TUCSON – Estela Piñon and Kenzie Fowler combined for the 88th no-hitter in Arizona softball history as Arizona cruised to a 12-0 victory over Southern Miss to sweep the series from the Golden Eagles.
Piñon (1-0) and Fowler combined to strike out 12 batters, meaning that just three Golden Eagles (0-3) were able to put the ball in play in the five-inning, mercy-shortened game. The lone USM base runners came on back-to-back first-inning walks from Piñon with two out.
Piñon pitched the first three innings and struck out seven of the 11 batters she faced. She retired the final seven batters she faced before Fowler retired each of the six batters she saw, five of them via the strikeout.
On the other side of the ball, Arizona (3-0) plated 12 runs on 11 hits. Freshman Mo Mercado went 3-for-3 with five RBI in the contest to lead the Cats. Chelsea Goodacre drove in three runs of her own in the contest.
Courtney Rodriguez chipped in her third multi-hit game of the season as she went 2-for-2 including a two-RBI double in the second.
On the weekend, Arizona outscored Southern Miss 35-2 and played the minimum 15 total innings in the three games. The Wildcats hit .514 as a team, led by Courtney Rodriguez’s .857 average (6-for-7). UA pitchers limited the Golden Eagles to a team .137 average in the three games.
Arizona, which scored in each of its previous eight offensive innings in games one and two, failed to score in the first inning for the first time all weekend.
It made up for it in the second when it sent 14 batters to the plate and scored nine runs. Mercado got the scoring going with an RBI double, what would be her first of two in the inning. Courtney Rodriguez followed with a two-RBI double. Alex Lavine singled in a run to make it 4-0. Hallie Wilson and Chelsea Suitos had infield singles to load the bases before Kellie Fox drew an RBI HBP. Goodacre’s sac-fly made it 6-0. Arizona would reload the bases before Mercado doubled them clear to give Arizona a 9-0 lead.
UA added three more in the third, two on a Goodacre infield single and one on a Mercado single up the middle.
Arizona is back in action Thursday when it hosts Grand Canyon to kick off the Hillenbrand Invitational.