Arizona came into Saturday looking to continue its momentum from Friday night’s game against Oregon State. That didn’t happen as the Beavers took an early 5-0 lead over Mike Candrea‘s team. However, the Wildcats woke up, and in a massive way, by coming back and winning the game 9-5 in exciting fashion.
The Wildcats then carried it on to the second game of the doubleheader by run-ruling the Beavers in five innings 10-2 to sweep the day.
In the first game, pitcher Mariah Lopez struggled to get outs and saw the Beavers batter blast three home runs for five runs against her. Lopez ended her day going 2 1/3 innings giving up five hits for five runs on 53 pitches.
Then in the fifth inning, Arizona’s bats came to life as shortstop Jessie Harper with her team trailing 5-1, hit a two-run bomb to get the home run ‘party’ going to the Wildcats.
Arizona would add six more runs off of homers from Sharlize Palacios and a grand slam from Dejah Mulipola to complete the comeback.
After the rough three innings, the Wildcats got a shot in the arm in the circle from pitchers Devyn Netz and Alyssa Denham, who combined to go 4 2/3 innings striking out six batters while giving up three hits on 71 pitches.
In the second game, the show for Arizona continued after getting a rock-solid pitching performance by Hanah Bowen, who went five innings on 77 pitches while striking out eight batters and allowing just three hits.
In her last three plate appearances on Saturday, @lysssscat32 had a:
• solo home run 💣
• RBI triple 🏃♀️
• walkoff grand slam 💣
That’s 11 total bases and six RBI in a three-inning stretch 😅 pic.twitter.com/z7dnBIFcCb
— Arizona Softball (@ArizonaSoftball) March 28, 2021
With Arizona’s offense hot, Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza was the star of the second game, going 3-for-4 hitting two home runs, including a walk-off grand slam ending the game with six RBIs.
The Wildcats received home runs from Harper, Mulipola, and Palacios, helping the team run-rule OSU to improve to 17-5 on the season.
The two home runs on the day for Harper moved her up the all-time home run charts tying former Arizona/Oklahoma shortstop Shelby Pendley for sixth on the list with 84 homers.
Here’s a chart showing Harper’s chase of Lauren Chamberlain’s record of 95 home runs:
NCAA Softball Home Run Career List
|11T.||Jessica Warren||Florida State||2015-18||83|
Here’s the postgame reaction from Candrea, Palomino-Cardoza and Palacios talking about the offensive spark and discussing what the sweep does for the team’s confidence:
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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.