Caitlin Lowe won her first game as Arizona’s softball coach as the Wildcats tallied 18 hits against Southern Utah, including home runs by Allie Skaggs, Izzy Pacho and Carlie Scupin, in a 22-1 victory in five innings Thursday night at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Lowe’s debut — the largest margin of victory in an opener in Arizona history — was the first for a Wildcat coach since Mike Candrea started his career with a win 1-0 win over Oregon State on Feb. 26, 1986. Arizona won the second game of a doubleheader that day by a 7-0 score.
“I think everybody had butterflies going in,” Lowe told Kim Doss of AZ Desert Swarm and other reporters. “Honestly, I think the whole team did. I did. It just felt good to play good softball today and kind of really get everyone some chances.”
Tucson Citizen & Arizona Daily Star coverage of @MikeCandrea’s first games as Wildcat coach in 1986, a doubleheader sweep of Oregon State (both stories on the bottom of a sports roundup buried in the sports section). @CaitlinLowe coaching her first game tonight as UA’s coach: pic.twitter.com/t5ZeKjaMDF
— Javier Morales (@JavierJMorales) February 11, 2022
— Troy Hutchison (@THutch1995) February 11, 2022
Skaggs, who played her senior season at Ironwood Ridge, and Scupin, a Tucson High grad, hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning to give Arizona a 9-0 lead. Skaggs’ homer was a three-run shot.
Pacho, another Ironwood Ridge grad, had a two-run homer in the fourth inning to increase the lead to 19-1.
Jazmine Perezchica led the Wildcats with four RBIs while Skaggs, Scupin, Giulia Koutsoyanopulos and Sharlize Palacios each tallied three. Palacios and Koutsoyanopulos each had triples.
Biggest opening-day win in @ArizonaSoftball history!
— Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) February 11, 2022
Ten different players recorded a hit, including six players with multi-hit performances, led by three hits by leadoff hitter Janelle Meono and Perezchica.
Perezchica, whose father Tony is a former Arizona Diamondback who is now the third-base coach for the organization, finished 3 for 4 with two runs as the No. 9 hitter.
We welcome Tucson High great and @ArizonaSoftball standout @carliescupin with her weekly column for fans during the season. Her first installment is on tonight’s opener, a special young member of the Wildcat family & her choice of walk-up songs this year: https://t.co/gjSJwBa8Ha
— AllSportsTucson.com (@AllSportsTucson) February 10, 2022
Former Cienega standout Blaise Biringer, who transferred to her hometown school from Ole Miss, finished 2 for 5 with two runs and an RBI in her first game as a Wildcat.
Arizona starter Hanah Bowen allowed a home run to Reilly Williams in the first inning but settled down from there. She retired seven straight batters and left after the third inning after striking out five. She did not walk a batter and allowed only that hit to Williams.
Jessie Fontes pitched the last two innings and did not allow a hit or walk a batter while striking out four.
“I told (Bowen) the response matters more than what happened to you. And the fact that she threw seven straight outs means a lot,” Lowe said.
Arizona will host Southern Utah again Friday night at 6 p.m. in the opening day of the Candrea Classic at Hillenbrand. Alabama, New Mexico and Oregon State are also participants.
The anticipated game between No. 9 Arizona and No. 2 Alabama is Saturday at 6 p.m.
Arizona concludes play in the classic Sunday against New Mexico at 2 p.m.
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.