The Caitlin Lowe era started off a little shaky. Arizona softball starting pitcher Hanah Bowen gave up a home run to Southern Utah first baseman Reilly Williams in the opening inning of her new head coach’s first game at the helm. Thunderbird pitcher Keimon Winston got through the first unscathed. Then the floodgates opened for the Wildcats.
“I think everybody had butterflies going in,” Lowe said. “Honestly, I think the whole team did. I did. It just felt good to play good softball today and kind of really get everyone some chances.”
The Arizona bats came alive in the second inning on the way to a 22-1 win in five innings. Meanwhile, Bowen and fellow pitcher Jessie Fontes did not allow another hit through five innings.
“That’s going to happen,” Lowe said about the early home run. “Good hitters are all over the country and they’re going to square balls up occasionally, and I told (Bowen) the response matters more than what happened to you. And the fact that she threw seven straight outs means a lot.”
The Wildcats sent 16 batters to the plate in the second and had back-to-back home runs from Allie Skaggs and Carlie Scupin. When the second frame came to an end, the home team was ahead 10-1. They didn’t look back.
“There was a runner on first and second,” Skaggs said about her three-run homer. “And usually at that point, they’re going to try to get you to ground out to the left side, to get the out of third. And Cait, before the at-bat, comes up to me and is like, ‘Okay, they’re gonna try to get you to go to third, so if they throw you something in, let’s just take it and let’s see where it goes.’ And I looked at her and I was like, ‘Well, can I hit it? Am I allowed to go for it?’ And she said, ‘If you want to go for it, go for it.’ So I got off the plate, took one pitch, and then she threw me a pretty pitch inside, and that’s what I was looking for.”
Izzy Pacho added a third home run for the Wildcats in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was part of Arizona’s second inning of the game scoring at least nine runs.
Jasmine Perezchica led the team with four RBI, while Skaggs, Scupin, Sharlize Palacios, and Guilia Koutsoyanopulos each contributed three. Skaggs joined Palacios with a team-high three runs scored.
“I think they weren’t expecting her to have the pop, which was awesome just because you see Jas come up compared to Scoop, you’re not expecting someone to power through the infield,” Skaggs said. “Having Jas, who can power slap and get us three runs out of it, that’s amazing!”
Bowen pitched three innings, throwing 30 pitches and getting the win. She gave up one earned run on one hit and struck out five of the 10 batters she faced.
Fontes relieved Bowen in the fourth inning and finished the game. She had four strikeouts and no hits in two innings.