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Arizona softball: Wildcats go 4-1 in Mary Nutter Classic, fall to No. 1 Florida State in first loss

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The Wildcats were on the losing end of a pitcher’s duel

Danielle O’Toole
Courtesy Arizona Athletics

The Arizona softball team lost its first game of the season Saturday, falling 1-0 to the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles in Palm Springs, Calif. to conclude the Mary Nutter Classic.

The Wildcats won their first four games in the tournament, however, improving their record from 11-0 to 15-1 on the season.

Arizona beat Louisville and No. 23 BYU on Thursday, by a score of 5-3 and 9-0, respectively.

On Friday, Arizona beat Purdue 13-1 in five innings. Finally, on Saturday, the Wildcats beat LIU Brooklyn 21-2 in five innings before being defeated by FSU.

Danielle O’Toole tossed six innings, allowing the one run on three hits and two walks, while striking out eight Seminoles.

Meghan King pitched 6 23 innings for FSU before Jessica Burroughs recorded the final out.

In the final inning, a two-out single by Mandie Perez and a walk by Dejah Mulipola put two runners on for Alyssa Palomino, giving her a chance to tie the game or even give Arizona the lead.

But Burroughs struck out Palomino to end the game.

The Wildcats had five hits and drew four walks, but left nine runners on base.

In the second inning, Ashleigh Hughes came up with two outs and runners on the corners, but she grounded out to second to end the frame.

The Wildcats had runners on the corners with two outs again in the fifth inning, but Palomino flied out to left to end the threat.

Florida State scored its run in the third inning via an RBI single by third baseman Jessica Warren.

O’Toole (8-1) pitched 16 innings in the Mary Nutter Classic, only allowing one earned run. The redshirt senior has allowed just three earned runs in 54 innings, good for a 0.39 ERA.

Taylor McQuillin, who has been Arizona’s No. 2 starter, did not in pitch in Palm Springs. The sophomore exited a game last week with arm soreness, though it is not clear if that’s why she did not take the circle in Palm Springs.

Nancy Bowling got the majority of the work in place of McQuillin, as she pitched 11 innings, allowing five earned runs.

Her ERA sits at 2.33 in 21 innings. McQuillin’s ERA is 1.17 in 18 innings.

Mulipola continued her tear at the plate as the freshman catcher continues to lead Arizona in batting average (.550), on-base percentage (.604), slugging percentage (1.075) and RBIs (21).

Palomino, another freshman, is hitting .362/.455/.766 with four home runs and 20 RBIs.

Third baseman Katiyana Mauga hit her seventh homer of the season Thursday against Louisville, her 74th career homer, placing her 13 homers shy of tying the UA’s all-time home run record and 21 shy of tying the NCAA all-time record.

She is hitting .382/.528/1.059 with 16 RBIs.

Here are Arizona’s full season stats through 16 games:

via Arizona Athletics

The Wildcats return home this week when they will host the Texas Longhorns for a three-game series, starting Friday and running through Sunday.

Texas, which plays No. 8 Washington on Sunday, is 11-4 this season with two wins over ranked teams.

Friday, March 3

  • Texas vs. No. 9 Arizona — 6 p.m. MST

Saturday, March 4

  • Texas vs. No. 9 Arizona — 6 p.m. MST

Sunday, March 5

  • Texas vs No. 9 Arizona — 12 p.m. MST

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire