Ashleigh Hughes hits walk-off home run to lift Arizona softball over Cal

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Amy Bailey | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Ashleigh Hughes slides to second base during the Arizona- California game at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on Thursday March 29 in Tucson Ariz.

In the longest game of Arizona softball’s season, the Wildcats improved to 26-6 with a 3-2 walk-off win over Cal, clinching the series win for the Cats. The game was knotted at two for a majority of the game, until the bottom of the ninth, when Ashleigh Hughes came to the plate and hit a home run that had just enough to get over the left field wall.

“Honestly, my thought was stay on top,” Hughes said. “I had been popping up all game. She’s got that little bit of rise spin with almost every pitch she throws, so I was just trying to stay on top of something and it happened to work in my favor.”

Taylor McQuillin, pitching for the second straight night, shined on the mound with one of her most impressive performances of the year. The junior went the whole game, amassing 152 pitches, while striking out twelve and allowing seven hits.

On the other side, junior Kamalani Dung also went the whole game for the Golden Bears, allowing nine hits while striking out six on 141 total pitches.

The first hit of the night for the Wildcats was a solo shot over the right field wall from redshirt sophomore Alyssa Palomino, her 10th home run of the season. 

Jenna Kean, who had her first two career RBIs on Thursday night, got on the board with another one tonight when she reached first on a fielder's choice, scoring Jaycee Lindley, who was on as a pinch runner, from third.

Cal got two unearned runs in the bottom of the third, after a fielder’s choice and then an error at second base.

The Wildcats would threaten in the bottom of the seventh, stranding two, and then in the bottom of the eighth, leaving the bases loaded, but were not able to close the deal.

“I think that the big thing [that these games teach you] is the at-bats, in pressure situations, are something you cannot duplicate,” head coach Mike Candrea said. “Having crucial at-bats in crucial situations, we have to get better at that.”

The Wildcats will wrap up their series with Cal on Saturday afternoon at 12 p.m.


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