TUCSON--Sophomore pitcher Jennie Finch threw a no-hitter to pace Arizona to a 5-0 victory over Nebraska in the title game of NCAA Region 2 softball action and earn the Wildcats' 13th consecutive berth in the College World Series.
Nebraska, Big 12 Conference tournament champion, finished the year 52-21 and with its 11th NCAA appearance. The Huskers were playing in their fourth consecutive Regional final and also lost to Arizona in Tucson in the final in 1997.
No. 2-ranked Arizona (57-7) took a 4-0 lead in the fourth. Lauren Bauer led off with an infield single, was sacrificed to second by Nicole Giordano and scored on Katie Swan's double down the rightfield line. After Toni Mascarenas' single, Lindsey Collins doubled both runners in, then scored a batter later on Chrissy Gil's single to right.
The Wildcats added a run in the fourth on a an RBI double by Katie Swan. Nebraska turned a 1-2-3 double play in the first inning to thwart a possible UA rally. With the bases loaded, pitcher Jenny Voss scooped Collins' ground ball, fired to catcher Amber Burgess for the force at the plate, and Burgess threw out Collins at first.
The Cats returned the favor in the bottom of the first when third baseman Toni Mascarenas turned an unassisted double play off a line drive by Jennifer Lizama.
Finch was selected the Most Outstanding Player and joined by six other Wildcats in earning All-Tournament honors.
Most Outstanding Player - Jennie Finch, Arizona, pitcher
Jennifer Lizama, Nebraska, infield
Leigh Suhr, Nebraska, infield
Jamie Fuente, Nebraska, infield
Jenny Voss, Nebraska, pitcher
Jodi Fittro, South Carolina, outfield
Toni Mascarenas, Arizona, infield
Nicole Giordano, Arizona, outfield
Becky Lemke, Arizona, pitcher
Katie Swan, Arizona, infield
Lindsey Collins, Arizona, catcher
Lauren Bauer, Arizona, outfield