With a lineup that included a few changes, the No. 11 ranked Arizona softball team took down the No. 22 California Golden Bears in game one of a three game series at Hillenbrand Stadium, 3-0. Junior Taylor McQuillin threw a complete game for Arizona, striking out eight while only allowing one hit.
“I think we just kind of kept them on their toes,” McQuillin said. “I think that my defense did great today, we had a lot of ground ball outs, a couple fly ball outs to the outfield, so overall our defense worked really well and I think that was the key for our game today.”
Freshman right fielder Jenna Kean had a big night at the plate, racking up the first two RBIs of her career. First, in the bottom of the second, she singled up the middle, scoring redshirt freshman Carli Campbell. Then, in the bottom of the fourth, she increased the Wildcat lead to 2-0 with a sac fly into left that scored sophomore Jaycee Lindley, who was on as a pinch runner.
Kean said that she had been in a slump as of late, so she took a different approach.
“I’ve been having a hard time hitting, so I decided to change it up and swing,” she said. “I felt like I just saw the ball a lot better, and, see the ball, hit the ball.”
The Wildcats lineup had a new look, with senior Ashleigh Hughes shifting from her usual position as an outfielder, and taking up the second basemen spot. Hughes was there because usual starter, sophomore Reyna Carranco, was struck in the face by a pitch in game one of last weekend’s series against Washington. Carranco, who had the ball become wedged in between her face mask, suffered a concussion and a facial injury. She was described as being “back with the team and in good spirits” by Arizona Softball’s official twitter last Saturday night.
Arizona head coach Mike Candrea gave an update on Carranco after Thursday's game, saying she had surgery on earlier in the morning. When asked about a potential time table for her return, Candrea said it varies.
“The concussion is the one thing that is holding her back,” Candrea said. “I think once she gets cleared from the concussion then she can start doing some stuff.”
Hughes had an impressive night, collecting three hits, while also stealing three bases and scoring a run. She was the first Wildcat to have three stolen bases in a game since 2012, according to Arizona Athletics.
“It’s part of the game,” Hughes said of her stolen bases. “It’s exciting, it’s part of the game, I’m just happy to get in scoring position for some of our big hitters, it’s key.”
The Wildcats will be back in action on Friday night at 6 p.m., in game two vs. Cal.
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