[ {"id":"2e6c4ba2-83fe-51d1-a196-7cb5457ae81b","type":"article","starttime":"1490414400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-24T21:00:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1490420159","priority":41,"sections":[{"softball":"sports/arizonawildcats/softball"}],"flags":{"editors_pick":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Danielle O'Toole throws no-hitter as Arizona Wildcats blank No. 6 Washington","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/article_2e6c4ba2-83fe-51d1-a196-7cb5457ae81b.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/danielle-o-toole-throws-no-hitter-as-arizona-wildcats-blank/article_2e6c4ba2-83fe-51d1-a196-7cb5457ae81b.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/danielle-o-toole-throws-no-hitter-as-arizona-wildcats-blank/article_2e6c4ba2-83fe-51d1-a196-7cb5457ae81b.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":2,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By PJ Brown\nSpecial to the Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"Lefty throws the first no-hitter of her career at Hillenbrand Stadium.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#editorspick","#top5sports"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"3cf57a6b-6b91-51ae-b92a-bf78f5f963c6","description":"Danielle O\u2019Toole, pitching against Washington, struck out the side to end the game with a no-hitter.","byline":"Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1274,"hiresheight":1625,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/cf/3cf57a6b-6b91-51ae-b92a-bf78f5f963c6/58d5e1afab329.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"596","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/cf/3cf57a6b-6b91-51ae-b92a-bf78f5f963c6/58d5e1afa9787.image.jpg?resize=596%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"66","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/cf/3cf57a6b-6b91-51ae-b92a-bf78f5f963c6/58d5e1afa9787.image.jpg?crop=1170%2C771%2C62%2C74&resize=100%2C66&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"198","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/cf/3cf57a6b-6b91-51ae-b92a-bf78f5f963c6/58d5e1afa9787.image.jpg?crop=1170%2C771%2C62%2C74&resize=300%2C198&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"675","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/3/cf/3cf57a6b-6b91-51ae-b92a-bf78f5f963c6/58d5e1afa9787.image.jpg?crop=1170%2C771%2C62%2C74&resize=1024%2C675&order=crop%2Cresize"}}},{"id":"6af018de-506f-5ee6-8749-759b28af36c6","description":"Arizona designated hitter Tamara Statman provided insurance for the Wildcats with a solo home run in the sixth.","byline":"Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star","hireswidth":1698,"hiresheight":1162,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/af/6af018de-506f-5ee6-8749-759b28af36c6/58d5e1b053952.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1111","height":"760","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/af/6af018de-506f-5ee6-8749-759b28af36c6/58d5e1b052b58.image.jpg?resize=1111%2C760"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"68","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/af/6af018de-506f-5ee6-8749-759b28af36c6/58d5e1b052b58.image.jpg?resize=100%2C68"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"205","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/af/6af018de-506f-5ee6-8749-759b28af36c6/58d5e1b052b58.image.jpg?resize=300%2C205"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"701","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/6/af/6af018de-506f-5ee6-8749-759b28af36c6/58d5e1b052b58.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C701"}}}],"revision":7,"commentID":"2e6c4ba2-83fe-51d1-a196-7cb5457ae81b","body":"

Mike Candrea pointed at his ace and mouthed the same word \u2014 \u201cwow\u201d \u2014 a few times.

That was about all the coach could say Friday night, after watching Danielle O\u2019Toole throw a no-hitter in fifth-ranked Arizona\u2019s 3-0 win over No. 6 Washington at Hillenbrand Stadium. The no-no was the first of O\u2019Toole\u2019s collegiate career.

\u201cIt couldn\u2019t happen to a better person,\u201d Candrea said moments after the game. \u201cShe\u2019s a competitor; a big game pitcher. She loves challenges and is well-prepared. To control the ball all night like that against a good hitting ballclub ...\u201d

O\u2019Toole would\u2019ve had a perfect game if not for a walk in the fourth inning and a hit batter in the sixth.

The lefty finished with seven strikeouts, three coming in the final inning. O\u2019Toole lowered her season ERA to 0.69.

\u201cI am always a little nervous at the start,\u201d said O\u2019Toole, who is 15-1 this season. \u201cUp here (in my mind) I said, \u2018Keep going, keep going. You\u2019re doing good.\u2019

\u201cIn the seventh on the last batter after the second strike, I was like, \u2018Oh my god! I\u2019m just gonna throw the ball and if she hits it, she hits it.\u2019\u201d

Washington second baseman Sis Bates went down swinging for the last out.

Mo Mercado, who went 2-for-2, hitting a double and driving in a run, didn\u2019t know until after the game that O\u2019Toole had thrown a no-hitter.

\u201cWe focus on every pitch, every batter,\u201d Mercado said. \u201cI didn\u2019t realize she was throwing that well. It\u2019s awesome. One thing about Tooly is that you know she gets her strikeouts. And, if when she doesn\u2019t, it\u2019s important to play good defense behind her.

\u201cAnd the best teams score early and late. It\u2019s huge for us as it lets our pitchers settle in quickly.\u201d

The Wildcats (25-3, 4-0 Pac-12) got off to that quick start by scoring two runs in the first inning.

Mandie Perez led off with a hard single up the right side and moved to second on a shot to left by Dejah Mulipola.

Both runners moved up on a ball that went over the Washington catcher\u2019s glove. Alyssa Palomino\u2019s long sacrifice fly to center field drove in Perez for the Wildcats\u2019 first run. Mercado\u2019s single to left drove in Mulipola to give Arizona a 2-0 lead.

The Wildcats\u2019 other run came in the sixth inning on a home run by designated hitter Tamara Statman.

Arizona faces Washington (26-4, 3-1 Pac-12) for the second game of the series Saturday at noon.

"}, {"id":"93716862-2c2c-5950-9eae-3c6c9ec777d6","type":"article","starttime":"1490304600","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-23T14:30:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1490315284","priority":20,"sections":[{"softball":"sports/arizonawildcats/softball"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Hot-hitting Jessie Harper leads No. 5 Arizona Wildcats into Pac-12 showdown against No. 6 Washington","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/article_93716862-2c2c-5950-9eae-3c6c9ec777d6.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/hot-hitting-jessie-harper-leads-no-arizona-wildcats-into-pac/article_93716862-2c2c-5950-9eae-3c6c9ec777d6.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/hot-hitting-jessie-harper-leads-no-arizona-wildcats-into-pac/article_93716862-2c2c-5950-9eae-3c6c9ec777d6.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By PJ Brown Special to the Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"The last time the Arizona Wildcats played a series at Hillenbrand Stadium, they swept Texas. Eleven games \u2014 and 11 wins \u2014 later, the Wildcats will face another tough out. Washington will visit Arizona this weekend for the Wildcats\u2019 first home series in Pac-12 play. Arizona (29-1, 3-0 Pac-12) is ranked fifth nationally; Washington is No. 6. But the stakes are, UA players say, exactly the same as always.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest","#photosmall"],"customProperties":{"arm_id":"74995"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"abb7cbe2-05f8-5fc6-ab6f-c81a03c4ff6a","description":"Jessie Harper","byline":"Arizona athletics","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"450","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/bb/abb7cbe2-05f8-5fc6-ab6f-c81a03c4ff6a/58d43fffc1920.image.jpg?resize=300%2C450"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/bb/abb7cbe2-05f8-5fc6-ab6f-c81a03c4ff6a/58d43fffc1920.image.jpg?crop=300%2C168%2C0%2C80&resize=100%2C56&order=crop%2Cresize"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"168","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/bb/abb7cbe2-05f8-5fc6-ab6f-c81a03c4ff6a/58d43fffc1920.image.jpg?crop=300%2C168%2C0%2C80&resize=300%2C168&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"573","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/bb/abb7cbe2-05f8-5fc6-ab6f-c81a03c4ff6a/58d43fffc1920.image.jpg?crop=300%2C168%2C0%2C80"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"93716862-2c2c-5950-9eae-3c6c9ec777d6","body":"

The last time the Arizona Wildcats played a series at Hillenbrand Stadium, they swept Texas.

Eleven games \u2014 and 11 wins \u2014 later, the Wildcats will face another tough out. Washington will visit Arizona this weekend for the Wildcats\u2019 first home series in Pac-12 play.

Arizona (29-1, 3-0 Pac-12) is ranked fifth nationally; Washington is No. 6. But the stakes are, UA players say, exactly the same as always.

\u201cWe\u2019re going to come out and play Arizona softball,\u201d said Jessie Harper, who was named Pac-12 freshman player of the week for the second consecutive week, and player of the week for the first time this season. \u201cI\u2019m so excited for these games.\u201d

Harper hit two home runs in Game 2 of last weekend\u2019s sweep at Oregon State. The freshman has belted 10 homers this season, tied with the Wildcats\u2019 Katiyana Mauga for most in the Pac-12. Arizona leads the country with 44 dingers as a team.

\u201cWe have been feeding off each other,\u201d Harper said. \u201cDejah (Mulipola) hits one then Mo (Mercado) will hit one. Katiyana hits one, then I\u2019ll hit one. The home runs keep coming.\u201d

Mauga has 77 career home runs, and is on track to break some records this season. She is 10 from the UA record held by Stacie Chambers, 13 from the Pac-12 record held by UCLA\u2019s Stacey Nuveman and 18 from the all-time NCAA record owned by Oklahoma\u2019s Lauren Chamberlain.

The way Harper is hitting, however, Mauga might not be the only Wildcat to assault the all-time mark.

Harper is 18-for-34 with five doubles, five homers and a 1.17 slugging percentage over her last 11 games.

This weekend, she\u2019ll match up against Washington\u2019s Samantha Manti. The Huskies\u2019 ace is 5-0 with a 1.31 ERA this season; she pitched both games of a doubleheader against No. 21 Arizona State last weekend, and won both.

Harper and Manti have squared off against each other before in travel ball.

\u201cIt\u2019ll be interesting to see how she has adjusted to college softball and having the same pitching coach every day,\u201d Harper said. \u201cShe had a curveball and screwball with movement. We\u2019ll have to see if these have more movement and are faster.\u201d

The series is also a matchup of two similarly balanced teams. Consider:

Washington (26-3, 3-0) has won 12 straight games. Still, Wildcats coach Mike Candrea likes the mindset of his team after last Sunday\u2019s 7-4, come-from-behind victory.

\u201cI like the way this team competes,\u201d said Candrea, who needs three wins to join Michigan\u2019s Carol Hutchins as the only coaches with 1,500 career victories. \u201cIt\u2019s the sign of a true team to get behind and not panic. They have the confidence they can get things done.

\u201cThis will be a true test for us, playing against Washington. The stands will be packed, these games are televised and it\u2019s one of the top matchups. Even though it\u2019s early, it will have postseason implications.\u201d

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Rain and fog, respectively, prevented the Arizona Wildcats baseball and softball teams from opening Pac-12 play on Friday night.

Saturday, the UA made up for it.

The fifth-ranked softball team swept Oregon State 6-2 and 7-1 in Corvallis, Oregon; hours later, the 12th-ranked Wildcats baseball team wrapped up a doubleheader sweep of the Bruins in Westwood.

Coach Jay Johnson\u2019s team won 4-3 after taking Game 1, 19-4. JC Cloney pitched five innings of one-run ball in the early game, securing his second win. Michael Flynn, Randy Labaut and Cameron Ming combined to top the Bruins in the nightcap. Arizona (15-3, 2-0) will wrap up their series at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Danielle O\u2019Toole and Taylor McQuillin both won their starts in the softball sweep. O\u2019Toole allowed two runs on five hits, while McQuillin gave up one run on four hits. The Wildcats (28-1, 2-0) and Beavers play their final at 11 a.m. Sunday.

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Saturday was quite a day for the Arizona softball team.

Pitcher Michelle Floyd served up a perfect game and teammate Nancy Bowling followed with 4\u00aa innings of perfect ball en route to a 2-hit shutout at the CSUN/LMU Tournament in Los Angeles

The Wildcats celebrated by going out to dinner. It was a special day, yes, but Arizona\u2019s standards are high.

After all this team is \u201cexpected to play great\u201d said freshman catcher Dejah Mulipola. Plus, the Wildcats were in the middle of a long road trip \u2014 five days, four doubleheaders, and three hotels. The team returned home for one day this week, enough time to do laundry, fit in a practice and get back on the road for their first Pac-12 series at Oregon State starting tonight.

Arizona is 26-1, its best 27-game start since starting the season 27-0 in 2004. The Wildcats are ranked No. 5 in the nation.

Floyd\u2019s run-rule-shortened gem \u2014 the Wildcats beat Hartford 18-0 in five innings \u2014 was the Wildcats\u2019 first perfect game since Kenzie Fowler\u2019s 2010 win against Oregon State, and just the ninth in UA history. Floyd struck out six and retired all 15 batters she faced while making her first start of the season.

\u201cIt all starts in warm-ups,\u201d said Mulipola.

\u201cIt\u2019s that pitcher-catcher bond and you can feel when your pitcher is feeling good. For Michelle, every pitch in was on point. They hit my glove and I didn\u2019t have to move. I knew it was going to be a great game. Michelle pitched lights out and the whole team came together. In the game, we didn\u2019t know it was being thrown, there was so much adrenaline.

\u201cIt honestly felt like just another day with these pitchers. It was natural, there wasn\u2019t anything different. Often times you call a time out or the pitching coach does and sometimes your pitcher needs to take a break, a deep breathe. Michelle felt fine; she was in her groove all game.\u201d

Floyd, a senior, hasn\u2019t given up an earned run in 12 innings this season. On Saturday, three pitches \u2014 the backdoor curve, the curve, and the drop ball \u2014 were on point.

Bowling, also a senior, used a rise ball on the way to the UA\u2019s 8-0, six-inning victory over Cal State Bakersfield later in the day. She struck out four batters and gave up two late-game singles.

\u201cIt was super-exciting to watch Michelle,\u201d said Bowling, who is 5-0 with a 2.00 ERA.

\u201cFollowing that was just taking a little time to celebrate and then moving on and getting ready for the next game. It was amazing to watch a perfect game; it doesn\u2019t happen too often.

\u201cI didn\u2019t know how well I was pitching at the time. I just go out and throw and come back in and cheer the team on. I felt good and it\u2019s wonderful knowing that if a ball gets hit I have a defense behind me.\u201d

In 28 innings of work this season she has only given up 18 hits and 8 runs.

Bowling also has a reliable battery mate in Mulipola, who helps her and the three other pitchers \u2014 Floyd, Danielle O\u2019Toole, and Taylor McQuillin \u2014 both in game and in the bullpen.

The role is not an easy one. Besides crouching all game, Mulipola is tasked with relaying the calls from the pitching coach, Stacy Iveson, and knowing everything that is going on in the game.

Arizona coach Mike Candrea says a catcher brings stability to the team, from reacting to what is coming at to being one step ahead.

She also has to know each pitcher\u2019s personalities\u2014when to speed things up or slow things down.

\u201cShe is a rock and brings 100 percent all the time,\u201d said Bowling of Mulipola, a freshman who has started all 27 games.

\u201cShe\u2019s so calm and knows each one of us. She knows what we need and when to lighten the mood.\u201d

The other thing a catcher needs to stay aware of is runners on base. Mulipola hasn\u2019t had to worry about them too much this season; the Wildcats are allowing an average of just 5.29 baserunners per game.

Arizona allowed just five total runs in eight games last weekend; the team hasn\u2019t surrendered more than three runs in a game all season. The UA starts Pac-12 play with 0.83 team ERA, the second-best mark in the nation.

What\u2019s the Wildcats\u2019 secret?

\u201cIt\u2019s our relationship in the bullpen,\u201d Bowling said. \u201cWe are rooting for each other, teaching each other, and learning from each other. As a staff we are trying to take it as a process day-by-day. We trust that no matter who gets out there they will kick butt and do their best. And if something happens, someone else will go out there and do their best.

\u201cIt\u2019s our mentality and approach. We don\u2019t get wrapped up in who we played yesterday. It\u2019s attacking each day like it\u2019s our last. It\u2019s the team chemistry, culture, the coaching staff, everyone buying in to being great.\u201d

"}, {"id":"815ce11c-0919-11e7-a879-7b12c2abdd6e","type":"article","starttime":"1489539060","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-14T17:51:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1489539279","priority":40,"sections":[{"softball":"sports/arizonawildcats/softball"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Arizona Wildcats wrap nonconference play with thrilling win over OU, shutout of LBSU","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/article_815ce11c-0919-11e7-a879-7b12c2abdd6e.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/arizona-wildcats-wrap-nonconference-play-with-thrilling-win-over-ou/article_815ce11c-0919-11e7-a879-7b12c2abdd6e.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/arizona-wildcats-wrap-nonconference-play-with-thrilling-win-over-ou/article_815ce11c-0919-11e7-a879-7b12c2abdd6e.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"Two-run rally in the seventh inning helps No. 5 UA top ninth-ranked Oklahoma.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"640","height":"360","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/3f/b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e/572fc8cf43983.image.jpg?resize=640%2C360"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/3f/b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e/5712883560739.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/3f/b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e/572fc8cf43983.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/3f/b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e/572fc8cf43983.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"815ce11c-0919-11e7-a879-7b12c2abdd6e","body":"

Arizona is off to its best start to a softball season since 2004. Thank the Wildcats\u2019 pitchers, some timely hitting \u2014 and a lucky break.

Pinch-runner Alexis Dotson motored home with the game-winning run when Oklahoma\u2019s Shay Knighten threw wide on a force-out attempt at first base, and the Wildcats walked off with a 4-3 win against the Sooners Tuesday in Long Beach. The win was part of a doubleheader sweep for the fifth-ranked Wildcats, who topped Long Beach State in Game 2.

Arizona is now 26-1, its best 27-game start in 13 years.

Tuesday morning\u2019s showdown between the UA and ninth-ranked Oklahoma was a pitchers\u2019 duel between two left-handers.

Arizona\u2019s Danielle O\u2019Toole outlasted Oklahoma\u2019s Paige Parker, allowing two earned runs on five hit. O\u2019Toole struck out five and walked three.

Parker struck out a career-high 13 batters, but surrendered two runs in the seventh inning.

Arizona trailed by one with the bases loaded and two out when Mandie Perez hit a soft grounder to first base. Knighten fielded the ball and flipped to second baseman Caleigh Clifton as she ran to cover first base. The throw was wide, and two runs scored.

Taylor McQuillin pitched Game 2 for the UA, and struck out 11 49ers hitters while allowing six hits.

Arizona will open Pac-12 play with a series at Oregon State starting Friday.

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The No. 5-ranked University of Arizona softball team continued its shutout spree with two more victories Sunday.

UA beat Loyola Marymount 10-0 and Bryant 5-0 on the final day of the CSUN/LMU Tournament in Los Angeles. The Wildcats (24-1) have allowed only 22 runs all season and have shut out their past four opponents.

Danielle O\u2019Toole allowed only one hit in five innings in the first game Sunday, and Taylor McQuillin gave up only two hits in seven innings in the second contest.

Mandie Perez and Dejah Mulipoli each hit two homers on the day.

UA will next face No. 9 Oklahoma at 10 a.m. Tuesday, followed by a game at 12:30 p.m. against host Long Beach State.

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Michelle Floyd threw a perfect game in a rare start in the circle and the fifth-ranked Arizona Wildcats continued its run through the CSUN/LMU tournament in Los Angeles on Saturday. Floyd\u2019s mastery was the highlight of an 18-0, five-inning victory over Hartford on Saturday. The Wildcats followed it with an 8-0, six-inning win over Cal State Bakersfield.

Floyd, a senior, retired all 15 batters she faced Saturday. The perfect game was the ninth in UA history and the first since April 24, 2010, when Kenzie Fowler dominated Oregon State. Floyd struck out six batters. She has yet to allow a run this season.

Freshman Jessie Harper went 4 for 4 with two home runs and and five RBIs. Her homers came as part of a 13-run first inning. Mo Mercado and Ashleigh Hughes also went deep as part of the rally; the Wildcats batted around twice in the frame.

Nancy Bowling followed Floyd\u2019s performance by facing just one batter over the minimum in the shutout win. She alowed two hits and struck out four to improve to No. 5 on the season. Arizona (22-1) will play Loyola Marymount Sunday, with a game against Bryant to follow.

"}, {"id":"f4a98860-05f8-11e7-b915-7fbf596c8b6d","type":"article","starttime":"1489195200","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-10T18:20:00-07:00","priority":30,"sections":[{"softball":"sports/arizonawildcats/softball"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Arizona Wildcats improve to 20-1 with sweep of Northridge, Quinnipiac in LA","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/article_f4a98860-05f8-11e7-b915-7fbf596c8b6d.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/arizona-wildcats-improve-to---with-sweep-of-northridge/article_f4a98860-05f8-11e7-b915-7fbf596c8b6d.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/arizona-wildcats-improve-to---with-sweep-of-northridge/article_f4a98860-05f8-11e7-b915-7fbf596c8b6d.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"Four UA pitchers combine to allow just two runs as part of CSUN/LMU tournament.\u00a0","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#latest"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"640","height":"360","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/3f/b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e/572fc8cf43983.image.jpg?resize=640%2C360"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/3f/b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e/5712883560739.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/3f/b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e/572fc8cf43983.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/3f/b3fcc622-8f0c-59d4-a24a-9cc744379c0e/572fc8cf43983.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":1,"commentID":"f4a98860-05f8-11e7-b915-7fbf596c8b6d","body":"

Bolstered by home runs, the fifth-ranked Arizona Wildcats won twice at Friday\u2019s CSUN/LMU softball tournament. The UA topped host Cal State Northridge 10-1 in six innings, then beat Quinnipiac 7-1.

Redshirt freshman Alyssa Palomino belted two solo home runs in Game 1, and true freshman Jessie Harper drove in four runs. Ace Danielle O\u2019Toole allowed one run on six hits, improving to 11-1 this season.

Harper and Katiyana Mauga both homered in Game 2. Taylor McQuillin earned the win, striking out seven of the 13 batters she faced over four innings. Relievers Michelle Floyd and Nancy Bowling finished the game.

The Wildcats (20-1) will face Hartford at 2 p.m. Saturday, with a game against Cal State Bakersfield to follow.

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Michelle Floyd watched from the dugout last year as Danielle O\u2019Toole nearly pitched the Arizona Wildcats to the College World Series.

Floyd was once the staff ace, pitching nearly 200 innings for one of the nation\u2019s premier programs.

Last year, she pitched just 10 \u00ba.

\u201cIt\u2019s never easy,\u201d Floyd said. \u201cBut when we have such an amazing pitching staff, you want to see your team succeed. It\u2019s more about your team than yourself.\u201d

Which is why Floyd doesn\u2019t regret a thing this season, despite pitching just five innings for the fifth-ranked Wildcats. The three pitchers ahead of her \u2014 O\u2019Toole, Taylor McQuillin and Nancy Bowling \u2014 have been spectacular.

O\u2019Toole is 10-1 with a 0.51 ERA, and might be the most dominant pitcher in the Pac-12. McQuillin is 4-0 with a 1.12 ERA, and Bowling carries a 2.33 ERA in 21 innings pitched.

\u201cIt\u2019s different: The one year I contributed more, the following year not as much, but seeing the success our team was having, I want to see our team be successful more than I want to see myself pitch,\u201d said Floyd, who will travel with the Wildcats to the CSUN/LMU tournament, which begins Friday morning. \u201cI want to see our team do the best it possibly can, whether that means I\u2019m in the field or the dugout, whatever it is.\u201d

Transferring, Floyd said, was never really an option. There\u2019s the softball part of it \u2014 she\u2019s a part of a storied softball program, playing for a legendary coach. Floyd still prepares every day as if she\u2019s going to be the starter each weekend, even though, really, she won\u2019t be.

UA coach Mike Candrea calls Floyd \u201ca great kid, great teammate.\u201d

\u201cShe has gone through the wars, and she\u2019s always been there for us,\u201d he said. \u201cShe\u2019s one of those kids that comes out and prepares every week like she\u2019s going to start. When the bell rings and her name is called, she\u2019s ready to go.\u201d

Added utility player Tamara Statman: \u201cShe\u2019s always been gung-ho for the team, and that\u2019s really what matters.\u201d

Off the field, Floyd is just as involved.

Floyd has been interning with Arizona athletic department\u2019s video crew since last summer. She is the co-president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the president of the UA chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

\u201cI love getting to go into the office. There\u2019s never a boring day,\u201d Floyd said. \u201cIt\u2019s so much fun. I don\u2019t want to do anything else.\u201d

It\u2019s there, with the UA\u2019s \u201cdigital gurus,\u201d where Floyd feels like she belongs. The journalism major came to Arizona with hopes of becoming a broadcaster, but has since pivoted to content production.

Among her projects: highlights of the season from men\u2019s basketball players Kadeem Allen and Dusan Ristic, some behind-the-scenes softball videos and a hilarious parody of the Dos Equis \u201cMost Interesting Man in the World\u201d commercials. In it, Statman is portrayed as the \u201cmost interesting softball player in the world.\u201d

\u201cI found that I love getting to tell the story,\u201d Floyd said. \u201cI love what I do. It doesn\u2019t feel like work. Like coach says, find something you love doing where you wake up in the morning, you get excited, it\u2019s not a job. This isn\u2019t a job.\u201d

Floyd is taking just six units this semester, giving her time to focus on both softball and creating content. Don\u2019t mistake her passion for the latter as a detraction from the former \u2014 Floyd still loves softball, and is preparing, biding her time, ready to take the circle.

\u201cIt\u2019s been a roller coaster, but a fun one,\u201d Floyd said of her UA career. \u201cLife goes up and down, and softball can, but that\u2019s where faith comes in. I\u2019ve had the most amazing support network here at Arizona and, I don\u2019t know, I wouldn\u2019t exchange my experience for anything in the world.

\u201cI\u2019m very faith-based, and just trusting in the process of whatever comes my way, I\u2019ll be ready. My self-worth isn\u2019t based off whether I play or whether I don\u2019t play, so either way, it\u2019s like, I love this sport, I love this team, I love taking the field every day.

\u201cI pray that whatever the opportunity may be, I\u2019m prepared for it. I\u2019ll do whatever is needed to do to help this team win.\u201d

"}, {"id":"7ce4658a-bc68-5187-a4cf-7db28c6d7942","type":"article","starttime":"1488757800","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-05T16:50:00-07:00","lastupdated":"1488768183","priority":44,"sections":[{"softball":"sports/arizonawildcats/softball"}],"flags":{"editors_pick":"true","top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Sloppy Arizona Wildcats softball team finishes off sweep of Texas","url":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/article_7ce4658a-bc68-5187-a4cf-7db28c6d7942.html","permalink":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/sloppy-arizona-wildcats-softball-team-finishes-off-sweep-of-texas/article_7ce4658a-bc68-5187-a4cf-7db28c6d7942.html","canonical":"http://tucson.com/sports/arizonawildcats/softball/sloppy-arizona-wildcats-softball-team-finishes-off-sweep-of-texas/article_7ce4658a-bc68-5187-a4cf-7db28c6d7942.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"By Ezra Amacher\nSpecial to the Arizona Daily Star","prologue":"UA commits four errors but improves to 18-1 with victory.","supportsComments":true,"commentCount":0,"keywords":[],"internalKeywords":["#top5sports","#editorspick","#latestpicks"],"customProperties":{"label":"softball"},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"d646ae34-7b48-5eba-942a-54a5bade794b","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"640","height":"360","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/64/d646ae34-7b48-5eba-942a-54a5bade794b/572d54950bfbf.image.jpg?resize=640%2C360"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"56","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/64/d646ae34-7b48-5eba-942a-54a5bade794b/571288358f850.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"169","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/64/d646ae34-7b48-5eba-942a-54a5bade794b/572d54950bfbf.image.jpg?resize=300%2C169"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"576","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/tucson.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/d/64/d646ae34-7b48-5eba-942a-54a5bade794b/572d54950bfbf.image.jpg"}}}],"revision":7,"commentID":"7ce4658a-bc68-5187-a4cf-7db28c6d7942","body":"

On a breezy Sunday at Hillenbrand Stadium, No. 6 Arizona softball earned some vital experience that will come in handy when the team embarks on Pac-12 Conference play.

Despite a shaky start on the mound, a few botched defensive plays and an uncooperative wind, the Wildcats pulled out a 4-2 win over Texas to sweep the three-game series.

Arizona fell behind early, as ace Danielle O\u2019Toole allowed a leadoff double, followed by a two-run homer from the Longhorns\u2019 three-hole batter, McKenzie Krpec.

O\u2019Toole entered the day having allowed just three earned runs on the year.

\u201cI missed (my location) big time,\u201d O\u2019Toole. \u201cIt was a change-up, and it was really high. I just kind of threw it and I was not ready.\u201d

O\u2019Toole rebounded on the mound, allowing just two hits the rest of the day.

Arizona answered in the bottom of the first as Mandie Perez and Alyssa Palomino reached base via walks to set up the heart of the Wildcats\u2019 order.

Katiyana Mauga reached base on an error to load the bases. A Mo Mercado bloop single to right scored Perez, and a throwing error on the play scored Palomino.

Jessie Harper, starting her first game at second base, drove in Mauga on a single to right to give Arizona a 3-2 lead.

The Wildcats added their fourth run in the third inning thanks to another Texas miscue. A Nancy Bowling flyout to center advanced Mercado from second to third, and Mercado scored on a misthrow to third.

Arizona was not immune to fielding mishaps.

The Wildcats committed four errors; two by O\u2019Toole, one by Mercado and one by Joelle Krist.

\u201cNot often do you have four errors and win,\u201d Arizona coach Mike Candrea said. \u201cIt was kind of sloppy game, and the wind had something to do with it.\u201d

The wind grew so forceful that Candrea at one point had to retrieve his red hat, blown off as he stood in the third-base coaching box.

Candrea didn\u2019t credit the wind for the team\u2019s fielding errors but expected a better response at the plate to the weather conditions.

\u201cAnything in the air was an out, so you have to learn how to hit the pitches you can stay on top of because the game is played on the ground at that time,\u201d Candrea said.

Candrea, nonetheless, was pleased with the final result: a three-game sweep against a formidable opponent.

The three-game format mirrors what the Wildcats will face in conference play.

\u201cI think more than anything, it gives our young kids a chance to play a three-game series and feel what it\u2019s like,\u201d Candrea said.

\u201cI don\u2019t want to be the team that comes out Friday, gives away a win Saturday and you\u2019re scrambling on Sunday.

\u201cI want them to have that instinct that every game counts.\u201d

"} ]