Arizona softball looks to continue momentum on the national stage

Taylore McQuillin
Heather Newberry | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Taylor McQuillin throws a pitch during the Arizona-South Carolina softball game on May 21, 2017 at Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

The Arizona Wildcats softball team, fresh off its sweep of Cal, looks to keep the ball rolling as it heads to Eugene, Oregon for a three-game set this weekend starting Friday, April 6. The second game of the series will be broadcast on ESPN. This will be the University of Arizona's first game to be broadcast nationally.

The ‘Cats head to Eugene to face a red-hot Oregon team that’s won three in a row and six of its last seven. Oregon, 29-6 overall and 4-2 in Pac-12 play, is ranked No. 5 in the country, four spots higher than Arizona.

The Ducks are led in the circle by Megan Kleist and Miranda Elish. 

Kleist, a junior, is 10-3 with a 0.91 ERA in 92.2 innings. Kleist has held opponents to a .149 batting average. 

Elish, a sophomore, is 12-1 with a 0.85 ERA in 82.2 innings. Elish has held opponents to a .141 batting average.

At the plate, the Ducks are led by third baseman Jenna Lilley and outfielder Alexis Mack .

Lilley, Oregon’s leadoff hitter, is hitting .396 with 29 runs scored and 27 RBI.

Mack, who hits second, is batting .421 with 40 hits and 24 runs scored. 

Oregon generates a lot of its runs via the long ball. It's tied with ASU for ninth in the country in home runs per game with 1.20. Gwen Svekis leads the Ducks with nine round trippers, followed by DJ Sanders with eight and Shannon Rhodes with seven.

However, while Oregon is No. 9 in the country in HR/game, Arizona leads the country with 1.42 dingers per contest. The ‘Cats hit five homeruns last weekend against Cal, including Ashleigh Hughes’ walkoff. Jessie Harper leads Arizona with 12 home runs, followed by Alyssa Palomino with 11. The UA’s hit 47 home runs on the year and has only given up 16. 

Arizona will likely start Taylor McQuillin in the circle for the first and third games of the series, and she’ll be available in relief in the second game as well. Alyssa Denham will probably start game two. Denham is coming off her best appearance of the year for the ‘Cats, when she relieved Hannah Bowen after Bowen only recorded two outs yet gave up three runs. Denham entered the games and retired all 19 batters she faced in her scoreless 6.1 IP.

Arizona is currently fourth in the Pac-12 with a 6-3 record in conference and a 27-6 record overall. The ‘Cats sit a game behind both Washington and UCLA and two-and-a-half games behind ASU. Arizona, as the No. 9 team in the country, is also only the fifth highest nationally ranked Pac-12 team. Washington is the top-ranked team in the country, followed by UCLA at No. 3, Oregon at No. 5 and ASU at No. 7.

The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday, April 6 in Oregon.



Follow Max Cohen on Twitter


Share this article