Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 1 Arizona Falls to No. 4 Texas, 1-0, in Nine Innings
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 19, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Related Links

FULLERTON, Calif. ?- The No. 1 Arizona softball team (26-2) lost a, 1-0, heartbreaker to No. 4 Texas (30-3) in nine innings in a Judi Garman Classic semifinal match-up.


Texas scored the game’s only run on a two-out, full-count, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning.


A championship game by any other name, the top-ranked Wildcats and No. 4 Texas Longhorns threw their respective three-time All-American hurlers into the circle and let them do their magic.  In the teams’ third meeting of the year, it was the first time since the 2005 Women’s College World Series that UA’s Alicia Hollowell and UT’s Cat Osterman were pitted against one another.


Throughout the game, Hollowell and Osterman matched each other pitch for pitch.  Hollowell struck out 10 of the 18 batters she faced, allowing only one to reach base.  Osterman struck out 19 of the 29 batters she faced, walking one and allowing one hit.  Osterman (18-1) defeated the Wildcats for the second time this year and Taryne Mowatt (12-2) was a tough luck loser in relief.


Hollowell lost her shot at a perfect game in the bottom of the fourth, when Desiree Williams drew a full-count, two-out walk.  Up to that point, the Suisun, Calif., native had struck nine Longhorns, among the 11 UT batters she had faced.  With clean-up hitter Amber Hall up, Williams stole second base.  Then with a full count, Hall lined out to left field.


UA broke up Osterman’s shot at a perfect game in the top of the fifth, as Jenae Leles drew a 3-2 walk.  Leles advanced to second on a Laine Roth ground out.  UA head coach Mike Candrea sent senior Kelly Nelson to pinch run for Leles.


The game took a dramatic, if not dangerous, turn in the bottom of sixth when UT left fielder MicKayla Padilla hit a line shot back to the circle and right into the head of Alicia Hollowell.  Hollowell immediately fell to the ground and held her head.  All present were relieved to see her move her fingers and kick her feet soon after hitting the ground.  Approximately three minutes later, Hollowell walked off the field, ice on her face, completely under her own power.


Almost meaningless to the situation, second baseman Chelsie Mesa alertly picked up the ball and threw Padilla out at first. 


With Hollowell out, Candrea turned to sophomore Taryne Mowatt, who was coming off of a no-hit performance against UNLV and a perfect game versus Cal State Northridge.  UT leadoff hitter Tina Boutelle promptly laid Mowatt’s first pitch down for a bunt single; the first hit of the game for either team.  With her next pitch, Mowatt hit UT’s Shannon Thomas in the forearm.  With two runners on base for the first time, UT was unable to capitalize, as Williams flied out to center field.


Hollowell’s pitching line was nearly flawless: 5.2 innings pitched, no runs, no hits, 10 strikeouts, one walk.


In the top of the seventh, the Wildcats responded by breaking up Osterman’s no-hitter, as Mesa hit a bloop double down the left field line.  Osterman showed why she’s a two-time national player of the year, striking out Leles.


In the eighth, under the international tie-breaker, Leles was placed on second base.  Laine Roth laid down a bunt, but Leles did not advance to third.  Osterman struck out the next two Wildcat batters, moving the game into the bottom of the eighth.


UT tried the same strategy in their half, but Crystal Saenz popped up her bunt attempt.  After a Padilla strikeout, UA elected to walk Boutelle intentionally.  The move paid off, as Mowatt induced Thomas into a pop out.


In the ninth, Callista Balko was placed on second to start the inning, but three Wildcat strikeouts ended any threat.


Texas mounted a threat in their half of the ninth, as they had Thomas placed on second to start the inning.  UA intentionally walked Williams to get to Hall, who laid down a bunt, but Thomas was cut down at third.  After Megan Willis walk and a Kacie Gaskin strikeout, the game ended when Cook hit Mowatt’s full-count offering for a game-winning single.   


Up Next: Arizona returns home to wrap up non-conference play with a three-game set against No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


Game Notes:

-         This was Arizona’s second extra-inning game of the year.  UA is now 1-1 in extra-inning contests.

-         Caitlin Lowe’s career-high 15-game hitting streak was snapped.