Last year, Arizona softball started Pac-12 play on an eight-game losing streak. This year didn’t start that way, but the Wildcats are in danger of putting together an equally long losing streak in conference play after dropping their sixth straight Pac-12 game in a 3-2 Stanford victory.
Freshman Aissa Silva got the start on Friday evening in Stanford, Calif. She was humming along, allowing just two hits through the first four innings.
The fifth inning got away in a hurry as Cardinal pinch hitter Kylie Chung took the first offering from Silva and launched it over the fence for a solo shot. A single off the bat of Allie Clements ended Silva’s day.
Ali Blanchard wasn’t able to stop Stanford’s offense. She allowed the inherited runner to score along with another run to put Arizona in a 3-0 hole after five innings.
As they have almost every time this year, the Wildcats responded on offense once they were down. Devyn Netz led off the sixth by getting hit by a pitch from Regan Krause. Olivia DiNardo followed that with an opposite-field home run to pull Arizona within one with no outs. That ended Krause’s day.
Dakota Kennedy was Stanford ace Alana Vawter’s first batter. She got on base via an error by the Stanford shortstop, giving Arizona another baserunner with no outs. The Wildcats couldn't get her in.
It was not the first time Arizona let an offensive opportunity slip away. In the fourth, the Wildcats used three straight two-out singles to load the bases, but they couldn’t get any runs out of it.
Netz took the circle in the bottom of the sixth to try to keep the game at one run. She gave up a single to lead things off, but a sacrifice bunt and a nice unassisted double play by freshman shortstop Logan Cole got the Wildcats back into the dugout.
Arizona went down quietly in order in the top of the seventh against Vawter. Ali Ashner struck out looking, and both Jasmine Perezchica and Allie Skaggs chased strike three to end the game.
Perezchica and Skaggs both had uncharacteristic games with three strikeouts each. Ashner had two.
Silva ended the day allowing four hits and two earned runs in four innings. She struck out three without issuing a walk. She fell to 2-1 on the season.
Blanchard allowed one earned run on three hits in one inning. She struck out one of the six batters she faced. Her ERA now stands at 4.04.
Netz continued to whittle away at her ERA. She allowed no runs on one hit in one inning and dropped her ERA to 2.80.
The Wildcats again played without three starters. Starting catcher Izzy Pacho has been out for the last two weeks dealing with personal matters. Starting first baseman Carlie Scupin is still recovering from a broken forearm. Starting shortstop Sophia Carroll has not played in either game this week. Attempts to find out if she is with the team have been unsuccessful.
The Wildcats also continue to be without freshman utility player Kaiah Altmeyer who is dealing with back issues.
On a positive note, the commentators noted that Scupin took ground balls in pregame warmups on Friday evening.
The Wildcats have gone 4-6 in their last 10 games with the six losses coming in Pac-12 play.