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Grand slams are the order of the day as Arizona softball defeats Oregon State

Jessie Harper gets another home run and Hanah Bowen picks up her first Pac-12 win for the Wildcats

Rylee Pierce and Jessie Harper
Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

On Friday evening, the only thing in Corvallis that could slow down Arizona softball was the rain. On Saturday afternoon, it was more of the same as the Wildcats took the second game of the series by a score of 11-4.

Jessie Harper provided more fireworks, hitting a grand slam for home run No. 16 on the season to extend her Pac-12 lead. Malia Martinez hit her fifth round-tripper of the season.

Gina Snyder started the day in the circle. As with her previous starts, stellar run support gave her a nice head start with an 8-0 lead after two innings. Things didn’t go as well after that, though.

Snyder left the game after 2.1 innings, giving up three earned runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter. One of those hits was a grand slam. She struck out two of the 13 hitters she faced, throwing 25 of her 47 pitches for strikes.

Hanah Bowen pitched 4.2 innings of one-hit ball in relief. She struck out three of the 15 hitters she faced, throwing 50 of her 71 pitches for strikes. The effort earned her the first Pac-12 win in her career.

The ‘Cats started off just where they left off. Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza was hit by a pitch. Reyna Carranco extended her hitting streak to 12 games with a single that got through the right side of the infield.

Dejah Mulipola got the first RBI of the day with a bloop to shallow left-center. Oregon State’s centerfielder was slow getting the ball back in, allowing Palomino-Cardoza to score from second base.

Malia Martinez stepped into the box and hit a line-drive home run to left field. Three RBI later and Arizona was up 4-0 before the Beavers even got a chance to bat.

The Wildcats threatened to add on more, but were done in by a base running error. T Statman walked, and advanced on a passed ball. Peanut Martinez followed with a walk, but Statman was caught trying to take third for the final out.

Arizona added fuel to the fire in the second.

Jenna Kean used her notable speed to get on base with a bunt single. Palomino-Cardoza followed her with a walk.

Carranco got a bit lucky when she bunted into the air, and it landed perfectly between third base and shortstop. As Carranco motored up the baseline, there was no play. Bases loaded.

In stepped Harper. On the first pitch, she doubled the Wildcat lead with a grand slam to straight-away center.

For the first two innings, Snyder allowed OSU lead-off runners to get on base, but was able to work around that to put zeros on the board. Then came the bottom of the third, and things went off the rails.

Arizona coach Mike Candrea was talking to the Pac-12 Network crew as the inning started.

“These last couple of innings, we’re kind of sleepwalking,” he said.

A throwing error by Carranco put the lead-off runner on for the third straight inning as Candrea continued with the interview. He shook his head.

The crew asked about Snyder’s pitching. He praised her efforts so far in the season, then wrapped up by saying, “We’ll see where she goes.”

As the inning progressed, things didn’t go well for her.

After the error, a passed ball and a walk put runners on first and second. A strike-out got the first out of the inning, but that was followed by a hit batter to load them up for Frankie Hammoude.

Hammoude, who leads the Beavers in home runs, promptly deposited the first pitch she saw over the left-field fence. The grand slam cut Arizona’s lead to 8-4 and ended Snyder’s day.

Bowen came in to stop the bleeding, getting out of the inning without any more damage.

The Wildcats got one of the runs back in the top of the sixth. Once again, it was Palomino-Cardoza and Harper doing the damage.

The Arizona centerfielder was walked for the second time. Harper’s triple drove Palomino-Cardoza in for the short stop’s fifth RBI of the day. Arizona’s lead was stretched to 9-4.

The Wildcats piled on in the top of the seventh. Pierce led off with a single. With two outs, Palomino-Cardoza reached on an error. Carranco’s double allowed both to score.

Those two runs were scary for Arizona fans, though. Palomino-Cardoza appeared to be in a great deal of pain after being tagged in the head on her slide into home. She left the field under the concerned eyes of the umpire and her coach, although she returned to the outfield in the bottom of the inning.

The Wildcats will go for the sweep tomorrow at noon. The game will air live on the Pac-12 Network.