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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball completes first perfect March in program history with sweep of Golden Bears

Arizona+Mo+Mercado+swings+during+the+UA-Cal+game+on+Saturday%2C+April+1.+The+Wildcats+won+6-0.
Brittany Meade/Arizona Athletics

Arizona Mo Mercado swings during the UA-Cal game on Saturday, April 1. The Wildcats won 6-0.

Three weeks into Pac-12 Conference play and the No. 4-ranked team in the nation remains undefeated. The Arizona Wildcats went to Berkeley this weekend and left California with a 22-game winning streak, completing an unbeaten month of March for the first time in program history.

The Wildcats sit atop the Pac-12 standings with a two-game lead over Oregon, despite the Ducks being ranked No. 1 in several national polls. Arizona’s 9-0 start to conference play is the team’s best since 2004.

Game 1 | Arizona 7, California 0

In her sixth shutout of the season, Danielle O’Toole demolished Cal’s lineup, allowing the Golden Bears to produce only four hits. The senior collected her Pac-12-leading 18th win of the season. After three weekends of conference play, Oregon and Arizona are the only two schools to have both their No. 1 and No. 2 starters maintain ERAs under one.

The Wildcats smashed three home runs, jumping on Cal early and scoring five of their seven runs in the first three innings. Friday’s homers extended the team’s NCAA lead in 

home runs.

The middle infield pairing of Mo Mercado and Reyna Carranco seems to finally be firing on all cylinders, as the senior/freshman combination was lights out against the Golden Bears in the first game of the weekend series.

Mercado blasted a two-run bomb, keeping Arizona’s foot on the gas in the early innings. Carranco continued her hot hitting in conference play, and her timely at-bats helped the Wildcats put Cal in a big hole early.

Game 2 | Arizona 6, California 0

The Golden Bears were yet again shutout by the Wildcats in the series second game, which followed a similar theme to Friday’s affair. Arizona jumped out to a sizeable early lead and never looked back.

A Katiyana Mauga home run in the third inning gave the Wildcats a 3-0 lead. The following inning, a two-run RBI single by Mandie Perez further extended the lead before Perez was driven in by Dejah Mulipola.

The comeback seemed unlikely for the home team because Taylor McQuillin delivered a masterful performance. She tossed a two-hit shutout, striking out seven batters, remaining undefeated on the season and showing that an early-season arm injury was nothing more than a speed bump.

Game 3 | Arizona 6, California 1

Despite Cal getting on the scoreboard, the game’s result proved the same as Arizona completed their third straight series sweep in conference play. 

Jessie Harper continues to swing a big bat, and the freshman recorded her second home run of the weekend, tying her with teammate Katiyana Mauga for the Pac-12 lead with 12. Her three-run shot put the Wildcats up 4-0 after the third inning.

Arizona would increase its lead to six in the fifth inning, a pair of RBI singles by Mandie Perez and Ashleigh Hughes put the game out of reach for the Golden Bears. For Hughes, the RBI was her second of the day and the junior also scored a run.

O’Toole dazzled in the circle again on Sunday. She won her 19th game of the year, and in 14 innings against Cal over the weekend, she allowed nine hits, one run and struck out 11.

“[We] Pitched well, got some timely hitting, got some long ball, got some short game, good defense,” said Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “We did a little bit of everything, I think overall it was a good weekend of execution.”

Up next for the Wildcats is a three-game home series against the Stanford Cardinal that begins on Friday, April 7, at 6 p.m. at Hillenbrand Stadium.


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