With the seniors struggling at the plate, a pair of freshmen sparked Arizona’s offense in what felt like a must-win game.
Carlie Scupin and Allie Skaggs came through with clutch go-ahead hits as the No. 7 Wildcats rallied to beat No. 12 Oregon 4-3 in the third game of the four-game series after dropping the first two.
Scupin drove in two runs in the sixth with a long single to left, an inning after Skaggs pinch hit for a struggling Reyna Carranco and punched a two-run homer to right to put Arizona up 2-1.
In between, Oregon’s Haley Cruse and Allee Bunker notched a pair of two-out RBI singles to give the Ducks a brief 3-2 lead.
Alyssa Denham relieved Hanah Bowen in the sixth and tossed two stressful scoreless innings to seal the deal. Denham escaped a bases-loaded jam in the sixth with a lazy fly out to center and got Alyssa Brito to pop out with runners on first and second for the game’s final out.
With the win, the Wildcats (34-10, 11-7) improve to 3-10 against ranked teams and can split the four-game series with a win on Sunday at noon. If they prevail in that game, then win a couple games vs. No. 2 UCLA next weekend, they can still make a case for a top-8 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Looking back, Oregon may regret pulling starter Samaria Diaz at the end of the third inning. She had only allowed two hits while striking out six Wildcats.
Cruse gave the Ducks a 1-0 lead with a leadoff homer in the first, one of five hits she had on the day. She also walked to lead off the seventh.
Janelle Meoño, Arizona’s leadoff hitter, logged two hits and scored on Skaggs’ two-run homer.