Softball stays hot in Phoenix, sweeping GCU
Behind a weekend of dominant pitching, the Arizona softball team swept Grand Canyon University in a three-game series in Phoenix. Arizona is now 35-7 on the season with a 17-game win streak. Here’s how the three games played out:
Games one: 6-0 win
The Wildcats kicked off the series with a doubleheader Friday. In game one, the ‘Cats struggled to generate any runs through four innings, but in the top of the fifth, senior Rylee Pierce broke the scoring drought with a home run to right-center field that ignited the team.
The following inning, UA’s offense exploded for five runs and extending the lead to 6-0. Hannah Martinez capped it off with a two-run single, followed by an RBI double by Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza.
The dominance in the sixth inning gave the Wildcats a comfortable lead and allowed ace Taylor McQuillin plenty of breathing room.
The senior didn’t need much run support, as she pitched a one-hit shutout, marking her fourth time allowing zero runs in five starts.
Game two: 2-0 win
The second part of the doubleheader was a tightly contested game in pitching battle between Arizona’s Alyssa Denham and GCU’s Ryan Denhart. Both teams struggled to score in regulation, as the score was 0-0 through seven innings.
UA junior Reyna Carranco broke the scoreless game with a clutch two run single to give the ‘Cats a 2-0 lead at the top of the eighth and propelled the team to victory.
The story of this game was once again Arizona’s stellar pitching. Denham had one of her best outings of the season, pitching a two-hit shutout and striking out 10 batters. The game also featured a web gem from shortstop Jessie Harper.
Game three: 8-1 win
The Wildcats finished off the three-game series on Saturday with ease. GCU took an early 1-0 lead but after that, it was all Arizona, which scored eight unanswered.
Dejah Mulipola gave the UA a 3-1 lead by slamming a two-run homer in the top of the fifth. Malia Martinez added to the lead with a home run, her 11th of the season. Arizona continued the scoring outburst with Carranco, later doubling home both Jenna Kean and Palomino-Cardoza.
UA pitcher Hanah Bowen tossed a complete game, only allowing four hits and one run, while tying her career high in strikeouts with eight. The Wildcats went on to win the game 8-1 capping off a sweep.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 8 nationally and will continue Pac-12 play next week at home vs. Stanford.
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