The University of Arizona softball team suffered its first loss of the year on Saturday to No. 5 Florida, but then rebounded by routing Illinois State.
No. 7-ranked UA lost 3-2 to the Gators before beating Illinois State 9-1 at the USF Opening Weekend Invitational in Tampa, Fla.
All five runs in the first game came via homers. Dejah Mulipola and Malia Martinez hit solo blasts for the Wildcats (3-1).
A day after pitching a complete game in UA’s season-opening win over No. 19 Michigan, Taylor McQuillin gave up three runs to Florida in the first two innings but retired 14 of the final 17 batters she faced. She allowed four hits and struck out six.
Arizona managed just five hits in the game.
UA turned things around in the second game Saturday in the five-inning, mercy-rule win. The Wildcats took a 5-0 lead in the first inning and later added three more in the fourth to wrap up the scoring.
Mulipola went 3 for 3 and homered twice while driving in five runs. Her three-run homer in the fourth put UA up 9-1. Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza, who hit a pair of home runs in the Wildcats’ opening-day sweep Friday, opened the scoring with a solo homer in the first. Martinez hit a three-run homer later in the inning.
Reyna Carranco added three hits as UA had 13 as a team.
Hanah Bowen (1-0) allowed three hits and struck out seven in five innings to earn the win.
Arizona junior infielder Jessie Harper, who hit two home runs in UA’s win over host South Florida on Friday, combined to go 2 for 6 with a pair of RBIs in the Wildcats’ split.
UA takes on NC State at 9:15 a.m. Sunday to wrap up play in the tournament. Arizona’s first home game is at 6 p.m. Thursday against New Mexico at the Hillenbrand Invitational.