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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Wildcats softball: Depth and hitting are much improved for upcoming season after sweep of local teams

Courtney Talak
Arizona softball pitcher Danielle O’Toole pitches against BYU on Friday, March 4.

Arizona softball completed a sweep this weekend at the Arizona Fall Invitational. The Wildcats hosted the action all weekend, and cruised to five victories in as many games.

The Wildcats pitching staff was dominant. They completed their second no-hitter of the fall on Saturday, and racked up 50 strikeouts in their five games.

“The pitchers threw like they were experienced, they did a good job,” said head coach Mike Candrea.

Arizona brought in the third rated recruiting class in the nation this offseason, according to FloSoftball, and they were on full display over the weekend. Candrea employed different lineups in every game, and it’s clear the Wildcats will have more depth this season.

Game 1–Arizona 6, Central Arizona 0

Sophomore Taylor McQuillin got the nod in Arizona’s opener and logged eight strikeouts in her four innings of work. Senior Nancy Bowling threw three scoreless innings to end the game, and the duo combined for 14 strikeouts. The Wildcats scored early when freshman Dejah Mulipola tripled in her first at bat of the weekend driving in redshirt senior Mandie Perez. Mulipola finished with two RBI’s and two runs scored in the game.

Game 2–Arizona 10, Arizona Western 0

The Wildcats completed a day one sweep with a victory against Arizona Western. Redshirt senior ace Danielle O’Toole was in the circle in game two, and earned the win striking out four in her four innings of work. The Wildcats notched 14 hits in the contest, and redshirt freshman Alyssa Palomino had four RBI’s in the game. Along with the incoming freshman class, Palomino adds depth to this year’s lineup after being out last season due to an ACL injury.

Game 3–Arizona 9, Cypress 0

Mulipola continued to exhibit why she was one of the highest rated recruits in the nation. She drove in four RBI’s and added her first two home runs of the fall. Sophomore Joelle Krist hit a deep three-run homer in the fourth inning and the freshman did the rest. Wildcats freshman drove in six of Arizona’s nine runs in the game, and the pitching staff recorded another shutout victory. Bowling tossed three scoreless innings to begin the day, and McQuillin grabbed her second victory of the weekend shutting down Cypress over the last four innings.

Game 4–Arizona 10, Scottsdale Community College 0 (5 innings)

The Wildcats second no-hitter of the fall came in the form of a combined perfect game from seniors Michelle Floyd and O’Toole. The duo struck out eight of the 15 batters they faced en route to a dominant five inning victory. The offense scored ten runs in four at-bats and exploded in the third inning with three straight home runs from Palomino, senior Katiyana Mauga, and senior Mo Mercado. Even though it was only a fall game, it’s always exciting to be a part of a perfect game.

“It’s fun, it’s a lot of fun,” said Floyd about the perfecto. “I feel like a completely different pitcher than last year. I feel a lot more confident in my pitches, and when you feel that confident in your pitches again that’s where you start to see that improvement.”

Game 5–Arizona 10, Pima College 0 (5 innings)

The Wildcats pitching staff topped off an impressive weekend with another shutout. They nearly threw back-to-back perfect games, but Bowling gave up the first base runner the Wildcats had seen since Saturday morning in the fourth inning. McQuillin, Bowling and O’Toole combined for 11 strikeouts in five innings. Pima struggled to make outs early on, and Arizona led by eight runs after two innings. The Wildcats collected 11 hits in the game, and completed the run-rule victory in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single from sophomore Tamara Statman.

Candrea was pleased with the play of his team this weekend.

“I like where this team is right now. Good depth, and its good quality depth,” said Candrea. “Right now there’s nothing I don’t like, that’s for sure.”

The Wildcats wrap up their fall schedule on Wednesday night against Central Arizona College at 5 p.m. 

Follow Chris Deak on Twitter.

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