Arizona Softball

Hanah Bowen’s no-hitter highlights Arizona’s 4-0 start

Arizona fourth-year junior Hanah Bowen, Mike Candrea’s No. 3 pitcher, may have thrown her first career no-hitter for Arizona on Saturday but she is no stranger to dominant pitching.

“My goal was just to come out there and command each pitch and just stay strong and relaxed,” said Bowen, who in the last three years is 6-0 with a 1.37 ERA in 35 2/3 innings.

Arizona has won all four of its season-opening games in the Hillenbrand Invitational, including Saturday when Bowen’s no-hitter — the 94th in Arizona history — helped the Wildcats beat New Mexico 12-0 in five innings.

Arizona catcher Dejah Mulipola had two home runs and five RBIs and center fielder Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza added a home run and two RBIS as the Wildcats won by run-rule again, 10-2 over Seattle, later in the day.

Hanah Bowen gets a congratulatory hug from Arizona catcher Sharlize Palacios (Arizona Athletics photo)

Bowen is not certain but she believes she achieved three no-hitters at Ramona (Calif.) High School before graduating in 2017. She came close to a no-hitter in 2018 when she one-hit Bryant College in her first career start at Arizona.

It is understandable why she is not sure about her past no-hitters at Ramona because she was so locked in Saturday she did not even know she was putting another one together.

“To be honest, I really wasn’t even focusing on (the no-hitter),” she said. “I was just taking each pitch and just commanding each pitch. When they told me at the end, I was excited.”

Her career numbers coming into this season would be ace-worthy for a majority of staffs nationwide: 9-1 with six complete games and a 2.64 ERA including 70 strikeouts with only 18 walks in 71 2/3 innings.

“She was ready to go from the start of the game, but that’s just Hanah. She’s a workhorse off the field so when it’s game time, she’s ready to go. She proved that today,” said Mulipola, the reliable batterymate of Bowen and Arizona’s top starters Mariah Lopez and Alyssa Denham.

Bowen faced the minimum amount of batters in the five-inning game. Only a second-inning hit batter kept her from a perfect game. She retired the final 10 batters she faced and recorded five strikeouts.

Mike Candrea’s pitching depth with Bowen proving to be reliable is encouraging to Arizona’s 36-year coach who leads the NCAA with 1,637 career wins.

He mentioned he will start Ironwood Ridge grad Devyn Netz tomorrow against Southern Utah in the last game of the Hillenbrand Invitational (game slated to start at 3 p.m.) to see how the freshman might contribute to that depth.

Netz was impressive in Ironwood Ridge’s limited season in 2020 because of COVID-19 after she transferred from Pasadena (Calif.) Marantha High School. She posted a 0.75 ERA with 41 strikeouts in 28 innings for the Nighthawks and batted .452 average with two doubles and two home runs in 10 games prior to the cancelation of the season.

“Devyn will get her feet wet. She’s very capable,” Candrea said. “I feel good with Bowen throwing well, and if Devyn throws well, we can walk in with four pitchers.”

He also mentioned of the pitching depth, “You have to have it. In this league (Pac-12) and playing a four-game series, it’s going to be really important.”

Another freshman, Jessie Fonts from Fillmore (Calif.) Camarillo High School, will also have opportunities. She did not play last season at Camarillo because of COVID-19 but as a junior, she went 25-5-1 with a 0.36 ERA with 264 strikeouts. Opponents hit barely .053 against her.

“She’s finding her way,” Candrea said of Fonts. “She has a few growing pains to go through, but she’s gonna be there.”

In the win over New Mexico, Arizona scored its 12 runs on 11 hits, none of them home runs. The Wildcats also took advantage of nine walks.

Sharlize Palacios went 2-for-3 with a team-best three RBIs. Palomino-Cardoza went 2-for-2 with a walk, Jessie Harper tied her career high with three walks and three runs.

Four freshmen recorded their first career hits in the win over the Lobos including Aris Carroll, Guilia Koutsoyanopulos, Ironwood Ridge grad Allie Skaggs and Jasmine Perezchica.

Carroll’s hit, a fourth-inning single, plated a run for her first-career RBI.

In the win over Seattle, Denham followed her impressive one-hitter in a win over Southern Utah on Friday with another dominant performance. She struck out eight without allowing a walk and scattered six hits while not allowing an earned run in five innings.

Denham has not allowed an earned run in her first 11 innings and has compiled 13 strikeouts and only two walks.

She retired the side in order twice, including the fifth inning to close the game, but Candrea said she was forced to work out of trouble in the other three innings by allowing the leadoff batter on base.

“I think the big thing with her — and she knows it — is taking care of the leadoff hitter,” Candrea said. “That’s pretty big. She tends to run into 3-2 counts a lot, but some pitchers are comfortable with that. I think the big thing is just having some consistency and some nastiness in every inning and I like what I saw at the end.”

Palomino-Cardoza is batting .700 (7 of 10) at the plate in her first four games.

Mulipola, rejoining the program after touring with Team USA last year, started 2 of 7 without an extra-base hit and two RBIs in the games Friday against Southern Utah and New Mexico. She went 3 of 5 with a double, two home runs and seven RBIs in the two wins Saturday.

Her second home run against Seattle was a moonshot deep into the stands in left field.

“That second one, I just felt big and coach had told me that he needed me to step up, so I was happy that I was able to come through,” Mulipola said.

Candrea’s No. 9 hitter, redshirt freshman outfielder Janelle Meoño, is off to a 4-of-4 start with a walk at the plate and she has scored all five times in those plate appearances.

Hannah “Peanut” Martinez, the No. 8 hitter, is off to a .429 start with a home run and four RBIS.

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.

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