Wildcats fall to Utah in extra innings in game two

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Alex McIntyre / For the Arizona Daily Star and Alex McIntyre / For the Arizona Daily Star | The Daily Wildcat Arizona outfielder Merrilee Miller (20) catches a fly ball against Utah at Hillenbrand Stadium, located at 1700 E. Second Street in Tucson, Ariz. Photo taken Friday, March 25, 2016. Photo by Alex McIntyre / For the Arizona Daily Star

Arizona took on Utah in game two of their series looking to capture their second straight series victory to open up conference play. 

Another strong pitching matchup slated Arizona freshman Taylor McQuillin against Utah’s ace Katie Donovan. Both teams entered the game tied in Pac-12 play at 3-1.

The Wildcats handed the ball to McQuillin who had been red hot coming in to the game. After having some early struggles, McQuillin has settled in to her Arizona uniform and has posted a 1.62 era over the last two weeks.

She faced trouble in the first inning after a walk and a double had runners at second and third with only one out. McQuillin recorded a strikeout then got the Utes’ Kristen Stewart out on a pop fly to the warning track to get Arizona out of the jam. 

The Wildcats loaded the bases in the bottom half of the first, but with two outs Lauren Young popped out to bail out the Utes.

The first runs of the game once again came off of the bat of Utah’s Hannah Flippen. Flippen homered to right center with one out in the third to give Utah the lead 2-0. The Wildcats struck back in the bottom half getting their first run off of Utah starter Katie Donovan.

Katiyana Mauga smoked a line drive in to left field that slipped under the defender’s glove getting all the way to the wall, scoring Mandie Perez from first base. Lauren Young batted with Mauga on third and two outs but lined out to short, and Arizona trailed 2-1 after three innings.

The Wildcats threatened again in the fifth inning, when Donovan again allowed a two out walk to Statman that brought Young up with Mauga on second and two outs. Young battled deep in to her at bat, but eventually came up short flying out to deep center.

The Wildcats broke through in the bottom of the sixth inning after Donovan once again extended the Arizona half of an inning. After walking Perez with two outs, Donovan had to face Ashleigh Hughes to get out of trouble. Hughes piped a low pitch from Donovan off of the bottom of the center field wall that brought the runner home from first and put runners on second and third with two out.

Katiyana Mauga came to the plate with the chance to give the Wildcats a lead, but the Utes let her take first base and intentionally walked her. Mo Mercado would follow with a pop out, but Arizona had the game tied up at 2-2.

The game would extend all the way in to the ninth inning when Utah opened the lead up to 7-2 that would stand up as the final score. A single to left field scored a runner from second on a play at the plate that put the Utes ahead 3-2. 

The Utes added more in the inning off some Arizona errors, and they had the Wildcats down to their final at-bat. Arizona would add a run, but the game would end with Utah in front 7-3.

McQuillin threw 8.1 innings in the loss that moved her record to (8-4). She allowed three earned runs on eight hits and struck out eight in the game. The only extra base hit she allowed was the home run. Her era stands at 2.64 for the year.

The series rubber match gets under way on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.


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