Arizona Wildcats

Cats Win a Pair of One-Run Games on Day 1 of the Hillenbrand Classic

Photo/Joe Scarpone - Arizona Athletics

(Tucson, AZ)  Fourth-ranked Arizona Softball showed its toughness of Friday night at the Hillenbrand Invitational, coming from behind in both games to win a pair of one-run games, defeating Long Beach State in a pitcher’s duel, 2-1, and then outlasting Northern Iowa, 7-6, in eight innings.

Mariah Lopez picked up both victories in the circle for the Wildcats, pitching a complete-game gem vs. Long Beach State in the early game and then earning the win in relief vs. UNI.

Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza had five hits in the doubleheader, including a home run and a pair of doubles.

The Wildcats face two more games at the Hillenbrand Invitational on Saturday. UA opens the day vs. Bryant at 11:30 a.m. and then faces second-ranked Oklahoma at 4:30 p.m. MST.

Game 1: #4 Arizona 2, Long Beach State 1

Fourth-ranked Arizona defeated Long Beach State, 2-1, in its first game of the Hillenbrand Invitational.

Mariah Lopez won the pitchers’ duel for the Cats, allowing one run on six hits with six strikeouts and no walks. She improved to 4-0 this season.

Offensively, Arizona managed just two runs off of its nine hits, stranding nine runners in the game. Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, Jessie Harper and Malia Martinez led the way with two hits apiece.

Long Beach State opened up the scoring with back-to-back doubles in the top of the first inning to take an early 1-0 lead.

Arizona responded with a pair of runs on four hits in the bottom half. RBI from Malia and Hannah Martinez brought home the two runs for Arizona, which left the bases loaded in the frame.

The early runs would be all for both teams, as the pitchers held serve from the second inning on.

Game 2: #4 Arizona 7, Northern Iowa 6 (8 innings)

In a wild, back-and-forth game to close out the day for the Wildcats, Arizona came from behind to defeat Northern Iowa, 7-6 in extra innings.

UNI kept constant offensive pressure on Arizona, scoring a run in the first, two in the second, a run in the third to lead Arizona, 4-2 entering the bottom of the third.

Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, who hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, added to her RBI total and cut into the Panther lead with an RBI double in the bottom of the third.

Northern Iowa pushed its lead back to two runs with a run in the top of the fifth.

The Wildcats turned the two-run deficit into a one-run lead in the bottom of the fifth when Malia Martinez crushed a three-run shot, her first of the season, to put the Wildcats up 6-5.

The lead was short-lived, however, as UNI responded with a run of its own in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 6-6.

The tie would stand until the eighth inning, which was played by international tie breaker rules, putting the final out of the previous inning at second base to start each extra inning. After Mariah Lopez stranded the UNI free runner at third base in the top of the eighth, the Cats walked off in the bottom half.

Izzy Pacho reached on an error, sacrificing herself to move the pinch-runner Carli Campbell to third. Hanah Bowen walked to load the bases with nobody out for Isabella Dayton. The freshman hit a fly ball to center; it was dropped by the centerfielder, but the result was the same, a walkoff sacrifice fly on the error.

Mariah Lopez earned the win in relief, pitching the final 3.2 innings, allowing one run on two hits with five strikeouts and three walks. She improved to 5-0 on the season with the victory. She relieved Alyssa Denham, who gave up five runs, four earned, on four hits with three strikeouts and two walks in 4.1 innings.

Reyna Carranco made a pair of potentially game-saving plays at second base for the Wildcats, taking away a pair of line drives up the middle with the go-ahead runners in scoring position late in the game, first with the bases loaded and two out in the sixth inning and then with a runner at third and two out in the eighth inning. The senior also went 2-for-4 at the plate in the game.

Palomino-Cardoza and Martinez went deep in the game, Arizona’s 11th and 12th homers of the young season. Palomino-Cardoza went 3-for-4  with three RBI and two runs scored.

Dayton also had multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-3 and bringing in the game-winning run in the eighth.

Press Release by Arizona Communication Services – Danny Martinez

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