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Arizona softball recap: Wildcats blanked by UCLA 6-0 in Game 2

The Wildcats’ pursuit of a Pac-12 title is in serious jeopardy

Jason Bartel

With a chance to clinch their first Pac-12 title since 2007, the third-ranked Arizona softball team was shut out 6-0 by No. 12 UCLA on Saturday in Westwood, a day after being run-ruled 8-0 by the Bruins.

Arizona falls to 47-7 overall and 17-6 in the Pac-12, while UCLA improves to 39-12 and 12-7, respectively. The Wildcats are 6-6 in their last 12 contests after starting the season 41-1.

Arizona had the lead-off runner on base in all but one inning, but hit 0 for 20 with runners on base, and only mustered five hits in total, all of which were singles.

Ashleigh Hughes had two hits, while freshmen Dejah Mulipola, Reyna Carranco, and Jessie Harper each had one.

Selina Ta’amilo (13-0) pitched 4 13 scoreless innings for the Bruins before being relieved by Rachel Garcia, who tossed 2.2 scoreless frames for her third save of the season.

Taylor McQuillin (15-3) got the nod for the Wildcats and allowed six runs (four earned) on three hits and three walks with one strikeout.

UCLA jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning on a three-run homer by Madeline Jelenicki.

McQuillin settled in from there, as the Bruins only had one runner reach base in the next three innings, but they broke the game open in the fifth.

After a walk and an error, Kylee Perez hit a two-run double off the right field wall to make it a 5-0 game and Perez was later knocked in by Jelenicki via a sacrifice fly to extend UCLA’s lead to 6-0.

The damage was too much to overcome for Arizona’s offense, which continues to scuffle.

Once again, however, second-place Utah (32-11, 12-6) could not make up ground in the standings as it lost to Oregon State again on Saturday, meaning the Wildcats can still clinch the Pac-12 title with a win over UCLA on Sunday.

Oregon is also lurking in the Pac-12 title picture. The Ducks are 14-6 and only have last-place Stanford remaining on their conference schedule.

If Arizona loses the series finale to UCLA — thus finishing 17-7 in the Pac-12 — Oregon would win the conference if it sweeps the Cardinal next weekend, which seems likely since Stanford is 2-18 in Pac-12 play.

Game 3 between Arizona and UCLA is slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. and it will be televised on ESPN2.

You can follow this author on Twitter at @RKelapire