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Arizona softball: Wildcats host three-game series vs. Texas starting Friday

Arizona is coming off its first loss of the season

Photo via @UA_Softball on Twitter

The Arizona softball team will look to start a new winning streak Friday when it begins a three-game series against the Texas Longhorns in Tucson.

The UA’s 15-game winning streak was snapped last Saturday at the hands of the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles in a 1-0 loss in Palm Springs as part of the Mary Nutter Classic.

It was the first loss of the season for Arizona, which sits at 15-1 overall. The Wildcats plan to use their first defeat as a learning experience.

“That was a big growing game for us,” UA shortstop Mo Mercado said. “We have a lot of young girls and we have a lot of girls that have been there before, but we walked out of there and coach even said in the huddle that he could see in our eyes that it was a different team than last year.

“We didn’t look defeated or upset, we looked like we fell short and we knew it, but we’re ready to get after it this week and we know we’re going to be in games like that in the future so it’s definitely a learning experience ...It was good for us.”

Speaking of Mercado, the senior is coming off one of the best weekends at the plate head coach Mike Candrea has ever seen in his 32 years at Arizona.

She was 11-for-13 in five games in the Mary Nutter Classic, tallying 11 RBIs, three doubles, six runs scored and a homer.

Her performance allowed her to sweep national player of the week honors, as well as be named the Pac-12 Player of the Week.

Mercado is hitting .488 this season with a career-high .698 slugging percentage.

“She is playing the game loose. She’s playing the game with a good plan. And I think the thing that I like about her right now is she’s taking care of the things outside of the mechanics of the game,” Candrea said. “Because that’s when you can get swallowed up in this game. When you start thinking about how you do things, the game gets really quick on you.”

Wildcats starting pitcher Danielle O’Toole was named the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week. She threw 16 innings in Palm Springs, while striking out 23 batters.

O’Toole is second in the nation in wins (8), second in ERA among pitchers that have thrown 50-plus innings (0.39), and 16th in strikeouts (62).

The rest of Arizona’s pitching staff has been dealing with illness/injury.

Texas enters Friday with an 11-6 record, with wins over two ranked teams in Missouri and Tennessee. But the Longhorns are 0-2 against the Pac-12, dropping games to Washington and ASU in Palm Springs.

“I think this weekend coming up against Texas will be a three-games series that will have some excitement each and every night,” Candrea said. “Two very good teams and those are the types of games that we have to learn how to win.”

Texas received 13 votes in this week’s NFCA Coaches Poll.


Schedule

Friday, March 3

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

Saturday, March 4

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

Sunday, March 5

  • Texas vs. No. 6 Arizona — 12 p.m. MST

All games will be live streamed here.


Arizona season stats

via Arizona Athletics

Texas season stats


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