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Hanah Bowen throws first-ever complete game as Arizona softball sweeps GCU

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

PHOENIX — Arizona softball completed a three-game sweep of Grand Canyon on Saturday by topping the Lopes 8-1 to extend their winning streak to 17 games.

UA sophomore Hanah Bowen threw her first-ever complete game as the Wildcats pulled away late by scoring seven of their eight runs in the final three innings.

“Their hitters were very aggressive, so I had to keep them on their toes, get ahead in the count, and just throw my junk,” said Bowen, who is 3-0 with a 0.55 ERA.

The right-hander tallied a career-high eight strikeouts and only allowed four hits, though she did hit three batters. One of GCU’s four hits was a first-inning solo homer by Savannah Tourville that gave the Lopes their only lead — and run — of the series.

“I thought she did a good job,” UA coach Mike Candrea said of Bowen. “She didn’t have her A-game today, but sometimes when you don’t have your A-game, you gotta be able to beat someone with your B-game, and she did. She battled well.

“The big thing with her is pinpoint accuracy. She’s got a great mind on her shoulders and she’s a smart pitcher, she knows what she wants to do, she’s very composed, and she will pitch to contact. She’ll get her share of strikeouts, but today she hit a couple batters and the one pitch that got elevated they hit hard, but other than that she did a good job.”

Bowen said she felt “pretty good” in the final innings, even though it was easily her longest outing of the season. Her previous best was a five-inning appearance against Illinois State on Feb. 9.

If anything, Bowen got better as the game went on.

“She started to be more relaxed especially when we scored more runs for her,” said UA catcher Dejah Mulipola. “She got back into her groove.”

Mulipola provided some of that offense when she launched a two-run shot in the fifth to give Arizona a 3-1 lead, her 17th homer of the season.

The very next batter, Malia Martinez, matched it with her 11th homer of the season and Reyna Carranco lined a two-run double in the sixth to make it 6-1.

It took a while for Arizona to get going offensively. The Wildcats (35-7, 12-0 Pac-12) did not plate their first run until Jessie Harper’s RBI double in the third.

“We need to get our bats going early ... instead of doing it all in one inning at the last minute,” Mulipola said.

Still, the Wildcats finished with 15 hits and got some key contributions from their bench. Pinch-hitters Hillary Edior and Carli Campbell rounded out the scoring with a solo homer and an RBI double in the seventh, respectively. Izzy Pacho and Ivy Davis notched pinch-hit singles to set the stage for Campbell’s RBI.

That unit was about the only thing Candrea liked about Arizona’s offense all weekend. The Wildcats scratched 16 runs in the sweep.

“Truthfully we’re a better hitting team than we showed,” he said. “I thought our hands were a little bit slow, so this is a good time for us to get a couple days off and come back and have a light day Tuesday and then practice hard on Wednesday and Thursday to get ready for Stanford.”

Postgame interviews