Tucson Regional: McQuillin powers Arizona into Regional Final

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Sofia Moraga | The Daily Wildcat Arizona's Taylor Mcquillin (18) pitches during the third inning of the Arizona-St. Francis game of the NCAA championship Tournament on Friday May 18 at the Rita Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson, Ariz.

Taylor McQuillin threw her NCAA-leading 15th shutout on Saturday afternoon against North Dakota State, leading the way for Arizona in a 6-0 win at Hillenbrand Stadium. The junior ace was dominant from start to finish as she made easy work of the clearly outmatched squad from the great plains.

The Wildcats will now move onto the Regional Final on Sunday afternoon, and await Saturday's remaining games to find out their opponent. 

Arizona’s Dejah Mulipola put the Wildcats ahead in the first inning with a RBI double, as that was all the run support McQuillin needed on the day as she efficiently and methodically made her way through the Bison lineup, only needing a total of 93 pitches to get through her Saturday outing.

Even though the offense managed to get six runners across home plate on Saturday afternoon, five more than the day before in their game against St. Francis, the offense struggled to capitalize with runners in scoring position, leaving 12 on base.

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Freshman Jenna Kean did not have any issues at the plate however, and ended the afternoon perfect at the plate with a 4-for-4 outing that displayed just a piece of the bight future that Mike Candrea has in store for coming years.

Winning regional tournaments is something that is expected at Arizona, as made very clearly by the seemingly endless number of successive years showcasing this fact on the left field wall, this team played like a classic Arizona team as it snuffed out any threat any time it appeared.

The run support didn’t come until the latter half of the game however, as smart baserunning and eventual timely hitting eventually saw the Wildcats through.

With the Wildcats only being able to register two hits in Friday night's game, they came out focused and more aggressive at the plate. The plan worked and now the 'Cats are one win away from advancing to a Super Regional.

Many experts and pundits predicted a UA-UCLA Super Regional after this weekend plays out, but top-10 UCLA dropped its opening regional matchup to Cal State Fullerton, and now face an uphill battle to win the four team mini-tournament. Should UCLA be eliminated, and Arizona advance, it would make the possible road to Oklahoma City a little less treacherous for the Wildcats.



Follow David Skinner on Twitter @davidwskinner_


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