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Arizona softball takes two of three from ASU in Tempe

'Cats take season series vs Sun Devils

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Jacquie Harbour/Arizona Athletics | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's 1st baseman Alyssa Palomino (32) during the Wildcats 9-1 win over the South Dakota State Coyotes on March 8, 2018 at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium, Tucson, AZ.

No. 13 Arizona softball took the season series against rival No. 8 ASU this weekend by winning two out of three games in Tempe. The Wildcats lost Friday's series opener but followed it up with back-to-back road wins, including a dramatic series-clinching win on Sunday that needed extra innings. Here is a game-by-game breakdown of the series.

Game One Rundown: ASU wins 2-1

  • Senior Ashleigh Hughes hits a solo home run to lead off the top of the first, putting Arizona up 1-0.
  • In the bottom of the fourth, ASU sophomore Kindra Hackbarth hit a solo homer of her own, tying the game at one.
  • Sun Devil freshman Danielle Gibson hit a walk-off double in the bottom of the seventh, giving ASU the 2-1 victory.

Game One Breakdown: 

The theme of game one was the lack of run support for Arizona Junior Taylor McQuillin had a strong performance going 6 1/3 innings, striking out 10 batters while only allowing two hits. 

The game started off on the right foot for the ‘Cats, as Ashleigh Hughes hit her fifth homer of the season, this one to straightaway center, putting Arizona up early. Hughes’ home run would prove to be the only run scored in support of McQuillin.

The first hit that McQuillin allowed was a solo homer from ASU sophomore Kindra Hackbarth in the bottom of the fourth, that tied the game at one. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, freshman Danielle Gibson hit a double into left center that would score junior Morgan Howe and give the Sun Devils the victory.

Game Two Rundown: Arizona wins 4-1

  • Carli Campbell singles and drives in Aleah Craighton in the top of the fourth to give Arizona a 1-0 lead.
  • Reyna Carranco doubles to drive in Carli Campbell and Ivy Davis to extend Arizona’s lead to 3-0 in the top of the fourth.
  • Morgan Howe homers in the bottom of the fourth to get ASU within a run. Arizona leads 3-1.
  • Aleah Craighton scores on an error by ASU’s second baseman in the fifth. The ‘Cats increase lead to 4-1.

Game Two Breakdown

Alyssa Denham followed up Taylor McQuillin’s two-hitter with one of her own, but this time, the bats were there to back UA’s pitcher, as the ‘Cats won 4-1. Denham threw all seven innings, giving up only a single run and striking out just two. Denham improved to 7-3 with a 2.07 ERA.

The ‘Cats jumped on Arizona State starter Breanna Macha early, as Ashleigh Hughes and Reyna Carranco both singled to lead off the game. However, Arizona didn’t get on the scoreboard until the top of the fourth inning, when Carli Campbell drove home Aleah Craighton, who doubled. 

Arizona’s one-run lead was tripled just two batters later, when Reyna Carranco doubled in both Campbell and Ivy Davis. This was Carranco’s first multi-hit game since returning to the ‘Cats lineup after being hit by a pitch in the face.

Arizona’s win was its first in seven Pac-12 games. 

Game Three Breakdown: Arizona wins 4-2 

  • Jade Gortarez drives in Kindra Hackbarth with a fielder’s choice to give ASU a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
  • Alyssa Palomino hits a two-run home run in the top of the sixth inning to give Arizona a 2-1 lead.
  • Marisa Stankiewicz hits a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
  • Jessie Harper hits a bases loaded double in the top of the eighth that drives in Reyna Carranco and Jenna Kean to give the ‘Cats a 4-2 lead.

Game Three Rundown

ASU’s head football coach Herm Edwards threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the game, but Arizona came ready to win the game. 

The Sun Devils took an early lead, going up 1-0 in the top of the first after a double and a fielder's choice. After that, McQuillin buckled down and retired seven of the next eight that she faced. UA's ace didn’t allow a runner past first until she gave up the game-tying home run in the bottom of the seventh. 

The ‘Cats’ bats took longer to heat up as they went down in order the first time through the batting order, nine up nine down. UA didn’t even get a runner in scoring position until the top of the sixth inning, when Alyssa Palomino hit a two-run homer to center. Ashleigh Hughes scored as well, after being hit on the hand with a pitch. As a result of the hit-by-pitch, Hughes had to be taken out of the game in favor of Jenna Kean. 

Arizona took the lead in the top of the eighth when Jessie Harper hit a bases loaded single over the center fielder’s head that scored two runs. That single proved to be the game-winning and series-clinching base knock.

The ‘Cats now move to 31-13 on the season, and 8-10 in Pac-12 play.


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