The anticipation for the 2020 season has been mounting ever since Arizona landed transfer pitcher Mariah Lopez. Combine that with key returning players, Arizona is set to not only get back to Oklahoma City, but make a run at the championship series.
They started their season today in the Kajikawa Classic at ASU against the Kansas Jayhawks, who finished last season at 15-36. This was a game on paper that Arizona should have dominated.
Arizona did just that, run-ruling Kansas 11-1 in the fifth inning flexing their muscles on offense with home runs from Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, Izzy Pacho and Jessie Harper.
Arizona defeated Seattle 4-3 in the second game behind Malia Martinez‘s RBI double in the top of the seventh that plated Jessie Harper. Martinez went 3 for 3 in the game. Pacho went 2 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
Lopez was the winner in that game as well as a reliever, going the last 2 2/3 innings and allowing no runs and one hit with five strikeouts and two walks.
In the circle in the first game, Lopez opened the season against an opponent that she has had past success while playing in the Big 12 conference. Last season Lopez pitched a complete game shut-out in an Oklahoma 5-0 victory against the Jayhawks.
There’s nothing like Opening Day 😺 pic.twitter.com/XaJA82OvUu
— Arizona Softball (@ArizonaSoftball) February 7, 2020
Things didn’t change, as Lopez was spot-on in her first career start wearing the cardnial red and navy blue. She pitched another complete game, striking out six batters along the way.
Although, there were moments where the control got away from Lopez, as she allowed a run on four hits with a walk. She showed the ablilty to limit the damage, however, and prevent any late comeback.
Arizona continues in the invitational tomorrow with a 9 a.m. game against Portland State and 11:30 a.m. matchup with Western Michigan.