Information from the Arizona media relations department contributed to this report.
No. 14 Arizona split its first two games of its Saturday tripleheader in the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic — defeating UC Santa Barbara, 9-1 in five innings, before falling, 2-1, to fourth-ranked Oklahoma — but saved its best for last against Team Japan in Palm Springs, Calif.
Arizona (9-5) finished the weekend with a 1-0 exhibition shutout of the Japanese National Team, giving the touring Olympic team its first loss during its trip to America, which began with stops in Florida prior to the Mary Nutter Classic.
Gina Snyder made the most out of her (unofficial) first appearance of 2019, shutting down one of the world’s top lineups in a shutout. Snyder went the distance and allowed no runs on four hits. She struck out five and walked one.
The game was tied at 0 after 5 1/2 innings before Dejah Mulipola broke the scoreless tie with a home run to left field, a solo shot with two outs in the bottom of the sixth.
In the top of the seventh, the top of the Japan order threatened to tie the game, but Snyder closed the door. A leadoff bunt single followed by a sacrifice bunt put the tying run in scoring position with one out for the 3-4 hitters. Snyder induced a popout and a groundout to end the game.
Arizona leads Team Japan, 1-0, in the sixth!! pic.twitter.com/sx4pwMpGTI
In the run-rule win over Santa Barbara, Arizona plated seven runs on six hits in the bottom of the first and cruised.
Freshman pitcher Marissa Schuld picked up her first career victory in her first career start, allowing one run on five hits with one strikeout and one walk over four innings. Fellow freshman Vanessa Foreman pitched a perfect fifth in her second career appearance.
Tamara Statman knocked her second home run of the season, a two-run blast in the second inning, one of four extra-base hits for the Wildcats in the game. Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, Mulipola and Malia Martinez all had doubles.
Dejah gives the Cats the lead! Gina out to try to close this ballgame out!
😼 1 pic.twitter.com/9tBWYQM38k
Hannah Martinez went 2-for-2 with two RBIs, her first career hits and RBIs in her second career start.
In the loss to Oklahoma, the Sooners’ Giselle Juarez outdueled Arizona ace Taylor McQuillin.
Both pitchers were dominant through five innings. They combined to allow just three baserunners in that span, two Oklahoma hits and one Arizona walk.
But in the sixth, after McQuillin had retired 11 straight batters, Lynnsie Elam led off the inning with a walk for the Sooners. Following a sacrifice bunt, Sydney Romero hit a two-run homer to put the Sooners up 2-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Wildcats went to the plate in search of two runs to extend the game, and their first hit against Juarez. With one out, Jessie Harper hit a sun-aided double to right field to break up the no-hitter.
One batter later, Mulipola cut the lead in half with a single up the middle, but she was thrown out in a run-down trying to get back to first base. Arizona would get the tying run on base once again when Malia Martinez singled to right with two out. But Juarez recorded a strikeout to end the game.