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The Daily Wildcat

 

No. 19 Arizona softball sweeps ASU

Sophomore+Olivia+DiNardo+is+greeted+at+home+plate+by+her+team+after+hitting+her+first+homerun+of+the+night+against+Phoenix+College+at+Hillenbrand+Stadium+on+Oct.+13.+Arizona+managed+to+cut+the+game+short+via+mercy+rule+after+winning+17-0.
Mason Kumet
Sophomore Olivia DiNardo is greeted at home plate by her team after hitting her first homerun of the night against Phoenix College at Hillenbrand Stadium on Oct. 13. Arizona managed to cut the game short via mercy rule after winning 17-0.

The No. 19 Arizona softball team swept in-state rival ASU, capturing its third conference series win of the season at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium between Friday, April 19 and Sunday, April 21

Arizona (31-13-1, 12-9 Pac-12) defeated ASU (18-25, 2-16 Pac-12) with two walk-off hits, the first in game one, winning 3-2 and the second in game three, winning 9-8. The Wildcats also mercy-ruled ASU 13-3 in five innings in game two of the series.

Day 1: Friday, April 19

Game 1: Arizona vs. ASU at 5 p.m.

In game one, Arizona sent out Brook Mannon as the starting pitcher. However, her time in the circle would be short-lived as ASU hit a 2-run home run in the top of the first inning. Mannon was replaced by Aissa Silva in the second inning

Arizona quickly countered in the bottom of the second inning, scoring two runs to tie the game at two. After scoring early, the teams entered a pitching battle where both teams refused to give up a run to the other. In the bottom of the seventh inning, it looked like another extra-inning game would take place for the Wildcats. However, Kaiah Altmeyer changed that, hitting a two-out walk-off solo home run to win the game for the Wildcats. Silva got the win, adding to her strong record of 19-4

Day 2: Saturday, April 20

Game 2: Arizona vs. ASU at 4 p.m.

Game two saw a return of Arizona softball alumni, as it was a decades-day at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium. Fifty years of Arizona softball walked out onto the field to watch Mike Candrea, Arizona’s old softball coach who retired three years ago, throw out the first pitch. 

With the added boost from the alumni, the Wildcats jumped out to the early lead in game two, with a leadoff home run from Dakota Kennedy in the bottom of the first inning. Arizona’s starting pitcher, Miranda Stoddard, gave up a run in the top of the second inning, but it had no effect on the Wildcats as they scored 2 more runs in the bottom of the second inning after another Altmeyer homer. 

Arizona did not stop there, though. The Wildcats went on to score 6 more runs in the bottom of the third inning, taking a commanding lead over ASU. After giving up a couple of runs to ASU in the top of the fourth inning, the Wildcats continued to bombard ASU with their high-powered offense. Arizona put up another 4 runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, increasing its lead to 10 runs. Arizona sent in Ali Blanchard to finish out the top of the fifth inning where she and the Wildcats’ defense ended the game with a mercy rule.

Day 3: Saturday, April 21

Game 3: Arizona vs. ASU at 2 p.m.

In the final game of the series, the Wildcats sent Silva out as their starting pitcher. After giving up a run in the top of the first inning, the Wildcats answered, scoring 2 runs in the bottom of the second to take their first of many leads on the day. 

Arizona’s and ASU’s offenses locked into a back-and-forth battle that lasted all game. ASU regained the lead in the top of the third after the ASU shortstop hit a 3-run homer. However, in the bottom half of the inning, Tayler Biehl helped the Wildcats reclaim the lead with a 3-run homer of her own. 

Mannon came into pitch for Silva after the third inning, helping the Wildcats keep the ASU offense quiet for two innings. Arizona, on the other hand, scored 1 more run in the bottom of the fifth, taking a 6-4 lead. Stoddard then came in to pitch for Mannon in the top of the sixth inning, with two runners on for ASU. After the Wildcats decided to intentionally walk Stoddard’s first batter to load the bases, ASU’s catcher hit a grand slam, clearing the bases and giving ASU an 8-6 lead over Arizona

Entering the seventh inning, Arizona put Silva back in to pitch the last inning, where she shut down the ASU batters, keeping the deficit at two. Trailing 8-6 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning, Regan Shockey hit a ball through the infield, scoring 1 run for the Wildcats. One batter later, senior Carlie Scupin hit the ball into the gap in left-center field, scoring two runs and giving the Wildcats the win on senior day. After securing the series sweep for Arizona, Scupin was carried off the field in celebration. Silva also collected her 20th win of the season.

Arizona honored its five graduating seniors after the final game of the series, showing its love for all the players. Jasmine Perezchica, Blaise Biringer, Scupin and Allie Skaggs all received framed jerseys and hugs from everyone on the team as they walked with their families down the third base line after the game. 

Looking ahead 

Arizona now travels to California for its final conference matchup of the season against No. 9 UCLA between Friday, April 26 and Sunday, April 28. The Wildcats will then be home for their final game of the regular season when they play Grand Canyon University at home at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium on Tuesday, April 30.


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