Coming into Friday night’s game against Oregon State, No. 9 Arizona had been struggling to get runs across the board, seeing its offense go ice-cold in two straight series against No. 16 Florida State and No. 6 Washington. In those games, the Wildcats’ offense scored an average of 1.2 runs a game leading to a three-game losing streak.
Arizona, in the cold desert night, woke up its bats after getting a single run in the second. The Wildcats went on to score three in the third and another three runs in the fifth on its way to blanking the Beavers 7-0, snapping the three-game losing streak.
In the circle, Arizona went to Alyssa Denham to help give the team a much-needed boost. In the first inning, Denham worked her way out of a jam by inducing a pop up with runners on third and first.
Denham worked her way around 10 hits to pitch a complete-game shutout on 107 pitches while striking out four batters.
Arizona got its offense going in the second inning after Sharlize Palacios led off the inning with a single. Palacios was able to advance to third after two outs. On the next pitch, she scored on a passed ball to get the Wildcats on the board.
The bulk of Arizona’s offense came from star shortstop Jessie Harper, who coming into Friday’s game, was on an 0-for-11 stretch. Harper busted out of her drought by going 2-for-3 with two home runs and five RBIs.
HARPER HOMERS! 🔥@jesss_harperr blasts two 💣s in Arizona’s 7-0 win over Oregon State on Friday. Harper now only needs 14 home runs to break the NCAA Division I career HR record!#NCAASoftball x 🎥 @ArizonaSoftball pic.twitter.com/uRfCE2Wpmf
— NCAA Softball (@NCAAsoftball) March 27, 2021
The two home runs moves Harper into a tie for eighth on the NCAA home run list with former Michigan star Sierra Romero with 82 homers. Here’s a chart showing how far she has to go for the record:
NCAA Softball Home Run Career List
|11T.||Jessica Warren||Florida State||2015-18||83|
Here are Denham and Harper talking about the team’s victory and discussing how they were able to get the offense going:
Both teams were able to get runners on base, and in scoring position to set up the middle part of the order.
The single statistic that separates the two teams are hitting with runners in scoring position. Arizona went 2-for-3 while OSU struggled to get the critical hit going 0-for-6, stranding nine runners.
Here’s Mike Candrea talking about his team’s performance and discussing how the offense was able to fix its issues against the Beavers top pitcher:
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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.