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Tucson softball regional: Arizona slams Harvard; Chambers sets home run record

Lini Koria hits a grand slam with two outs in the sixth inning to give Arizona a 10-0 mercy-rule victory over Harvard in the opening round of an NCAA regional at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The Cats will play New Mexico State at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the double-elimination regional. Harvard plays Texas Tech at approximately 4:30 p.m.

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Arizona senior catcher Stacie Chambers crushes a pitch off the scoreboard beyond the right field fence to give Arizona a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the fifth and set the Wildcats’ career home run record.

That is No. 86 for Chambers, breaking the tie with Laura Espinoza and Leah Braatz.

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Oklahoma, which would be Arizona’s opponent in next week’s Super Regional if the seeding holds on both , defeated Iona 7-1 in an opening-round game today.

The Sooners’ star pitcher, Keilani Ricketts, struck out 19 in a three-hitter.

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Arizona’s best-case scenario is a run-rule victory that would keep Kenzie Fowler from running up too many innings. The Cats are on their way, picking up another run in the bottom of the third to take a 5-0 lead.

Lini Koria drove in the run with a double to the wall in center field that brought home Brigette Del Ponte, who led off the inning with a single.

The Wildcats could have done much more damage, but Baillie Kirker got slightly under a pitch with the bases loaded, hitting a high fly ball to left field to end the inning.

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UCLA, Oregon, Arizona State, Washington and Cal have won in regional action today. (Washington, whose regional began Thursday is 2-0).

Arizona and Stanford are winning right now, which would keep the Pac-10 perfect so far.

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Arizona does what it should do — pounce on Harvard pitcher Rachel Brown in the bottom of the first inning. The Crimson isn’t used to facing a lineup like this.

Lauren Schutzler reached on an infield single with one out and went to second on a single by Brigette Del Ponte. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch.

Stacie Chambers drove in Schutzler with a ground out, and then Kristen Arriola delivered a two-run double with a liner just inside the left-field line. Karissa Buchanan made it 4-0 when she poked a single into second to drive in Arriola.

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It’s a great escape for Arizona and pitcher Kenzie Fowler in the top of the first inning. Harvard loaded the bases with no outs on a walk, an error by shortstop Ashlee Brawley and a single to left by Kasey Lange.

Fowler then struck out Whitney Shaw looking, struck out Allison Scott looking and got Ashley Heritage to bounce out to second base.

No harm done.

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It’s a full house at Hillenbrand for tonight’s game, with a standing-room crowd beyond the bullpens down both lines. Arizona will be adding to its NCAA record for season attendance.

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We’re at Hillenbrand Stadium, where the Arizona-Harvard game will begin on time at 6:30 p.m. In the first game, New Mexico State no-hit Texas Tech in a 9-0 five-inning victory.

Check back during the game for updates and observations …

Here is Arizona’s lineup:

LF Brittany Lastrapes
CF Lauren Schutzler
3B Brigette Del Ponte
C Stacie Chambers
DP Lini Koria
2B Kristen Arriola
RF Karissa Buchanan
SS Ashley Brawley
1B Baillie Kirker

P Kenzie Fowler

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