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Arizona softball’s freshman pitchers make an impression in 1st appearances at Hillenbrand Stadium

Arizona softball team at a fall scrimmage against Central Arizona College on Oct. 6, 2023.
Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics

Fall ball is the time for Arizona softball’s newcomers to make an impression and get comfortable under the bright lights at Hillenbrand Stadium. Freshman pitchers Brooke Mannon and Ryan Maddox did just that against Central Arizona College in a 13-0 win in six innings on Friday evening.

Mannon got the start. She struck out five of the 11 batters she faced while allowing one hit and issuing one walk in three innings of work. She also got one at-bat, joining Arizona’s growing number of pitchers who also hit.

Maddox came in to relieve Mannon in the top of the fourth inning. She picked up the win with two innings of work. Like her fellow freshman, she gave up one hit and one walk but did not surrender any runs. She struck out two of the nine hitters who stepped into the box against her.

Fifth-year senior Ali Blanchard pitched the final inning. She faced four batters. She walked one and struck out one. She also had one wild pitch but did not give up any hits.

Sophomore Dakota Kennedy started the fall just like she ended the spring. The left fielder went 4 for 4 at the plate with a double and a home run. She knocked in three of the Wildcats’ 13 runs and scored four runs.

Senior Carlie Scupin went 3 for 4 with three doubles, driving in four runs.

Senior Jasmine Perezchica and junior Paige Dimler also had multi-hit games. Both outfielders had two hits and stole a base. Dimler also drew a walk.

As a team, Arizona scored 13 runs on 13 hits with 12 RBI.

New hitting coach Josh Bloomer said that Arizona would use its speed more this year. He promised that would start in the fall, and the Wildcats delivered with five stolen bases. In addition to Perezchica and Dimler, they got steals from Allie Skaggs, Logan Cole, and Tayler Biehl. The trick will be carrying that into the regular season. While Arizona stole bases last fall and early in the 2023 regular season, that faded as the season progressed.

The team takes the field again on Friday, Oct. 13. The Wildcats will play a doubleheader. They face Phoenix College at 5 p.m. MST followed by Eastern Arizona College at 7 p.m.