Friday's Top Performances From Opening Weekend
The Larissa Anderson era in Columbia got off to a tremendous start, as the Tigers run-ruled a pair of Pac-12 opponents, beating Utah 9-0 in 6 innings and then stunning host No. 19 Arizona State 8-0 in five innings at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, AZ.
Freshman Geana Torres hit a grand slam in just her second career at-bat to blow open the ASU game early, while senior Madi Norman and sophomore Cassie Gasper threw back-to-back complete game shutouts for Mizzou.
Virginia Tech opened their 2019 campaign with a bang, blasting No. 17 Wichita State 11-3 in six innings before shutting out Central Michigan 6-0 at the Cougar Classic in Charleston, SC. The Hokies' senior shortstop made her mark, going 4-for-5 with two homers, five RBIs, five runs scored and a stolen base.
What better way to start your season than by beating a pair of traditional powerhouses? The Illini beat Oklahoma State 7-4 and then doubled down by holding off a Kentucky rally to take out No. 14 UK 6-5 in eight innings at the Houston Invitational in Houston, TX.
Freshman Sydney Sickles was a huge key for Illinois, retiring all six Cowgirls she faced in her first career appearance for a save versus OK State, then coming right back for an extra-inning, complete-game win against the Wildcats. Sophomore catcher Bella Loya gave Illinois the lead for good in both games, including an extra-inning two-run blast in the finale.
Arizona's Veteran Leaders
The No. 7 Wildcats turned to their vets to win a pair of low-scoring battles in the USF Opening Weekend Invitational, beating No. 10 Michigan 2-1 and host USF 4-1.
Senior ace Taylor McQuillin threw a complete game four-hitter to beat the Wolverines, while three-year starter juniors Alyssa Palomino and Jessie Harper each went deep twice on the day.
Sims stole the show as Jacksonville State beat Army and Rutgers by 6-0 and 11-2 margins at the Mercer Invitational in Macon, GA. With her first career complete-game shutout against Army, the junior became the first JSU Gamecock to throw a seven-inning no-hitter since March 18, 2012 when Tiffany Harbin blanked Murray State.
Stanford's junior third baseman had a massive opening day at the Kajikawa Classic, going 5-for-6 and driving in nine runs. She hit a tie-breaking three-run triple to start an eight-run landslide in the seventh to knock off Bradley 12-5, then drove in a career-high six runs in a 12-3 win over Kansas.
The junior pitcher had the best day of her college career to help North Dakota pull off one of Friday's biggest surprises, defeating Long Beach State 2-1 at the Easton Desert Classic in Las Vegas, NV.
Pica tied a career-high with 6-plus innings pitched, scattering six hits and four walks and holding LBSU to just one late run in the season-opening upset for the Fighting Hawks.
The Tigers' senior backstop showed a big power surge to start 2019, hitting three homers among five hits on the day as No. 21 Auburn rolled past Tennessee State 11-4 and Western Kentucky 8-0 in five innings at the Sand Dollar Classic in Gulf Shores, AL.
Veach went 4-for-4 with two bombs and five RBIs against Tennessee State, then added her third long ball of the young season to help make quick work of the Hilltoppers.
The Bruins' junior ace was nearly untouchable as she dominated for a complete game one-hitter as No. 3 UCLA won 7-0 against host Hawaii in the Hawaii Paradise Classic in Honolulu, HI. Garcia fanned 15 and allowed just three baserunners while also adding an RBI single at the plate.