May 22, 2010

TUCSON -- Arizona banged out 12 hits and got solid pitching from freshman ace Kenzie Fowler to take a 9-0 victory over Cornell in first-round Regional action in the NCAA Softball Championships here at Rita Hillenbrand Stadium Friday night.

Lauren Schutzler punctuated the contest with a walk-off home run in the fifth.

The Cats (44-11) will play Hofstra (44-10) in winner's bracket action in Game 3 at 2 p.m. for the berth in Sunday's championship game. Cornell (37-14) will play Oklahoma State around 4:30 p.m.

Arizona jumped on Cornell pitcher Elizabeth Dalrymple quickly. Brittany Lastrapes walked and Lauren Schutzler and K'Lee Arredondo singled to load the bases. Stacie Chambers drew a walk to drive in the first run, An out later Lini Koria did the same, and then Kristen Arriola singled to the gap in left to make it 3-0. Dalrymple settled down and got a popout and ground ball to strand three Wildcats.

Ali Tomlinson had a one-out single for Cornell in the second, and after a second out, Devon March beat out a ground ball to pitcher Kenzie Fowler, who then walked Vanessa Leonhard to load the bases. Fowler bore down and struck out Erin Keene to strand three Big Red.

Chambers followed a two-out single by Arredondo with a double to plate a fourth run in the UA second. Brigette Del Ponte socked her 21st home run of the season to make it 6-0.

The Cats threatened to get something going in the third, but Cornell second baseman Erin Keene turned a double play to stop the momentum,

Tomlinson singled again in the fourth, the four hit off Fowler, who was pulled from action last week against UCLA with a shoulder nerve problem, but who appeared comfortable in the circle.

Baillie Kirker singled to lead off the fifth, Lastrapes hit an RBI double and Schuzler socked a two-run home run for the run-rule margin, 9-0.

The Cats have now won 23 consecutive NCAA Championships openers.

(NOTE: A foul ball hit the live NCAA.com web cast computer, knocking the production off the air for the last three outs.... Apologies)