Some information for this report provided by Arizona’s media-relations department
Third-ranked Arizona is off to a 10-0 start for the 15th time in school history after outlasting Oregon State 3-2 in eight innings Sunday in the final game of the Wildcat Invitational at Hillenbrand Stadium.
The Wildcats, who have won 21 straight games dating to last season, scored two runs in the bottom of the eighth to walk off with the win.
Former Tucson High standout Carlie Scupin tied the game with an RBI single to left and Hanah Bowen followed with a single through the right side that brought home the winning run.
Following seven straight run-rule wins, Sunday marked the first close game of the season for the Wildcats, who struggled offensively for much of the game against a pair of Oregon State pitchers.
Fortunately for Arizona, Alyssa Denham (4-0) was dominant again in the circle, allowing two runs, one earned, on five hits. She struck out seven batters in the complete game.
The earned run allowed, a sixth-inning wind-aided solo homer, was her first in nearly a full year (March 7 vs. Boise State). Denham went 33 1/3 consecutive innings between earned runs.
On a day where the top of the order struggled, the bottom of the order carried Arizona to victory.
Sharlize Palacios had a go-ahead single in the fourth and then Arizona’s 7-8-9 hitters all singled in the bottom of the eighth, including a game-tying hit from Scupin and the walk-off from Bowen.
Denham dueled with two Oregon State pitchers, Trystan Melancon (4 innings pitched, one run that was earned, three hits and three strikeouts_ and Nerissa Eason (3 1/3 innings, two runs with one earned, five hits and two strikeouts).
They kept Arizona’s bats in check for the majority of the game. In the fourth, Arizona finally broke through when Jessie Harper opened the frame with a double and then came in to score on an RBI single from Palacios.
The 1-0 lead held until the top of the sixth. That is when Denham allowed the wind-aided homer to Mariah Mazon, who appeared to hit a pop up to left field. The 20 mph winds in Tucson on Sunday carried the ball just out of the reach of left fielder Janelle Meoño’s glove over the fence to tie the game.
Denham had retired 19 of the previous 21 batters, not allowing a hit since the first batter of the game.
Arizona had opportunities in both the sixth and seventh but could not score.
In extras, the international tie-breaker was in effect, putting a runner at second base to begin the frame.
Oregon State scored its free run on a one-out double but Denham retired the final two batters to limit the damage.
In the bottom of the eighth, Scupin sent a one-out single to left field. Pinch-runner Giulia Koutsoyanopulos raced home from second and was granted the base when obstruction was called on the Oregon State catcher, tying the game.
Hannah Martinez followed with a single to put the potential winning run in scoring position for Bowen, who singled through the right side to win the game.
Arizona is off to Florida where it will play seven total games against South Florida, UCF, Florida A&M and Florida State over an eight-day span. They being the slate Saturday at South Florida.
Of the previous times Arizona has started 10-0, five times the Wildcats went on to win a Women’s College World Series title. The previous two times Mike Candrea’s team has started 10-0 — in 2014 and 2017 — Arizona made it as far as the Super Reginal round.
The best start in Arizona history was 34-0 in 2004, a team led by interim coach Larry Ray while Candrea was the U.S. Olympic coach. Arizona lost in the Tucson regional that year after standout outfielder Autumn Champion suffered a torn ACL.
Arizona Softball Best Starts