Softball sees mixed results in trip to Alabama
Arizona softball competed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, over the weekend in the Easton Bama Bash. The Wildcats played a pair of games against No. 4 University of Alabama, Marshall University and played a single game against No. 14 University of Tennessee.
GAME 1 — No. 15 Arizona 7 Marshall 6
Freshman Taylor McQuillin started the tournament in the circle for Arizona and notched her third victory of the year. McQuillin went six innings allowing six runs, four earned, on eight hits and added eight strikeouts.
McQuillin ran into trouble in the third inning when she loaded the bases for Marshall’s Briana Daiss. She gave up a grand slam that put Arizona in to a 4-0 hole.
The Wildcats responded abruptly with two runs in the third, two in the fourth and three in the fifth to take a 7-4 lead.
An unusual play in the sixth inning that saw Nancy Bowling get run over while trying to make a tag in the first base line allowed two unearned runs to score and put the tying run on third base. McQuillin picked up her eighth strikeout to get out of the inning, maintaining the 7-6 lead.
Redshirt junior Danielle O’Toole came in for her first save opportunity and shut the door with a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
GAME 2 — No. 4 Alabama 4 No. 15 Arizona 3
The Wildcats committed four errors that led to four unearned runs against Alabama. All-American Alexis Osorio was in the circle for the Crimson Tide, but she was matched pitch for pitch by O’Toole who earned the start for the Wildcats.
O’Toole allowed only five hits throughout the game and Osorio only gave up three hits, which the Wildcats scored three runs off of.
Errors cost the Wildcats in the first and third innings and gave Alabama a 2-0 lead. Arizona responded over the next two innings to take a 3-2 lead heading into the sixth inning.
O’Toole pitched a quiet fifth and sixth inning, and took a 3-2 lead into the seventh. She gave up a leadoff double to start the inning. She induced a ground ball from the next batter, but a low throw from shortstop Mo Mercado put the winning run on base with no one out.
O’Toole walked the bases loaded to create a force out at every base and got a ground ball from the next batter. The throw home to get the force out was dropped allowing the tying and winning runs to score on Arizona’s fourth error of the game.
GAME 3 — No.15 Arizona 1 No. 14 Tennessee 0
O’Toole continued her impressive start with a complete game shutout against No. 14 Tennessee.
The game was an all-out pitcher’s duel, with both teams combining for only seven hits while combining for 19 strikeouts.
Arizona scored its first run of the game when leadoff hitter Mandie Perez stepped in to start the contest with a home run. The Wildcats never looked back from the 1-0 lead.
O’Toole finished with seven strikeouts and struck out the side to end the game in the seventh inning.
GAME 4 — No. 4 Alabama 9 No. 15 Arizona 1
Arizona’s offense could only manage a single run in the second contest with Alabama that was a much different game than their first meeting of the weekend. Alabama starter Sydney Littlejohn threw a complete game four-hitter in the six inning victory.
The Wildcats started off with three consecutive singles to load the bases in the first inning and managed to push one run across via an Alabama error to take a 1-0 lead in the first.
McQuillin started the game for the Wildcats, but lasted only 1.1 innings after giving up five hits and surrendering three earned runs. McQuillin got the loss to move her record to 3-2 on the year.
Nancy Bowling came on in relief and pitched very well before giving up a home run to Alabama’s Haylie McCleney, which made it 5-1 Alabama.
Michelle Floyd came in after Bowling and struggled, giving up four runs that led to a 9-1 Alabama run rule victory in six innings.
GAME 5 — No. 15 Arizona 6 Marshall 3
After struggling on day two of the invitational, the Wildcats offense started off the final game of the tournament fast. The Wildcats took a quick 5-1 lead in the first with five hits from the first six batters of the game.
After a Katiyana Mauga single made it 3-1 in the bottom half of the first inning, Nancy Bowling connected for a deep home run that hit the scoreboard at Alabama’s Rhoads Stadium. Mandie Perez added her third home run of the season in the third inning to make it 6-1 Wildcats.
Marshall picked up two more runs in the sixth to make it a close game, but Arizona was able to hold on in the seventh to wrap up a victory putting them at 3-2 overall on the weekend.
O’Toole (7-2) picked up her seventh win of the season in the game going the distance and only allowing two earned runs on five hits while adding eight strikeouts.
Arizona softball will next compete at the Wildcat Invitational at Hillenbrand Stadium on Thursday, March 3 through Sunday, March 6. The Wildcats open up against BYU Thursday night at 6 p.m. MST.
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