Arizona Softball

Caitlin Lowe: Arizona looking for “fight to catch fire” to end four-game losing streak

Arizona pitching coach Taryne Mowatt-McKinney has a chat with her pitchers after Friday’s 9-2 loss to ASU (Javier Morales/

The scoreless inning streak came to an end at 24 innings for Arizona on Friday night, but the losing streak is ongoing after rival Arizona State prevailed 9-2 at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The Wildcats, 19-8 overall, are now 0-4 in the Pac-12 with the loss and last week’s sweep at the hands of UCLA at Los Angeles. The Bruins shut out Arizona in all three games while limiting Arizona to five hits.

Arizona has started 0-4 in the Pac-10/12 only twice before, in 1989 and 2012. It started 0-5 in 1989. Never has an Arizona team lost six games to start the conference season.

The Wildcats play the second game of the series Saturday at 5 p.m. against Arizona State. The Sun Devils (23-5, 4-0) have won 12 consecutive games, including last week’s sweep of Oregon State at home.

“You saw at UCLA a lot of blank faces,” said first-year coach Caitlin Lowe, who never lost more than three straight games in her career with the Wildcats from 2004 to 2007. “We came out here and controlled the barrels. We could have put up way more runs if they didn’t make some good plays.

“I was very impressed with that fight. I’m ready for the fight to kind of catch fire from offense to defense.”

Arizona surpassed last week’s hit total against UCLA with seven but the Wildcats left five runners on base. Their fielders had four errors that helped fuel Arizona State’s offense, which tallied seven hits, six of them singles that prolonged rallies.

The previous time the Wildcats lost four straight conference games was in 2018, when they were defeated in seven consecutive games.

“My message (after Friday’s game to her team) was our pitchers have been hot, our defense has been hot, our hitting has been hot — all at separate times,” Lowe said. “I think the biggest thing is everyone has to give everything and leave everything on the field, (player) 1 through 18.

“When we do, we’re going to be unstoppable. Until that point and until everyone shows up every day, it’s going to keep happening.”

The scoreless streak of 24 innings spanned five games including the 12-5 win over Marist on March 13 at Hillenbrand, the three losses at UCLA and the first two innings against ASU.

Carlie Scupin put an end to the 0’s on the scoreboard with a two-run two-out home run in the bottom of the third inning.

Arizona trailed 3-0 going into the bottom of the third after former Salpointe standout Yannira Acuña hit an RBI double in the second.

With two outs, Allie Skaggs reached on an infield single deep to the hole at second base and Halle Harger could not keep her footing on the play.

Scupin followed with an opposite-field home run over the left field fence to end the scoreless inning streak.

“The biggest thing for us, which we’ve done a good job of, is staying together as a team,” Scupin said. “I think just getting our confidence back and making sure we’re all on the same page.”

Scupin, a Tucson High standout, now has team-best numbers in home runs (12) and RBIs (40).

The Sun Devils took control of the game with five runs in the fifth and sixth innings against freshman reliever Madi Elish, who was in the circle in place of Hanah Bowen (6-3).

Bowen, out against UCLA after she was in an automobile accident, returned as a starter on Friday night.

She allowed two hits and three runs (all earned) in two innings with two strikeouts and three walks.

“She was unavailable at UCLA; she was a little banged up. She’s had a rough month,” Lowe said, referring to Bowen taking a game off on March 3 to work through personal issues after the Wildcats returned from Mary Nutter Classic in Palm Springs, Calif.

Acuña finished 2 of 2 with three runs and an RBI. She ignited ASU’s three-run fifth inning with a leadoff single.

Former Arizona pitcher Marissa Schuld, who transferred to ASU after the 2020 season that was marred by the COVID-19 cancellation, shut down the Wildcats in the last three innings in relief.

A third-year sophomore from Pinnacle High School, Schuld allowed only one hit while striking out four and walking one.

ASU starter Mac Morgan, a true freshman, scattered six hits in four innings. She did not walk or strike out a batter.

“I actually played with a lot of girls on that team (ASU),” Scupin said, referring to club softball during the summer, which included being a teammate of Acuña’s at one point. “It’s nice to see them doing their thing. A lot of them I’ve played on the same team as and a lot of them are from Tucson — familiar faces and stuff.”

Amphi graduate Kristiana Watson, daughter of legendary Arizona slugger Laura Espinoza, is not playing in the series because of a recent sickness, according to an ASU spokesperson.

Scupin and Ironwood Ridge graduate Allie Skaggs went 2 for 3 at the plate as Arizona’s top performers in the lineup.

FOLLOW @JAVIERJMORALES ON TWITTER! publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports,, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.

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