The Arizona softball team swept visiting UTEP as part of a double-header Wednesday, outscoring the Miners 22-2 over the two games to improve to 29-7 overall and continue their win streak, which now sits at 11 games.
The Wildcat offense dominated UTEP's pitching early on, thanks to a three-run Jesse Harper home run, her 18th of the season. The 'Cats scored 13 runs in the second inning, with Malia Martinez connecting on a three-run home run of her own and Alyssa Palomino-Cardozo connecting on a grand slam to effectively put things away.
For the Wildcats, Marissa Schuld took the mound and showed off her dominance in her first start in Hillenbrand Stadium. The freshman ran into a bit of trouble in the second with back-to-back singles but, thanks to the stellar defense behind her, was able to escape the inning with no runs allowed. Schuld pitched four innings, allowing four hits and one run. Gina Snyder came on to pitch the final inning in a dominant 17-1 victory for the 'Cats.
In what was a much closer game, UTEP scored first on a home run to center by first baseman Kacey Duffield. Arizona scored two runs in the second inning on two base hits and a passed ball to take a 2-1 lead. Palomino-Cardozo and Harper each connected on home runs in the fifth inning to give the Wildcats a 5-1 lead, by which they eventually ended up winning. Harper is now tied for the NCAA lead in home runs at 19 with Georgia infielder Alyssa DiCarlo.
The Wildcats got a strong outing from pitcher Vanessa Foreman in the victory, as the freshman went four innings and only surrendered one run. Hanah Bowen pitched three scoreless innings in relief, allowing no hits and only one baserunner to pick up the save.
The 'Cats will look to continue their win streak away from Hillenbrand Stadium, as they travel next to Utah for a three-game series with the Utes. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday on the Pac-12 Network.
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