Arizona’s loss of senior Taylor McQuillin to graduation was eased some by the acquisition of senior right-hander Mariah Lopez, who is transferring from Oklahoma after going 19-1 with a 1.25 ERA in 2019.
Lopez, of Saugus, Calif., limited opponents to a .159 batting average while tallying 159 strikeouts in 117 2/3 innings for the Sooners. She has the experience of playing in this year’s Women’s College World Series, playing in two games as the Sooners reached the championship series against UCLA.
“She’s a great fit on our team and will make an excellent addition to our already accomplished pitching staff,” Arizona coach Mike Candrea said of Lopez in a statement. “She brings Women’s College World Series experience and comes to Arizona with already decorated collegiate career. She played with many of our current players in travel ball and has worked with (former Arizona standout) Susie Parra, so there’s a level of familiarity that you don’t often get with transfers.
“I’m very excited to add Mariah and the incoming freshmen to our great group of returners and can’t wait to see this team compete in 2020.”
Candrea recruited Lopez out of high school but she chose Oklahoma instead over the Wildcats, Florida, Washington and Fresno State. Lopez leaves Oklahoma with a 51-2 career record and a 1.61 ERA.
Arizona’s pitching appears to be a strength now with Lopez coming on board and senior Alyssa Denham coming off a productive season in which she was 11-6 with a 1.94 ERA in 108 1/3 innings. Denham transferred to Arizona before the 2018 season from Louisiana-Lafayette.
The Wildcats have depth with Hanah Bowen, Marissa Schuld and Vanessa Foreman. Bowen, who replaced injured Reyna Carranco at second base late in the season, worked out with Arizona pitching coach Taryne Mowatt in the days leading up the Wildcats going to Oklahoma City for the WCWS.
Arizona returns most of its potent lineup from 2019. There is a good chance catcher Dejah Mulipola will not be with the team, however, as she chases her Olympic dreams with Team USA. She would return as a senior in 2021.