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Walk-off homer propels Washington past Arizona softball after day-long rain delay

The series finale has been canceled

Baylee Klingler
Photo by Red Box Pictures/UW Athletics

(Editor’s note: Parts of this story were also published Saturday.)

Baylee Klingler lifted a two-out, two-run walk-off homer in the seventh inning as No. 6 Washington outlasted No. 7 Arizona 4-2 on Sunday in a game that started Saturday but was suspended due to heavy rain in Seattle.

The teams resumed around 1 p.m. PT with Arizona trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth. After Alyssa Denham stranded a leadoff double, Sharlize Palacios singled up to middle to plate Janelle Meoño, who tripled with one out in the seventh, to tie the game.

Denham retired the first two batters in the bottom of the inning, but Sis Bates grinded out a two-out walk to set the stage for Klingler’s bomb.

The Wildcats (14-5, 0-2) have now lost three straight and four of their last five. The final game of the series has been canceled due to the weather, so Arizona will have to wait until next Friday when they host a four-game series against Oregon State to return to the win column.

Trying to ignite an offense that has now scored six runs in its last five games, head coach Mike Candrea made several changes to Arizona’s batting order on Saturday:

  • Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza dropped from second to seventh
  • Sharlize Palacios was bumped from fifth to second
  • Dejah Mulipola and Jessie Harper were swapped to the No. 3 and 4 spots, respectively
  • Carlie Scupin was upped from seventh to fifth.
  • Peanut Martinez started in right field and batted ninth instead of Bella Dayton

The result was mostly the same. Washington ace Gabbie Plain stymied the Wildcats again. After logging 16 strikeouts in Friday’s 2-1 win, she fanned 10 in game two, turning in another complete-game effort.

Arizona actually had several scoring opportunities but struggled to get the big hit until Palacios came through after the rain delay. The Wildcats stranded a runner in scoring position in the first, third, fourth and sixth innings.

Washington came up clutch in the fourth when Morganne Flores banged a two-out, two-run double off the left field wall, the only damage done against Denham until Klingler’s homer a day later.

Arizona halved the deficit in the sixth when Washington first baseman Kelley Lynch failed to back hand a sharp grounder off the bat of Dayton, who pinch hit. The ball rolled toward the middle of the infield and Mulipola scampered home from second after singling earlier in the inning.

Palomino-Cardoza coaxed a walk to put the tying run on second and go-ahead run on first, but Hanah Bowen grounded out to Plain to end the frame.

Then came the rain.

Peanut plays third

Malia Martinez was lifted for a pinch hitter in the sixth inning, so Peanut Martinez (no relation) played third base for the Wildcats in the sixth and seventh.

Peanut has only played the corner outfield at Arizona but was an infielder in high school and travel ball. Maybe it’s a role she could take on next season when Malia graduates.

Like a G

Freshman first baseman Giulia Koutsoyanopulos made a stellar diving play in the fifth, snaring a line drive and lunging back to the bag to double off the runner at first. (The announcers gave Scupin the credit, but it was indeed Koutsoyanopulos.)

It likely saved a run as that ball may have rattled around in the corner if not for Koutsoyanopulos’ glovework.