Arizona 3, Oklahoma State
Arizona 3, Oklahoma State 0May 21, 2005
TUCSON, Ariz.--Arizona pitcher Alicia Hollowell took a perfect game into the bottom of the seventh, and then hung on to emerge with a two-hit shutout over Oklahoma State in Region 3 of the NCAA Softball Championships here at Hillenbrand Stadium Saturday afternoon.
Arizona might have made it a broader margin but left 12 runners on base. And the Cowgirls took a while, but still sent the tying run to the plate twice in the bottom of the seventh. Hollowell struck out 11 and earned her 28th victory of the year.
Caitlin Lowe led the game off reaching base on an error by OSU first baseman Dominique Van Nortwick, was sacrificed to second by Autumn Champion and beat a throw to the plate off Kristie Fox's single to center for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first.
More short-game tactics helped produce another run in the third. Fox drew a walk, moved to second on Jackie Coburn's sacrifice bunt, and then scored on a single up the middle by Shelly Schultz.
Arizona came up with another run in the top of the sixth to make it 3-0, but missed out on a bigger opportunity, stranding its 12th runner of the game. Adrienne Acton drew a walk, Lowe reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second when Shelly Schultz drew another walk, and then reached home on a single by Coburn. OSU pitcher Jessica Hoppock, however, pitched out the jam, stranding three.
OSU's threat started with leadoff batter Shanel Scott singling off Hollowell to open the seventh. After Hollowell struck out Stephanie Nicholson, Courtney Totte singled to left. Hollowell struck out Tara Jeffery, but catcher Coburn threw a pickoff try into right to move Scott to third. Hollowell got Van Nortwick to fly to center for the final out.
Oklahoma (34-23) faces the Princeton-Lehigh winner in the late game Saturday. Arizona (41-10) moves to the championship round Sunday at 12 noon.
Oklahma State Sophmore Shanel Scott:
"We just have to build from this game. Deep down we know we can beat Arizonsa. It's just a mental thing. We know we can beat anybody and we hope to show that tonight."
Oklahoma State Head Coach Margaret Rebenar
"I thought it was a very well played game. Alicia Hollowell did a real nice job on our hitters. Jessica [Hoppock] gave a good performance as well, though. We put that rally together at the end, and hopefully we will see that same team tomorrow if we take care of our job tonight."
Arizona Junior Alicia Hollowell
"It didn't feel like we were on eggshells last year, but we are just not as tense this year. We aren't worrying about anything. We just want to keep playing."
Arizona Junior Shelly Shultz
"My swing is coming around at the right time. Everything is starting to come together for us at the right time. I'm just doing whatever I can."
Arizona Head Coach Mike Candrea
"This was our biggest game of the year. We have put ourselves in the position we need to be in and want to be in. I was pleased with Hollowell's effort. Our three, four, five hitters got some key hits. That is what they are supposed to do. Over all we are playing well, but it means nothing for tomorrow. We have to keep learning how to compete."
-- Courtesy University of Arizona