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Mariah Lopez blanks No. 15 Florida State as Arizona softball evens series in Tallahassee

Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics

Mariah Lopez threw a three-hit shutout and No. 2 Arizona evened the series with No. 15 Florida State by squeaking out a 1-0 win on Friday in Tallahassee.

Sharlize Palacios had the lone RBI, roping a single into left center to score pinch-runner Bella Dayton in the fourth.

The Wildcats had some chances to add to the lead but couldn’t come through, stranding at least one runner in scoring position in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

They only had five hits as their offense continues to struggle against high-quality pitching. Arizona has mustered six runs in four games against Oregon State, UCF and Florida State (x2). The No. 7, 8 and 9 hitters went 0 for 7 on Friday. Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza went 0 for 4 with four Ks.

FSU starter Caylan Arnold fanned 10 Wildcats in 5.1 innings. Danielle Watson struck out three in 1.2 innings.

Still, they were outdone by Lopez, who turned in her best outing of the season. The senior had been struggling with walks and homers, but struck out nine, hit two batters, walked one and allowed three singles on Friday.

The Seminoles only put two runners in scoring position all game. An infield single placed the tying run on first with two outs in the seventh, but Lopez struck out Kaia LoPreste on four pitches to cap a dominant outing.

The Wildcats improve to 14-2 on the season. The rubber match is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. MST on ACC Network Extra.

It will be interesting to see if the Wildcats shake up the lineup and who they start in the circle. Ace Alyssa Denham surrendered three runs without recording a single out in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to FSU before Hanah Bowen allowed just one run in six innings of relief.