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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Softball completes sweep of Texas, O’Toole wins 10th game

Arizona+pitcher+Danielle+OToole+%283%29+during+the+Wildcats+softball+game+against+the+Texas+Longhorns+on+March+5+at+Hillenbrand+Stadium.+Arizona+beat+Texas+4-2.
Pearl Dixon

Arizona pitcher Danielle O’Toole (3) during the Wildcats’ softball game against the Texas Longhorns on March 5 at Hillenbrand Stadium. Arizona beat Texas 4-2.

Arizona softball completed a three-game sweep of the University of Texas Longhorns with a 4-2 victory on Sunday afternoon. Senior ace Danielle O’Toole picked up her 10th victory of the season, tossing her eighth complete game of the season.

After a couple of pitchers’ duels saw both teams combine for six runs in the first two meetings, a total of five runs were posted in the first inning.

Texas’ Mickenzi Krpec started the scoring with a two-run homer off O’Toole, and the Wildcats trailed for the first time in the series. O’Toole made a rare mistake hanging a changeup high in the zone to Krpec.

“Ya, I missed [the pitch location], big time,” O’Toole said.

The senior pitcher was able to settle down after the first inning and thought it was important for the Wildcats to claw out three games against an opponent like Texas.

“I think it is important,” O’Toole said. “Knowing that we can do better and still winning the three games, I think it’s nice. Knowing that we can all do better and improve is really saying something.”

The Wildcats entered the series averaging nine runs per game but were limited to three and two runs, respectively, in the first two games by the Texas staff.

Longhorn pitcher Tiarra Davis was unable to keep pace in the circle with O’Toole on Friday afternoon but was spotted a 2-0 lead on Sunday.

Davis struggled to find the zone in the first inning, and the Wildcats were able to post three runs on just two hits.

Leadoff batter Mandie Perez walked, and after a fly out, Alyssa Palomino reached on Davis’s second free pass of the inning. Katiyana Mauga blooped one between the shortstop and left fielder, and the Longhorns made a throwing error that cost them two runs.

Mo Mercado smacked a single to move Mauga to third, and Jessie Harper gave the Wildcats a 3-2 lead with an RBI single that scored Mauga.

A one-run cushion was all O’Toole needed.

After giving up two earned runs in the first inning, O’Toole shut out the Longhorns for the final six frames. Texas threatened to score against the Wildcats in the fifth after a leadoff single, and an O’Toole error had runners at first and second with no one out, but consecutive strikeouts got O’Toole out of the jam. She escaped the inning with the bases loaded and allowed just one more base runner over the final two frames.

The Wildcats scored a sweep in their first series of the season, and Arizona head coach Mike Candrea was pleased with the way his team found ways to win all weekend and noted how important the three-game stretch was for his freshmen.

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that we won three games,” Candrea said when asked about his lineup struggling for the majority of the weekend. “That’s what our goal is. I think more than anything it gives our young kids a chance to play a three-game series and feel what it’s like.”

The Wildcats hit the road for three weeks beginning with the California State University-Northridge and Loyola Marymount University tournament in Northridge, California. The Wildcats open their six-game schedule on Friday, March 10, against the CSUN Matadors at 11:30 a.m. MST.


Follow Christopher Deak on Twitter


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