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SB: Cats offense over powers #1 Ducks

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TUCSON, AZ -

Arizona's offense struck early and often while Shelby Babcock's brilliance in relief helped cool off a furious comeback attempt from No. 1 Oregon as the Cats downed the Ducks 11-8 in a thrilling game at Hillenbrand Stadium Friday night.

Arizona plated six runs in the bottom of the first inning against a pitching staff which had given up six or more runs in an entire game just five times previously all season long. The six-run first was backed up by Arizona's three-run second which gave the Wildcats the early comfortable seven-run lead.

Babcock relieved Estela Piñon, who was stellar through four, but, after pitching a complete game on Thursday, ran out of gas in the fifth. In all, the senior allowed eight runs, six earned, on eight hits with four strikeouts and five walks and improved to 17-6 on the year.

Babcock was perfect in her first appearance of senior weekend. The senior would retire the two batters she faced in the fifth to strand the tying runs on base and then work 1-2-3 innings in both the sixth and seventh to earn her second save of the season.

Though the dueling high-powered offenses were the story, the defenses also came heavily into play in the game, with the two teams combining for nine errors. Both teams – Oregon (5) and Arizona (4) – had season-highs in the column. All eight runs in the first inning were unearned.

It is the first victory over a No. 1 team for the Wildcats since beating top-ranked California 8-3 on April 14, 2012 in Berkeley.

Offensively, the Cats used an 11-hit attack, including homers from Kelsey Rodriguez, Katiyana Mauga and Chelsea Goodacre.

Mauga led the way with three RBI while Mo Mercado and Courtney Rodriguez chipped in two apiece.

Arizona will go for its first series victory over a No. 1 team in program history when the two teams meet for a senior day rubber match Saturday at 11:30 a.m. PDT on the Pac-12 Network.

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