Arizona Softball

No. 9 Arizona run-rules Cal in series opener

Dejah Mulipola home run celebration (Troy Hutchison/AllSportsTucson.com)

No. 9 Arizona didn’t know coming into the week if it would play the four-game series against Cal, which hadn’t played a game since April 11 due to COVID-19 issues within the program.

The Pac-12 on Wednesday reduced the four-game series with the Golden Bears to two games.

The Wildcats started Saturday’s game slow against Cal, scoring three runs through the first three innings and getting out of jams early in the game. Eventually, Arizona found its rhythm and scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth to run-rule the Golden Bears 9-0, improving to 32-8 overall and 10-5 in the Pac-12.

Arizona is now an impressive 23-0 this season at Hillenbrand. However, the Wildcats haven’t played a ranked team at home yet and will face No. 2 UCLA at Hillenbrand to close out the regular season.

Arizona coach Mike Candrea went with pitcher Hanah Bowen in the circle against Cal, and she found herself in jams in the second and third inning but worked her way through them without giving up a run.

Hanah Bowen pitching against Cal (Troy Hutchison/AllSportsTucson.com)

Bowen wasn’t at the top of her game but still managed to keep Cal off the scoreboard pitching five shutout innings on 115 pitches. She gave up six hits and left eight runners on base while collecting just one strikeout.

The Golden Bears were able to work the count against Bowen and kept fouling balls off making for long at-bats which led to an average of 23 pitches per inning.

Arizona’s bats woke up late in the game. With key home runs from Dejah Mulipola and Carlie Scupin, the Wildcats offense started to roll.

Mulipola’s home run gave her the team lead with 15.

Carlie Scupin home run against Cal (Troy Hutchison/AllSportsTucson.com)

Scupin’s home run in the fourth was a monstrous blast that Arizona hasn’t seen since the 2019 season when Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza hit a home run on the Ina Gittings Building against Oregon.

Scupin’s home run on to the roof was hit so far in right-center field that it could not be seen landing on the building.

Here’s Scupin talking about her blast and discussing the team’s run-rule victory over Cal:

Things got going in the fifth inning after Sharlize Palacios singled, scoring Mulipola from second. After getting the bases loaded with two out, outfielder Hannah “Peanut” Martinez stepped up to the plate and, on a 1-1 count, hit the ball over the right-center wall for a walk-off grand slam.

Peanut Martinez throwing to second base against Cal (Troy Hutchison/AllSportsTucson.com)

Here’s Martinez talking about her grand slam and discussing what has been the key to her success at the plate over the last couple of weeks:

Arizona was hot with runners on base hitting an impressive .429 in 14 opportunities. The Wildcats went 4-for-9 in those situations helping relieve pressure off of Bowen in the circle.

Here’s Candrea talking about Scupin’s home run and discussing what he liked about Bowen’s gritty outing against the Golden Bears:

Candrea, at the end of the press conference, made it clear that Alyssa Denham would start game two when asked if Mariah Lopez would get iany innings to help her get back to 100 percent health.

Arizona will finish the two-game series against Cal on Sunday at noon local time.

FOLLOW TROY HUTCHISON ON TWITTER!

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.

FOLLOW TROY HUTCHISON ON TWITTER!

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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