Arizona Wildcats

Wildcats Come Up Short in Pitchers Duel vs ASU

Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

(Tempe, AZ) Kim Doss

After putting the finishing touches on a two-game sweep of New Mexico State Wednesday night, Arizona catcher Dejah Mulipola hoped it would give the team the confidence they needed to face the 8th-ranked Sun Devils this weekend.

“We needed it a lot,” she said two days ago. “I mean, we need every win, but tonight we really had to prove coming off all of those losses that we could come back, fight back and get ready for this weekend.”

In the circle, Arizona’s Taylor McQuillin was certainly ready for the weekend. She was strong from beginning to end.

Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Sun Devils pitcher Giselle Juarez came out just as strong. In a battle of left-handed pitchers, Juarez was able to get the run support she needed to earn the win.

The Wildcats looked like they brought their hot bats with them in the first inning. Ashleigh Hughes led off the game with her fifth home run of the season to give Arizona the 1-0 lead..

Juarez came back to strike out the next two batters, but Arizona tried to put something together with two outs. Jessie Harper hit a single up the middle, then moved into scoring position on a walk to Mulipola. The threat was ended by a fielder’s choice off the bat of Malia Martinez.

Arizona had the early lead, but the single run was all the support McQuillin would receive from her offense. The Wildcats were able to out-hit ASU 3-2, but could not take advantage of the rare opportunities they were given by Juarez.

McQuillin battled to make the single run stand up. Over 6.1 innings, she struck out 10 while surrendering only two hits and one walk. She didn’t give up a hit over the first three innings.

ASU was finally able to break through in the fourth. Right-fielder Kindra Hackbarth led off the inning with a home run of her own to tie the game. McQuillin sat down the next three batters, but Arizona needed to find their bats.

Juarez made sure that didn’t happen. After giving up the lead-off home run, she retired 21 of 24 batters, striking out 13 and walking one. Hughes had a two-hit game and Harper added a hit, but the rest of the Wildcats were unable to catch up with the Sun Devil left-hander.

Going into the bottom of the ninth, the in-state rivals were still tied at 1-1. Jade Gortarez worked the count full before flying out to right field. Morgan Howe followed with a walk, and was brought home by a walk-off single from Danielle Gibson.

Despite a stellar performance by McQuillin, she took the loss to move to 19-9 on the season. With the win, Juarez now stands at 19-2.

The Wildcats will try to even the series at 2 pm tomorrow. The game will be aired on the PAC-12 networks.

Most Popular

To Top