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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Offense leads Arizona softball to series win over Washington

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Jesus Barrera

Arizona softball utility player Katiyana Mauga runs home after hitting a home run during Arizona’s 18-10 win against Washington at Hillenbrand Stadium on Sunday. Mauga hit two home runs on Sunday to pace the Wildcats to a series win over the Huskies.

Arizona softball won two out of three games to earn a home series victory against Washington over the weekend.

The No. 16 Wildcats led with an offensive attack that produced 40 runs over the series.

“The Pac-12 [Conference] is so strong that you have to be on your toes every single pitch,” Arizona shortstop Kellie Fox said. “We have to put those runs up and string them together.”

The UA won the first game of the series handedly, mercy-ruling the No. 18 Huskies 14-6 in five innings.

Arizona (33-10, 8-4 Pac-12) struck for 10 runs in the opening inning, including a three-run homer from Katiyana Mauga and a Chelsea Suitos grand slam. The grand slam was Suitos’ first career home run. 

“I honestly didn’t know it was out, because I don’t know what that feels like,” Suitos said. “It didn’t sink in until I got bombarded by my teammates at home.”

Washington answered in the top of the third by scoring six runs off Arizona starter Michelle Floyd, although only two of the runs were earned. The Wildcats committed a pair of errors that fostered the Huskies’ rally.

Trish Parks relieved Floyd with one out in the inning, and went on to pitch a scoreless 2 2/3 frames. 

Arizona added a pair of runs in the fourth inning off a two-out double from Hallie Wilson. Mandie Perez and Mo Mercado singled in the walk-off run to induce a mercy-rule victory in the fifth inning. 

The Wildcats looked to be in control for a series victory on Saturday night, but a late Washington comeback gave the Huskies a 9-8 win.

Washington got on the scoreboard early with solo home runs off Floyd in the first and second innings.

However, the Wildcats responded in the bottom of the second with a five-run rally, highlighted by a three-run shot from Wilson that put the UA up 5-2.

The lead remained the same heading into the fourth when Parks relieved Floyd on the mound. Parks then allowed a single run in the fourth and another run in the fifth.

Parks was taken out of the game with two outs in the fifth due to an apparent injury, and Floyd reentered the game.

Arizona scored three runs in the bottom half of the fifth to expand the lead to four, but that didn’t turn out to be enough.

Washington hit a pair of two-run homers, while down 8-4 in the sixth inning, to tie the game before scoring the go-ahead run with a single in the seventh inning.

The Wildcats tried to answer in the bottom of seventh, but Suitos grounded out to end the game with runners on second and third.

Arizona coach Mike Candrea said he did not know the full extent of Parks’ injury but indicated it was minor.

“I think it’s just sore and almost like a muscle spasm,” Candrea said. “They’ll work on it [Monday], and hopefully she’ll get a chance to toss a little bit on Tuesday.”

On Sunday, the Wildcats outscored Washington 18-10 in a six-inning win that featured at least one hit from every batter in the Arizona lineup.

The UA broke things open early with a five-run second inning that included home runs from Mauga and Fox.

The Wildcats capitalized on some poor Washington pitching in the third inning to rally for nine runs. Arizona hit three RBI singles, scored on a walk and a wild pitch, and received a two-run blast from Mauga.

A 15-2 lead going into the fourth inning would usually make for a comfortable cushion, but Washington answered back with an eight run frame to cut the deficit to 15-10.

That was the closest the Huskies would come to mounting another comeback.

For Arizona, Sierra Phillips recorded her first career start on the mound and allowed six earned runs over three innings. Floyd replaced Phillips in the fourth and helped limit further damage.

“I thought [Phillips] did good,” Candrea said. “She kept them off balance for a while, and it’s good to see, but we’re going to definitely need her the rest of the year.”

The Wildcats return to action on Friday when they travel to Utah for a three-game series.

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Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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