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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona pummels Stanford in weekend softball series

Arizona+catcher+Dejah+Mulipola+%288%29+at+bat+during+the+softball+game+against+Stanford+on+April+7+at+Hillenbrand+Memorial+Stadium.+The+Wildcats+swept+the+Cardinal+3-0.
Logan Cook

Arizona catcher Dejah Mulipola (8) at bat during the softball game against Stanford on April 7 at Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium. The Wildcats swept the Cardinal 3-0.

Coming into the weekend at 38-1, the Arizona Wildcats were chasing history. With seven more wins, Arizona would tie the record for the best start in NCAA history, but they would have to get through Stanford to continue their progress.

Stanford’s pitchers struggled all weekend against Arizona’s power hitters, as Arizona picked up two straight wins on Saturday and Sunday to boost their record to 40-1.

Arizona came out scoring fast on Saturday, setting the theme of the weekend and giving them a lead that they would not give up. 

In the first inning, Dejah Mulipola was walked, followed by a double by Alyssa Palomino to get two Wildcats on base, before Mo Mercado gave Arizona an early lead. Mercado hit her seventh home run of the season to give Arizona a 3-0 lead.

In the second inning, Reyna Carranco and Mandie Perez were both walked, followed by a single from Ashleigh Hughes to load the bases for Arizona. Mulipola finished the job by hitting a grand slam for the Wildcats, giving them a 7-0 lead to begin the game.

Arizona used a strong fourth inning to finish off Stanford after their fast start. Alyssa Palomino and Katiyana Mauga hit back-to-back home runs at the start of the inning to give Arizona a 9-0 lead. Scores by Hillary Edior, Reyna Carranco and Hughes sealed the 12-0 victory for the Wildcats, moving them to 39-1 on the season.

“You look at this lineup, and it’s a pretty solid lineup top to bottom,” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “I think this weekend they came out and played Arizona softball. They played aggressive, and they stayed aggressive.”

The Wildcats continued their success on Sunday with a strong performance from Mauga. In the first inning, Perez and Mulipola both got on base for Arizona before Mauga came in to hit her first home run of the game, putting Arizona up 3-0. After a scoreless second inning, Mauga hit another home run in the third inning with Mulipola on base once again, giving Arizona a 5-0 lead.

“I think I’m getting back to where I need to be,” said Mauga after her performance. “I think that it’s definitely helping the team, and I’m just happy to help the team.”

Stanford came out with two straight doubles to close the gap to 5-1, but Arizona kept their foot on the gas pedal. Perez hit a single in the third to send Eva Watson to home base, giving Arizona another run and a 6-1 lead.

Arizona put the game away in the fifth inning as Mercado hit her eighth home run of the season. Jessie Harper immediately followed up Mercado’s home run with a walk-off home run of her own to give Arizona a 9-1 victory over Stanford, moving their record to 40-1.

“[On] our team as a whole, everyone’s working,” Harper said after her game-winning home run. “Everyone, one through nine, is working. Our dugout is live; they have awesome cheers to keep us pumped up. But I think everyone is just on a good run right now.”

That marks 25 wins in a row for the Wildcats since their lone loss against Florida State. To make matters worse for the rest of the Pac-12, the Wildcats appear to be rounding into form in entertaining fashion. The Wildcats hit 15 home runs in the three-game set with the Cardinal, while pitchers surrendered only 10 hits in total. With No. 2 Oregon looming ahead next homestand, Arizona is on the verge of more than just a great season.

Up next for Arizona is a series against Utah in Salt Lake City, where Arizona will look to continue their win streak as they pursue the best start in NCAA softball history.


Follow Varun Iyer on Twitter.


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