It’s been a long time since March 11. That’s the day Arizona won its first Pac-12 softball series by taking game two against Arizona State. The Wildcats had not won another series and had been swept in the last four. They put that to rest on Sunday afternoon by taking the third game in the three-game series against Oregon State 6-3.
Arizona broke its 14-game Pac-12 losing streak on Saturday evening, leveling the series against the Beavers. They slammed the door on Sunday with seven hits, including home runs by Dakota Kennedy and Allie Skaggs.
“Oh, it feels great.,” Kennedy said. “We’ve been waiting for this for a long time. We obviously knew we could do it and were just putting our pieces together, and we did this weekend.”
Kennedy went 3 for 4 in the batter’s box. As she has several times this season, she had both a drag bunt and a home run in the same game. The home run was her ninth of the season.
Skaggs hit her first home run since Mar. 16 when she hit one out against UCLA. It was her 12th of the season, tying Devyn Netz for the team high.
Sydney Somerndike started the game in the circle, but she was pulled after just 2.1 innings despite giving up just two hits with no walks and no runs. Netz replaced her, pitching the final 4.2 innings. Netz surrendered three earned runs on nine hits and two walks.
As for why Somerndike would be lifted so early when she was having success, Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe felt it was time to give the Beavers’ hitters a different eye level after Somerndike gave up a leadoff double to Des Rivera then induced a foul-out from Erin Mendoza.
“It’s nice to have her a little bit up in the zone, and then bring Devyn in and she’s got a down ball and just keep people uncomfortable,” Lowe said. “So, mostly it’s just matchups and making sure we’re mixing with the hitters' eyes a little bit.”
It worked. Netz entered the game and got the final two outs of the innings on a flyout and a groundout.
Netz put up another zero in the fourth inning, but the Wildcat pitcher ran into trouble in the fifth. She gave up two runs in the fifth on a two-out home run off the bat of Abby Doerr. Doerr had another home run off Netz to lead off the seventh, allowing the Beavers to bring the tying run to the plate.
The Arizona defense fought to keep that run from getting on base, closing down the comeback attempt and securing the series victory.
“We want to win,” Skaggs said. “Me personally, I’m the same as I’ve been. I’ve always been a steady player. I just want to win games. So that’s what we need to do. I think if our team shows up the way we did the past few days, we’ll be set. We’ll be good to go.”