TEMPE — After losing big in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, No. 8 Arizona turned the table on No. 13 ASU with a 15-1 victory at Farrington Stadium.
Arizona lost the first game 8-1 as ASU hit four two-run home runs.
The second game was the complete opposite with the Wildcats winning in the fifth inning by run-rule over the Sun Devils to improve to 27-7 overall. The game doesn’t count toward the conference record, so the team is at 6-4 in the Pac-12.
The last game between the rivals, on Sunday at 1 p.m., factors into the Pac-12 standings.
The 14-run margin of victory over ASU on Saturday night is Arizona’s largest over its rivals since the 1994 season.
Going into that game, Arizona pitchers allowed 12 runs in two games off of 12 hits, including six home runs.
Arizona went with Alyssa Denham in the circle to try to get things back in order for the pitching staff. Denham took the challenge head-on and tossed a five-inning one-run game, allowing two hits on 75 pitches while striking out six batters.
Here’s Denham talking about her pitching performance and discussing what an animate Mike Candrea said to the team in between games:
Arizona struggled to get the key hits in clutch situations during the first two games on Friday and early Saturday. The Wildcats never took the lead over ASU during that stretch.
Arizona jumped on top of ASU early in the game, putting up seven runs in the first three innings. The Wildcats were able to get the timely hit and showed patience at the plate drawing nine walks while collecting seven hits off the Sun Devils’ third pitcher in the rotation in Cielo Meza, who allowed a total of 15 runs.
Arizona hit two home runs during the game as Jessie Harper got the offense going in the first with a two-run opposite-field blast over the right-field wall. Freshman Allie Skaggs then hit a line-drive shot over the left-center field wall during the top of the fifth.
The home run for Harper was another record-setter for the power-hitting shortstop as she moves ahead of former Wildcats Leah Braatz and Laura Espinoza for fifth on the NCAA career home run chart.
Here is that chart as Harper now sits just one home run behind former Wildcat catcher Stacie Chambers for fourth and is nine away from tying Lauren Chamberlain of Oklahoma for the top spot:
NCAA Softball Home Run Career List
Here’s Candrea talking about the doubleheader split with ASU and discussing how the morale of center fielder Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, who suffered what appeared to be a left knee injury on the last play of Friday’s loss:
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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.