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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball loses its first series of 2017, no longer on historic path

Arizonas+Tamara+Statman+bats+during+the+UA-Texas+game+on+March+4.+The+Wildcats+won+2-1.
Chris Hook / Arizona Athletics

Arizona’s Tamara Statman bats during the UA-Texas game on March 4. The Wildcats won 2-1.

Arizona softball made their way to Salt Lake off to one of the best starts in school history, riding a 26-game winning streak. By the time Arizona had finished its three-game set with Utah, neither of those streaks remained intact, as the Wildcats dropped the last two games, resulting in their first series loss of 2017.

Game 1 – Arizona 5, Utes 1

As she has done throughout the season, Danielle O’Toole shut down the opposition’s lineup Thursday night, allowing only five hits and one earned run, which came in the final inning of the senior’s complete game performance that moved her to 22-1 for the season.

A Tamara Statman RBI triple in the second inning was the only thing separating the No. 2 Wildcats and No. 14 Utah early on. In the fourth, things began to come together for Arizona, and again it was the bat of Statman producing a double that drove in two runs for the Wildcats. Statman would finish the day 2-3 with three RBIs.

Game 2 – Arizona 3, Utes 6

In the blink of an eye, everything can change, and that’s exactly what happened to the ‘Cats’ chances at history on Friday in Salt Lake. The 6-3 loss ended the team’s 26-game winning streak and marked their first loss in the Pac-12 Conference.

Utah became the first team to score more than four runs on the Wildcats, as Taylor McQuillin (13-1) was shelled for six runs in 3.2 innings, ending the sophomore’s perfect season.

The Utes Miranda Viramontes did a phenomenal job all game in the circle, and despite allowing Wildcat base runners throughout, she came away with her 11th victory of the year.

Dejah Mulipola was the lone bright spot for the Wildcats as she went 4-4 with a double. Mo Mercado and Katiyana Mauga were the only two Wildcats to record an RBI.

Game 3 – Arizona 2, Utes 3

Needing a win to avoid losing their first series of the year, the Wildcats had ace O’Toole (22-2) out in the circle. The senior did what she could, going the distance and striking out eight. But her performance was in vain, as an RBI single by Alyssa Barrera in the bottom of the seventh gave the Utes a walk-off victory.

Arizona has now lost back-to-back Pac-12 Conference games for the first time this season and will have to pick themselves up as they face a top-ranked Oregon team this coming weekend.

The Utes appeared to be unphased, consistently pressuring the highly ranked Wildcats all weekend.

Arizona’s offense struggled to produce, scoring a total of 10 runs throughout three games. Considering the team averages close to eight runs per game and scored over 40 last weekend, it’s fair to say the offense did not pack the big bats for their trip to Salt Lake.

Saturday’s 3-2 loss marks the first time O’Toole has lost since mid-February.

Utah themselves struggled to produce runs in game three, yet at the end of the day, their winning result is all that matters for a team that has now won nine games against ranked opponents this season. The Utes now move to No. 2 in the Pac-12 and trail Arizona by just three games.

The Wildcats will face New Mexico State in Las Cruces, New Mexico on Tuesday in a double-header. Arizona returns home after that for a three-game series against the Oregon Ducks beginning on Friday, April 21 at Hillenbrand Stadium.


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