OKLAHOMA CITY ?- Alicia Hollowell made just one mistake against the Tennessee offense, and that was enough to force a winner-take-all game tonight for a trip to the championship series, with a 4 p.m. (MST) date on ESPN2 for Arizona and the Lady Vols.
Hollowell and UT’s Monica Abbott, who have seven All-American citations between them engaged in a pitcher’s duel that saw a total of five hits and one run. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the only run of the game came in the form of a UT solo home run.
Tennessee broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth with a Katherine Card leadoff home run. Other than that, four-time All-American Alicia Hollowell pitched a stellar game, surrendering only three hits while striking out six hitters, and allowing just three batters over the minimum.
The Wildcats mustered an error-driven rally in the top of the seventh, and the game ended with a controversial call that could have tied the game. With one out in the seventh, Taryne Mowatt hit a sky-high pop up to UT shortstop Lindsay Schutzler, who dropped the ball. Arizona head coach Mike Candrea sent Kelly Nelson out to pinch run for Mowatt, and Nelson was sacrificed over to second by Laine Roth. Schutzler then committed her second error of the inning when she booted an Adrienne Acton grounder that could have ended the game. Instead, the Wildcats found themselves with runners on the corners with three-time first team All-American Caitlin Lowe at the plate.
Lowe chopped Abbott’s 1-0 offering to Schutzler, who came up with the ball and fired to first. What happened next, may be disputed for some time if Arizona fails to win tonight’s rematch with the Lady Vols. First base umpire Diane Beasley called Lowe out at first on a bang-bang play, which replays showed were inconclusive at best.
In addition to the seventh inning, UA had scoring opportunities in the third and sixth innings. In UA’s half of the third, Adrienne Acton reached on an error for the first time in the game, and advanced to second on a Lowe sacrifice bunt. Acton then stole third base with Autumn Champion at the plate and two outs. Champion was thrown out on a slap to the shortstop, who had to throw to the second baseman covering first to retire Champion.
In the sixth, Lowe led off with an infield single, and moved into scoring position with a Champion sac bunt. Fox was then drilled in the backside with an Abbott fastball to put runners at first and second. With two on and just one out, Callista Balko drove a pitch to centerfield, but it was not deep enough, giving UA two outs in the sixth. Next, Jenae Leles ended the rally with a fielder’s choice groundout to short.
Up next: Arizona next plays Tennessee in a 4 p.m. (MST) rematch with the Lady Vols that will send one team home and the victor to the championship series. Beth Mowins, Stacey Nuveman and Lisa Fernandez will call all the action on ESPN2.
- Adrienne Acton’s steal of third was a first for her this year, and UA’s fourth of the year
- Acton reached base via fielding error twice, giving her 11 of Arizona’s 45 reach on errors this season.
- Autumn Champion was held hitless in back-to-back games for the first time since March
Arizona has played in two “if” games as it will later today. UA is 1-1 in those contests, both of which came after having lost the previous game (as UA did in the early loss to