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Arizona softball recap: Wildcats run-ruled by UCLA in series opener

Well, that’s not an ideal start to the road trip

Photo via @UA_Softball on Twitter

The Arizona softball team was run-ruled 8-0 in five innings by No. 12 UCLA on Friday to open up a three-game series in Westwood.

The third-ranked Wildcats had as many errors as hits (two), while ace Danielle O’Toole was chased from the ballgame in the fifth inning.

Mike Candrea wasn’t happy with his team’s performance to say the least:

O’Toole cruised through the first two innings, and retired the first two batters in the third before chaos broke loose.

The Bruins strung together four two-out hits, including an RBI double by Kylee Perez and a two-run double Brianna Tautalafua to take a 3-0 lead.

UCLA extended its lead to 4-0 in the fourth after plating a run on a throwing error by UA shortshop Mo Mercado and then scored five runs in the fifth to complete the run-rule.

Perez reached on a fielding error by UA first baseman Jessie Harper to lead off the inning and UCLA followed it up with two straight singles to take a 5-0 lead, leading to O’Toole being removed from the game.

Nancy Bowling took over and got two outs before surrendering a game-ending three-run homer to Bubba Nickles.

Seven of UCLA’s eight runs were charged to O’Toole, though four of them were unearned.

O’Toole drops to 26-4 and her ERA sits at 1.04, the first time it has been over 1.00 all season. She allowed seven hits and one walk in four innings while striking out five.

After starting the season 41-1, the Wildcats are just 6-5 in their last 11 games, falling to 47-6 overall and 17-5 in the Pac-12.

The good news for Arizona is that second-place Utah lost to Oregon State earlier in the day, meaning the Wildcats did not drop a game in the standings.

They hold a 2.5 game lead over the Utes and can clinch the Pac-12 title by winning the last two games in Westwood.

Game 2 of the series is on Saturday at 6 p.m. and it will be televised on ESPN2.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire