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Arizona softball rebounds with win over No. 18 Missouri

Strong outing by Mariah Lopez

Photo by Ryan Kelapire

The first game at the Mary Nutter Classic wasn’t one for the Arizona Wildcats to write home about. Fortunately, they had the chance to get right back on the field and atone for it, beating No. 18 Missouri 2-0 in a pitcher’s duel to complete Thursday’s doubleheader.

No. 5 Arizona improved to 10-2 on the season. The Tigers, who have been making some noise this season despite not being eligible for the postseason, fall to 9-2.

Mariah Lopez (7-2) got the win, allowing just three hits, three walks, a wild pitch and a hit batter, while striking out eight. It dropped her ERA to 0.71 for the season.

Jessie Harper hit another home run, her fourth of the season and 70th of her career. Harper and Sharlize Palacios were responsible for the Wildcats’ RBIs. Harper and Marissa Schuld each had two hits, Arizona’s only multi-hit games.

Lopez entered in relief against Texas A&M earlier in the evening and took the loss. After giving up two runs, two walks and two hits in 1.2 innings against the Aggies, she was looking for a better outing against the Tigers.

It started off a little shaky, but Lopez was definitely more effective than in her earlier appearance. She allowed two hits in the opening inning, but she also struck out the side to keep the Tigers off the board. Missouri freshman Megan Schumacher was just as effective, allowing a single to Jessie Harper as she put up a zero.

Lopez seemed to get stronger. She allowed only one baserunner over the next three innings, bringing her team up in the bottom of the fourth with zeroes still on the board.

The offense finally got something going against Schumacher. Harper led off the home half of the fourth inning with a home run and Malia Martinez followed it up with a triple.

Palacios, who had three hits and two RBI against Texas A&M, knocked her in with a sac fly for the 2-0 lead.

Schumacher continued to struggle in the inning. In what was supposed to be the third out, Ivy Davis reached base when her third strike turned into a wild pitch. Another wild pitch and a single by Janelle Meono got Davis to third base, but Arizona couldn’t get her home.

After being handed the lead by her offense, it looked like Lopez might give it right back. A walk, a wild pitch and a hit batter put two on with no outs. She recovered, getting three straight groundouts to get her defense off the field.

With nothing doing for either team in the sixth, Lopez took the circle in the top of the seventh looking to slam the door. Eventually, she did, but not without Missouri making it interesting.

A leadoff single, a walk and a sacrifice fly put two runners in scoring position with two outs. A fly out to left ended the rally.