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Arizona Sweeps Southern Utah, New Mexico on Day 1

Feb 19, 2021

Southern Utah Box Score (PDF) | New Mexico Box Score (PDF) | Photo Gallery | Hillenbrand Invitational Tournament Central | Boxscore

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Fourth-ranked Arizona Softball opened the 2021 season with victories over Southern Utah (8-0, 6 inn.) and New Mexico (5-2) on day 1 of the Hillenbrand Invitational.

The Wildcats (2-0) will face New Mexico (0-2) and Seattle University (2-5) on Saturday as the event continues. 

Game 1: #4 Arizona 8, Southern Utah 0 (6 innings)

Alyssa Denham threw a one-hit shutout, the bottom half of the Wildcat lineup connected on three home runs, and the Cats cruised to a season-opening win vs. Southern Utah on Friday afternoon at Hillenbrand Stadium.

Denham came one infield chopper that hit off her glove away from her third career no-hitter, a fourth-inning single, to go along with five strikeouts and a pair of walks in the shutout. The senior improved to 1-0 this season and is now one shy of 50 for her career. 

Offensively, the Wildcats plated their eight runs on 13 hits, including three home runs. Sharlize Palacios, Hannah Martinez and Malia Martinez all homered in the game for Arizona. 

Eight of the nine players in the UA lineup had hits in the contest, led by a career-best effort from Janelle Meoño, who went 3-for-3 with a stolen base and two runs scored in the contest. Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza and Palacios had two hits apiece.

Game 2: #4 Arizona 5, New Mexico 2

After a slow start, Arizona scored four runs over the final two innings to erase a 2-1 deficit and defeat New Mexico, 5-2, in Friday's nightcap of the Hillenbrand Invitational.

After New Mexico took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fifth inning, Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to give UA the lead, and  then Hannah Martinez insured the lead with a two-run single an inning later.

Mariah Lopez struck out 11 in the complete-game gem. She allowed two runs, just one earned, on five hits. She improved to 1-0 on the season.

UA improved to 2-0 on the season while New Mexico dropped to 0-2.