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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona rebounds from first loss of season with shutout against Texas

Logan Cook

Arizona’s Alyssa Palomino gets a hit during the UA-Texas game on Friday, March 3. The Wildcats beat the Longhorns 3-0.

On a night when the team’s big bats were relatively held in check, Arizona softball still managed to record a 3-0 victory over the Texas Longhorns under the Friday night lights of Hillenbrand Stadium. It marked the first of a three game series taking place this weekend against the Big-12 powerhouse. 

Danielle O’Toole, shook off the loss from her last outing, recording a complete game shutout as she shut down the Longhorns. Despite the lack of offense, the senior never seemed uneasy, registering seven strikeouts raising her total to 69 for the year. 

“I know that the last two games are not what we’d like.” O’Toole said. “But were winning, were getting the job done and finishing.” 

The reigning national player of the week, Mo Mercado, went 2-3 scoring a run and collecting a pair of doubles. She was one of the few players to successfully produce for the team. Slotted in the fifth spot, Mercado made the most of the pitches she saw behind Katiyana Mauga. 

“There is more defense in these games, while in my past few years here it was more waiting on the long ball or the home run,” Mercado said. “Now it’s cool to see us get runners on and getting them in, which coach says is old school softball.” 

Twice the Longhorns produced early doubles, but to the Wildcats credit, both times failed to advance the runner any further. 

While the Longhorns struggled offensively, they were very effective at silencing the big bat of Katiyana Mauga. Unlike previous teams this season who have deliberately pitched away from the hard hitting senior, Texas was successful in their attempts at pitching to Mauga. The third basemen from San Diego often chased balls that were up and out of the zone, resulting in a series of fly outs.

As one of Arizona’s best hitters struggled to reach base, second year player Tamara Statman did not. Her RBI single in the second calmed the nerves of fans in the stadium, as the Wildcats scored their first run of the night.

After being awarded the conference pitcher of the week, Tiarra Davis held her own against the No.6 ranked Wildcats. She did not allow the talented Arizona lineup, which has scored double digits six times already, to get to her. Davis stayed ahead in counts, holding sluggers such as Dejah Mulipola, Mandie Perez and Mauga. 

Utility player Reyna Carranco was positioned at second base yet again, she struggled to get anything going when in the batters box. The freshman though, at times provided a solid defensive partnership with Mercado at shortstop. 

Similar to the game last Saturday against Florida state, Friday’s game was yet another case in which Arizona is still able to find a way to win, even when their talented lineup struggles to produce offense. Arizona head coach Mike Candrea praised O’Toole for keeping the teams hopes of a win intact and touched on the nature of close games like Friday’s.

“It was a good game, that’s the softball I know.” Candrea said. “I told the team games like tonight’s are the ones you need to win, whether it’s with your hitting or your pitching. Tonight we had great pitching, played good defense and got some timely hits, now that’s championship softball.” 

Follow Noah Sonnet on Twitter.

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