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Arizona softball surges late to run-rule USF, complete sweep in Tampa

Janelle Meoño
Photo by @ArizonaSoftball on Twitter

Mariah Lopez and Alyssa Denham combined for a two-hit shutout and Arizona’s offense exploded late as they run-ruled USF 8-0 in five innings to complete the two-game sweep in Tampa.

The game was scoreless until the fourth when Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza laced an RBI double to score Janelle Meoño. Jessie Harper singled in Palomino-Cardoza and Dejah Mulipola and Sharlize Palacios both homered to make it a five-run frame.

A sac fly by Palomino-Cardoza and another two-run bomb by Mulipola, her sixth long ball of the season, pushed the lead to 8-0 in the fifth. Denham struck out the side in the bottom of the frame to complete another run-rule victory. The senior pitched the final 2.2 innings, allowing just one hit and a walk while striking out six.

Denham entered with two outs in the third after Lopez, who was struggling with her command, issued her fifth and sixth walks of the game. Denham got a strikeout and groundout to escape the jam.

Both teams had prime scoring opportunities in the early innings but couldn’t convert. Arizona left the bases loaded in the first and third innings and USF did the same in the first and second innings.

But as we’ve already seen so many times in this young season, Arizona’s offense can only be contained for so long. Sunday’s win was their 10th mercy-rule victory in their 12-0 start.

The Wildcats got 12 hits from eight different players, with most coming from their underclassmen. Meoño and Carlie Scupin had three hits apiece, Meoño’s second straight three-hit game. Fellow freshman Allie Skaggs, who started both games of the series at second base, doubled and later scored on Palomino-Cardoza’s sac fly.

Arizona will continue their Florida swing Monday when they face No. 22 UCF in Orlando, their first game against a ranked opponent.