No. 10 Arizona opened up its doubleheader Saturday against Utah with an impressive 14-0 victory smashing five home runs in the game.
The Wildcats went right back to work in the second game, starting off the bottom of the first inning with a grand slam from catcher Sharlize Palacios.
After adding some runs in the fifth, the team won 6-4, improving to 30-8 overall.
Arizona went with Mariah Lopez in the circle. Coming into Saturday’s game, she struggled giving up the long ball in her last start against ASU as the Sun Devils hit three two-run home runs off her.
Lopez gave up a lead-off home run to start the game to Utah’s Alyssa Barrera. Then she seemed to get things in order until the fourth inning when she gave up another homer to Destiny Quiles.
Lopez did not finish the game as coach Mike Candrea brought in Alyssa Denham in the sixth inning to pitch the rest of the way.
Lopez ended her day going six innings and giving up two runs on three hits on 53 pitches. She didn’t record a strikeout.
Denham pitched two innings, giving up two hits and two runs on 27 pitches and collected two strikeouts.
Here’s Lopez talking about her start, discussing her home run issues this season and how she is trying to work through it:
Arizona scored most of its runs off of the Palacios grand slam in the first inning.
In the doubleheader, she went 2-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs, raising her batting average to .387 with 14 home runs and 41 RBIs.
In Palacios’ last three games, she has gone 5-for-8 with four home runs and 10 RBIs, establishing herself as one of the best hitters in the Arizona lineup.
Here’s Palacios talking about her what she is seeing at the plate and discussing the team’s doubleheader sweep:
Here’s Candrea talking about what he saw from Lopez’s start in the second game and discussing how she is moving in the right direction:
FOLLOW TROY HUTCHISON ON TWITTER!
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.