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Arizona softball: Wildcats beat Arizona State 5-4, will go for the sweep on Sunday

Mandie Perez provided some late-game heroics in Saturday's win, and the Wildcats will go for the sweep of their in-state rival on Sunday

Gabe Encinas

The No. 18 Arizona Wildcats started off Pac-12 play with a 2-0 win over No. 21 Arizona State on Friday night. Danielle O'Toole pitched a shutout, and only allowed one hit, while freshman Joelle Krist came up clutch, putting Arizona on top with a seventh inning two-run home run.

On Saturday, the late-game heroics continued.

Unlike Friday, the hits came early for Arizona on Saturday. Mandie Perez began what would be a career day for her. On the first pitch of the game, Perez singled to center and Katiyana Mauga would later bring her home on a sac fly to give the Wildcats a 1-0 lead in the first inning of play.

The 'Cats were able to extend their lead in fourth inning, this time courtesy of a two-run shot from Perez, which was the first of two homers for her in the game. The Wildcats entered the bottom of the third inning with a 3-0 lead before Taylor McQuillin finally gave up her first hit of the game.

A throwing error in the inning allowed Arizona State to get a run on the board, but McQuillin was able to escape with minimal damage, keeping it a 3-1 ballgame. But the fourth inning was a different story as McQuillin gave up a three-run homer, giving the Sun Devils a 4-3 lead.

Things were then calm on both sides until we went to the seventh inning, where magic was brewing for Arizona once again. Already 3-3 on the day, Mandie Perez belted a two-run shot, pushing Arizona head, 5-4.

Danielle O'Toole took the mound in the bottom of the seventh to try to close the game out and was able to escape with the save. McQuillin was credited with the win -- her eighth win of the season -- while it's the Wildcats 20th win of the season. Arizona (20-8) is now on a five-game win streak, while outscoring opponents 24-6.

With a series victory already in hand, Mike Candrea and his team will go for the sweep of the Sun Devils Sunday at 5 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.