Cats Get Comeback Victory over Cal

April 19, 2009

TUCSON--A late home run by Sam Banister helped Arizona come back for a 7-5 Pac-10 softball victory over No. 14 California Sunday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium.

With two outs in the first, Cal got two runners in scoring position. Gina Leomiti drew a walk and Sanoe Kekahuna doubled to left field. But Sarah Akamine struck out Elia Reid for the third out.

No. 9 Arizona (36-9) got its first hit and first runs in the third. Karissa Buchanan beat out and infield single, and then Brittany Lastrapes banged one out of the park in centerfield for a 2-0 lead. Two outs later, Stacie Chambers rocketed her 26th home run of the year to add another run.

The Bears (29-15) mounted a fast response. Leomiti led off the Cal fourth with a single, and Kekahuna drew a walk. Reid singled up the middle to load the bases and Shannon Thomas singled to right to drive in a run, which chased Akamine in favor of Jennifer Martinez.

Taylor Kelly then launched a grand slam to right center to give Cal the lead, 5-3.

The Cats loaded the bases with one out after a walk to Lini Koria, an infield error and a base hit by Buchanan. Lastrapes singled in one run, but Buchanan was caught in a run down and tagged for the second out, and pitcher Valerie Arioto retired K'Lee Arredondo for the third out.

Reid singled to lead off the Bears' fifth, stole second and moved to third on a fly ball. Martinez gota pair of pop ups to stop the rally.

Arizona got back on top in dramatic fashion. Arioto intentionally walked Chambers with one out in the fifth, and Banister -- as she had twice against Arizona State a week earlier -- followed the intentional walk to Chambers with a home run. For Banister it was her 12th of the year.

Arizona picked up an unearned insurance run in the bottom of the sixth without benefit of a hit, with Lastrapes reaching on a fielder's choice and scoring from first on an infield error that caromed off Leomiti's glove at first and down the line.

Cal got successive hits from Arioto and Reid to open the top of the seventh. Martinez struck out Leomiti, and got Kekahuna to fly out to deep right, moving the runners up. She then struck out Reid looking to end the game.

Martinez (9-3) earned the victory in relief, while Arioto (13-5) took the loss. Arizona stayed in first place in the league standings at 8-2, dropping Cal to 5-7.

A crowd of 2,801 attended the game. Arizona next plays host to UCLA on Friday, and Washington in games on Saturday and Sunday.

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