OKLAHOMA CITY?- One run was the difference between Arizona and Tennessee’s fates in the first game of the 2005 Women’s College World Series. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that one run went to the Lady Vols (65-13), as UA lost, 1-0. Third-seeded Arizona softball (44-11) lost its Women’s College World Series opening game for just the fourth time in 17 WCWS appearances.
Arizona pitcher Alicia Hollowell (30-8) was the tough luck loser, despite giving up no earned runs, four hits, and 12 strikeouts. Lady Vol hurler Monica Abbott (48-7) was a bit better, limiting Arizona to one base runner all game, while striking out Wildcat hitters 12 times.
The Lady Vols drew first blood in the top of the sixth, scoring an unearned run during a two-out rally. After retiring UT’s Sarah Fekete and Kristi Durant, Hollowell surrendered a walk to Tonya Callahan. Tennessee Head Coach Ralph Weekly pinch ran Ashley Cline for Callahan. Weekly’s move was rewarded when Katherine Card singled to right field, setting runners on the corners, but Adrienne Acton’s throw to the infield sailed wide of Crystal Farley, allowing Oliver to score the game’s first run.
Abbott crusied through UA’s potent lineup until Callista Balko broke up a potential perfect game with a single through the right side in the fifth inning. Balko would be the only Wildcat base runner on the afternoon.
Arizona will next play in an elimination game against the loser of the UCLA/California game at Saturday at 9 a.m. (MST/PST). The game will be televised on ESPN, and can be seen in high definition.
- Caitlin Lowe’s 14-game hitting streak was snapped. Lowe’s streak was the longest in two years for a UA hitter. The only Cats with current hitting streaks are Callista Balko (one game) and Jennifer Martinez (one game).
- Alicia Hollowell’s 12 strikeouts marked the 23rd time this year that she has had double-digit K’s.
- Hollowell's loss was her fifth marked by Arizona failing to score a run, including her third when the score was 1-0.
- In 41 postseason innings this year, Arizona’s pitching staff has not given up an earned run. UA pitchers have given up eight unearned runs in NCAA play.
- Arizona’s offense has one extra-base hit in its last four games.
- The loss snapped UA’s seven-game winning streak.
- In Arizona’s previous three opening-game losses, the Wildcats are 2-1 in the next game. In 2000, Arizona won two more games before losing to Oklahoma. In 1992, the Wildcats rebounded from the opening-round loss to reach the title game, and 1990 was UA’s only two-game appearance in its WCWS history.