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Arizona Wins WCWS Extra-Inning Thriller
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 06/02/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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OKLAHOMA CITY ?- The Arizona softball team won the first game of the 2006 Women’s College World Series in dramatic fashion with a 3-2, nine-inning victory over Oregon State.  Kristie Fox singled in fellow First Team All-American Caitlin Lowe to give UA a walk-off victory.

 

Alicia Hollowell (28-4) surrendered only one earned run in nine innings of work, fanning 10 Beaver hitters.  OSU’s Brianne McGowan (29-8) scattered 10 hits and walked six hitters, as UA stranded 11 runners.

 

With the victory, Arizona improves to 50-10 on the year, giving the Wildcats 12 50-win seasons in the last 13 years.  Oregon State, drops to 43-15, and will play in an elimination game on Saturday.

 

OSU did not have many scoring opportunities, but got a leadoff hitter on in the second inning.  Vanessa Iapala, who would later ground out into just the fifth groundball double play Arizona has turned this year, led off the second frame with a single to right.  Next, the Wildcats successfully executed their bunt defense, cutting down pinch runner Maggie DeWall on Stef Ewing’s sac bunt attempt, and nearly turning a double play on a bang-bang play at first.

 

 

The Cats ready to greet Fox (AP)
The Wildcats scored two runs on three hits in the bottom of the third inning to break a scoreless tie.  Adrienne Acton reached first on a fielder’s choice and moved to second with her first stolen base in 10 games.  Newly minted three-time All-American Caitlin Lowe then moved her to third with a single to shortstop.  With runners on the corners, Autumn Champion followed with an infield single of her own, scoring Acton for the UA’s first run.

 

With Champion and Lowe on first and second, respectively, Kristie Fox came through with a single to centerfield, scoring Lowe and increasing UA’s lead to 2-0.

 

After a scoreless fourth inning, the Beavers got on the board with a Brianne McGowan home run that snuck past the leftfield foul pole, bringing the game to its 2-1 margin.

 

That margin would hold through the bottom of the fifth inning, when officials halted the game due to lightning around ASA Hall of Fame Stadium.  Approximately an hour and a half later, the Pac-10 foes resumed play and a Wildcat rally quickly ensued.

 

Laine Roth led off the bottom of the fifth with a walk and moved to second on Adrienne Acton’s first career WCWS hit.  Then, one of the rarest events in Arizona softball occurred: Lowe, Champion and Fox made consecutive outs at the plate and no runs scored.  Lowe flied out to left, while Champion and Fox were retired via swinging strikeout.

 

Following the unsuccessful rally, Oregon State tied the game with a two-out error, one of three season-high Wildcat miscues.  Beaver centerfielder Adrienne Alo collected her career-high third hit of the game, a one-out single to center.  After Alo advanced to second on Lisa Allen’s sac bunt, Vanessa Iapala walked to put runners at first and second with two outs.  Stefanie Ewing then hit a nubber down the first base line, which Hollowell fielded.  Unfortunately, the four-time All-American hurler was unable to create a clear throwing lane and misfired the ball into rightfield, allowing Alo to tie the game at 2-2.

 

With the 9-1-2 hitters due up for UA in the bottom of the seventh, the Wildcats looked primed for a walk-off win.  After Acton popped out to short, Lowe notched her second infield single of the day.  With Champion at the plate, Lowe appeared to have second base stolen, but was called out for leaving first early.  Champion proceeded to single to short for the second time in the game, bringing up Fox who would walk.  Callista Balko then flied out to center, sending the game to extra-innings.

 

In the bottom of the eighth, Taryne Mowatt lined a two-out double down the leftfield line, followed by a Laine Roth walk.  With pinch runner Kelly Nelson standing 120 feet away, pinch hitter Sam Banister went down swinging on a full-count pitch.

 

The Wildcats finally broke through with a run in the ninth, with top of the order due up.  Lowe rapped out her third hit of the day, and moved into scoring position on Champion’s perfectly executed sac bunt.  McGowan then made the mistake of giving Fox a pitch to hit, and the All-American shortstop from San Diego drove in Lowe from centerfield to bring the game to a close.

 

Up Next: Arizona advances to face the winner of the Texas-Arizona State game on Friday, June 2 at 4 p.m. MST on ESPN2.

 

Game Notes:

-         Arizona improves to 47-4 all-time at the WCWS when scoring one run or more during the game.

-         Autumn Champion has hit safely in six consecutive games

-         The Wildcats improved to 27-1 in games that they have led at any point during the 2006 season.

-         Arizona now has 12 50-win seasons in 13 years.

-         Caitlin Lowe had her 26th multi-hit game of the year, and her fifth three-hit (or better) game in 2006.

-         Arizona committed three errors for just the second time of 2006.

-         The rain delay lasted 1 hour, 35 minutes.  Adding in 2 hours, 44 minutes of playing, the total game time elapsed was 4 hours, 19 minutes.

-         Arizona improves to 47-22 all time at the WCWS.

-         UA holds a 47-4 all-time record at the WCWS when scoring at least one run in a game.

-         Arizona is now 3-2 in extra-inning games this year.

-         Alicia Hollowell tied Jennie Finch for the No. 4 spot on the season strikeout list, giving Hollowell the top four spots.

 

 

 

 

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