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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats conclude fall undefeated

Jesus Barrera

Arizona’s Ashleigh Hughes (28) hits the ball while playing against Pima on Nov. 1.

The Wildcats finished their fall slate Wednesday night with two victories in a doubleheader against Phoenix College at Hillenbrand Stadium. The game was changed to a standard doubleheader after originally being scheduled as a 10-inning exhibition.

GAME 1: Arizona 14, Phoenix College 2 (six innings)

Freshman pitcher Taylor McQuillin started the first game of the doubleheader and continued to show why she was one of the nation’s elite recruits. McQuillin pitched five innings, striking out four and giving up only one hit, a solo home run by Phoenix College’s Danae King.

The Bears could not figure out McQuillin and did not hit anything hard other than the home run.

McQuillin finished the fall with another dominant performance and was sure to grab the attention of every coach in the Pac-12 Conference.

Nancy Bowling closed out the sixth inning for the Wildcats and surrendered a solo home run to the first batter, but struck out the next three.

The Wildcats continued to stay hot at the plate and smashed three home runs in the contest. Freshman Hillary Edior hit her second home run of the fall, a two-run shot in the second that broke a 1-1 tie.

The game remained close until junior Katiyana Mauga broke it open with a bases-loaded single that drove in three of the fourth to make it 6-1 Arizona.

The Wildcats scored four runs with two outs in the fifth to make it 10-1. Junior Mandie Perez hit a two-run home run and Mauga clubbed a two-run shot of her own for her seventh home run of the fall.

Perez ended the game with a grand slam, her second home run of the game, to force the mercy rule.

GAME 2: Arizona 11, Phoenix College 1 (five innings)

Junior Danielle O’Toole got the call in the circle in game two and struck out eight while allowing four hits and one unearned run.

O’Toole ran into trouble in the fourth, giving up a bunt single and a double off the wall to put runners on second and third with no one out. She then struck out the next batter and then induced a ground ball, but a throwing error put the Bears on the board after the Wildcats rallied seven early runs, making the game 7-0.

O’Toole stalled the Bears with runners on first and third by striking out the next two batters to get out of the jam.

Perez and Mauga were the catalysts for the potent UA offense. Both ladies homered twice in the second game of the night and Perez hit an absolute bomb that landed well over the scoreboard for her second run-rule walk off homer of the night.

The team had 11 hits through three innings and ended the game with 16.

This year’s freshman class has the program excited and head coach Mike Candrea has enjoyed what his club has done in the fall.

“I’ve been really impressed with [McQuillin],” Candrea said. “She has stepped in and done a nice job, … and [Edior]—she plays with some confidence, very relaxed, I like that.”

On top of the talented freshman class, Arizona is loaded with talent throughout its rotation and its lineup. Redshirt junior Bowling had a great fall after missing all of last season.

Perez had a successful fall and will be on the radar as one of the top Pac-12 leadoff hitters. The Wildcats also have Mauga, who will likely be on every kind of preseason awards list.

“Go to Oklahoma City, win a world series, win a world championship,” Mauga said of her aspirations for Arizona softball this season.

The Wildcats open the season Feb. 11 against Southern Utah in the Hillenbrand Invitational.

Follow Chris Deak on Twitter.

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