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Arizona softball powers past Stanford for 18th straight win

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Photo by Ryan Kelapire

After two weeks on the road, Arizona softball returned home Thursday and did what it does best—bang the ball out of Hillenbrand Stadium.

The nation’s top home-run-hitting team went yard three times in a 7-0 victory against No. 24 Stanford, stretching its winning streak to 18 games.

“We had a good game plan and we just weren’t executing early in the game. We finally made some adjustments and got the barrel to the ball and got good results,” said UA coach Mike Candrea. “But I thought today was a good game — good pitching, good defense and timely hitting.”

Reyna Carranco broke a scoreless tie in the third by launching a three-run homer to right after slappers Peanut Martinez and Jenna Kean legged out infield singles.

Hillary Edior homered to left center in the fourth to make it a four-run cushion. She also drew a walk in the second inning, UA’s first baserunner of the game.

“We realized what she was throwing us,” Edior said of Stanford starter Maddy Dwyer, who surrendered all seven runs before being chased in the fifth. “She was throwing us (inside).”

Candrea started Edior because of her ability to handle the inside pitch. Sure enough, it was a dropball on the inner half of the plate that she pulled for her second homer of the season.

“That’s one of my favorite (pitches),” Edior said.

Edior’s playing time was scant early in the season, but she has forced her way into the lineup with some hot hitting. The designated player has six hits, two homers and five RBI in the last five games. She has started four of them.

“Hillary’s been seeing the ball good,” Candrea said. “I watched her throughout the week and she’s had some good (batting practices) and I think she’s mentally ready to contribute, and it’s an absolute tribute to her to continue to work hard and stay focused. And when her time was called she was prepared and that’s a sign of a good senior and a good leader.”

Junior catcher Dejah Mulipola clubbed her 18th homer of the season in the fifth — a two-run shot to left — to give the Wildcats a seven-run lead.

That was more than enough run support for UA ace Taylor McQuillin, who posted her 10th shutout. The senior lefty allowed just three hits and a walk while striking out five, despite not being on the top of her game.

“I was just having a rough time trying to locate pitches on the corners and find the umpire’s strike zone,” she said. “He didn’t have much of a down zone, so I had to find a way to elevate pitches without leaving them over the plate. The hits today were a bit hard, but the best part about softball is my team scored me seven runs and I found a way to work around rough pitching.”

Arizona pitchers have only allowed nine earned runs during its 18-game winning streak, and the Wildcats (36-7, 13-0) have outscored their opponents 121-11 in conference play.

Edior has been at Arizona for four years now and insists this team is special.

“I was telling my mom the other day that it’s one of my favorite teams,” the senior said. “The team chemistry is really like a sisterhood. Everyone knows their role.”

Postgame interviews