TEMPE — Throughout the four-game series at No. 13 Arizona State, No. 8 Arizona struggled to get critical hits with runners in scoring position.
The only time the Wildcats found their offensive rhythm was in the third game on Saturday night when facing ASU’s less-utilized third pitcher in the rotation.
For most of the series, Arizona trailed early in the games, and in the final game on Sunday afternoon at Farrington Stadium, the Sun Devils took yet another early two-run lead forcing Mike Candrea‘s team to battle back.
The hard-fought eight-inning game resulted in a 4-3 win by the Sun Devils, causing Arizona to fall to 27-8 overall and 6-5 in the Pac-12.
Arizona is now 2-8 against top 25 teams with losses to Central Florida, Florida State, Washington and ASU.
Arizona on Sunday went with junior pitcher Hanah Bowen, who recently pitched a dominating 3 1/3 innings against ASU in the first game on Friday.
Bowen had her pitches working in the game from start to finish. However, the only two mistakes she made came against Denae Chatman, who went 2-for-2 with two home runs and three RBIs.
Outside of the mistakes to Chatman, Bowen pitched a solid game going 7 1/3 innings on 125 pitches, giving up six hits and four runs with two strikeouts.
Arizona got its runs from a Malia Martinez two-run home run in the fourth.
With two outs and two strikes in the seventh, Dejah Mulipola hit a double down the right-field line to score Reyna Carranco from second to tie the game. Carranco doubled right before her.
The Wildcats’ lineup struggled otherwise. Arizona went 3-for-16 with runners on base and a horrific 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position. For the series, the Wildcats couldn’t get the key hit with runners in scoring position, going a combined 5-for-38, an underwhelming .131 in those situations.
Dejah Mulipola holding a senior meeting on the field.
— Troy Hutchison (@THutch1995) April 18, 2021
After the game, Mulipola held a meeting that included all seven seniors after Candrea was done talking to the team. The meeting roughly lasted around 30 minutes, with every player getting a chance to talk about what is going on.
Here’s Mulipola talking about the four-game series and discussing what the team has to do to get back on track:
Here’s Candrea talking about the series with ASU and discussing what he thinks is going wrong on the field during high-pressure games against ranked opponents:
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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.