TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The top-seeded Arizona softball team is headed to the regional title game after an 8-0 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.
The Wildcats, which improved to 41-12-1 on the year with the win, have now outscored opponents 17-0 in two regional games this season.
The loss dropped Mississippi State to 35-26 in 2007. The Bulldogs will face the winner of the Pacific/Howard game for the right to face Arizona in tomorrow’s game regional final.
Arizona second baseman Chelsie Mesa led the way with a 2-for-4, three-RBI showing at the plate. Four additional Wildcats tacked on RBI and Arizona punched out nine hits in the victorious effort.
Mississippi State had the potential go-ahead run at the plate in the fourth inning, but would not get much closer to scoring. Second baseman Chelsea Bramlett accounted for two of four Bulldog hits.
Arizona and Mississippi State were locked in a scoreless battle until the top of the fifth, when the Wildcats exploded for three runs.
With one out, Adrienne Acton reached on an infield single to short. Caitlin Lowe ?- who reached twice via error ?- sent a chopper to the shortstop as well. The ball would be good for an infield single and a throwing error on Courtney Bures gave UA runners on the second and third.
With a pair runners in scoring position, Chelsie Mesa knocked her third triple of the year to right-center field to plate the two UA outfielders. Next, Kristie Fox brought Mesa across with a warning-track sacrifice fly to center field.
The Wildcats added a run in their half of the sixth to bring the score to 4-0. With two outs, Sam Banister drew a walk before being lifted for pinch runner Jill Malina. K'Lee Arredondo followed with a double to the gap that brought Malina all the way around to score.
In the seventh inning, Arizona doubled its score with four more runs. UA used three hits, the Bulldogs’ fourth defensive error of the day, two wild pitches and a walk to push the quartet of runs across.
Arizona pitcher Taryne Mowatt (32-10) tossed her second complete-game shutout in as many days and blanked an opposing team for the 14th time this year. The first-team all Pac-10 selection allowed four hits and one walk in seven innings of scoreless work. Mowatt’s pitching counterpart Kelli Miller (18-11) drew the loss, having given up three runs on five hits in five innings of work.
- Caitlin Lowe was caught stealing for the first time this season, having stolen 47 straight bases in 2007 and 54 dating back to 2006.
- Arizona improved to 18-1 this year when its opponent commits two or more errors.
- Arizona improved to 52-6 all-time in NCAA games at Hillenbrand Stadium.
Up Next: Arizona will play the winner tonight’s 6 p.m. matchup between the Mississippi State and the winner of the Howard/Pacific game. The Wildcats’ will play at noon on Sunday. Live stats and a free webcast of the game will be available at arizonaathletics.com. Should Arizona lose, the two teams would play the “if necessary” game at 2:30 for a trip to the super regional round.