Softball hosts No. 4 UCLA in key weekend series

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Jacquie Harbour/Arizona Athletics | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's 2nd baseman Reyna Carranco (5) finished through her swing during the Wildcats 9-1 win over the South Dakota State Coyotes on March 8, 2018 at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium, Tucson, AZ.

While Spring Fling may not have a fireworks display, one may very well be happening on campus in a different place. The No. 12 Arizona softball team is taking on No. 4 UCLA at Hillenbrand Stadium in a three-game series starting on Friday night.

The ‘Cats have been known for their fireworks so far this season. Arizona is currently third in the country in home runs per game. The Wildcats are led by shortstop Jessie Harper and first baseman Alyssa Palomino. Harper has 12 long balls to her name, while Palomino has 11. Harper is tied for 19th nationally while Palomino is tied for 26th.

Additionally, the ‘Cats have done a good job in the circle. Arizona is led by ace Taylor McQuillin, who has a 17-6 record with a 1.39 ERA and a .154 walks and hits per innings pitched ratio. She’ll start game one and game three of the series and be available to enter game two in relief. Game two will be started by Alyssa Denham, who has a 4-2 record with a 2.02 ERA and a .248 WHIP.

The Wildcats will be looking to rebound at home against a tough conference foe after they were swept by Oregon in Eugene and were outscored 23-2 over three games. However, Arizona is 16-1 this season under the lights in Tucson. 


Amy Bailey
Arizona's softball team celebrates at the game on Feb. 17.


The UCLA Bruins (34-3) may have other plans, though. The Bruins are fresh off their series win against Stanford and boast an impressive 9-3 record in the Pac-12.

UCLA is led at the plate by freshman outfielder Jordan Aaliyah, who’s hitting .486 with seven home runs and 51 RBI. UCLA has three other batters hitting above .400. In fact, UCLA is leading the nation in team batting average, hitting .363 as a team.

In the circle, UCLA is led by Rachel Garcia, who’s 11-1 with a 1.40 ERA in 80 innings pitched. However, for reference, Arizona ace McQuillin has thrown 145.2 innings this season. UCLA will also likely throw Holly Azevedo, who has a 12-0 record, a 1.83 ERA and has held opponents to just a .209 batting average in 68.2 innings.

The first game of the series will be at 7:30 p.m. on Friday night, just 30 minutes after Quin XCII’s set is supposed to begin at the main stage. Saturday’s game will be at 7 p.m., right as Sophia Rankin’s set begins and Sunday’s game will at 5 p.m., 15 minutes after the Saguaro Stompers’ set ends.

You might even be able to catch a glimpse of the game from the top of the Ferris wheel. And if you’re sick of funnel cake, check out the Wildcat Grill at Hillenbrand Stadium for some ballpark food. 


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