Arizona softball splits day one, starts season 1-1
Arizona beat Northwestern 4-1 in the first of two games, but fell to Oklahoma State 9-4 in the nightcap after a four-run first inning they could not overcome.
The day game against Northwestern was a pitching-dominated affair.
Alyssa Denham started game one for the ‘Cats, and while she gave up an early unearned run, she pitched her way out of jam after jam, until she settled in.
She left the game after throwing five innings, without giving up an unearned run. She gave up two hits, walked two batters and struck out five.
Taylor McQuillin relieved Denham after the fifth, and threw two scoreless innings, giving up a single hit, walking one batter, and striking out four.
The UA batters didn’t wake up until the third inning, when Jessie Harper drove Reyna Carranco in with a single to tie the game at 1.
The game stayed 1-1 until first baseman Alyssa Palomino hit a two-run home run. Reyna Carranco followed up shortly with an RBI of her own, singling in pinch runner Ivy Davis.
Game two was a much different story for Arizona’s arms.
Taylor McQuillin started and gave up a lead off single, followed by a strikeout, followed by a single. She then gave up an RBI double to the OSU cleanup hitter. The next batter cleared the bases with a home run. McQuillin went on to give up another home run, later in the third inning.
Arizona’s bats, meanwhile, had a more comparable second game.
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Arizona got their first hit, via a Dejah Mulipola solo homerun, in the second inning. They didn’t get another hit until the fifth, when Carli Campbell singled, and scored on an Ashley Hughes homerun. Malia Martinez had the ‘Cats final RBI in, when she grounded out to the pitcher with the bases loaded in the sixth inning.
“We have to start quicker, than we had in both games today. We had tough first innings both games, and you can’t do that at this level,” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea postgame. “To play at this level, and to compete at this level, you have to be ready physically, mentally, emotionally every time you step on this field.”
To some, however, simply being on the field was a success. Center fielder-turned first baseman Alyssa Palomino tore her ACL before her freshman year, causing her to redshirt. She then tore her other ACL towards the end of her redshirt freshman season last year.
“It feels great to be out on the field, and just to have that excitement of that game-day feeling, and to be back with this team,” Palomino said, emphasizing ‘excitement.’ “To be able to go out there and just play, and have fun… it’s fun.”
Palomino hit the game-winning home run in the sixth inning of game one. To her, it was an important reassurance that she still belongs on a major Division I softball team.
“Having two injuries can be really hard on someone, mentally and physically, but coming back and just being in the element, and just having that hit, I know, like, I can still do this. I can still be here, and be a big part of this team.”
Arizona returns to action tomorrow morning at 11:45 a.m. against UC Davis. Audio for that game will be broadcast on the Arizona Athletics website.
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