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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Taylor McQuillin blows away Matadors with career high 17 strikeouts

Logan Cook

Arizona pitcher Taylor Mcquillin (18) pitches during the softball game against CSUN at Hillenbrand Stadium on Feb. 10.

Coming off of last nights 8-1 victory over the Fordham Rams, Arizona resumed play in the 21st Hillenbrand invitational against the Cal State Northridge Matadors on Friday night. The Wildcat’s overcame a slow start and a determined CSUN squad, prevailing 6-0.

Sophomore Taylor McQuillin (1-0) took the hill for the Wildcats against the Matadors. McQuillin was an All Pac-12 freshman in 2016 and she started off her sophomore campaign with a career-high 17 strikeouts while allowing just two hits in a complete game shutout.

McQuillin displayed complete control throughout the game, and the Matadors were never able to advance a runner in to scoring position. 

At the conclusion of last season, McQuillin had proved to be a solid number two option behind one of the top pitchers in the Pac-12’s, teammate Danielle O’Toole.

“I came into the off season wanted to do better than last year, we worked on a bunch of stuff,” McQuillin said. “Different pitches, the way they move and placement. Just started over saying let’s throw your game and throw it right.”

However, the Matadors were able to hang tough thanks to a strong performance of their own in the circle. Matador pitcher Taylor Troost was able to hold the Wildcats to one run for a large portion of the game. She tossed four scoreless and struck out five. Troost was able to keep the Cats high powered offense in check for the bulk of her start.

The Wildcats threatened Troost on several occasions, but the lineup struggled to come up with a key hit.

It took a few Wildcats newcomers to break the game open.

Freshmen Jessie Harper and Alyssa Palomino came up clutch in the fifth and sixth innings. Palomino got the Wildcat’s offense going with a two out, two-RBI triple in the fifth. Not to be outdone by Palomino was Jessie Harper, who hit her first career home run, a two-run shot in the sixth inning, to put Arizona comfortably ahead 6-0.

“It’s a great feeling to put an extra run on the board,” Harper said. “It being my first one, it was definitely special to help put our team up.”

Throughout the game Cal State Northridge was unable to take advantage of Troost’s quality outing and lack of Arizona’s offense early on. Matador senior Taylor Glover, who appears on the USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top 50 Watch List, was shut down going 1-3 with her only hit coming in the sixth inning. With the Matadors top threat neutralized, the rest of the team’s offensive attack stalled managing only two hits in the entire game. 

This was the first of two meetings between the west coast schools, as the Wildcats will face the Matadors again in early March.

Saturday’s slate of games should be a step up in competition for the Wildcats, featuring back-to-back games against No. 21 Baylor and Big Ten opponent Northwestern.

Head coach Mike Candrea has been impressed with that he’s seen so far from the Wildcats in the Hillenbrand Invitational, but knows the Wildcats will have to be ready for the likes of Baylor and Northwestern.

“[In order to win]We come out and play the game like we did tonight,” Candrea said. Baylor is a very aggressive team, they’ve got some speed and can make things happen. Northwestern is a talented team, will probably see some rise ball so it will come down to our discipline at the plate.”

The Hillenbrand Invitational continues on Saturday afternoon with a double header for Arizona. They face the Baylor Bears at 3 p.m. MST and take on Northwestern at 5 p.m. MST.

Follow Noah Sonnet on Twitter 

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