Arizona Softball

No. 2 Arizona Wildcats’ bats go cold against No. 22 UCF

Coming into Monday’s game against No. 22 Central Florida, No. 2 Arizona had won its first 12 games of the season and was riding a 23-game winning streak dating back to the 2020 shortened season.

The Wildcats’ offense was off-balanced all game long thanks to Knights’ pitcher Gianna Mancha snapping the winning streak in a 2-0 loss, falling to 12-1.

Arizona’s offense struggled to get any momentum going against Mancha, who was spectacular, throwing a complete-game shutout on 130 pitches. She racked up nine strikeouts while giving up three hits and two walks.

Arizona pitcher Alyssa Denham went toe-for-toe in the circle with Mancha but fell behind in the first inning after struggling to find the strike zone and a Malia Martinez error from first helped UCF score the first run of the game.

After the first inning, Denham was locked in and kept her team in the game. She pitched a complete game on 97 pitches and collected five strikeouts while giving up three hits and three walks that led to two UCF runs which only one was an earned run. Her ERA is 0.56.

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

Coach Mike Candrea‘s lineup struggled and could not find a way to get the big hit to scratch across a run. The top half of the order went 2-for-13 for a batting average of .153, leaving five runners on base.

Before the game against UCF, Arizona outfielder Janelle Meoño had been hot at the plate in the lead-off spot of the order going 6-for-7 with a walk and a stolen base during the two-game series against South Florida. Mancha cooled Meoño down at the plate as she went 0-for-3 with a strikeout.

Arizona will have just one day off to get things adjusted before playing Florida A&M as it continues the long Florida road trip that will end with a three-game series against No. 16 Florida State this weekend.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writer Troy Hutchison hails from Tucson and is a lifelong Arizona Wildcats follower. He has been involved in sports journalism over the last two years while taking communications courses at Pima Community College.


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