Dejah Mulipola was placed in Carlie Scupin’s hitting group on the first day of practice and watched in awe as the freshman clobbered ball after ball off the Gittings Building well beyond the right field fence.
“So I was like, ‘I think there’s a new strongest hitter on the team,’” Mulipola laughed.
Now that power is showing in games too. Scupin belted a pair of three-run homers to help Arizona softball run rule Colorado State 9-1 in the second game of Thursday’s doubleheader.
They were Scupin’s third and fourth homers of the season, all of which have come in the last three games. The Tucsonan also homered in the first game of the doubleheader, a 12-0 win over BYU. Yep, that was a three-run shot too.
“I’m definitely a lot more comfortable at the plate, just getting that first weekend out and getting all the, I guess, first game jitters out,” said Scupin, who had one hit in her first three games. “Now I’m seeing the ball a lot better than I did last weekend.”
The colossal first baseman has been able to slow the game down and adjust with the pitch. Her first two homers of the day were to the opposite field. Her third was a moonshot over the batter’s eye in center, sending a center-cut meatball right back where it came from.
“Her power is anywhere,” head coach Mike Candrea said. “Anytime she puts the ball in the air, it has a good chance of going out. Very strong kid. I guess growing up they didn’t throw her inside so she had to learn how to hit the outside (pitch).”
Adding Scupin to a lineup that already has some of the game’s best sluggers has been predictably lethal. The Wildcats have scored 66 runs during their 7-0 start, with six mercy-rule wins. They have launched 15 homers and their most accomplished power hitter—Jessie Harper—hasn’t even gone yard yet.
“Our lineup is so stacked that nobody wants to pitch to any of our hitters,” Scupin said.
The Wildcats have only allowed six runs, too. Mariah Lopez picked up her second win Thursday, allowing a walk and five hits including a solo homer that gave Colorado State a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
It was erased a half-inning later when Scupin deposited a three-run homer into the left-field bleachers. That tied her for the team lead in long balls. She took it an inning later, and who knows if she’ll ever give it back.
“I told you in the very beginning that she’s got as good of power as I’ve seen,” Candrea said. “The key is that you’re able to make adjustments and be able to make contact. And I think she’s very capable of being a 20-plus home run hitter every year that she’s gonna play here.”
CARLIE SCUPIN AGAIN— Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) February 26, 2021
Her second 3-run homer of the game and fourth homer in the last three games pic.twitter.com/weSwfRR33E
Families in attendance for the first time
About 50 family members of the players and coaches were in attendance for Thursday’s game, seated mostly along the third base line. They cheered, clapped and, yes, even chided the umpires at times.
“It was great,” Candrea said. “I was excited. It’s a long time coming and I’m just really glad that we were able to do everything that we needed to to at least have parents be able to come to the game watch the kids play.”
Reyna has a broken thumb
Candrea said after the game that star second baseman Reyna Carranco has a broken thumb on her throwing hand and will be out “for a while.” She suffered the injury in practice leading up to Thursday’s doubleheader.
Junior Hanah Bowen and freshman Allie Skaggs each got a start at second base in her stead. Bowen went 2 for 2 with a walk and Skaggs went 1 for 2 with a walk.
“It’s a credit to the depth that we have on the team,” Mulipola said. “Everybody’s always ready.”
Arizona hosts Seattle on Friday at 3 p.m. MST.