After struggling in the first game against New Mexico State in an 11-5 loss and having to rely on the offense to carry the team, No. 8 Arizona was looking for a solid overall performance and got one in a quick 8-0 fifth-inning run-rule win.
Saturday’s game against New Mexico State marked the first start for Reyna Carranco since Feb. 19, when the team played New Mexico before she sustained a broken thumb that has kept her out all this time.
Carranco went 1-for-2 with a walk and a run hitting in the second spot of the lineup.
In the circle, the Wildcats went with Mariah Lopez, who coming into Saturday’s game, had been struggling with an ERA of 2.37. Against New Mexico State, Lopez had a shaky first inning with the Aggies barely missing a two-run home run but, after that, she was dominant.
Lopez tossed a complete-game shutout going five innings on 84 pitches, giving up four hits while striking out six batters, lowering her ERA to 2.12.
Arizona third baseman Malia Martinez drove in six of the Wildcats eight runs. Martinez went 2-for-2 with two home runs, hitting a grand slam in the third and then a two-run walk-off blast in the fifth.
Martinez coming into Saturday was hitting .273. After her performance, she was hitting .291 and was one of the team’s best hitters with two outs, hitting an impressive .294 when the pressure is on.
Arizona (24-5) extended its winning streak to 10 games.
Here’s Carranco talking about her first game back and discussing what she learned about herself while recovering from the thumb injury:
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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.