Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
OKLAHOMA CITY ?- The Arizona softball team lost, 3-0, to Tennessee in the first game of the best-of-three WCWS Championship Series on Monday night.
Taryne Mowatt (40-12) drew the loss after tossing yet another complete game. The junior All-American has pitched every inning in UA’s 2007 postseason. She allowed three runs on six hits with six strikeouts. Mowatt’s final strikeout of the game was her 500th of the year ?- marking just the second time an Arizona pitcher has reached that plateau in a single season.
Monica Abbott (50-3) earned the win with a three-hit shutout in which she struck out eight Wildcat hitters.
With two outs in the top of the second, UT’s Alexia Clay homered over the outfield wall ?- just out of the reach of Arizona’s center fielder Caitlin Lowe. Clay’s fourth home run of 2007 came in Clay’s second at-bat of the WCWS.
Arizona’s season record moved to 48-14-1 with the loss, while Tennessee improved to 63-6.
Down 1-0 in the bottom of the third, Arizona had a rare scoring opportunity against Abbott. Sam Banister led off with a single to left. The UA designated player was lifted for pinch runner Jill Malina who moved into scoring position on a K’Lee Arredondo sacrifice bunt. Abbott struck out Adrienne Acton to bring up the top of the order. The Lady Vols elected to walk four-time, first-team All-American Caitlin Lowe intentionally to put the go-ahead run on base. Mesa put a charge into the ball to straight away center field, but the deep fly found the glove of UT center fielder Lindsay Schutzler for the third out of the inning.
UT doubled its lead in the top of the fourth with another solo home run. With one out, Lady Vol catcher Shannon Doepking, who entered the at-bat 0-for-8 in her career against Arizona, connected for her sixth home run of the year.
The Wildcats would scatter three more hits with a one-out single by Jenae Leles in the fourth, a two-out base knock by Kristie Fox in the sixth, and a Banister single in the seventh ?- the sophomore’s second hit of the game.
Up Next: Arizona will try to even the Championship Series and stave off elimination when the Wildcats will meet Tennessee at 7 p.m. (CDT) on Tuesday for Game 2 of best-of-three game series. All Championship Series games will be televised live on ESPN2 HD.