Arizona softball sweeps Houston in non-conference affair
After two victories to start the week during the Wednesday night doubleheader, Arizona softball wrapped up its busy week with a series sweep against the University of Houston. After winning Friday night, the Wildcats took both games in a doubleheader Saturday night.
Game 1 Friday – No. 18 Arizona 4, Houston 3
The Houston Cougars came in to the series unranked and had a record of only 18-18. The Cougars came ready for their challenge against the Wildcats and struck first in game one.
After cruising through the first two innings, Wildcat starter Danielle O’Toole faced trouble in the third inning. After awarding two free passes, O’Toole gave up an infield single that loaded the bases. A single brought in a pair and the Cougars had a 2-0 lead.
Mandie Perez got one run back in the third with some nice base running. Perez caught the Cougars sleeping while she was on third base. She stole home, making it 2-1 after three.
Neither team plated any more runs until the bottom of the fifth. With two outs and no one on, it seemed like the Wildcats were about to go down in order again. After a costly error by the Cougar second baseman, Katiyana Mauga walked and Mo Mercado came to the plate with two runners on.
Mercado hit a three-run opposite filed blast to give the Wildcats a 4-2 lead. It was her seventh of the season and held up as the winning hit of the game.
O’Toole got the win in the game moving to 15-6 and freshman Taylor McQuillin picked up her first save of the season.
Game 2 Saturday – No. 18 Arizona 11, Houston 2 (5 innings)
After the slow start in game one, the Arizona offense was alive in game two. The Wildcats scored four in the first and two in the second, taking a lead the Cougars did not overcome.
Mauga hit her 14th home run of the season, giving her 60 for her career. She is the sixth player and third junior in UA history to achieve the mark.
Outside of Mauga, Tamara Statman had a three-hit game, including a solo homer of her own. Lauren Young and Perez had two hits apiece and Mercado led the team with three RBIs.
McQuillin moved to 10-5 on the season, going four innings in the victory.
Game 3 Saturday – No. 18 Arizona 7, Houston 4
The Arizona offense once again displayed its duplicity, scoring six runs in the third and being quiet throughout the rest of the game.
Arizona relies on Mauga to produce and she did just that Saturday. Mauga added her 61st career home run—15th for the season—and three RBIs to pave the way to victory for Arizona on Saturday night.
The third inning is where Arizona won the final game of the series. Mauga and Statman both hit two run doubles before Alexis Dotson hit her second home run of the season, making it 6-0.
Nancy Bowling started in the circle for Arizona but lasted only 3.2 innings before O’Toole came in to relieve her. O’Toole ended up earning the win, which moves her to 16-6 on the year. She leads the Pac-12 Conference in victories.
Arizona jumps back in to conference play this weekend when they travel to Stanford for a three-game series. Game one starts Friday at 5 p.m
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