TUCSON, Ariz. ?- Arizona capped off its regular season in dramatic fashion and sent its three seniors off after Sam Banister hit a walk-off, solo home run in the eighth inning to give UA a 5-4 win over Washington.
The third-ranked Wildcats, who clinched their 10th Pac-10 title in school history last weekend, improved to 39-12-1 overall and wrapped up Pac-10 play with a league-best 15-5-1 record.
No. 11 Washington fell to 35-16 on the year and 12-9 in Pac-10 play.
Wildcat ace Taryne Mowatt (31-10) threw her 37th complete game of the year in the victory. Washington’s Danielle Lawrie took the loss after relieving Caitlin Noble in the sixth inning.
Arizona took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning thanks to the speed of Caitlin Lowe and some productive outs by her teammates. Lowe led off the bottom of the first with a bunt single and stole her 46th base of the year. Coming off a four-hit game on Friday night, Chelsie Mesa moved Lowe to third with a groundout. After Kristie Fox drew a walk, Jenae Leles flied a ball to shallow right field that was just deep enough to score Lowe on a sacrifice fly.
The 1-0 score held firm until the top of the fourth, when Washington’s Lauren Greer hit a home run with one runner on to give UW a 2-1 advantage.
Washington tacked on two more runs in the sixth to increase its lead to 4-1. Lawrie got the Huskies an insurance run with a solo home run. Next, Alicia Matthews drew a walk, before she was lifted for pinch runner Amanda Fleischman. That brought Greer back to the plate and she responded by lacing an RBI double down the left field line to score Fleischman.
Arizona responded with three runs in its half of the sixth to tie the game 4-4. With what at the time appeared to be Fox’s last at-bat at Hillenbrand Stadium, the UA senior got the first of three consecutive Wildcat singles to start the frame. Leles followed with a base knock to center to give UA runners at the corners. That brought up Callista Balko, who was 0-for-5 on the weekend with runners in scoring position. The Tucson native came through with a clutch infield single to plate Fox.
Sam Banister laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to advance Balko and Leles to second and third, respectively. Following the sac bunt, Washington coach Heather Tarr called on yesterday’s winner Lawrie to enter the circle as a relief pitcher. Sarah Akamine cut the deficit to one run with a sac fly to left, scoring Leles. Next, K’Lee Arredondo tied the game with UA’s fourth hit of the inning, a single to score Balko.
After Mowatt retired the side in the top of the seventh, setting the stage for a dramatic bottom of the seventh with Arizona’s three senior hitters due up.
Lowe was thrown out to lead off the inning after she tried to reach on her second bunt single of the day. Mesa and Fox followed by drawing a pair of walks, but Lawrie retired the next two hitters to take the game to extra innings.
- Taryne Mowatt passed Nancy Evans for fifth place on Arizona’s career strikeout list.
- Arizona improved to 1-1-1 in extra-inning games this year.
Up Next: Arizona awaits to hear its postseason fate, as ESPNews will announce the 64-team NCAA Tournament field on Saturday between noon and 1 p.m. (MST/PDT).
The tournament format includes 16 on-campus regional sites featuring four teams playing a double-elimination bracket for the right to advance to the super regional round. After that, the 16 regional winners will be broken into eight pairs and will play best-of-three game series across eight campus sites playing for a berth in the 2007 Women’s College World Series in Oklahoma City.
Arizona has played host to an NCAA regional 12 times in the last 14 years, including each of the last four seasons. Should Arizona be selected to host, current Arizona ticket holders who pre-order tickets online at www.arizonaathletics.com before 5 p.m. on May 14 will be given seating priority. Non-season ticket holders who pre-order tickets before the May 14, 5 p.m. deadline will be given the best available seats. After the season ticket holder allocation has been distributed.
Beginning May 15 at 9 a.m., all remaining tickets will be sold and assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Single game tickets will go on sale on May 17 at 9 a.m.
Fans can order tickets at arizonaathletics.com or by calling (520) 621-CATS or (800) 452-2287.