Arizona Softball

Arizona Wildcats’ Jessie Harper Takes NCAA Home Run Lead in Sweep Over NMSU

Information from the Arizona media relations department contributed to this report:

Arizona junior shortstop Jessie Harper hit two more home runs in the first game of Arizona’s doubleheader sweep (both won by mercy rule) over New Mexico State on Tuesday at Las Cruces, N.M., enabling her to take the NCAA lead in homers with 13.

The Wildcats beat the Aggies 11-3 (six innings) and 11-1 (five innings).

No. 12 Arizona (17-5) will host the defending national champions and No. 1-ranked Florida State in a three-game series from Friday through Sunday.

Arizona’s Jessie Harper celebrates one of her two home runs against New Mexico State (Arizona Athletics photo)

In the first game against New Mexico State on Tuesday, Harper drove in four runs with her two home runs.

Harper’s two homers were Nos. 49 and 50 in her Wildcat career. She becomes the 15th Wildcat to eclipse the 50-homer mark — the third fastest in UA history (141 games) behind only Katiyana Mauga and Stacie Chambers (both 136 games).

The two home runs continue an unbelievable stretch for Harper, who now has seven home runs over her last six games.

Harper finished the game 4-for-4, with four RBIs and 11 total bases, finishing a triple short of the cycle. Reyna Carranco also homered for Arizona. She finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and three runs.

Alyssa Denham was the winning pitcher for Arizona in its first win of a doubleheader at New Mexico State (Arizona Athletics photo)

In all, the Wildcats scattered 14 hits, seven for extra bases, in the offensive onslaught. Nine of Arizona’s 11 runs and 12 of its 14 hits came with two outs.

The Wildcats scored three runs in the top of the first, needing just one infield single to do so. They took advantage of three walks and a hit batsman in the inning to take the lead. Tamara Statman, Rylee Pierce and Hannah Martinez had RBIs in the frame.

Harper hit her first home run in the second inning to put the Cats up 4-1.

In the third, the Wildcats had the bases empty and two out before plating four runs on five hits, including RBI doubles from Alyssa-Palomino Cardoza and Harper and an RBI single from Carranco.

Arizona’s Jessie Harper leads the NCAA with 13 home runs (Arizona Athletics photo)

Harper hit a two-run homer in the fifth and Carranco hit a solo shot in the sixth to give the Cats the mercy win.

Alyssa Denham (6-1) picked up the win for Arizona. She allowed three runs on five hits with two strikeouts and one walk in five innings. Hanah Bowen pitched a perfect sixth inning with one strikeout to close out the game.

In the second game, the Wildcats run-ruled the Aggies once again, plating 11 runs, helped by an eight-run fifth.

Palomino-Cardoza drove in six of UA’s 11 runs with a three-run homer in the third and then a three-run double in the fifth. Carranco, Statman and Hillary Edior also plated runs in the game for the Wildcats.

Gina Snyder got the win in the circle for the Wildcats, pitching five innings and allowing one run on two hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. The senior improved to 2-0 this season with the complete-game gem.

Palomino-Cardoza put the Wildcats on the board with a three-run home run in the top of the second inning.

After New Mexico State cut into the lead with a solo homer in the fourth, the Cats plated eight unearned runs in the fifth to take control of the game.

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