It had to happen eventually.
The Arizona softball team’s late-inning rally fell short as it lost 6-3 to No. 14 Utah on Friday, snapping the Wildcats’ 26-game winning streak.
No. 2 Arizona trailed 6-0 heading into the top of the sixth, but scored two runs in the frame on RBI singles by Mo Mercado and Katiyana Mauga.
The Wildcats then made it a 6-3 ballgame with a two-out RBI single by Dejah Mulipola in the seventh, but Alyssa Palomino struck out swinging to end the game.
It’s the first loss for the Wildcats since Feb. 25 and just the second loss all season as UA sits at 41-2 overall and 13-1 in Pac-12 play.
Miranda Viramontes (11-1) picked up the win for the Utes, as she tossed a complete game, allowing 10 hits and three runs (two earned), while striking out three and walking none.
Wildcats starter Taylor McQuillin (13-1) was handed her first loss of the season.
The Utes (27-8, 9-3 Pac-12) tagged McQuillin for six runs on 10 hits in 3 2⁄3 innings. The sophomore had three strikeouts, but also had three walks as she had trouble finding the strike zone. McQuillin threw 80 pitches and only 46 were strikes.
Utah jumped on McQuillin early, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with an RBI single by Hannah Flippen.
The Utes tacked on two more runs in the second thanks to three hits and a walk, including a pair of RBI singles by Kelly Martinez and Alyssa Barrera to make it 3-0.
Utah then knocked McQuillin out of the game in the fourth.
After a walk and a single, Anissa Urtez laced a two-run triple to right center to make it 5-0, leading Mike Candrea to relieve McQuillin with Michelle Floyd.
Floyd promptly surrendered an RBI single to Heather Bowen to push Utah’s lead to 6-0. Floyd would stay in the game and prevent any further damage, pitching 2 1⁄3 scoreless innings (Bowen’s RBI single was charged to McQuillin).
Meanwhile, the Wildcats had 10 hits, but did not put a runner into scoring position until the sixth inning.
Mulipola went 4-for-4 with a double, while Mauga was 2-for-3 and Mandie Perez was 2-for-4.
Mercado and Ashleigh Hughes each had a hit, too.
The Wildcats did not draw a walk and left six runners on base.
It was Arizona’s worst offensive output since its 2-1 win over Texas on March 4.
The Wildcats will look for the series win against Utah on Saturday at 11 a.m. in Salt Lake City. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
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