May 25, 2003
OKLAHOMA CITY - Top-ranked Arizona saw its dreams of a seventh NCAA championship disappear as defending titlist California beat the Cats, 4-1, to eliminate them in semifinal action of the Women's College World Series.
It was Cal's second victory over Arizona on Sunday. The Bears came out of the loser's bracket to earn their second consecutive appearance in the NCAA championship game.
UA, which had beaten the Bears three times in 2003, could not overcome a
yeoman pitching performance by Kelly Anderson (23-4), who pitched 39 of the
team's 43 innings in the Series to that point to pull Cal into contention,
and beat Arizona twice Sunday. Arizona freshman Alicia Hollowell threw all
32 innings for the Cats in the Series and won twice, but appeared off her
best stuff in two game against California.
Arizona lost back-to-back games in its 16 WCWS appearances for only the third time and first since a three-game visit in 1999. California eliminated UA for the second consecutive year after beating the Cats in the title game last year, 6-0.
Anderson won her third game in Oklahoma City against one loss.
Golden Bears centerfielder Kaleo Eldredge hit her first home run of the season and the second of her two-year career to lead off the Cal second and post a 1-0 lead.
Arizona responded in the bottom of the frame. Jackie Coburn reached on a fielder's choice and Wildcat senior second baseman Lisha Ribellia doubled over Eldredge's head for the tying RBI.
In the next inning UA had runners on first and third with two outs, but Courtney Fossatti was picked off third by catcher Courtney Scott to end the inning.
Hollowell walked two in the fourth to put a runner in scoring position and Cal threatened when Vicky Galindo beat out an infield hit but Eldredge was picked off third by an alert throw from second baseman Ribellia.
Arizona had issued five intentional walks to Cal first baseman Veronica Nelson during the day, including her first two plate appearances in the second game, and she showed why in the top of the fifth. After Courtney Scott singled to right, UA coach Mike Candrea was forced to pitch to her to avoid putting the go-ahead runner on second, and Nelson clobbered a 1-1 pitch to left-center for a two-run homer and a 3-1 lead. In her last at bat, in the seventh, UA put her on first again.
Hollowell, who had averaged less than one and a half walks per game entering the Series, found the going a bit rougher in Oklahoma City, where she issued 21 walks in 32 and one-third innings pitched, though six were the intentional passes to Nelson.
California (49-19) added another run in the top of the seventh when Nelson was issued her final intentional walk, the Bears used a sac bunt and a grounder to move pinch-runner LeAnna Hoglen to third, and Chelsea Spencer hit an RBI single.
Arizona ended its season 56-7 overall, 6-2 in NCAA play and 2-2 at the World Series. The Bears, 4-1 in Series play, move into the national title game Monday afternoon against the winner of the Texas-UCLA game which was to follow.