Banister Blasts a Pair to Beat ASU

April 10, 2009

TUCSON--Sam Banister knocked two home runs after being slighted by intentionally walking her predecessor to help lift No. 10 Arizona (33-9, 5-2) to a Pac-10 victory over No. 5 Arizona State, 10-8, Friday night.

Banister drove in six runs with the pair of three-run blasts. The Wildcats hit three other long balls.

Stacie Chambers powered a fly ball into left field and the wind -- gusting at 25 miles per hour at times -- helped it slip over the fence for a two-run lead in the bottom of the first. Brittany Lastrapes led off the frame with a walk, and scored ahead of Chambers, whose home run was her nation-best 24th of the year.

ASU (34-8, 4-3) answered quickly. Katelyn Boyd singled up the middle and scored on Kaylyn Castillo's double to left-center. Krista Donnewirth reached on an error by third baseman Jenae Leles to put runners at the corner, and then pitcher Sarah Akamine hit Katie Crabb to load the bases.

Akamine walked Ashley Muenz to force in a run, still with no outs. But Akamine struck out Caylyn Carlson, got a force at the plate and struck out Lesley Rogers for the third out to strand three.

The Cats got a pair of hits in the second, but left runners at the corners when Lastrapes took a called third strike from ASU's Hillary Bach (19-3) for the third out.

Leles hit a one-out double in UA's third, and ASU chose to intentionally walk Chambers. Sam Banister promptly ripped the next pitch half way up the grandstand in left for her 10th home run and a 5-2 lead.

Some more long balls pushed the lead to five in the Arizona fourth. K'Lee Arredondo and Leles hit back-to-back two-out shots to make it 7-2. They gave the Cats 95 home runs on the year, one more than last year's team hit in 60 games.

ASU took the lead in the sixth and spoiled Akamine's five and one-third innings stint. Katelyn Cochran broke up her string of 10 consecutive batters retired by leading off with a first-pitch single. An out later, Castillo singled down the left field line to put runners at the corners. Donnenwirth singled up the middle to plate Cochran and chase Akamine.

Reliever Jennifer Martinez (8-3) struck out Crabb, and then walked pinch-hitter Christina Zambrana. A wild pitch brought in Castillo, and then pinch-hitter Mandy Urfer knocked a two-run single to cut the lead to one run, 7-6. Leadoff batter Jessica Mapes then launched one over the left field fence to give ASU an 8-7 lead.

The Cats got a leadoff single by Lastrapes and a single by Arredondo to start the sixth. Lastrapes moved to third on a wild pitch, but Arredondo was thrown out trying to advance to second. Leles popped up for the second out. Bach intentionally walked Chambers again and Banister again knocked one out of the park, her 11th and the Cats' 96th, to put UA back on top, 10-8.

Akamine came back in to pitch the ASU seventh to earn an odd save before an aroused crowd of 2,794. She struck out ASU slugger Cochran, got Boyd to ground back to the circle and got Castillo to ground out to short.

The two teams meet again at 7 p.m. Saturday. The victory moved Arizona into second place in the league standings behind Stanford at 6-2.

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