Jessie Harper climbs onto the list of all-time home runs as Arizona Softball hides UMBC in Tucson Regional
Jessie Harper will need a power surge in the postseason to write home run history.
So far, so good.
The senior shortstop started their 90th homer career when Arizona # 11 beat UMBC 7-0 in their first Tucson Regional game on Friday.
Harper is now tied with Stacey Nuveman for third place on the all-time home run list. She still needs two long balls to tie Katiyana MaugaArizona’s record and five match Lauren ChamberlainNCAA record.
Jessie Harper has just beaten her 90th career homer, tying Stacey Nuveman for the third highest spot in NCAA history.
The two-run shot gives Arizona a 2-0 lead over UMBC in the 3rd. pic.twitter.com/QxPdM34qKu
– Ryan Kelapire (@RKelapire) May 22, 2021
“I remember saying 90 was a cool number. So I hit 90 and smiled a little more,” said Harper. “I’m up there with some really cool people. But I am happy. I am proud of myself.”
Harper’s two-run shot, an unequivocal hit in the left grandstand, broke a goalless draw in game three and sparked an Arizona crime that benefited from poor UMBC defense.
The retrievers, not used to the springy infield filth of the Hillenbrand Stadium, made five mistakes, including two throwing mistakes in the fourth, which allowed this to happen Peanut Martinez to score on an infield single of Janelle Meoño.
That was just the beginning.
An inning later, a routine fly ball rattled out of the UMBC midfielder’s glove and Sharpen Palacios penalized the next field on the right for a two-run homer to break a 5-0 lead.
The UMBC third baseman started a chopper with two outs in the sixth, which allowed Reyna Carranco and Harper to score and make it a 7-0 deficit. Palacios was credited with a split single that earned her three hits and four RBI that night.
That was after Palacios fouled in the first inning when Arizona failed to miss any runs even though the bases weren’t loaded with anyone.
“I like what we did tonight,” said the Arizona head coach Mike Candrea. “I mean, it’s always difficult this time of year because you’re always facing a good mug that you haven’t seen, and a mug’s notoriety is pretty important. Sometimes you get these matchups and it usually takes a while, but I was happy with our team and made the adjustments throughout the game. “
They produced valued, if unneeded, running assistance for Hanah Bowen which threw a one-hit shutout after overcoming some early jitter. 1,935 fans flocked to the Hillenbrand Stadium, which was fully occupied for the first time this season.
The venue rocked up Maddie Daigneau and Julia Keffler singled and went to lead the game. A wild pitch put her in goal position with an out, but Bowen got two groundouts to escape the traffic jam.
A walk and a hit across the field added another pair of retrievers in the second inning, but two more groundouts prevented any damage. Bowen crossed from there and withdrew 16 batters until a UMBC batsman hit a Harper throwing error with two outs in the seventh.
“I had butterflies, I had nerve, but I think after Jessie’s home run the momentum started to wane and we started to settle in,” Bowen said. “The strike zone was a little tight for the first couple of innings, but it is what it is, so all I had to do was make it swing and miss and get the ground balls and pop-ups.”
UMBC trainer Chris Kuhlmeyer said Bowen, who is in his upper 60s, was the hardest-to-throw pitcher the retrievers have faced all season. He was also impressed with the movement in their pitches. What really stood out, however, was their competitiveness.
“When she gave up that hit against Maddie in the first inning, I saw immediately that she said, ‘I don’t think so. You won’t get another hit tonight, ”said Kuhlmeyer. “If you don’t attack her at the beginning of the count, especially with pitches she has, it will be hard to extend the attack to the child before she finally makes some mistakes. She just doesn’t make too many of them. “
Arizona meets Ole Miss in the winners class on Saturday at 2pm, a rematch of the Super Regionals 2019. The rebels defeated Villanova on Friday 5-1.
Candrea indicated that Alyssa Denham will start for the wild cats. She threw seven innings of a one-run ball against Ole Miss in 2019.
“The first game at Regionals is sometimes the toughest, just getting your feet wet and I always say there is never a bad win,” said Candrea. “Whatever you have to do to get that first win is pretty important. Now we’re moving on to tomorrow and tomorrow’s game will be important. It puts you in the driver’s seat. “
Jessie Harper post UMBC
Jessie Harper made her 90th homer in Arizona Softball’s 7-0 win at UMBC in the Tucson Regional. That ranks third in the history of the NCAA.
Posted by AZ Desert Swarm on Friday May 21st, 2021