Coming off a bye week, the Arizona Wildcats were “chomping at the bit” to begin postseason play.
It showed on Friday night.
Fueled by the long ball, the Wildcats run-ruled New Mexico State 11-0 at Hillenbrand Stadium to move into the winner’s bracket of the Tucson Regional.
Arizona tallied nine hits, three of which were homers, and scored seven runs in the third inning.
Danielle O’Toole (28-4) pitched three scoreless innings before being relieved by Taylor McQuillin, who struck out all six batters she faced.
Katiyana Mauga, Dejah Mulipola, and Mandie Perez each homered for the Wildcats, who jumped on the Aggies early and never looked back.
Mauga ripped a two-run homer to left in the bottom of the first, giving UA a quick 2-0 lead.
Then the floodgates opened in the third.
Tamara Statman doubled in two runs before Mulipola launched a two-run, opposite field homer to right to give Arizona a 6-0 lead.
Perez then hit a three-run homer to right later in the inning, extending the Wildcats’ lead to 9-0.
For good measure, the Wildcats tacked two runs in the bottom of the fourth with a bases loaded walk and hit by pitch.
Hear what Mike Candrea had to say about Arizona's 11-0 win over NMSU pic.twitter.com/ZLQrFmnCLq— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) May 20, 2017
Tucson native Kayla Green started in the circle for NMSU, but it wasn’t quite the homecoming she was hoping for.
Green surrendered five runs in 2 1⁄3 innings before being pulled from the game after Statman’s two-run double.
She was replaced by Samaria Diaz, who surrendered six runs (four earned) in just 1 1⁄3 innings.
Meanwhile, NMSU’s offense was quiet and O’Toole faced the minimum through three innings with some help from Ashleigh Hughes.
In the third inning, the UA right fielder gunned down a runner at second who was tagging up from first on a flyout to right.
The assist energized the sold-out crowd and O’Toole, who ran to thank Hughes after the inning concluded.
The Wildcats will face South Carolina on Saturday afternoon. The Gamecocks beat Saint Francis (PA) 12-2 earlier in the day.
First pitch is set for 2 p.m. PT at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Saint Francis (PA) will play New Mexico State in an elimination game.
- Mauga’s first-inning blast was her 90th career homer, putting her in a tie for the Pac-12’s all-time home run record. Mauga is one of three players to hit 90 career homers and is tied for second place on the NCAA’s all-time leaderboard. She is also just five homers shy from tying the Lauren Chamberlain atop the all-time home run list.
- Eva Watson started in center field in place of Alyssa Palomino, who is out for the season with a torn ACL. Watson went 1 for 2 with a run scored in the nine spot.
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