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Softball takes two of three from Texas, thanks to Taylor McQuillin's starts and Malia Martinez's 4-4 game

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Amy Bailey | The Daily Wildcat During Saturday’s invitational on Feb. 17, Arizona infielder Jessie Harper, signals to her teammates and prepares for Louisiana’s next batter. Later in the game, Harper hit her fifth homerun of the season.

The Arizona Wildcats softball team had their first real series of the season this weekend, as the 'Cats traveled to Austin to play Texas in a three game set. Arizona was able to take two of three thanks in part to Taylor McQuillin's stellar weekend and Malia Martinez's bat on Sunday.

Arizona's ace Taylor McQuillin started both games one and three with four hits in thirteen innings. Oh, and she didn't give up any runs, earned or otherwise, as well. 

Game one rundown

  • · Dejah Mulipola doubles in the top of the second top put Arizona up 1-0.
  • The Longhorns get a runner on second and third with no outs, but a strikeout, fielder’s choice, and strikeout, and Taylor McQuillin got out of the inning unscathed. 
  • Aleah Craighton doubles home Jenna Kean to double Arizona’s lead to 2-0 in the top of the seventh.

Game one breakdown

In game one, McQuillin dueled with Longhorn ace Paige von Sprecken. Arizona scored early when Aleah Craighton singled up the middle to score Dejah Mulipola in the top of the second inning. McQuillin clung to the slim lead, despite putting Longhorns on second and third in the bottom of the second with no outs. However, a strikeout, fielder's choice, and strikeout erased Texas in the bottom of the second to end the inning. 

McQuillin gave up a hit in the third, but retired the Longhorns in order in the fourth fifth and sixth innings. 

Then, in the top of the seventh, it was Craighton again for the 'Cats. She drove in Jenna Kean, who was pinch running for Alyssa Palomino, to double the 'Cats lead. McQuillin walked a batter in the bottom of the seventh inning for dramatic effect, but struck out her seventh Longhorn and got a fly out to end the game.

Arizona won 2-0.

Game two rundown

  • Hannah Bowen gives up an RBI single in the bottom of the first. Texas leads 1-0.
  • Bowen gives up another RBI single to go down 2-0.
  • Bowen gives up an RBI double to Paige von Sprecken, who played first base in game two but pitched in games one and three. The Longhorn lead is now 3-0.
  • Ashley Hughes grounds into a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning that scores Aleah Craighton to get a run back. Arizona now down only 3-1.

Game two breakdown

Game two was a very different story from the first.

Hanah Bowen got the nod from coach Candreas to start in the circle for UA.

Bowen ran into trouble early. She gave up a single to MK Tedder that scored a run, and then a single to Kaitlyn Washington that scored Tedder. 

Bowen had a 1-2-3 second inning, but then ran into trouble in the third. Bowen walked Tedder, and then first basemen and started of games one and three Paige von Sprecken hit an RBI double. Bowen had a fairly clean fourth, fifth and sixth innings, and finished the day having given up five hits, three earned runs, two walks, and six strikeouts. 

Meanwhile, Arizona had to wait until the top of the third to get their first baserunner when Malia Martinez lined a double to center. Arizona didn't get on the scoreboard until the bottom of the fifth. Ashley Hughes, who was batting ninth rather than the leadoff spot as usual, grounded into a fielder's choice that scored Aleah Craighton. Arizona had a runner on in the sixth and seventh innings, but couldn't do more than just threaten.

Arizona lost 3-1.

Game three rundown

  • Malia Martinez hits a two run home run in the top of the second.
  • Alyssa Palomino hits an RBI double in the top of the seventh to extend the lead to seven.
  • Mulipola walks with the bases loaded to drive in a run.
  • Martinez singles to drive in her fourth RBI of the game. Alyssa Palomino scored. 9-0 UA.
  • Alyssa Denham gives up a two run home run in her one inning of work on the weekend. 10-2 UA.

Game three breakdown

Taylor McQuillin was given the ball in game three. McQuillin headed into the rubber match with a 0.93 ERA, which had to have given the 'Cats offense confidence after slumping the previous two games, relatively speaking.

McQuillin was pulled after six innings in favor of Texas native Alyssa Denham. Denham allowed a leadoff single, but erased that runner in a fielder's choice. The next hitter, Bekah Alcozer, hit a two run home run to put the Longhorns on the scoreboard. Denham gave up one more single before recording the second and third outs. 

Arizona's bats finally woke up in the third game, and Wildcats fans can thank Malia Martinez for that. After a 1-2-3 top of the first inning, Dejah Mulipola earned a two out walk in the top of the second as the 'Cats first baserunner of the game. Martinez then followed up with her first career home run to give Arizona a 2-0 lead. 


The top of the order couldn't get anything going offensively in the third inning for Arizona, but then in the fourth, Malia Martinez found herself at the dish with the bases loaded, and knocked two more runs in with a single. That was all for the 'Cats in the fourth, but Aleah Craighton drove in Alyssa Palomino with a double in the fifth inning. 

The score would stay 6-0 until the 'Cats would add four more runs in the top of the seventh inning, when Alyssa Palomino doubled in Reyna Carranco, who led the inning off by reaching on an error. 

Two batters later, Dejah Mulipola drew a bases-loaded walk, followed by an another RBI single by Martinez. Ivy Davis drove in the 'Cats final run with a sacrifice fly to center field that  scored Aleah Craighton. 

Arizona won 10-2. 

Defensively, only Taylor McQuillin stood out. She recorded the victory in both of Arizona's wins, while Hannah Bowen took the loss in game two.

On offense, Aleah Craighton stood out by going 4-7 over the weekend, along with three RBIs and three runs scored.  Malia Martinez also stood out by going 4-4 on Sunday with 5 RBIs, a run scored, and a home run.

Looking ahead

Arizona is hosting the Wildcat Invitational from Thursday, March 8, through Sunday, March 11, at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona will play South Dakota on Thursday at 6:00 PM. Every game played in the Wildcat Invitation will be broadcast on Arizona's live stream.


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