Chambers and tallied a strikeout. After Sam Banister drew a walk, Koria flew out to end the half with UA down 5-4.

Martinez gave up a two-out base hit in the bottom of the seventh, but induced a groundout to end the game.

Up Next: Arizona opens conference play against Oregon State on March 27 at Hillenbrand Stadium. First pitch is at 7 p.m.

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