Wildcat softball gets two much needs wins, still have room for improvement
After a six game losing streak, Arizona softball got back on track Wednesday night, getting two much needed wins in a doubleheader sweep of New Mexico State. In game one, the offense came alive for the Wildcats, with four home runs from three different Cats in a 7-3 win. In game two, the offense stayed hot, and the ‘Cats run ruled the Aggies, 9-0 (5).
In game one, junior Taylor McQuillin got the start, and she went the whole game, allowing three runs on three hits, striking out 10. McQuillin had only allowed one hit in the game until an offensive flurry from New Mexico State in the top of the sixth, where they scored all three runs.
For the Wildcats, sophomore Dejah Mulipola went two for two with two home runs. In addition to Mulipola, redshirt sophomore Alyssa Palomino and sophomore Jessie Harper also homered in the seven run effort. For both Palomino and Harper, it was their thirteenth homer of the season, which is tied for the Pac-12 best.
In game two, sophomore Alyssa Denham took the mound for the Wildcats, and she went all five innings, allowing only two hits while striking out eight.
“I was coming out fired up,” Denham said of her performance. “I had a job and I wanted to let our offense have some fun, so I knew if I could shut them down, it would give our offense an opportunity to score a lot of runs.”
Alyssa Palomino led off game two the same way she did game one, hitting a two run homer, good for the Pac-12 lead. Freshman Ivy Davis hit her second home run of the year in the bottom of the second, a towering two run shot that hit halfway up the light pole in left center. Later in that inning, sophomore Reyna Carranco reached second base on a throwing error, allowing senior Ashleigh Hughes and freshman Carli Campbell to score.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Wildcats would add more runs. Harper hit a double to left center, scoring Palomino and Hughes, then Dejah Mulipola would reach second base on an error from the NMST’s center fielder, which allowed Harper to score, making it 9-0 Wildcats, which would prove to be the final.
“It was a good day, we needed it,” head coach Mike Candrea said after the doubleheader.
Candrea said he had a lengthy conversation with his team after game one, saying that although they won, he was still seeing some problems.
“Our biggest problem is ourselves right now,” he said. “And young kids sometimes have a hard time fixing it, so I finally just blew up between games and said ‘this is where we are at’. The game is 90 percent mental, so if you don’t take care of what’s between your ears, then your physical skills can’t do what they are very capable of doing.”
The Wildcats travel to Tempe, Ariz. to continue Pac-12 play against the Sun Devils. First game is Friday, April 20 at 5 p.m.
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