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Arizona softball falls to No. 24 Oklahoma State, 9-4

The Wildcats split the first day of the Kajikawa Classic

Photo courtesy Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics

Taylor McQuillin’s first test as Arizona’s ace didn’t quite go as planned.

The junior left-hander surrendered five runs in three innings as No. 7 Arizona lost to No. 24 Oklahoma State, 9-4, on Friday in Tempe.

The Wildcats drop to 1-1 on the season after beating Northwestern 4-1 in the first leg of Friday’s doubleheader.

McQuillin earned the win in relief in that game, but the Cowgirls jumped on her early and often, notching four runs in the first inning.

Sydney Pennington laced an RBI double to right center, before Madi Sue Montgomery cleared the bases with a three-run homer to left center.

Arizona, the designated road team, got a run back in the second courtesy of a solo shot by sophomore catcher Dejah Mulipola, but the Cowgirls answered with a solo homer by Jessi Haffner.

The Cowgirls scored in every inning but the second, tallying 12 hits on the night.

UA freshman Hanah Bowen relieved McQuillin in the fourth but didn’t have much success, either. The right-hander allowed four runs on five hits, plus walked four and struck out three in three frames in her first appearance as a Wildcat.

Pennington had an RBI single off Bowen in the fourth to extend Oklahoma State’s lead to 6-1.

Arizona cut the deficit to 6-3 in the fifth thanks to a two-run homer by Ashleigh Hughes, but the Cowboys responded with a run in the bottom half to keep the Wildcats at bay.

Emmie Robertson went the distance for the Cowgirls, allowing six hits and four runs while walking three and punching out four.

Arizona loaded the bases in the top of the sixth with one out, but it would only get one run out of that ordeal — an RBI groundout by third baseman Malia Martinez. Tamara Statman struck out with two runners in scoring position to end the frame.

Then Montgomery launched her second two-run homer of the night to put the game out of reach, all but ending a discouraging game for UA’s revamped pitching staff. It was the first time since the 2016 season that Arizona allowed more than seven runs in a game.

But Louisiana-Lafayette transfer Alyssa Denham did throw five innings of one-run ball against Northwestern in the first game of Friday’s doubleheader, so all was not lost.

The Wildcats continue the Kajikawa Classic on Saturday at 11:45 a.m. MST against UC Davis. Then they play Fresno State at 5 p.m. MST.

Neither game will be televised or streamed.

Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire