Arizona Softball

No. 6 Arizona Hosts No. 3 Washington in Pivotal Pac-12 Series

Information for this report provided by the Arizona media relations department.

Sixth-ranked Arizona (40-8, 17-1 Pac-12) will play a pair of top-five teams in the final two weeks of the regular season before heading into the NCAA Tournament.

Before facing No. 2 UCLA in Los Angeles next week, Arizona will celebrate senior weekend with a visit from third-ranked Washington (39-7, 14-4 Pac-12) in the final regular season series at Hillenbrand Stadium this season. The Cats and Huskies will meet Friday (5 p.m.), Saturday (1 p.m.) and Sunday (12 p.m.) in a three-game series to be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

The seniors who will be honored by Arizona: Pitching ace Taylor McQuillin, Rylee Pierce, Gina Snyder, Tamara Statman, Hillary Edior and Joelle Krist.

The Wildcats are tied for first in the Pac-12 (17-1) with UCLA and Washington is in third at 14-4.

Some notes on Arizona:

  • Arizona saw its 21-game winning streak come to an end when it fell to California in nine innings last Saturday, the first loss of the conference season for the Wildcats. Still, UA’s 17-1 start to Pac-12 play marks its best since starting the 1994 Pac-10 season 23-0.  
  • The Wildcats have the top two pitchers in the Pac-12 in conference ERA. McQuillin leads the league in both wins (11) and ERA (0.67) during Pac-12 play while Alyssa Denham’s 0.69 ERA in league play is second. The Cats lead the league with a 0.84 ERA in conference play and are third in the NCAA with a 1.41 ERA this season. Arizona is trying to finish top-five in the NCAA in ERA for the first time since 2006 (4th – 1.10) and could finish top-three in the NCAA for the first time since 1992 (1st – 0.35).
  • Arizona has hit 90 home runs this season, second most in the country; the Cats have the top two home run hitters in the Pac-12: Jessie Harper (22) and Dejah Mulipolaa (20). Harper is second and Mulipola is seventh in the NCAA (Mississippi State’s Mia Davidson is the NCAA leader with 25 home runs).

  • The Wildcats are trying to cross the 100-homer plateau for the seventh time in program history. No other school has hit 100-plus home runs more than three times in school history.
  • Arizona’s 90 home runs hit by its offense exceed the total number of runs surrendered by its pitching staff all season (82).  
  • Arizona placed an NCAA-most three players on the midseason USA Softball Player of the Year Finalists. Harper (a junior shortstop), McQuillin, and Mulipola (a junior catcher).
  • Over the last 23 games (in which Arizona has gone 22-1), Wildcat pitchers have allowed just 15 total earned runs (0.74 ERA). During that same stretch, UA’s offense has scored 191 runs and has hit 48 home runs.   

  • In an unprecedented decision, Arizona’s entire junior class (six players) was named Arizona Athletics’ Female Junior Student-Athlete of the Year at the CATSYS, Arizona Athletics’ year-end award show. UA’s five junior position players (Reyna Carranco, Harper, Malia Martinez, Mulipola and Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza) are hitting a combined .379 with 73 total home runs and 250 RBI this season. If the five players were their own team, they would lead the NCAA in batting average and have the eighth most home runs in the country; their 250 combined RBIs is more than 232 Division I teams have scored this season.
  • An Arizona junior leads the Pac-12 (or is tied for the lead) in nearly every major statistical category: batting average (Carranco – .447), slugging percentage (Mulipola – .852), runs scored (Harper – 55), RBI (Harper – 58), doubles (Palomino-Cardoza – 16), home runs (Harper – 22), total bases (Harper – 131) and walks (Mulipola – 35).
  • Harper and Palomino-Cardoza enter the weekend one home run shy of a milestone. Harper has 59 career home runs, already tied for eighth most in UA history. She is trying to become the fourth Wildcat to hit her 60th career home run during her junior season. Palomino-Cardoza has 49 career homers, one shy of becoming the 16th Wildcat to hit 50 career homers (six previous who have done so in their junior year).

  • Arizona’s offense is top 10 in the NCAA in home runs per game (2nd – 1.88), slugging percentage (3rd – .612), scoring (7th – 7.21), batting average (10th – .335) and on-base percentage (8th – .419). 
  • Arizona’s pitching staff is third in the country in ERA (1.41) and fifth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.61).
  • The UA pitching staff is led by McQuillin, who is 18-5 (including a Pac-12-most 10 shutouts) this season with a 1.21 ERA. Last month, McQuillin was the sixth overall selection in the 2019 NPF Draft by the Cleveland Comets.
  • In 18 conference games, the Wildcats have outscored their Pac-12 opponents 153-19 and have a Pac-12-best 0.84 ERA in league games. With two weeks remaining in the conference season, Arizona’s 153 runs are already its most since 2015 (199).
  • Dating back to last season, Arizona has won nine consecutive Pac-12 series.
  • Arizona has won 36 of its last 40 games, with its only four losses in that span coming by a combined five runs, three of which came to the current No. 1 (Oklahoma) and No. 5 (Florida State) team in the country.
  • Arizona’s offense has been heating up with the weather. Since the calendar turned to March (last 33 games), Arizona has averaged 8.06 runs/game and is hitting 2.0 home runs per game after scoring 5.33 runs and hitting 1.67 homers per game in February (15 games).
  • Arizona head coach Mike Candreaa enters the weekend four wins shy of Michigan’s Carol Hutchins for the most career wins in NCAA softball history. Candrea, who is in his 32nd year of coaching at Arizona, has won 1,603 wins while Hutchins has 1,607 over 36 seasons of coaching. Earlier this year, Candrea moved into fifth all-time in NCAA Division I victories among all sports.

NOTES ON THE HUSKIES (39-7, 14-4 Pac-12)

  • Washington comes into the week ranked No. 3 in the NFCA Top 25 after no-hitting Utah Valley in its Pac-12 bye week.
  • The Huskies have won 17 of their last 18 games, including eight shutouts.
  • UW is led by its phenomenal pitching duo of Gabbie Plain (17-2, 1.27 ERA, 177 K, 132.1 IP) and Taran Alvelo (20-4, 1.72 ERA, 226 K, 150.1 IP). Washington is sixth nationally with a 1.59 ERA this season.
  • The Washington offense is led by Sis Bates, who is hitting .405 this season and leads the Pac-12 with a .525 average during Pac-12 play.

ARIZONA vs. WASHINGTON

  • The Wildcats hold an 69-34 all-time series advantage over Washington.
  • The home team has won the series in each of the last five seasons; top-ranked Washington swept ninth-ranked Arizona last season in Seattle.
  • In Washington’s last trip to Tucson, Arizona swept the sixth-ranked Huskies in 2017. That series included a Danielle O’Toole no-hitter as well as Candrea’s 1,500th career victory.
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