ASU softball falls victim to powerful Wildcats lineup, dominant pitching

Arizona hits three home runs off Sun Devil junior pitcher Samantha Mejia

ASU softball had no legitimate answer against Arizona on Friday at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium in Tucson.

No. 11 UA (25-7, 7-0 Pac-12) started quickly with its high-powered offensive lineup, which finished with three home runs, and ultimately defeated No. 18 ASU (25-9, 5-2) 8-0 in five innings to start the Territorial Cup series in Tucson.

After Arizona senior pitcher Taylor McQuillin (11-5) started the game with six consecutive outs, including five strikeouts, the Wildcats took control at the plate in the second inning as junior infielder Malia Martinez hit a two-run home run.

ASU went three-up, three-down again in the third inning with a strikeout and two groundball outs. Then, UA really started to find a groove at the plate.

After back-to-back walks, junior pitcher Samantha Mejia (12-4) recorded back-to-back outs, including a strikeout against junior infielder Jessie Harper, who has the second-most home runs in the nation. But, junior catcher Dejah Mulipola blasted a three-run home run to centerfield.

Then, after another walk, senior designated hitter Tamara Statman followed with another home run, a two-run shot to right field to give UA a 7-0 lead against the Sun Devils.

ASU found some offensive momentum with a single from senior outfielder Skylar McCarty in the fourth inning and a single from senior infielder Taylor Becerra, but those were the only hits the Sun Devils could muster against McQuillin. 

McQuillin finished with an eight-strikeout complete game, only allowing the two hits. ASU only had two RISP throughout the game, which ultimately didn’t pose a threat against the Wildcats' shutout of the Sun Devils.

UA ended the matchup early in the fifth inning against redshirt junior pitcher Cielo Meza. After UA junior infielder Reyna Carranco hit a lead-off triple, Harper hit a sacrifice fly to seal a walk-off run-rule victory.

ASU will look for revenge against the Wildcats in Game 2 on Saturday, March 30 at 5 p.m. MST.

Reach the reporter at or follow @NATE_HIATT on Twitter.

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