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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona softball a perfect 11-0 to begin season after 6-0 performance in Wildcat Invitational

Pearl Dixon

Arizona catcher Dejah Mulipola (8) bats during the softball game against North Dakota State on Feb. 19 at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.

Arizona softball looked to close out the second tournament of the season with their perfect record intact on Sunday afternoon. After rain plagued the third day of the Wildcat Invitational, Arizona’s double header for Saturday was moved to Sunday. It would feature matchups against North Dakota State and Boston College.

The Wildcats entered into Sundays double header having outscored their opponents 44-1 in the invitational and the Wildcats’ pitching staff had gone 16 consecutive innings without allowing a run.

Game 1: Arizona 2, North Dakota State 1

The Wildcats sent their Summit League opponent home after winning 2-1, in the closest game of the season so far for the Wildcats.

Unlike Drake the night before, the Bison of North Dakota State sent their ace to the circle to face the Wildcats. Jacquelyn Sertic, the Summit League’s strikeout leader (57), had a role in everyone of her team’s game this weekend.

The junior from Sparks, Nevada did not shy away from Arizona’s batters, recording five strikeouts in her six innings pitched. Her only mistake of the game was giving up a first inning two-run home run to Arizona freshman Dejah Mulipola.

Mulipola stepped up to the plate only once on Saturday and in her first at-bat on Sunday, she smacked a two-run blast off the right field foul pole putting the Wildcats ahead 2-0. The freshman catcher would go 3-3, providing the team’s only runs and was the only player on either team to reach base in every at-bat. Mulipola celebrated her 19th birthday on Sunday, so it wasn’t just a special day at the plate.

“Today I tried to be extra relax, I didn’t want to let me birthday get to my head,” Mulipola said. “I wanted to do go on my birthday and really just tried to stay clam each and every at bat.”

Things got interesting in the top of the fourth when NDSU’s Montana DeCamp hit a ball with just enough power to get over the left field wall pulling the Bison back into the game down only one run. It was the first run allowed by Danielle O’Toole (6-0) since the first inning of the season opening game against Fordham.

O’Toole, however still did her job she striking out seven North Dakota State batters and she shifted into another gear after giving up the home run. She went the distance, throwing her third complete game of the season.

Game 2: Arizona 12, Boston College 2

The final game of the Wildcat Invitational epitomized Arizona’s performance so far this year. Arizona finished off Boston College 12-2, dominating on both offense and defense.

The team’s second game saw hard throwing sophomore Taylor McQuillin get the start. Boston College got to the younger pitcher early, as McQuillin let up only her second and third earned runs of the year. She was pulled after the first inning; another early exit for the sophomore.

Golden Eagles batter Jordan Chimento started the early scoring for her after slicing a double down the right field line. To much of the home crowds surprise the Wildcats trailed 2-0 after the top of the first, it was just the second time all year they found themselves trailing.

Mulipola hit another two-run homer in her first plate appearance, rescuing the Wildcats early. The Wildcats batted around in the first innings and Mulipola followed up her first at bat with a bases clearing RBI double giving her five RBIs in the first inning alone. Finished the day 5-6 with eight RBI’s and two homers. Mulipola was asked if it was her work behind the plate or in the batters’ box that was more important for this team’s success.

“It depends what I’m doing that day, sometimes its offense other days it’s defense,” Mulipola said. “You just try to be as consistent as you can.”

Nancy Bowling came in relief of McQuillin to guide the Wildcats through the remainder of the game. The senior threw four scoreless innings in relief, shutting down any offensive production from the Eagles after they scored in the first.

“I think I did okay,” Bowling said. “Maybe could have done better but I came in and did what I need to do.”

Things slowed down after eight run outburst in the first but Arizona’s lineup was simply too powerful for the Eagles. Mauga crushed a pitch to deep center fielding to lead off the fourth inning, increasing her season home run total to six, while putting Arizona up 10-2 after four.

Overall Arizona head coach Mike Candrea was pleased with this team’s performance in the Wildcat Invitational.

“It was a good weekend for us, got a chance to put a lot of players in games. We are starting to solidify things both offensively and defensively, which is what you want to accomplish in the first couple weeks.” Candrea said.

The Wildcats head to Palm Springs, California next weekend to compete in the Mary Nutter Classic, where they will play five games. They face off with the University of Louisville Cardinal on Tursday, February 23rd at 11 a.m. MST. The Mary Nutter Classic runs through Saturday, February 25th.

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