Softball 'Cats play a complete game, beat the Beavers 6-2

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Amy Bailey | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Taylor McQuillin (18) throws a pitch during the Arizona-Utah game on Sunday March 18 at Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

 The full fire power of the Arizona Wildcats softball team was on display Saturday night, as the ‘Cats bested the Oregon State Beavers 6-2. The ‘Cats pitched well, hit well, played solid defense, and had good damage control in the win.

Alyssa Denham got the win, and moved to 9-3 on the season, while Taylor McQuillin earned her third save. Denham went five innings and gave up six hits, two earned runs, walked a batter, and struck out two. McQuillin threw two shutout innings in relief, gave up a single hit, and struck out three batters.

The ‘Cats offensively were led by Aleah Craighton, who went 2-3 with a home run and a double. Craighton, the Louisiana-Lafayette transfer, was expected to be a consistently big bat this season, and is finally starting to be the player she was expected to be. The redshirt senior is now riding a five game hitting streak, and has two home runs in the last two games.

“I guess, I’ve been trusting the process and it’s finally coming together,” Craighton said postgame (with a possible nod to former UA men's basketball's TJ McConnell’s Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers). “My swing has been all over the place, honestly, so, just to get back to it feels really good,” Craighton added.

Craighton’s home run came at a crucial time in the game. Down a run, Oregon State loaded the bases in the top of the second inning with no outs, but Denham was able to limit the damage to just two runs. Back-to-back singles, followed by a walk, loaded the bases for the Beavers, who scored on a single two batters later. Denham then hit the next batter to walk in a run. Pitching coach Taryne Mowatt paid Denham a visit in the circle after the hit batsman. After the mound visit, Denham settled down and retired the next two batters.

Denham said that the mound visit from Mowatt wasn’t very strategic, but rather just to take a breath.

“That was more of a calm down, relax type talk. It was really just to throw my pitches and get ground balls,” Denham said.

Denham’s outing can be seen two ways. She struggled, but still got the win. The glass half-full way of thinking about her start was that she won without having her best stuff, which is no easy feat within the Pac-12. The glass half empty way of thinking about Denham’s outing is that she struggled and gave up two runs, which isn’t great.

Both Denham and Candrea agree that she didn’t have it against Oregon State.

“I didn’t think I was at my best, but you know, not every appearance you’ll be feeling it. You have to find a way to win,” Denham said.

Candrea added on saying, “Alyssa was just not herself tonight. I mean, she was struggling trying to find it, and to me, did not look comfortable the entire time."

Arizona improved to 34-13 on the season, and finally get back to .500 in conference play. The ‘Cats are 10-10 in the Pac-12. The ‘Cats return to action on Sunday April, 29 at noon at Hillenbrand. That game can be seen on the Arizona Athletics website and heard on 1400 AM KTUC.



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