The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

88° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona takes game one, looking to get closer to history against Utes this weekend

Arizona+Wildcats+pitcher+Danielle+OToole+throws+a+pitch+against+No.+21+Baylor+at+Hillenbrand+Stadium+on+Feb.+10.
Pearl Dixon

Arizona Wildcats pitcher Danielle O’Toole throws a pitch against No. 21 Baylor at Hillenbrand Stadium on Feb. 10.

Off to one of the best starts in school history, the No. 2-ranked Arizona Wildcats softball team hit the road this weekend for a matchup with No. 14-ranked Utah. The Wildcats took care of game one 5-1.

Danielle O’Toole got the start and threw a complete game picking up her 22nd win of the season en route to another convincing performance from the Wildcats.

Tamara Statman got the scoring going with a triple in the first inning that drove in freshman Jessie Harper nad she followed that up with a two-RBI double in the fourth. Mandie Perez added two RBIs of her own and the Wildcats are one step closer to history.

After handling Stanford last weekend, where the Wildcats outscored the Cardinal 41-2, the team improved to 40-1 on the season.

The Wildcats are the first Division I school to reach the 40-win mark this season, putting them just five victories shy of tying the NCAA record for the best start to a season, which was set by Arizona in 2004 when the team raced out to a 45-1 start.

Katiyana Mauga entered her senior season with her eyes on the NCAA softball home run record, and with a lineup filled top-to-bottom with highly rated freshman players, the ‘Cats lineup was going to one of the toughest lineups to pitch against in the Pac-12 Conference.

The lineup has lived up to the preseason hype and then some. Arizona’s Division I leading 71 homers are almost twice the amount of runs the team has allowed opposing teams to score his season (39).

Mauga has found her slugging shoes again after a mid-season dip in form.

The senior is the conference leader in home runs with 16 and has collected Pac-12 player of the week honors in back-to-back weeks. In her last 20 plate appearances, Mauga is hitting .550, with 14 RBIs and six home runs moving her into a tie for seventh all-time on the NCAA’s career home run list.

Arizona has dropped three of its last four games to the Utes in Salt Lake City before their victory on Thrusday night. The Utes have been relentless against ranked opposition this year, having won seven games against ranked teams, including LSU, Tennessee and a sweep of UCLA and Cal twice.

The Utes have gotten outstanding play from former conference player of the year Hannah Flippen and a pitching staff that is ranked No. 3 in the Pac-12 in ERA (1.66).

Flippen hasn’t missed a beat this year, leading the Pac-12 in batting average at .465 and collecting a team-high 79 total bases so far. Her teammates Anissa Urtez and Heather Bowen have also helped carry the load offensively for the Utes and the trio has combined for 101 of the teams 181 total RBIs this season.

The team’s third best ERA in the conference is on the line this weekend agains the Wildcats top ranked offense and ace Katie Donovan allowed five earned runs in the opener Thrusday.

The Utes’ jack of all trades is Hailey Hilburn, who has put together a number of good outings this season. In 40 innings pitched her ERA is 1.23, and the California native has made frequent appearances in relief, a task she might face this weekend. Game two starts at 3 p.m. MST in Salt Lake City on Saturday. 


Follow Noah Sonnet on Twitter


More to Discover
Activate Search