It’s been a while since a starting pitcher was allowed to bat for Arizona softball. That changed on Thursday night as Devyn Netz pitched four innings of one-run ball to defeat Long Beach State 9-1 in five innings.
Netz had three strikeouts while giving up four hits and a base on balls, but the most surprising thing for the Wildcats was what she did as a hitter. The junior hit a solo home run from the six-hole and went 2 for 3 at the plate.
There was also a new face behind home plate as Izzy Pacho took over duties as the starting catcher in her fifth season in a Wildcat uniform. Pacho started things off with a bang in the bottom of the first when she stepped into the batter’s box with the bases loaded and no outs, promptly hitting a no-doubter over the centerfield fence. The grand slam was just the first of hit in her 3-for-3 night.
Jasmine Perezchica, who is taking over center field and lead off this season, joined Pacho in going 3 for 3 at the plate. She also scored two runs.
With Netz hitting, freshman shortstop Tayler Biehl did not get any at-bats. The speedy middle infielder did pinch run for the pitcher, though.
Arizona took a 5-0 lead in the first inning on the home runs by Pacho and Netz.
LBSU added their only run in the top of the second.
The Wildcats added a run in the bottom of the second, another in the bottom of the third, then tacked on two more for the final margin of victory in the bottom of the fourth on a home run by Carlie Scupin.
Arizona faces Kansas at 4 p.m MST on Friday, Feb. 10. The Wildcats then play LBSU again at 6 p.m.