Arizona softball sweeps New Mexico State in doubleheader
Arizona third baseman Lauren Young (9) swings at the ball during Arizona’s 7-3 loss to Utah on Friday, March 25. The Wildcats rebounded with a sweep over New Mexico State on Wednesday evening.
Arizona softball started off a busy week with a doubleheader against New Mexico State University on Wednesday night. The Wildcats defeated NMSU 6-1 in the first game of the afternoon, followed by an 8-1 run-rule victory.
Game 1 – No. 18 Arizona 6 NMSU 1
The bottom half of the Arizona order provided some much needed support for the Wildcats in their game one victory over the Aggies.
After a single from freshman Tamara Statman, fellow freshman Joelle Krist executed a bunt to advance Statman to second base. Lauren Young followed up the bunt with a double off the left field wall to make it 1-0 Wildcats in the bottom of the second inning.
After the Aggies evened things up with two hits off Arizona starter Danielle O’Toole in the third, the bottom of the order once again came through for the Wildcats.
Alexis Dotson led the fourth inning off with a single up the middle and she advanced on a wild pitch. After a Statman single put runners on the corners with no one out, Krist hit a ground ball to second base.
The NMSU fielder made the high risk throw to the plate to try and beat Dotson, but the throw was late and the bottom half of the order gave Arizona a 2-1 lead in the fourth.
Redshirt junior O’Toole moved to 14-5 on the year in the complete game victory. Six runs were more than enough for O’Toole as she gave up only six hits and one earned run while striking out four.
Ashleigh Hughes extended the Wildcat lead to 3-1 with a leadoff homerun in the bottom of the fifth — her first of the season. Mandie Perez added her eighth homer of the season, a three run shot to deep left, in the bottom of the sixth.
Game 2 – (NR) NMSU 1, No. 18 Arizona 8 (five innings)
The Wildcats jumped on the Aggies early in the first inning of game one. Aggie starter Kayla Green was removed from the game after just three batters, two of whom she walked. Makayla McAdams, the game one starter, came in to a bases loaded no out jam in the first.
McAdams gave up a single to the first batter she faced, Mo Mercado, and it was quickly 2-0 Wildcats. After NMSU failed to record an out on a force play at second base from a ground ball off the bat of Statman, Dotson smoked a double to the wall that brought in two more runs making it 4-0 before the Aggies could even record an out.
Young added an RBI on a groundout and the Wildcats led 5-0 after the first inning.
The offense picked up right where it left off in the second inning and scored three runs before the Aggies recorded an out. Perez scored on some heads up base running advancing from third to home when the Aggies fell asleep and were out of position. Arizona showed no mercy as Katiyana Mauga was up next and crushed a 260-foot home run to deep left field making it 8-0. After a couple of pop outs, Mauga got the pitch she wanted and belted it.
“The last [few at-bats] time I kept getting jammed or pulling it foul, so I was looking for that inside pitch and that’s what I got,” Mauga said.
The offense added two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to seal the run-rule victory.
Freshman Taylor McQuillin was in the circle for the Wildcats and had a strong comeback performance after a loss to Washington in her last start. McQuillin moved to 9-5 on the year and worked fast in her complete game (five innings) victory.
She gave up five hits, two earned runs and struck out nine Aggies in the win.
Head coach Mike Candrea was pleased with his team’s overall performance in both games.
“I felt tonight would be a good night to gain some confidence back and I think we did,” Candrea said. “In that regard I’m happy how we swung the bats, O’Toole looked good, Taylor looked good, I’m glad we got it done in five innings.”
The Wildcats open their next series against the University of Houston beginning on Friday at 6 p.m.
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