(Photo: Michael Barron/WCSN)
The University of Arizona hasn’t lost a series all season at home, and the Wildcats weren’t going to let it happen on senior day against their arch rivals.
The No. 3 Arizona Wildcats mercy-ruled the No. 23 Arizona State Sun Devils 8-0 in five innings.
The Wildcats looked better than ASU from the start, as they got runners in scoring position in each of the first two innings while senior starter Danielle O’Toole retired the first six Sun Devils at the plate, striking out three.
It didn’t show on the scoreboard though until the bottom of the third, after ASU failed to cash in on a one-out bloop double by junior left fielder Nichole Chilson.
Arizona senior Katiyana Mauga, the Pac-12 leader in home runs with 22, hit a deep fly out to center field to start the third inning- a hit that foreshadowed the theme of the night.
Senior shortstop Mo Mercado and freshman first baseman Jessie Harper, followed Mauga’s at-bat with back to back home runs respectively, to put Arizona up 2-0, which prompted the Sun Devils to make an early pitching change.
Mercado’s was a high fly ball into the first row of seats in left-center field, while Harper’s was a high drive to right-center.
ASU threatened in the top of the fourth, as sophomore right fielder Fa Leilua’s drive down the left field line that just hooked foul was the closest the Sun Devils got to getting a runner on third, let alone scoring, all night.
The Sun Devils stranded two runners for a second consecutive inning, and the nation’s third ranked team made them pay.
The Wildcats ran ASU freshman Giselle Juarez out of the game before even scoring a run, as they loaded the bases with one out to start the inning.
It didn’t get any better with junior Dale Ryndak in the circle though, as she walked Mercado with the bases loaded, then gave up a grand slam to Harper which put ASU down 7-0.
Freshman Alyssa Palomino followed Harper’s slam with a dinger of her own, and the Wildcats took an 8-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
O’Toole retired the Sun Devil batters in order for her Pac-12 leading 26 win, and gave the Wildcats another point in the Territorial Cup.
Arizona State’s next game is Friday versus California at 5 p.m. in Tempe.