Pitching struggles hurt Arizona in the 13-11 loss to Utah in the seesaw game

Devyn Netz pitched four innings for the Wildcats and gave up eight runs to seven hits Sunday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium. (Arizona Athletics)

Arizona gave up two six-run leads and struggled from the mound in a back-and-forth 13-11 loss to Utah, who won the series for the Utes Sunday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Arizona had a 10-9 nine-inning comeback win over Utah on Saturday that tied the series 1-1 and ended an 11-game winning streak for the Utes.

“I thought they busted their butts today and made a mistake, but it wasn’t because of a lack of preparation or effort,” the Arizona head coach said Caitlin Lowe called. “Friday’s defeat hurt because I felt like we weren’t ready. Today’s loss hurt because it was a collective. They left everything on the pitch and still came up short, and sometimes that hurts more.”

The Wildcats were clinging to an 11-10 lead after five innings.

Sydney Somerndike took over on the hill for Aisa Silva to start the sixth inning, but she couldn’t contain the Utes’ offense. She dropped a single to Belarde, Bonstram was hit by a pitch and Jimenez reached base after a Feilder pick before an RBI single from Jacquez scored Belarde for an 11-11 tie.

Briana Hardy was the fifth Arizona pitcher to capture and take over the mound Sydney Somerndike with one at the top of the sixth. The Utes would load the bases before Hardy got the Wildcats out of a jam by hitting a pinch hitter Elicia Espinoza.

devyn network retook the mound in the top of the seventh for a second time to try and save the game for the Wildcats, but Ellessa Bonstrom, a former CDO standout who grew up in Tucson, had other plans. After net was gone Karlie DavisonBonstrom hit a two-run homer down right field to give the Utes a 13-11 lead.

“Honestly, I just wanted some runs to come back and win in the seventh inning,” Bonstrom said. “I didn’t want to do much, but it just went over[the wall]. I was just happy to get those extra runs for Halle in the last inning.”

Hall Morrisanother Tucson native and former Bonstrom teammate at CDO, closed the side in the bottom of the ninth to seal the win for the Utes.

“It was great (to play in Tucson). I have complete faith in this team and it was fun to come here and get out of the snow for a bit and play some ball,” she said.

Utah (21-5, 5-1) didn’t take long to get on the scoreboard to start the game.

In the top of the first Arizona starting pitcher Ali Blanchard went Aliya Belarde in four pitches. Belarde would steal second before Blanchard left with Bonstrom. Julia Jimenez would hit an RBI double and hit Belarde.

The Wildcats were fortunate to lose the first-half innings 1-0 Sophie Jacques came up on a foul ball near the third baseline, and Bonstrom was picked off on the third to end the inning. She was initially called safe, but Arizona was successful in challenging the call.

Jasmine Perezchica singled in the middle, passing the pitch to start the bottom of the first inning. Perezchica was called the second time Blaise Biringer made it to first place after picking a field player. Allie Skags then went to put two runners on the base. With two outs Olivia Dinardo hit an infield single that loaded the bases and set up a grand slam by Dakota Kennedy that cleared the bases and gave the Wildcats a 4-1 lead.

Devyn net took over on the mound after Blanchard led the first runner into the second and closed the inning without conceding a hit.

The Wildcats continued to have success at the plate in the bottom of the second half Sophia Caroll isolated in the right field. After Taylor Biehl in the following at-bat isolated in the left field, Sydney Sandez Replaced starting pitcher Mariah Lopez on the hill for Utah.

Perezchica threw and made it to first place with a faulty throw that hit Carroll. A single for Biringer on the next at-bat brought Biehl home to extend the Wildcats’ lead to 6-1 with no outs.

Then the time came Allie Skags‘Chance to shine as she hit an RBI single down the middle that hit Perezchica and gave the Wildcats a 7-1 lead.

Then it was Utah’s turn.

The Utes loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the third in front Shelbi Ortiz hit a two-RBI single to close the gap at 7-3. Abby Dayton Ortiz followed up at-bat with a two-RBI double that put the Utes in the bottom third of the third 7-5 within two runs.

Arizona got some breathing room late in the fourth game period when Skaggs hit a two-RBI double that bounced off the midfield wall and hit Perezchica and Biringer to extend the lead to 9-5. Netz followed Skaggs with a two-run homer into left midfield and extended Arizona’s lead to 11-5.

An RBI single from Jacquez up top of the fifth resulted in a pitching change for Arizona. After Silva took over for Netz, Dayton doubled into left midfield and scored two more to level the score at 11-8.

Silva gifted Utah two runs later in the inning after throwing an overhead throw Izzy Pacho, score Hailee White from third base. Pacho’s soft toss back to Silva near home plate, Silva dribbles and Dayton hits to put the Utes on the run.

Arizona (20-9, 3-3) next plays Washington (22-6, 3-3) on Friday at 5 p.m. Tucson time in Seattle.


ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com Author Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson and has watched track and field for the Arizona Wildcats since childhood. Murphy is Product Manager for Journalists at Green Valley News and Sahuarita Sun. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.

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