Wildcats blast away, launch Cardinal out of Hillenbrand in blowout

Arizona+softball+player+Alyssa+Palomino+%2832%29+at+bat+during+the+softball+game+against+Stanford+at+Hillenbrand+Memorial+Stadium+on+April+7.+The+Wildcats+routed+the+Cardinals+20-1.

Logan Cook

Arizona softball player Alyssa Palomino (32) at bat during the softball game against Stanford at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium on April 7. The Wildcats routed the Cardinals 20-1.

Noah Sonnet

The UA may be holding it’s annual Spring Fling this weekend but all of Friday night’s action took place at Hillenbrand Field as the No.4 Arizona Wildcats disowned their Pac-12 opponent Stanford 20-1. It’s the second highest margin of victory for the Wildcats this season and improved the team’s win streak to 23 games.

Stanford has played much of the year with a notable Achilles heel, their pitching. With the Cardinal’s rotation averaging a 4.40 ERA and the team already 0-6 in the Pac-12 Conference, this weekend’s series with the top five ranked Wildcats is less than ideal.

Nevertheless, someone needed to take the mound and that came in the form of Carolyn Lee, a sophomore who collected Pac-12 All-Freshman team honor last season. But she has struggled with Arizona in the past, as last year Lee gave up 12 runs and 22 hits in just two appearances against the Cats.

It did not take long for the Wildcats offense to get to Lee, in fact it took less than 10 pitches as the Stanford pitcher gave up a two-run blast to Dejah Mulipola, who was only the second batter of the game. It was not the only homer of the first inning, three batters later it was Mo Mercado who teed off, giving Arizona a five run lead. Then after both Mulipola and Mercado had homered in the first, Jessie Harper added her name to the list launching a moon shot to right and extending the lead to six. 

“I was just trying to get a good pitch and keep passing the bat for the team,” Harper said. “We kept hitting the ball so hard, I was amazed at how many home runs we had, one after another and that just shows how deep this lineup is.”

Yet that was not the end of it, after Lee was forced to exit without recording a single out the Wildcats promptly batted around. Lee’s replacement picked up right where Lee left off, as Alyssa Palomino took Nikki Bauer yard for a grand slam. Which was followed up by Jessie Harper nailing her second home run of the inning.

When the inning finally came to an end Arizona was leading 13-0, the team had hit five home runs in one inning and had managed to end the game just as it was starting. Every Wildcat reached based at least once and eight out of the nine players in the lineup scored a run at some point in the first.

Struggles continued for the Cardinal pitching staff as the team was forced to replace a pitcher midway through an inning. And again the change proved to have little impact, as once more Palomino greeted the new pitcher with a bases clearing triple that saw three more runs be add on to the Wildcats lead. The next batter, Katiyana Mauga, hit a ball so hard it appeared to damage the building it hit in center field.

Palomino finished the game with seven RBIs and Jesse Harper’s two home runs in the first, gave her soul possession of 1st place in the Pac-12 for most home runs. Senior Mo Mercado also put in a fine performance, going 2-3 with a home run and three RBIs. Mercado commented on her teammate Harper taking over the conference lead in home runs.

“Jesse is very humble and very mature for her age, she’s just super hungry and always looking to get better,” Mercado said. “Me and her have a good relationship, we like to talk about hitting a lot and she’s even helped me a lot.”

After two innings 13 hits, six home runs and three pitching changes by Stanford, Arizona was leading 18-0. By the third inning Head coach Mike Candrea took his foot off the gas and begin putting in his subs. Candrea kept it short and sweet in his postgame remarks.

“It was just one of those nights we just saw the ball pretty big, cashed in big and put a lot of runs up,” Candrea said.

Notable highlights from the replacements came in the fourth inning, Hillary Edior bombed a ball deep to center, it was the team’s seventh of the game. Jaycee Lindley also got in on the action singling home Joelle Krist and putting the lead over 20.

The Wildcats continue their series with Stanford tomorrow at 3 p.m.


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