SB: Cats clear out the field - Tucson News Now

SB: Cats clear out the field

Mandie Perez hit her first home run of the season on Sunday. Mandie Perez hit her first home run of the season on Sunday.
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TUCSON, AZ -

Six games, six wins for the 15th-ranked Arizona softball team, which swept a doubleheader with Bryant to close the Wildcat Invitational with a perfect 6-0 record to improve to 17-3 overall on the season.

Arizona avoided a late comeback by Bryant in a 6-5 game 1 victory before an offensive explosion led the Cats to an 18-1, five-inning game 2 win.

The Cats face a key week ahead with seven games on the docket. Arizona hosts UNLV for a doubleheader on Wednesday before heading to California for a five-game tournament including bouts with top-ranked Florida, No. 9 Baylor and No. 16 Auburn. The Judi Garman Classic begins on Friday in Fullerton.

Game 1 – Arizona 6, Bryant 5

A seventh-inning, two-out grand slam pulled Bryant to within a run, but the Wildcats withstood the late surge and held on to defeat the Bulldogs 6-5 in game 1 of the doubleheader.

Arizona outhit Bryant 10-5 in the contest, led by two-hit outings from Hallie Wilson, Kellie Fox and Alexis Dotson.

Michelle Floyd (7-2) was brilliant for the majority of the game. The sophomore allowed a hit to the first batter she faced before retiring 14 of the next 18 batters she faced, allowing just three walks and a hit batter to reach base. Back-to-back one-out singles in the sixth were just the second and third hits off of Floyd, who struck out a career-best nine in the game.

In the seventh, Floyd allowed a single and a walk and was replaced by Nancy Bowling, tasked to get the final out of the game. A walk loaded the bases for Hayley Bottino, whose fourth homer of the season brought the Bulldogs to within 6-5. Trish Parks replaced Bowling and shut the door, earning her first career save.

Mandie Perez hit her first home run of the season, one of her two RBI on the day. Wilson added two RBI while Lauren Young and Fox drove in a single run apiece.

Bryant plated an unearned run in the top of the first inning, using a single, stolen base and an error to put a runner at third before a wild pitch allowed Liana Ogata to score the game's first run.

After zeros in the first two innings, Dotson and Wilson led off the bottom of the third with back-to-back singles before Perez bunted the two over. Fox tied the game with a sac fly to right.

The UA offense broke out in the fourth, taking the lead two batters into the frame. Mo Mercado doubled off the left field wall before Young fought off a two-strike pitch through the 3-4 hole to plate the run. Dotson singled before Wilson hit Arizona's second double of the inning, this a two-run double. Wilson then stole third base and scored on Perez's sacrifice fly.

UA insured its lead in the sixth with Perez's solo homer to center field, necessary given Bryant's four-run seventh.

Game 2 – Arizona 18, Bryant 1 (5 innings)

For the second time in the last 15 games, Arizona's offense put up 18-or-more runs, defeating Bryant 18-1 in five innings in the tournament cap.

Arizona scored 18 runs on a season-high 15 hits.

While the starters did the heavy lifting, scoring 10 runs in the first two innings, the Cats plated eight runs in the fourth inning using primarily pinch hitters.

Bench-players went 5-for-7 in the fourth inning including a three-run Payton Kornfeind home run, her first career hit in her first at-bat of the season. Aireal Sakasegawa collected her first two career hits in the frame while Nancy Bowling singled in two runs. Bowling is now 2-for-2 on the season with three RBI.

Katiyana Mauga hit her team-best seventh home run in the game. The sophomore drove in a season-best five runs in the game. Mauga had three hits in the contest.

Trish Parks (7-1) tossed a gem, retiring 12 of the first 14 batters she faced, allowing just one hit over the first four innings. In total, Parks allowed just one run, unearned, on three hits with six strikeouts and no walks.

The Wildcats scored three runs in the first inning, seven in the second and eight in the fourth in the offensive eruption.

It marks the first time Arizona has had two 18-plus-run games since 2009. The 2009 club had three such affairs.

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