Arizona routs Tennessee to stave off elimination at Seriesby Anthony Gimino on Jun. 06, 2010, under Sports
Arizona is one victory away from the championship series of the Women’s College World Series, beating Tennessee 8-0 in five innings Sunday in the best possible fashion.
Not only did the Wildcats’ grab momentum, their middle-of-the-order batters started hitting … and pitching ace Kenzie Fowler only had to pitch four innings, guarding against fatigue. And, oh yeah, she wasn’t called for any illegal pitches.
Arizona’s victory means the teams play again Sunday (4 p.m. Tucson time). The winner plays UCLA on the best-of-three championship series that begins Monday night.
The Vols had defeated Arizona 9-0 in five innings in a first-round game, when Fowler was called for eight illegal pitches. The UA has rebounded to win three games in the losers’ bracket.
This time, Fowler didn’t allow any hits in four innings, but she had to work out of trouble in the bottom of the second inning.
She walked the first two batters before getting a force out at third base. Another walk loaded the bases. Then, Tennessee’s Nicole Kajitani hit a pop-up near home plate. The home-plate umpire called the infield fly rule, which means the batter is out and runners can advance at their own risk.
When first baseman Baillie Kirker bobbled the ball trying to make a running catch, the runner on second, Lauren Gibson, tried to advance to third amid the confusion and was eventually tagged out to end the threat.
The Wildcats took a 3-0 lead in the third inning. Karissa Buchanan and Brittany Lastrapes opened the inning with singles, and Arizona eventually loaded the bases with two outs. Tennessee pitcher Ivy Renfroe hit Brigette Del Ponte with an 0-2 pitch to bring in the first run.
Lini Koria followed with an RBI single, chasing Renfroe from the game. With the bases still loaded, relief pitcher Cat Hosfield walked Kristen Arriola on four pitches to make it 3-0.
Arizona scored five runs in the fifth, helped by three walks, one intentional. Buchanan had a big hit with two outs and the bases loaded, lashing an opposite-field single to left to drive in two runs. Lastrapes singled to right to drive in two more runs before the Vols intentionally walked K’Lee Arredondo to load the bases.
Stacie Chambers scratched out an infield hit to shortstop to make it 8-0, which was huge, considering it set up the mercy-rule victory.
Senior pitcher Sarah Akamine entered in relief of Fowler in the bottom of the fifth. Although she allowed two hits — breaking up the combined no-hitter — she didn’t allow any runs to shut the door on the Vols.