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Janelle Meoño returns as Arizona softball splits doubleheader with Utah

The Wildcats can win the series tomorrow if the weather cooperates

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It’s cold in Utah!
Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Arizona softball had to battle both the weather and the Utah Utes, but the Wildcats had one thing go their way in Salt Lake City. Starting centerfielder Janelle Meoño returned to action for Arizona after missing almost two months with a stress fracture in her foot.

Meoño’s return wasn’t enough to lift Arizona to a sweep of the doubleheader. They dropped game one by a score of 5-2 before bouncing back with an 8-0 victory in the late game. By salvaging a split, the Wildcats are on track to win the series tomorrow if they can rise to the occasion. If they can complete the task, it would be the Wildcats’ second series win of the season and second in a row.

Meoño had not appeared in a game since March 3 against North Dakota. On April 19, head coach Caitlin Lowe said that the sophomore was working in “different practice scenarios” and that they would “evaluate her week-to-week.” The evaluation this week turned out to be positive.

Arizona went 14-11 in Meoño's absence including an eight-game losing streak to start Pac-12 play. The Wildcats are now 26-16 on the season and 5-12 in the Pac-12. They will go for their second Pac-12 series win of the season on Sunday at 11 a.m. MST/PDT.

Arizona started game one of the doubleheader without Meoño just as they have every game for almost two months. Then, last year’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and batting champion appeared in the batter’s box with one out in the top of the fifth, taking the place of Giulia Koutsoyanopulos. While the Pac-12 Network play-by-play announcer suggested that Meoño would only be batting, the centerfielder stayed in the game when defense rolled around.

Meoño struck out in her first at-bat, but at least she was on the field. She was on her way to better things. The sophomore went 1-2 with an RBI in the early game. She started game two, going 2-3 at the plate and scoring a run.

The story of game two was the pitching of Devyn Netz. The sophomore took a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth before giving up a one-out single to pinch-hitter Elicia Espinosa. It was the first of only two hits that Netz surrendered in the game.

Netz struck out one in seven innings on the way to lowering her ERA from 3.68 to 3.40. The sophomore right-hander walked one and hit a batter in seven innings.

Netz might not have needed much run support, but she certainly got it. The Wildcats got eight runs on 10 hits and a Utah error in the nightcap. Meoño (2-3), Palacios (3-4), and Pacho (2-4) each had multiple hits while Pacho (3) and Scupin (2) each had multi-RBI games.

After two days of inclement weather, Salt Lake City expects clouds tomorrow, but the chance of precipitation is minimal.