Arizona softball completed its weekend sweep of ASU Sunday afternoon, defeating the Sun Devils by a score of 2-0 in the only game of the series that didn’t end in a run-rule victory.
The series finale was fairly stagnant until the fourth inning, when UA's Rylee Pierce put her mark on the rivalry. The senior singled through the left side to allow Malia Martinez to score the first point of the slow game. Pierce pulled through again for Arizona in the bottom of the sixth, as she homered to center field to give the Wildcats their second run of the evening.
“Honestly, I just keep it simple and work with my team. I don’t really think too much of it. I go out there with a plan and execute,” Pierce said.
Senior pitcher Taylor McQuillin threw a gem from the circle the with a total of seven strikeouts.
“Just being able to have six different pitchers that can go in and shut a team out, that’s really the goal,” McQuillin said. “[Our pitching staff] established who we were in the weekend.”
After the 3-0 sweep on the Sun Devils, the Wildcats move to 9-0 in Pac-12 conference play.
“Putting the pedal to the medal, all gas no brakes,” is Arizona’s mindset going forward into more conference matchups, according to McQuillin.
If this weekend was any indication, the Wildcats are as deadly as they come with their foot on the gas, as the Sun Devils were unable to score a run in all three games, losing 8-0 on both Friday and Saturday as well.
Here's how the first two games unfolded in Tucson:
Game one: 8-0 UA win
Arizona started off the rivalry weekend on the right foot, bursting out for seven runs in the first three innings of the game. The Wildcats proved to have the pop in their bats, as three different players hit home runs.
Malia Martinez hit a two-run shot in the second, followed by Dejah Mulipola's three-run blast and Tamara Statman's two-run dinger in the third. Arizona eventually run-ruled the Sun Devils in the fifth inning, thanks to a Jessie Harper walk-off sacrifice fly.
McQuillin got a total of eight strikeouts in the circle, only letting a single Sun Devil reach base.
Alyssa Denham took the mound and went the distance, throwing five innings and striking out four, allowing two hits and no earned runs for a shutout. With the win, Denham improved to an 8-2 record.
Her counterpart, Abby Andersen from ASU, allowed eight runs on nine hits and was pulled out after 2.1 innings of work.
The ‘Cats scored three runs in the first inning, continuing their dominance. Reyna Carranco extended her hit streak to 15 games on a single in the first. The Wildcats scored another run in the second due to a sac fly to left field from Harper, letting Jenna Kean tag up from third.
In the third, Arizona added four runs on three hits. In those three hits, Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza and Hannah Martinez connected on a pair of home runs. It was Palomino-Cardoza’s 11th of the season and Martinez’s first career home run.
After the 3-0 sweep against ASU, the Wildcats move 27-7 on the overall season. The ‘Cats are in action again Wednesday, April 3, as they take on UTEP at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. in a doubleheader in Hillenbrand Stadium.
Follow Wildcat Sports on Twitter