Cats' bats continue to break Stanford

Cats' bats continue to break Stanford

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Just three teams in the last 13 seasons have started 38-1. The 2004 Arizona Wildcats, the 2012 Cal Bears and the 2017 Wildcats.

In 2004, Arizona won its 40th game and went on to start the year 45-1, the best 46-game start in NCAA history. In 2012, the 38-1 Golden Bears lost to Arizona in the 40th game of the year, denying Cal the first 39-1 start since 2004.

On Saturday, the Wildcats defeated Stanford 12-0 in five innings, their 24th straight win and 39th in 40 tries this season, matching the 2004 Wildcats, among others, as the best 40-game start in NCAA softball history. Oregon, currently 35-1, has a chance to join the Wildcats next week.

It was a new day, but the same story at Hillenbrand Stadium in game 2 between the Wildcats and Cardinal. Arizona hit four home runs, a three-run home run by Mo Mercado, a grand slam by Dejah Mulipola and solo homers by Alyssa Palomino and Katiyana Mauga. For all four, it was their second home run of the series.

The Wildcats have hit 11 home runs in their eight offensive innings this series. UA pitchers have held Stanford to eight total hits. 

Arizona followed its 20-run, 17-hit explosion on Friday with 12 runs on 12 hits on Saturday. The 32 runs in the two games are nearly triple the 11 total runs Arizona has allowed in Pac-12 play this year.

Taylor McQuillin earned the victory with four scoreless innings of three-hit ball. McQuillin struck out six, walked two and improved to 13-0 on the year. Michelle Floyd closed the game with a scoreless fifth inning.

In her last nine starts, McQuillin is 9-0 with a 0.13 ERA and 75 strikeouts in 52.0 innings pitched.

Five players had multiple hits in the game for Arizona. Mandie Perez went 2-for-3 with two RBI, Ashleigh Hughes went 2-for-3 with an RBI-double while Palomino, Mauga and Mercado all had hits to go along with their homers.

The Wildcats picked up right where they left off on Friday night, hitting their eighth home run of the series in the bottom of the first inning. Mo Mercado homered down the left field line with two out, a three-run shut to give the Cats the early lead.

Arizona added on in the second. Two walks and a single loaded the bases for Mulipola, who hit her first career grand slam, her second homer of the weekend and Arizona's second grand slam of the series.

Palomino and Mauga led off the bottom of the fourth with back-to-back homers before RBI doubles from Hughes and Perez put the Cats ahead 12-0.

Floyd entered and pitched a scoreless fifth to help the Cats mercy the Cardinal for the second straight day.