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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball crushes Drake despite Mother Nature’s interference

Arizona+pitcher+Nancy+Bowling+pitches+during+the+Wildcat+Invitational+Feb.+18.+Arizona+improved+to+9-0+on+the+season.
Pearl Dixon

Arizona pitcher Nancy Bowling pitches during the Wildcat Invitational Feb. 18. Arizona improved to 9-0 on the season.

The Wildcat Invitational had to brace for the elements on Saturday, as a torrential downpour took over the early season tournament, pushing back start times and delaying games left and right. Arizona’s scheduled double header was affected, the rain limited the Wildcats to a single game against Drake.

Though mother nature did all she could to stop the Wildcats, she was unable to as Arizona walked away winners with a score of 21-0, as the team improved to 9-0.

Arizona wasted no time getting on the score broad, an RBI double by Dejah Mulipola got things started in the first. Freshman Alyssa Palomino took things a step further. She nailed a dinger to right in her first at bat of the game, extending the Wildcats early lead to 3-0. Another RBI double, this time by Tamara Statman increased the lead yet again.

The first inning saw the Wildcats bat around, collecting eight hits and having a 10-0 lead. Both Mulipola and Palomino smashed in multiple RBIs and scored a pair of runs themselves. Sloppy fielding from Drake helped keep the inning alive, while moving base runners into scoring position almost regularly.

Only a day removed from belting her first two career college homers and knocking in seven RBIs, Palomino’s fine form in this weekend’s invitational continued. She finished the game 2-2 with three RBI’s, raising her season total to 18. After the game, the freshman phenom stated why she was enjoying success in the Invitational.

“Staying back, staying relaxed keeping my hands to the ball and enjoying the moment. Coach always says be where your feet are, and that’s just what I’ve been telling myself be in the moment and stay relaxed,” Palomino said.

From there Taylor McQuillin had all the run support a pitcher would ever need. Putting Drake batters in a corner, not allowing a base runner in the three innings she pitched. McQuillin, who started the invitational with a strong outing the day before, in which she went five innings, fanning six and giving up only one run. The sophomore from California improved to 3-0 on the season.

Michelle Floyd took the hill in the fourth for the Wildcats, in that same inning Drake was able to finally put runners on base. Floyd’s appearance marked the 20th player used in Saturdays game for the Wildcats. After two games against the host Arizona, Drake failed to score a single run and producing only four hits.

Arizona head coach Mike Candrea began pulling his starters in the second, but to no avail for the Bulldogs, Arizona’s bench players kept the offensive onslot going. Eva Watson knocked in two runs on a single up the middle making it 14-0, and well out of Drake’s reach. The second winningest coach in NCAA history had this to say on his team offensive explosion.

“We’re a good hitting team and they(Drake) threw their No.3 pitcher and that happens at this level,” Candrea said. ”But we very capable of putting innings like that together.”

Jessie Harper and Mandie Perez, were among the other offensive standouts for the Wildcats. Harper crushed two home runs, extending her freshman season total to four. While Perez went 4-4, producing an RBI double in the second inning and scoring three runs.

On Sunday No.9 Arizona will play a double header, starting with a 1 p.m. game against North Dakota State before ending the Wildcat Invitational at 3 p.m. in a matchup with Boston College.


Follow Noah Sonnet on Twitter.


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