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Poor situational hitting dooms Arizona softball in loss to NC State

Rylee Pierce
Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Poor situational hitting doomed the Arizona Wildcats as they lost to NC State 4-1 on Sunday in their final game of the USF Opening Weekend Invitational.

No. 7 Arizona outhit NC State 7-5, but stranded eight runners and hit 3 for 15 with runners on base. The Wildcats’ lone run came via a leadoff homer off the bat of Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, her fourth of the season.

Arizona left the bases loaded in the first and second innings. Rylee Pierce popped out and Hillary Edior struck out to end the first, then Jessie Harper grounded into a double play to end the second.

UA right-hander Alyssa Denham (1-1) surrendered two solo homers in four innings before being relieved by Taylor McQuillin, who gave up a solo shot in the sixth before a wild pitch plated NC State’s final run later in the frame.

The Wildcats (3-2) blasted 11 homers in five games in Tampa, but that was pretty much their only source of offense. 16 of the 18 runs they scored were the product of the long ball. Arizona batted .226 with runners on base this weekend and .212 with runners in scoring position.

If you only include their games against major-conference opponents (so not including the 9-1 win over Illinois State), the Wildcats hit .170 with runners on base and .154 with runners in scoring position.

Arizona often struggled to get timely hits last season too, and so far it looks like that could be a problem again in 2019.

On a positive note, Arizona’s defense did not commit a single error in Tampa.

The Wildcats return to action Thursday when they host New Mexico to open the Hillenbrand Invitational, the first game at the newly-renovated Hillenbrand Stadium.

Check out our softball section for more coverage from this weekend.