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Arizona softball: Danielle O’Toole tosses shutout as Wildcats beat No. 21 Baylor

The Wildcats’ pitching has been fantastic early on

Photo via @AZAthletics on Twitter

Katiyana Mauga and Dejah Mulipola homered and Danielle O’Toole tossed a five-hit shutout as No. 10 Arizona beat No. 21 Baylor 4-0 on Saturday at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The Wildcats improve to 3-0 on the season.

On the heels of Taylor McQullin’s shutout on Friday, O’Toole picked up right where her teammate left off, retiring 11 of the first 12 Bears she faced.

The Bears threatened with two late scoring chances, but O’Toole was able to escape both jams unscathed.

The senior left-hander finished with seven strikeouts and zero walks.

Baylor starting pitcher Kelsee Selman started off strong, too, holding the Wildcats to just two hits in the first three innings.

However, in the bottom of the fourth, Mauga broke a scoreless tie, driving a solo homer to left — the 69th of her career. The senior is now 18 homers away from tying Arizona’s all-time record and 26 shy of tying the NCAA’s all-time record.

Baylor left fielder Maddison Kettler led off the top of the fifth inning with a bunt single down the third-base line and she would advance to third base after two groundouts.

But with the tying run just one base away, O’Toole was able to strikeout Taylor Ellis to keep Arizona’s lead intact.

In the top of the 6th, the Bears would threaten again, this time getting two runners in scoring position with two outs.

Once again O’Toole was able to preserve UA’s lead, thanks to a stellar defensive play by Mauga.

The third baseman snagged a hard-hit grounder off the bat of Baylor’s Ari Hawkins and made the throw to first for the third out of the inning.

The Wildcats then created some separation in the bottom half of the sixth.

After right fielder Ashleigh Hughes started the inning with a single, Mulipola drove a ball into the right centerfield gap and came all the way around to score as Baylor had trouble tracking the ball down.

The two-run inside-the-park homer gave Arizona a 3-0 lead, and an RBI single by Mo Mercado extended Arizona’s lead to 4-0 heading into the final frame.

Mulipola and Mercado each had two hits in the game.

O’Toole closed the game out with a 1-2-3 inning.

Through three games, Arizona’s pitchers have allowed just one run and 11 hits, while striking out 33 batters.

The Wildcats have a quick turnaround as they host Northwestern in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, with the first pitch set to be thrown around 5:20 p.m. MST.


You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire