Arizona Softball

Arizona picks up 7th straight mercy rule win to start season

Arizona infielders celebrate after an 8-0 run-rule win over Long Beach State in game one of the doubleheader on Thursday night at Hillenbrand Stadium. (Arizona Athletics)

Arizona has run-ruled its first seven opponents, taking over where it left off last weekend in the Candrea Classic, with a pair of mercy rule wins over Long Beach State on Thursday night in the first two games of the Bear Down Fiesta at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Along with its seven mercy rule wins, the Wildcats had five shutouts in their first seven games.

Arizona head coach Caitlin Lowe thinks the way the team was able to get hit once and respond in game two of today’s doubleheader, in which Long Beach state narrowed its lead to 6-3 before the Wildcats pulled away, will go a long way against No. 13 Arkansas tomorrow; it’s toughest opponent of the season so far.

“They (Arkansas) are a good team, and they’re going get some hits, and it’s just a matter of if we can go right at them, too, so I’m excited for the challenge. I know the girls are excited for the challenge and hoping we start out hot again tomorrow.”

A pair of two-run home runs from Carlie Scupin and Allie Skaggs gave Arizona a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first, and the Wildcats never looked back in an 8-0 run-rule win over Long Beach State in game one of the doubleheader.

Miranda Stoddard (2-0) had one strikeout and no walks, allowing two hits over four innings to record the win.

Arizona extended its lead to 7-0 in the bottom of the second when Kaiah Altmeyer hit a three-run home run over right center. A one-out RBI double from Skaggs down the left field line put Arizona up 8-0, prompting to Kate Barnett to relieve starting pitcher Sophia Fernandez in the circle for Long Beach State.

In game two of the doubleheader, a four-run first inning propelled Arizona to the eventual 11-3 win against Long Beach State (0-6).

In the bottom of the first, a single up the middle from Olivia DiNardo that advanced her to third on an error from Long Beach State centerfielder Lilyanna Martinez scored Kennedy and Scupin, and a ground out by Altmeyer brought DiNardo home to put Arizona up 3-0.

A solo home run by Skaggs extended the lead to 4-0.

Skaggs went 3 for 4 in the doubleheader with two home runs, and four RBIs after coming into the game hitting 2 for 13 from the plate.

“It felt great, like just getting in the groove again, getting comfortable and seeing the ball, not pressing too much, and understanding that every year I’ve been fine. Sometimes we get off to a slow start, but we’re here now, and we’re good to go,” she said about rebounding from a slow start at the plate this season.

Brooke Mannon (2-0) had two strikeouts and no walks, allowing three hits and three earned runs in her second start of the season.

Mo Quinlan relieved Long Beach State starting pitcher Eryka Gonzales to start the bottom of the second.

Arizona scored two more runs in the bottom of the third on a two-RBI fielder’s choice from Logan Cole, bringing Skaggs and Altmeyer home, and stretched its lead to 6-0.

In the top of the fourth, Sinclair Lawhorn hit an RBI double to right center to spoil the shutout for Arizona. Aissa Silva came in to relieve Mannon soon after. 

Silva gave up an RBI single, and Long Beach State loaded the bases with one out in the inning. She then hit Rebekah Durazo with a pitch to shrink Arizona’s lead to 6-3.

Stoddard came in to relieve her in the circle and record the last two outs of the top half of the inning to steer the ship before closing the game with a save.

“‘It’s fun to be able to just get in there and finish the job and pick up my teammates,” she said.

The Wildcats added one run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI bunt single by Tayler Biehl to extend the lead to 7-3.

Arizona closed out the game in the bottom of the fifth, scoring four runs off a pair of RBI doubles by Blaise Biringer and Regan Shockey. Scupin was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Jasmine Perezchica, and Shockey scored on a wild pitch for the 11-3 run-rule victory.

Arizona plays Arkansas (4-1) tomorrow at 4 p.m before facing Omaha (4-1) at 6 p.m. tomorrow at Hillenbrand Stadium.

FOLLOW @KEVINMURFEE ON TWITTER! writer Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood. Murphy is a journalist product manager with the Green Valley News & the Sahuarita Sun. He has a bachelor’s degree from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU.

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