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Fox and Balko Both Homer 13th Time, UA Wins
Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
Release: 05/20/2006
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Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The tag-team of Kristie Fox and Callista Balko sending softballs flying over fence, along with Alicia Hollowell’s dominating presence helped Arizona to its second victory of the Tucson Regional.

 

With the win, the Wildcats improved to 46-9 on the year and advance to the championship game of the regional.  In its 12th consecutive victory, dating back to April 30, Arizona cranked out eight hits, half of which went for extra-bases.

 

Ohio State had four hits, but matched that figure with fielding errors.  With the loss, OSU moves to 39-22 and will face the loser of the Auburn-Marist match-up tonight at 6:30 p.m.

 

Alicia Hollowell took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, but lost that and the shutout she was working on.  Other than three runs in the fifth, the three-time All-American held the Buckeyes scoreless in the other six frames.

 

The Wildcats got on the board with a pair of runs in the top of the first on a Chelsie Mesa two-run double.  Caitlin Lowe opened the game with a single up the middle and stole second base with Autumn Champion at the plate.  Then with one out, Kristie Fox singled to left, moving Lowe to third.  On Fox’s single, the Buckeye right fielder gunned the ball home, but missed her target, allowing Fox to advance to second base.

 

After Callista Balko struck out and Jenae Leles was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Mesa stroked a double to the left-center field gap for a pair of runs.

 

After a scoreless second, the Wildcats put up another two spot in the third.  Autumn Champion led off with a bunt single, bringing Fox to the plate.  Fox spanked Reeder’s 1-1 offering over the left field fence and on top of the newly renovated batting cages.  Unfortunately for the All-American shortstop, the cages are in foul territory.  The good news is that she sent the next pitch over the fence in right-center for her 13th home run of the year, increasing UA’s lead to 4-0.

 

Hollowell retired 12 of the first 13 Buckeye hitters before surrendering her first hit of the game, a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth to Christina Douglas.  After inducing a groundout, Hollowell gave up her second hit of the game to Courtney Pruner, who drove in Douglas to break up the shutout.  Catcher Lauren Daykin then stepped up and cracked a two-run homer to cut Arizona’s lead to one run.

 

Arizona responded with a much-needed insurance run of its own in bottom of the sixth.  Adrienne Acton put pressure on the OSU defense with a bunt single, which was thrown into right field by the Buckeye catcher.  Acton would advance all the way to third and score on Lowe’s sacrifice fly to left. 

 

After Hollowell held OSU scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, preserving the Wildcats’ two-run lead for the seventh inning.  Already 1-for-2 with a double in the game, Callista Balko clubbed her 13th home run of the year to left field.  The ball did not land until climbing approximately a dozen rows up the left field bleachers.

 

Hollowell stayed in the circle for the seventh inning, retiring the Buckeyes in order for her 28th complete game of the season.

 

Game notes:

-         Jenae Leles’ first-inning hit by pitch was her ninth of the year.  That is the most for any Wildcat since Leneah Manuma’s 16 HBPs in 2002.

-         Callista Balko’s seventh-inning homer was her seventh in the last 12 games.

  

Up next: Arizona advances to the regional final against the winner of Game 5.  The Wildcats will next play on Saturday at 3 p.m. for the opportunity to advance to the Super Regional round.  Tomorrow’s game will be televised live on ESPN2.  Beth Mowins and Lisa Fernandez will have the call.

 

POST-GAME QUOTES:

 

Ohio State head coach Linda Kalafatis:

On facing Arizona pitcher Alicia Hollowell for a second time this year:

 "We made it interesting today, didn't we?  The last time we faced Hollowell we struck out 18 times, so we made some improvements."

"We didn't play our best game defensively.  When you do that against Arizona, it really hurts you."

On Arizona’s offensive balance:

"Everyone in their lineup is a threat."

"After the home run, she (Hollowell) started throwing more off-speed pitches.  When she has all her pitches going, she is really tough."

"We hope to make it to Saturday, that's for sure."

"I couldn't be more proud of the way our kids are playing."

Arizona head coach Mike Candrea:

"We got off to a good start. I am pleased with our approach offensively. We had a couple of key strikeouts with runners in scoring position that kept us from bowing the game open. I'm greedy like that. I never want to give another team a sense that they can win the game."

On Alicia Hollowell giving up three runs in the fifth:

 "She got a little careless with an 0-2 pitch and she (Lauren Daykin) hit it out. Other than that, I can't complain. She shut them down after that."

On scoring two runs after the lead was cut to 4-3:

 "We got two more runs after the home run. I think that's the sign of a good team. You can never get comfortable. I thought we let up with our energy a bit, but we picked it up."

Arizona P Alicia Hollowell:

On giving up three runs in the fifth: “I never want to give up homeruns. I came back strong, though. I didn’t let it affect me.”

 

Arizona SS Kristie Fox:

 

On homering in the third inning one pitch after hitting a foul ball on top of the batting cages:

 “I knew they weren’t going to come inside on me again. I just stayed in on the ball and went with the pitch.”

 

Arizona C Callista Balko:

 

On what she said to Alicia Hollowell after the home run: “She knows what she is doing. I basically am just there to keep encouraging her. I knew she would keep pitching well.”

 

Live Stats on Game Watcher for all Tucson games - HERE

 NCAA Division I Softball Championships - Region 2 Schedule

 

Tucson Regional Schedule

Day

Time

Game

Other

Thursday

4 p.m.

1 - Ohio State 1, Auburn 0

 

 

6:30 p.m.

2  - Arizona 9, Marist 0

 

Friday

1:30 p.m.

3 ?- Arizona 6, Ohio State 3

 

 

4 p.m.

4 ?- Auburn vs. Marist

 

 

6:30 p.m.

5 ?- Winner 4 vs. Ohio State

 

3 pm.

6 ?- Arizona vs. Winner 5

ESPN2

Saturday

5 p.m.

7 ?- Arizona vs. Winner 5 (if necessary)

ESPN2

 

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