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Arizona softball uses big third inning to overwhelm Saint Joseph’s

COLLEGE SOFTBALL: FEB 15 South Florida at Arizona Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The first two innings didn’t look promising for the Arizona Wildcats. While they were able to get some runners on base, getting those runners in was a struggle. Then the bottom of the third happened and the Wildcats exploded for eight runs on their way to a 11-1 victory over Saint Joseph’s in five innings.

Jessie Harper hit her conference-leading tenth home run of the season and Peanut Martinez knocked her third out of the park. Freshman Bella Dayton got her first career double.

Hanah Bowen earned the win to move to 2-0 on the season. She gave up three hits and one earned run in four innings. She struck out four and walked one.

The third inning started out with a spectacular play by Saint Joseph’s second base, Molly Kapala, who robbed Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza of a base hit. That was the end of the good luck for the Hawks.

A single by Reyna Carranco was followed by Harper’s long ball to get Arizona on the board 2-0. Malia Martinez was next up, getting a single to end the day for the Hawks’ starting pitcher, Ashley Stokes.

A change of pitchers didn’t help Saint Joseph’s. New pitcher Amanda Herr uncorked a wild pitch to allow Malia Martinez to advance, then Izzy Pacho walked. Peanut Martinez blasted one to right-center to put the Wildcats up 5-0.

A series of walks, singles and throwing errors allowed Arizona to put three more runs up and move six outs from a run-rule victory.

The Hawks got one back in the top of the fourth on a home run by first base Caela Abadie, but the Wildcats came right back with three more runs in the bottom of the inning to take an 11-1 lead.

Marissa Schuld came in for the Wildcats to pitch the fifth. She gave up a two-out double, then sat down rightfielder Kirstin Cox to end the game.

The Wildcats begin Pac-12 play when they host Oregon State beginning on Friday, March 13.