Arizona softball’s offense has struggled against good pitching all season.
The No. 9 Wildcats’ Pac-12 opener at No. 4 UCLA Saturday was no exception.
Arizona recorded just two hits in a 5-0 shutout road loss to the Bruins, spoiling an overall decent outing from starting pitcher Devyn Netz. The loss drops the UA to 19-4 on the season and 0-4 against top 25 teams.
UCLA struck for one run in the first inning on a two-out RBI double by Delanie Wisz to open the scoring. That was the game’s only run until the fourth, when the Bruins’ Seneca Curo added another run on an RBI single. That hit, too, came with two outs.
Netz otherwise held UCLA’s high-potent offense in check until the sixth, when the Bruins finally broke the game open with a Maya Brady homer followed by RBI singles from Curo and Kinsley Washington.
Netz (8-2) finished the day allowing five earned runs on seven hits, two strikeouts and three walks over 5.2 innings. Madi Elish relieved Netz for the final out of the sixth.
Despite being down only a run or two for most of the game, Arizona never felt in it due to the offense’s struggles.
Arizona’s first hit of the game didn’t come until the fourth inning when Jasmine Perezchica hit a single lead-off. A strikeout and double play ended any scoring threat.
The Wildcats’ best scoring chance came in the sixth inning when UCLA pitcher Megan Faraimo walked the first two batters, Amber Toven and Hannah Martinez. A pair of fielders choice tag outs and a strikeout ended that rally.
Faraimo gave up two hits and three walks on 11 strikeouts over seven innings. This is the third time Arizona has been stymied offensively against a top five opponent. The Wildcats previously lost 10-2 to No. 1 Oklahoma and were shutout at home 11-0 by No. 2 Alabama.
Arizona will look to change its fortune tomorrow when it faces UCLA at 12 p.m. PST. The game will be aired on Pac-12 Networks.