FULLERTON, Calif. ?- The fifth-ranked Arizona softball team fell to sixth-ranked Oklahoma, 6-2, at the Judi Garman Classic on Thursday.
The loss drops Arizona to 18-6 on the year, while Oklahoma’s record moves to 30-1.
The Wildcat offense tallied seven hits to Oklahoma’s five, but UA committed a pair of defensive errors that aided a five-run fifth inning for the Sooners.
Junior pitcher Taryne Mowatt (12-6) held OU without a hit or a run until the fourth inning, in which she gave up a solo home run. However, in a gutty performance, the Wildcat ace gave up six runs ?- two of which were unearned ?- on five hits with seven strikeouts in five innings of work. Freshman pitcher Sarah Akamine pitched two innings of shutout relief.
Arizona had three runners reach base in the first inning, but a runner leaving early and a pair of strikeouts foiled UA’s opening-inning rally. Caitlin Lowe led off with an infield single, but in the second pitch of Chelsie Mesa’s at-bat left first base early for the first out of the inning. Mesa then lined the next pitch she saw back to the circle for a single, increasing her Pac-10-leading hitting streak to 21 games. However, after Kristie Fox was hit by a pitch, OU pitcher Lauren Eckermann buckled down and struck out the next two Wildcat hitters to keep the game tied at zero.
Mesa broke up a scoreless tie in the third with her inning with a solo home run to right-center field. The line shot, Mesa’s fourth of the year, came with two outs. Mesa’s classmate Fox followed suit and promptly doubled, giving UA another runner in scoring position. Cleanup hitter Jenae Leles then singled to center, driving in Fox for UA’s second run of the inning and the game.
For the second consecutive game, Mowatt held the opposing team hitless through the first three innings. With her team down 2-0, Oklahoma’s cleanup hitter Samantha Ricketts cut the Sooners’ deficit in half with her seventh home run of the year ?- a solo shot to center.
In the top half of the fifth, the Sooners turned two Wildcat errors, a walk and four hits into five runs and a 5-2 lead. Jamie Fox led off the inning by reaching on an error and Amber Spaulding walked to give OU a pair of runners on with no outs. Lindsey Vandever then singled to score Fox to tie the game 2-2. A Traci Dickenson two-run homer gave the Sooners their first lead of the game. After leadoff hitter walked Norrelle Dickson, Savannah Long scored Dickson all the way from first with an RBI double. After a wild pitch that moved Long to third, Amber Flores hit a single to short which Mesa threw past Banister, allowing Long to score.
The top of Arizona’s order was able to load the bases with a rally of its own in UA’s half of the fifth, but did not come away with any runs. Lowe ignited the rally with an infield single and Mesa then reached on a fielder’s choice. After Fox popped out, Leles worked her way on with a full-count walk to load the bases with just one out. However, Eckermann got Callista Balko to strikeout and Sam Banister line back to the circle to end the rally.
- Chelsie Mesa’s first-inning single extended her hitting streak to 21 games. This is the longest Arizona hitting streak since Autumn Champion hit in 25 consecutive games in 2003. She is hitting .456 (31-for-68) in the 21 games.
- Caitlin Lowe passed Leah Braatz for seventh place on Arizona’s all-time hits list with 298 base knocks.
Up Next: Arizona concludes pool play in the Judi Garman Classic with a 4 p.m. date with Pacific on Friday at the Titan Sports Complex at Cal State Fullerton.