Arizona softball will go as far as their pitching takes them this season, so when Taylor McQuillin is throwing like she did Sunday, their potential is limitless.
The left-hander tossed her first career no-hitter in an 8-0 win over New Mexico in the final game of the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe.
McQuillin (2-1) struck out 11 Lobos, and faced one batter over the minimum as the Wildcats run-ruled UNM in five innings. The junior nearly threw a perfect game, but walked a batter in the top of the fifth.
It’s the 91st no-hitter in UA history. The Wildcats had two last year, including a perfect game by Michelle Floyd.
Sophomore shortstop Jessie Harper homered twice — a two-run shot in the third, then a three-run bomb in the fourth — while Aleah Craighton launched a three-run homer to left to give McQuillin more than enough run support.
The Wildcats improve to 4-1 to start the season, also beating Northwestern, UC Davis, and Fresno State in Tempe.
Their lone loss came courtesy of No. 24 Oklahoma State, which hit McQuillin hard. The left-hander allowed five runs in three innings, including a pair of homers in a 9-4 loss.
But she rebounded from that with five innings of one-run ball against Fresno State and a no-hitter against New Mexico.
Meanwhile, sophomore Alyssa Denham allowed just two runs (one unearned) in 12 innings in Tempe.
Arizona’s offense was a steadying force throughout the tournament, posting 35 runs and 47 hits in five games.
The Wildcats hit 12 home runs, with six different players getting ahold of one.
Harper had four, Craighton, Alyssa Palomino, and Dejah Mulipola each launched two, and Reyna Carranco and Ashleigh Hughes each hit one.
That type of power is expected to be the norm for the Wildcats this season. Their pitching is not as much of a sure-thing.
McQuillin and Denham certainly have the ability to be a potent 1-2 punch, but consistency will be key.
Arizona returns to action Thursday when it faces Colorado State in its home opener. First pitch at Hillenbrand Stadium is scheduled for 6 p.m. MST.