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Arizona softball recap: Wildcats drop first game of UCLA series 8-6

Too much UCLA offense in game one

In game one of a crucial Pac-12 softball series, the UCLA Bruins were able to put 13 hits on the board against the Arizona Wildcats pitching staff.

But it was one UCLA hit that would be the difference between an Arizona win and an 8-6 Arizona loss.

The score was tied at four heading into the top of the sixth. With one out and the bases loaded, head coach Mike Candrea decided to lift starting pitcher Danielle O'Toole for freshman Taylor McQuillin.

"I was thinking about making the change a little earlier," Candrea explained. "Bad on me."

The Bruins sent three-hole hitter Delaney Spaulding to the plate, who had not recorded a hit to that point.

But that changed after McQuillin had gotten a 1-2 advantage on Spaulding.

"I think for any pitcher it's a little bit nerve-racking," McQuillin said of being put into that spot. "But you chose to be in that position. You chose to play the game as a pitcher, and that's what you gotta go out there and do."

Arizona would get back two of those four runs in the bottom half of the inning. Catcher Lauren Young smashed a ball over the left field fence to make the score 8-6.

"Just got a good piece on it," Young said through a smile after the game. "I was just thinking line drive, ground ball. Just put it in play."

The Wildcats had one more chance in the bottom of the 7th. With two runners on, Nancy Bowling was called upon to pinch hit. She got a hold of one, but the ball fell just short of clearing the wall, resulting in the second out of the inning.

A groundball by Joelle Krist ended the game and the threat.

"It was a hard-fought game, we just made some mistakes that ended up costing us," Candrea said afterwards. "That's usually what happens in games like this."

Arizona and UCLA will meet again on Sunday at 2 PM PT. That game will be broadcast on ESPN2.