May 22, 2010

Courtesy of Arizona Athletics

TUCSON--Kenzie Fowler tossed a one-hit, complete-game shutout and Arizona collected 12 hits to beat Hofstra, 6-0, Saturday afternoon to send the Wildcats to the Regional championship game Sunday in the Division I NCAA Softball Championships.

The Cats will play either Hofstra, Oklahoma State or Cornell -- the team that stays alive in the double-elimination tourney after the rest of Saturday's games. The loser's bracket team would have to beat Arizona twice on Sunday.

UA improved to 45-11 overall, while Hofstra dropped to 44-11 and will play the late game Saturday.

Fowler, a first-team All-Pac-10 and All-Pacific Region pick, improved to 33-6 on the year. Erin Wade (18-5) took the loss for the Pride.

The first couple of innings were mostly about defense, including work by third basemen Sara Michalowski of Hofstra and Brigette Del Ponte of Arizona, who both turned in a couple of snags on hard-hit ground balls, as did UA shortstop K'Lee Arredondo. Hofstra got its first hit in the second with a single by Sara Michalowski.

UA got its first hit with one out in the third and it got things going. Karissa Buchanan singled up the middle. Brittany Lastrapes then took a 2-2 offering and lifted it into the breeze sailing toward left for a two-run home run.

Lauren Schutzler and K'Lee Arredondo hit bunt singles and Stacie Chambers singled up the middle to load the bases, and then Del Ponte drew a walk to drive in a third run. An out later, a mishandled ground ball off Kristen Arriola's bat by Trisha Dreslinski allowed an unearned run to cross and leave Arizona leading 4-0.

Fowler pitched herself into a jam without allowing a hit in the bottom of the fourth. She walked Michele DePasquale, Michalowski reached on an error and Jess Hirschbul was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. But she struck out Becca Bigler and Trisha Dreslinski to end the threat.

Chambers powered a high fly off reliever Olivia Galati that had no chance of staying in the park in dead center, for a leadoff homer in UA's fifth to make it 5-0. Wind gusts in the area were up to 20 miles per hour.

The Cats added their final run in the sixth. UA loaded the bases with a single by Buchanan, a fielder's choice and hits by Schutzler and Arredondo. Chambers drew a walk to drive in a run. Galati struck out Del Ponte and got a grounder from Lini Koria to end the rally.