Mauga’s Walkoff Sweeps Stanford

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TUCSON Freshman right fielder Katiyana Mauga hit a walkoff two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to help 10th-ranked Arizona Softball sweep the series from 24th-ranked Stanford Sunday at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The walkoff was home run number four for Mauga in the series, who now has six home runs in her last five home games and 13 on the season. Against Stanford (24-14, 1-8 Pac-12), Mauga was 5-for-8 with four homers and 11 RBI.

The sweep for Arizona (32-8, 7-5 Pac-12) was its second home Pac-12 sweep of the season in as many tries. The Wildcats are a perfect 22-0 at home this season, including 17 run-rule victories.

The walkoff in the eighth was only possible due to Hallie Wilson’s game-tying double in the seventh. Trailing by a run in the bottom of the seventh, Lauren Young singled and Chelsea Suitos was hit by a pitch to put the tying run in scoring position for Wilson. The junior smoked a double to center field to score the tying run. UA would have two runners thrown out at the plate to prevent the walkoff in the seventh.

Estela Piñon went the distance for the Cats, tossing 169 pitches in the eight-inning complete game. The senior allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits with walks and four strikeouts. She stranded 16 Stanford runners in the contest. With the victory, Piñon improved to 11-5 on the season.

Arizona, which scored a total of 30 runs in the first two games of the series, picked up right where it left off, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first inning on two hits. Chelsea Goodacre and Mo Mercado had an RBI apiece in the frame.

The lead did not last long though, as Stanford picked up a pair of runs in the top of the second inning on infield grounders to tie the game.

After Young led off the second with a single, Arizona had just one hit the next five innings before the rally to tie the game in the seventh.

The rally was necessary because, after 4.5 scoreless innings, Stanford broke the 2-2 tie with a solo homer by Bessie Noll in the top of the seventh inning.

Wilson’s double tied the game in the bottom of the seventh with one out and put runners on second and third, giving the Cats a chance to walkoff. After a fielder’s choice saw a runner get cut down at the plate, Kellie Fox singled to right field. On the play, Wilson was thrown out at home trying to score from second to end the inning.

In the eighth, a trio of walks loaded the bases with just one out for the Cardinal, but Piñon induced a pair of ground balls to get out of the inning.

In the bottom half, Goodacre reached on an error to begin the frame to bring up Mauga. On the seventh pitch of the at-bat, Mauga went opposite field with a two-run homer to end the game.

Arizona returns to action next weekend when it visits Cal for a three game series Friday through Sunday.

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