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The Daily Wildcat

 

O’Toole throws first career no-hitter against third ranked Huskies

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Pearl Dixon

Arizona Wildcats pitcher Danielle O’Toole throws a pitch against No. 21 Baylor at Hillenbrand Stadium on Feb. 10. O’Toole threw a complete game shutout against the Bears, winning 4-0. 

The No. 4 Arizona Wildcats came into the weekend with a 29-1 record to defend, facing one of their biggest challenges of the year against 5th ranked Washington. Arizona took game one of the series 3-0 off of the first no-hitter of pitcher Danielle O’Toole’s career.

O’Toole struck out eight Huskies and walked just one batter. Washington ranked third in the country in batting average coming in to the ballgame. O’Toole said she didn’t feel any different than normal on Friday night, even though it was her first career no-hitter.

“I guess I kind of just threw,” O’Toole said of her performance. “It was my first one so it was awesome.”

In the first inning, Arizona got off to a quick start. O’Toole imposed her will fast and early, pitching a 1-2-3 in the first to get Washington’s high ranked offense off of the field.

Redshirt freshman Alyssa Palomino put Arizona on the board first with a sacrifice fly and Mo Mercado drove in another run to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead after the first inning.

Arizona rode O’Toole’s momentum early, but could not find any offensive rhythm. It didn’t matter early on because O’Toole recorded two strikeouts and third baseman Katiyana Mauga made a spectacular catch to once again sideline Washington’s potent offense in the third inning.

Mauga came on the field for Arizona and was quickly walked, followed by a double from Mo Mercado. However, Arizona was once again unable to put any runs on the board, leaving the inning scoreless.

Tamara Statman and Reyna Carranco hit back-to-back singles to start the fourth inning off strong for the Wildcats, but Washington’s defense once again held up to prevent Arizona from scoring in the fourth.

Arizona’s defense continued to pick up the slack, as first baseman Nancy Bowling made two plays to force another 1-2-3 inning in the fifth.

Washington turned to another strategy in the 6th inning as two consecutive batters attempted bunts on O’Toole pitches, but Arizona’s defense held up strong and neither attempt was successful. Arizona forced another out to finish the inning out strong.

Tamara Statman added some insurance for O’Toole with a solo home run in the sixth inning to make it 3-0.

“It’s pretty awesome, especially because of how much of a team win this was,” Statman said. “We started of the game really well, and it was nice to see how everyone just rallied around and [we] came out with the win.”

Statman hits near the bottom of the order while Mercado starts the bottom half in the five spot. They came up strong to give Arizona a much-needed boost in a game where they struggled to find offense.

“I told them this week, when [the bottom of the lineup] can get on base and we can turn that lineup over, it’s a huge thing for us,” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “I think that’s the fun part, when you know the preparation has been there and we were able to execute tonight. That was huge.”

In the 7th inning, O’Toole struck out the side to seal the victory, and her no-hitter, for the Wildcats.

Game two against Washington is on Saturday, March 25th at 12 p.m. MST.


Follow Varun Iyer on Twitter 


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