No. 7 Arizona softball sweeps UNLV

LAS VEGAS, Nev. — No. 7 Arizona softball swept a doubleheader at UNLV on Wednesday, downing the Rebels 3-2 and 7-5 in eight innings at Eller Media Stadium.

Katiyana Mauga hit two homers on the day, including her third grand slam of the season. Mo Mercado added a homer which broke a 5-5 tie in the top of the eighth in game two.

Game 1: Arizona 3, UNLV 2

Kelsey Rodriguez had two RBI and Katiyana Mauga hit a solo homer in Arizona’s victory.

Estela Pinon (7-4) allowed two runs on four hits with six walks and two strikeouts. The senior allowed just an infield single through the first 4.2 innings. UNLV scored its two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Kenzie Fowler entered to pick up her first save of the season in the seventh. Fowler did not allow a hit in 0.2 innings of work with two walks and one strikeout.

Rodriguez went 2-for-2 in the game including a double and bases-loaded two-RBI single in the third.

After leaving the bases loaded in the second, Arizona would not miss out on the same opportunity in the third. Hallie Wilson doubled to begin the third and a pair of one-out walks loaded the bases for Rodriguez, who singled to right to bring in a pair.

Arizona would add to the lead in the top of the sixth when Mauga launched a solo opposite-field homer to right to give Arizona a 3-0 lead.

Arizona would need all three runs as UNLV made a comeback bid in the seventh. After having just two hits all day against Pinon, the Rebels put two runners on with one out in the seventh. Stephany Juarez hit them both home with a double to left to chase Pinon in favor of Fowler, who inherited the game’s tying run in scoring position with one out. Fowler would work out of the jam with a fielder’s choice and a strikeout to end the game.

Game 2: Arizona 7, UNLV 5 (8 innings)

Two critical errors led to four unearned runs for UNLV, but the Wildcats prevailed in extra innings.

The Wildcats were an out away from a 5-2 victory in the bottom of the seventh before Tayler Van Acker hit a three-run homer to center field to tie the game.

The tie would not last long though, as Mo Mercado broke out of a 1-for-25 slump with a two-run homer to left field.

Nancy Bowling allowed just one earned run on five hits in six innings. Bowling struck out five and walked five in the start. Kenzie Fowler (4-2) earned the win in relief. Fowler allowed one run on one hit with three strikeouts in two innings.

Arizona got on the board quickly, taking advantage of three Alex Petrolia walks in the top of the first inning. Mauga would follow with her third grand slam of the season.

UNLV responded with two runs in the bottom of the first. Garie Blando led off the inning with a single and stole second. Pauline Monreal drove her home with a single to right. The second run came in when Kelsey Rodriguez’s errant throw skipped into center field as she was trying to catch a base stealer, allowing the runner on third to score.

The teams would exchange scoreless frames until the fifth inning when Chelsea Goodacre doubled home Kellie Fox to give Arizona a 5-2 lead.

The lead withstood until the bottom of the seventh inning. A walk and an error put the first two UNLV batters on base in the frame and chased Bowling in favor of Fowler. Fowler got the first two batters she faced before allowing a three-run homer to Van Acker to tie the game.

Arizona wasted little time in reclaiming the lead. In the top of the eighth, Mauga worked a one-out walk before Mercado gave Arizona the lead with a two-run homer to left.

Fowler worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth inning to preserve the 7-5 victory for the Wildcats.