Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Cats on to Regional Final
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: May 17, 2014

2014 NCAA Softball Championships

Tucson, Ariz., Regional - Saturday, May 17


Friday Results:

Game 1 - LSU 13, Louisville 9

Game 2 - Arizona 9, Boston 6


Saturday Results:

Game 3 - Arizona 9, LSU 8

TUCSON, Ariz.--An infrequent 5-3-6 double play in the seventh inning helped Arizona overcome another late charge by LSU and the Wildcats beat the Tigers, 9-8, in nail-biting NCAA Softball Championships winner's bracket action to move into the regional championship game on Sunday.

Arizona first baseman Hallie Wilson -- whose two home runs and six RBI led the Cats at the plate -- took a throw from third baseman Lauren Young and returned a gun to shortstop Kellie Fox at third to nail Sandra Simmons, who represented the game’s tying run, for the third and final out in the game.

Arizona (43-13) gets a leg up in the tournament, with the eventual matchup on Sunday requiring two victories by the team emerging from later action Saturday.

The Tigers (36-23) will play the winner of the Boston-Louisville game in the region's second elimination game at 6:30 p.m. (MST/PDT).

UA's Estela Pinon won with her ninth complete game to improve to 19-7, but not without drama and struggle. She gave up eight hits, walked four, hit two batters and struck out four. All the runs were earned. Baylee Corbello (18-9) took the loss in her 23rd complete game. She also was not in top form, allowing 10 hits, hitting a batter, walking seven and striking out three.

LSU had a runner in scoring position after A.J. Andrews led off the game with a single, and two outs later stole second, her 36th steal of the year. But Pinon got a foul popup from Bianka Bell to strand the runner.

UA started similarly, with a leadoff single by Hallie Wilson. A sac bunt by Kelsey Rodriguez moved her to second. Corbello got a fly out, then hit Chelsea Goodacre with a pitch to put two aboard, but struck out Katiyana Mauga to strand a pair. 

UA put runs on the board with a two-out rally and the long ball in the second. 

Courtney Rodriguez singled up the middle, Chelsea Suitos singled off the glove of third baseman Tammy Wray and then Hallie Wilson drove the first pitch deep to left center that caromed off the top of the wall and fielder Andrews' glove, squirting 100 feet toward the line and giving Wilson an inside-the-park home run, her 14th of the year. 

Kelsey Rodriguez socked the next pitch over the fence in left center for a 4-0 lead and her eighth homer of the year.

It signaled the end of scoreless ball. LSU's Wray ripped a liner over the left field fence to open the third, and then Bailey Landry tugged a double down the line in left. Two outs later, Jaquish drew a walk and Bell slugged her 13th home run of the season to knot the score, 4-4.

Each team had two runners on base with one out in the fourth inning but first Pinon and then Corbello pitched out of the jams. Pinon also walked two with one out in the fiffth, but struck out a pair to end that threat.

Corbello walked two in the bottom of the inning and it hurt. Wilson came through with another two-out home run, this one straight to right -- and over the fence for a 7-4 lead. The rally kept going with a single by Kelsey Rodriguez, a double by Kellie Fox to move both into scoring position, and a two-run single by Goodacre, who was thrown out trying for a two-base hit and a 9-4 margin.

Pinon retired the first two batters in the sixth, but Landry socked her second homer of the year to left to make it 9-5. .

In the seventh, Pinon issued a leadoff walk to Jacee Blades, an infield single to Jaquish and hit Bell to load the bases. Kellsi Kloss' groundball drove in two when pinch runner Alex Boulet ran through a coach's stop sign and beat a throw to the plate to make it 9-7.

A single by Sandra Simmons drove in Bell to make it 9-8. And then, Allison Falcon's grounder to third started the game-clinching double play, with Young looking back Simmons long enough to give Wilson a chance on the return throw.

Arizona postgame press conference transcript:


Head coach Mike Candrea

Opening statement:

“LSU just kept throwing the punches, and we kept responding. The way we respond, as a team, is what got us here.”

On the defensive effort:

“This time of the year, you gotta make the plays. That’s what the post season is about, anytime you give a team 4 or 5 outs an inning, it’ll cost you. But we handled it well. We did a great job defensively.”

On the victory:

“You have to earn everything in this game… take one pitch at a time, and earn every moment.”

On Hallie Wilson’s inside-the-park home run:

“I’ve seen some crazy things, but nothing like that. Stuff like that is just unpredictable, which to me is the greatest part about the game.”

Junior first baseman Hallie Wilson

On her two-homer performance:

“I’ve been struggling a little bit at the plate, but today, I felt as though I got my groove back.”

On the mindset of the girls:

“The thing about our team is that we are not full of superstars. Our team is full of the girls that got kicked to the curb and have had to come right back. We’re those girls, we’re fighters and we are always ready for what’s ahead, and want it.”

Senior pitcher Estela Piñon

On her thoughts in the seventh inning:

“Honestly it’s just one pitch at a time for me. That’s all it is. I don’t focus on the next batter, I trust my girls behind me, and I focus on what’s in front of me, at that moment, and trying to get ahead.”

On coming back tomorrow:

“I’m just focusing on rest, lots of water, stretching, ice cold baths and just trying to stay healthy for our next task ahead.”

LSU postgame press conference transcript:


LSU head coach Beth Torina

Opening statement:

“You know, I think Arizona has one of the best offenses in the country and I think they showed us why today. They did a really nice job offensively and were able to put up a lot of runs. I like the fight my team showed at the end of the game, and actually all throughout I thought we fought really hard. I thought we wasted some at-bats. I thought there were some things we could do better and hopefully we’ll learn from it and come back.”

On the comeback attempt coming up short:

“It’s frustrating. I think we’re capable of coming back and I think we’ve done that several times this year. We’ve come back from larger deficits than that against some quality team. I thought we ran ourselves out there at the end and didn’t give ourselves a very good opportunity.”

On Hallie Wilson’s inside-the-park home run:

“I don’t think we had a problem catching the ball today. Hallie (Wilson) hit the ball well and gets a lot of credit but it was a fluke thing there when we kicked the ball into the corner.”

Sophomore shortstop Bianka Bell

On the team’s offense:

“We’ve been hitting the ball well, crushing it, and have been on a roll offensively since we’ve been here and just have been going with it.”


Game 4 - Boston 8, Louisville 3
TUCSON, Ariz.--Boston University (36-20) stayed alive in NCAA Softball Championships action with a 8-3 victory over Louisville in regional play here Saturday afternoon at Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium.
Boston sticks around to play LSU in a second elimination game Saturday. Louisville was eliminated and finished the year 36-22. 
Boston took swift control of the game, scoring five in the top of the first. With one out, BrittanyYounan singled, Brittany Clendenny doubled, Chelsea Kehr hit a two-run single, Mandy Fernandez singled and Emily Felbaum knocked her second home run of the season, a three-run blast that chased UL starter Rachel Le Coq (13-9 before)
The Cardinals got on the board in a hurry as well. Leadoff hitter Katie Keller ripped a pitch off Melanie Russell for her seventh home run of the season. 
Russell (13-4) earned the victory with a complete game. She gave up 11 hits, but kept out of scoring trouble with consistent throws in the clutch. UL stranded 11 base runners.
The Terriers threatened in the second with runners on second and third and one out, but Cardinals' reliever Maryssa Becker struck out a pair of batters. 
Louisville had the bases loaded with two outs in the second after a double by Taner Fowler, single by Whitney Arion and a walk by Keller, but Russell got an infield grounder to halt the rally.
BU picked up another pair of runs, unearned, in the fourth with an RBI groundball by Kehr and an RBI single by Fernandez. An error by shortstop Hannah Kiyohara and indecisive plays by infielders Keller and Whitney Arion helped the Terriers send eight batters to the plate.
Louisville cut into the lead in the sixth with RBI singles from Arion and Keller, who collected her third hit of the game. 
Boston's Gabi Martinez clouted her first home run of the year in the top of the seventh to get one of those runs back.  
Louisville postgame press conference transcript:
Louisville head coach Sandy Pearsall
Opening statement:
"Credit to Boston, they came to play today and took advantage of our mistakes. We got back on our heels early and couldn’t recover, although we certainly had our chances."
Game 5:  LSU 6, Boston University 3
TUCSON, Ariz.--LSU snapped out of a five-inning funk to score all its runs in the last two frames and beat Boston University, 8-3 to move on and face host Arizona in the championship game of the NCAA Softball Championships regional here.
The Terriers finished the year 36-21. BU pitcher Melanie Russell had pitched solid ball for six innings until an untimely error in the seven-run seventh helped fuel the comeback by LSU -- all the Tigers' runs in the frame were unearned.
After a one-out hit by LSU's Allison Falcon, BU shortstop Brittany Clendenny mishandled a sharp grounder hit right at her, in position for a play at second base.  Jacee Blades' single drove in Falcon, but a subsequent fielder's choice represented the potential final out. LSU had a three-run homer by Sahvannah Jaquish and a two-run homer by Tammy Wray after the damage.
LSU will face Arizona at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in Game 6 of the tournament, having to win that game and force a Game 7 to earn a shot at the regional championship. 
Little-used LSU pitcher Kelsee Selman (6-2) earned the victory. She pitched a complete game after throwing only 41 innings during the year, struck out eight, walked one and held BU to three runs.
Boston University took the first lead and might have added to it if not for a base running error. Hits by Emily Felbaum, Amy Ekart and a walk to Jayme Mask loaded the bases with two outs. Brittany Younan singled up the middle to plate one run, but Mask kept going after rounding second, only to find Ekart holding at third. A 8-2-6 rundown nabbed Mask.
The Terriers added a pair of runs on a two-run home run by Clendenny in the bottom of the fifth. It was her fifth of the year. 
Bailey Landry hit the third pitch from BU's Melanie Russell in the sixth inning over the center field fence to trim the lead to 3-1 with her third homer of the year.  But LSU's big seventh changed it all.
LSU postgame press conference transcript:

LSU Head Coach Beth Torina

Opening Statement:

“They call us the Fighting Tigers for a reason, and now I understand why more than ever. This team has shown that they can do this all year. We have that never quit attitude. What a great game and tournament by Boston, hats off to them.”

On Boston Pitcher Melanie Russell:

“I think that Melanie Russell is different from anyone in this group. It is very difficult to prepare for her, and our players are used to being well prepared for the pitchers we face. It took us several at bats to make an adjustment, but once we figured it out we put an exclamation point on it.”

On the offense:

“We are a very well rounded offense with our power and speed, and that’s the type of offense I want as a coach. Our speed is tough to get out, so we always feel like we have a chance.”

On Alex Boulet:

“Alex Boulet is the best base runner I have seen in my entire life. When she is on base we score runs because she is so special. We decided before the game that we were going to be aggressive and play to win.”

Freshman Infielder Sahvanna Jaquish

On the last inning:

“I knew we were going to win when we tied it up. For me, it was about the seniors and what they have done for us, and I just wanted to give back to them. I was just in the moment and was honored to help us get to the next game.”

Boston University postgame press conference transcript:

Boston University Head Coach Kathryn Gleason

Opening Statement:

“You can’t give a team like that extra outs. We opened the door for them and they ran through it. They are a great team with a high powered offense, and we couldn’t close the door.”