Catcher Dejah Mulipola ignited the Wildcats’ offense Friday with two home runs to give No. 11 Arizona a 10-4 win over No. 6 Arkansas at Fayetteville, Ark.
Arizona’s offense exploded for 10 runs on 12 hits, blasting four home runs, to secure the victory over Arkansas (43-10) to take the 1-0 lead in the Fayetteville Regional best-of-three series.
So far in the postseason, Arizona’s offense has scored 41 runs while blasting 10 home runs in four games.
Mulipola was the driving force for Arizona (40-13) by going 2-for-2 with two home runs and three RBIs, raising her batting average to .410. Her two-run homer in the first set the tone.
Here’s Mulipola talking about her home runs and discussing what she saw out of pitcher Hanah Bowen‘s start in the circle:
Arizona broke the game wide open, scoring four runs in the fifth and three runs in the sixth putting Arkansas in run-rule territory.
In those innings, the Wildcats blasted three home runs with Sharlize Palacios hitting a two-run homer in the fifth. In the sixth, Jessie Harper and Mulipola went back-to-back to put the finishing touches on the game.
The home run for Harper was the 91st of her career, putting her third in the NCAA career home run list as she continues to chase former Oklahoma hitter Lauren Chamberlain needing four to tie the record. She is one behind the school record of 92 held by Katiyana Mauga.
Here’s a look at where Harper sits and how close she is to the NCAA record:
NCAA Softball Home Run Career List
The freshmen have dominated this postseason for Arizona, and Palacios has stood above the rest, hitting .588 with three home runs and 13 RBIs.
Here’s Arkansas coach Courtney Deifel talking about her team’s start to the game and discussing the adjustments needed to bounce back on Saturday:
Coach Mike Candrea went with Bowen in the circle to face a home run-hitting Razorbacks team.
Bowen was locked in early in the game, sitting down the first nine batters before giving up a two-strike home run in the fourth to Hannah McEwen to break up the no-hitter.
Although Bowen gave up four runs for the game, she looked sharp, giving up four hits while having eight strikeouts.
All four hits that Bowen gave up were extra-base hits, and three were hit for a home run, but she prevented Arkansas from having sustained rallies.
Here’s Candrea talking about his team’s performance and discussing what he liked about Bowen’s start in the circle:
Here’s a postgame recap with our Troy Hutchison and AZ Desert Swarm’s Ryan Kelapire sharing their thoughts on Arizona’s game one victory:
Arizona will face Arkansas in game two of the Fayetteville Super Regional Saturday on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. local time with a chance to advance to the Women’s College World Series.
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.