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Mariah Lopez dominant as Arizona softball cruises past Bryant before showdown with Oklahoma

Mariah Lopez

Mariah Lopez tossed seven innings of one-run ball and No. 4 Arizona cruised past Bryant 3-1 in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The Oklahoma transfer allowed just three hit and struck out a season-high 13. Lopez retired 12 straight after an RBI double cut Arizona’s lead to 3-1 in the second.

The Wildcats improve to 8-0 heading into the 4:30 p.m. MST bout with No. 2 Oklahoma.

Lopez starting against Bryant means she is unlikely to get the nod against her former team, what would have been a must-see matchup. However, there is still a good chance she will be used in relief.

Lopez was given a three-run cushion in the first when Reyna Carranco ripped an RBI single to center and Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza belted a two-run homer to left, her team-high fifth of the season.

Arizona got 10 hits from eight different players. Freshman catcher Sharlize Palacios lined two singles to center for her first career hits. She missed the first six games of the season with a broken finger.

Jenna Kean had a two-hit game as well, notching a pair of singles in the No. 9 spot.

Freshman Bella Dayton, who had the game-winning hit vs. Northern Iowa on Friday, set the table at the top of the order, going 1 for 3 with a walk and stolen base.

Arizona hit 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position, leaving nine on base. Palomino-Cardoza popped out with the bases loaded in the sixth.

Kean snagged a towering fly ball at the warning track for the second out in the seventh, and Lopez completed her outing with a three-pitch strikeout, all riseballs.

She is 7-0 with a 0.96 ERA.