Greg Byrne's Wildcat Wednesday
No. 1 Arizona Softball Wins Hillenbrand Invitational, Now 20-1
By: Arizona Athletics
Release: March 06, 2006
Photo Courtesy: Arizona Athletics
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TUCSON, Ariz. ?- The No. 1 Arizona softball team (20-1) defeated Long Beach State, 11-0, in five innings to capture the 2006 Hillenbrand Invitational.


Alicia Hollowell (11-0) struck out nine 49ers over five shutout innings, en route to Arizona’s 20th victory on the year.


The Suisun, Calif., native has now won 123 games in her storied career, and she stands in second place on UA’s all-time victories list behind current assistant coach Nancy Evans (124).  Hollowell already holds the all-time records in strikeouts and innings pitched.  Additionally, the three-time All-American owns the three best strikeout seasons and three of the top four spots for innings pitched in a season. 


UA broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning, when it scored seven runs on six hits.  Adrienne Acton catalyzed the rally with a single up the middle.  Caitlin Lowe hit a ground ball to the LBSU second baseman, who failed to force Acton out at second by throwing the ball into the outfield.  With the errant throw, Acton ended up on third and Lowe on second.


With runners now in scoring position, Autumn Champion hit an infield single, scoring Acton for the first run of the game.  UA’s next three batters followed the senior outfielder’s lead with three consecutive RBI singles.  With four runs across, UA appeared to be done scoring in the inning, but Callista Balko smacked her fourth home run of the year, a three-run blast.


The Wildcats put another four runs on the board in the following frame, as Acton led off with another single up the middle.  Lowe followed that up with her first triple of the year, scoring Acton.  Champion hit another infield single, followed by a Fox RBI groundout.  With Champion on second, Mesa crushed her fourth home run of the year out to right center field, bringing UA’s lead to an 11-0 tally.         


The Wildcats defeated their opponents by a combined score of 50-1, over five games this weekend.


Other scores from Championship Sunday:

Consolation game ?- Sam Houston State 3, South Florida 0

Third place game ?- Wichita State 3, Sam Houston State 1


Up next: Arizona hosts No. 18 Baylor at Hillenbrand Stadium next weekend for a three-game series, beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. (MST). 


Game Notes:

-         Arizona’s six triples on the year are one more than the five UA totaled in 2005.

-         Arizona hit 11 home runs in its five games this weekend.  Every Wildcat starter, with the exception of Autumn Champion and Adrienne Acton had at least one round-tripper

-         Laine Roth had 10 RBI this weekend.  Entering the week, she had five RBI all year

-         Caitlin Lowe has a team-leading eight game hit streak.  Chelsie Mesa’s since-broken 11-game streak is UA’s longest of the year.