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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona softball goes 6-0 over weekend to stay perfect

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Tanner Clinch

Arizona softball utility Katiyana Mauga (34) slides into third base during Arizona’s 9-1 win against San Jose State at Hillenbrand Stadium on Saturday. Mauga and the Wildcats went 6-0 over the weekend to improve to 9-0 on the season.

Six games in four days didn’t faze No. 12 Arizona softball, as the Wildcats won all six games to improve to 9-0 on the season. Winning all six games wasn’t really the news of the weekend, either; it was the way the Wildcats won.

Arizona defeated Drake twice, Loyola Marymount, Wright State, San Jose State and Loyola Chicago to finish the 2015 Hillenbrand Invitational unscathed. The Wildcats outscored those five opponents by a remarkable tally of 61-6, including 32 total runs coming on Friday alone.

Arizona’s most recent matchup saw the Wildcats matched up with Drake for the second time over the weekend. Arizona defeated Drake 8-0 in five innings, led by pitcher Nancy Bowling’s complete game performance.

Arizona outfielder Katiyana Mauga hit two home runs in the game, with the second being of the walk-off variety. Mauga’s two-run bomb in the bottom of the fifth inning put the Wildcats up by the maximum eight runs to end a game after five innings.

“I was excited just because I got on base, actually,” Mauga said.

While Mauga paced the Wildcats offensively, Bowling did the same on the mound. The junior pitched five innings of shutout ball and gave up just five hits and two walks, lowering her ERA to 1.17 in the process.

In her first extended action of the season, Bowling said the defense behind her played a big part in her success on Sunday.

“I love it; it’s beautiful,” Bowling said. “When you go out there and you’re pitching, say, for instance, there’s a hit. You’re like, ‘Whatever.’ You don’t care if the ball gets hit, because you know you have the best defense behind you.”

Saturday’s action was much of the same as Arizona took down San Jose State 9-1 in six innings and Loyola Chicago 6-2. Arizona head coach Mike Candrea’s squad came up big in several scenarios, including Arizona catcher Chelsea Goodacre’s three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Arizona stole five bases in the Loyola Chicago game alone and 16 bases over the six weekend games. Arizona is a perfect 20-20 on stolen base attempts this season after finishing last season 24-28.

Candrea said the team’s depth has contributed to the high number of stolen bases.

“If you take [Chelsea] Suitos and [Mandie] Perez and Eva [Watson] and [Alexis] Dotson and Ashleigh Hughes, they all came in and did a pretty damn good job,” Candrea said. “We have a lot more depth than we’ve ever had, [and] that depth is speed.”

The Wildcats put up 10 runs against Loyola Marymount on Friday before piling on 22 runs against Wright State in the double-header. Four Arizona players hit home runs, and three Wildcats had four or more RBIs in the Wright State game, with Goodacre leading the team with five RBIs.

In fact, Loyola Chicago was the only team to put up more than one run against Arizona over the weekend.

Looking forward, Arizona is off until Thursday when the team hits the road for the Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.

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Follow Roberto Payne on Twitter.

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