If you ignore the pitching in game one of Arizona softball’s doubleheader sweep of New Mexico State on Wednesday, it was an impressive outing for the Wildcats. Most impressive were the two sophomores who excelled in the game 2 run-rule victory over the Aggies.
Jessie Fontes and Allie Skaggs provided a one-two punch of pitching and offense that led to the 11-0 domination of the Aggies in the nightcap. The pair was also crucial in Arizona’s escape with a 14-9 victory in the opening game.
For Skaggs, it was just more business as usual—what fans have come to expect from the sparkplug from the middle infield. It wasn’t just business as usual for Fontes, though. Not even close.
The right-hander is in her second season at Arizona. She has appeared in just 14 games to date. Before Wednesday night, only one of those appearances lasted longer than two innings. In fact, only two lasted as long as two innings.
Fontes pitched six innings in the second game after pitching the final 1.1 innings in the first game. The only reason her game ended after just six innings was that her team’s offense forced it to end.
Fontes gave up just one hit in six innings in game two. She walked two and struck out four.
It didn’t start in the second game, though. Fontes came into the early game after both Devyn Netz and Madi Elish struggled. She stopped the bleeding and preserved the win by striking out three and holding the Aggies hitless.
At the conclusion of both games, Fontes had lowered her ERA to 2.33 and her WHIP to 0.88, both of which lead the team, albeit in far fewer innings than the rest of the rotation.
Fontes wasn’t the only player whose first-rate showing started in the early game and persisted into the late one. Skaggs started her home run parade during the seventh inning of the first game. She ended the day with three, including her second grand slam in less than a week.
The output of power in the first game increased Skaggs’ season total to a team-high 17 home runs, one more than teammate Carlie Scupin. That placed Skaggs second in the conference, three behind Pac-12 leader Baylee Klingler of Washington. By the end of game two, she sat at 19 and trailed Klingler by just one.
Skaggs went 4-for-8 at the plate over both games, getting two hits in five at-bats in game one and two hits in three at-bats in game two. She had three RBI in the opening game and added five more in the late game. She also scored five runs on the day.
Arizona also got home runs from Izzy Pacho, Paige Dimler, and Blaise Biringer in the first game. In the second, Sharlize Palacios joined the group and Dimler had her second of the day.
The Wildcats now return to Tucson to face Fresno State for a doubleheader on Saturday.
UPDATE at 4:35 p.m. MST 4/28/2022: This story was updated to reflect that the second game went six innings. No box score was distributed by Arizona Athletics, but the University initially posted on its website that it was a five-inning game. The University posted the change after 4 p.m. MST on April 28. Other stats in the story have been updated to reflect that change.