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Tucson softball regional game blog: Arizona wins in six innings; Super Regional next vs. Oklahoma

Arizona finishes off Texas Tech, winning 10-2 in six innings to win the Tucson regional and advance to next week’s Super Regional at Hillenbrand Stadium.

The Wildcats will play Oklahoma, which defeated Tulsa on Sunday afternoon in the Norman, Okla., regional.

The teams will meet Friday at 8:30 p.m. (ESPNU). They will play Saturday at 2 p.m. and, if necessary at 4:30 p.m. (ESPN).

Since the NCAA went to the regional/super regional format in 2005, the Wildcats have gone 21-0 in regional play.

Kenzie Fowler (26-7) gets the win for Arizona, allowing five hits.

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Arizona gets within run-rule range by putting up four runs in the top of the sixth. The big hit comes on a two-run homer by first baseman Baillie Kirker, who recently was dropped to ninth in the order and entered the game hitting .184. The home run was her fourth of the season, and her first since March 27.

The Wildcats lead 10-1 going into the bottom of the sixth. If they lead by at least eight after the bottom of the inning, Arizona wins by mercy rule.

The Cats have 10 hits and have walked 10 times.

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Kenzie Fowler’s streak of 16 1/3 scoreless innings in regional play comes to end as Raven Richardson hits a long run to centerfield. Texas Tech gets to 6-1 in the bottom of the fourth.

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The Arizona offense keeps delivering, even if it is in quiet ways. The Wildcats score twice more in the top of the fourth on a bases loaded hit by pitch (Lini Koria was grazed on the thigh by an inside pitch on an 0-2 count) and Kristen Arriola followed with a walk to drive in the other run.

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Scary moment for Arizona as Texas Tech’s Logan Hall hits a deep drive to left field with a runner on first. Brittany Lastrapes goes back to make a super jumping catch, hitting the pads on the wall before firing the ball back to the infield.

She then stays on the ground, apparently hurt. The trainer and coach Mike Candrea come out to observe, and after a couple of minutes, Lastrapes pops back up and stays in the game.

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Arizona extends the lead to 4-0 in the top of the third inning.

Brigette Del Ponte led off with a double off the glove of the third baseman, as the hard-hit trickled into foul territory past the bag. Stacie Chambers walked, and Lini Koria followed with a double down the left-field line.

After an out, Karissa Buchanan put down a hit right in front of the plate, with Texas Tech having no play anywhere as pinch-runner Jordy Clifton scored from third.

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Kenzie Fowler retires the side in order in the bottom of the second (see two notes below).

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Arizona grabs the lead in the top of the second on a solo home run by Lini Koria, her 15th of the season. Arizona adds another run as a bases-loaded walk by Brittany Lastrapes drives in a run.

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New day, same story. Arizona’s Kenzie Fowler allows two hits in the bottom of the first, but works out of trouble by getting Raven Richardson to fly out to center field with runners on second and third. In 14 regional innings, she has had only one inning in which she retired the side in order.

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Another lovely, albeit slightly warm day, at Hillenbrand Stadium on the final day of an NCAA softball regional. Arizona will take on Texas Tech at noon in the double-elimination tournament.

The Wildcats are 2-0 in the regional, and would get another game, to immediately follow, if they lost to the Red Raiders.

If Arizona wins, it would play host to a best-of-three NCAA Super Regional starting next Friday, likely against Oklahoma, which is the No. 9 overall seed in the tournament. The Cats are seeded eighth.

Arizona coach Mike Candrea is staying with sophomore ace Kenzie Fowler, who has pitched shutouts against Harvard and New Mexico State in the NCAA regional. She is 25-7 with a 1.63 ERA. Candrea also is staying with freshman Alex Lavine at shortstop; she started Saturday; freshman Ashlee Brawley started late in the season and also the NCAA regional opener.

Texas Tech is starting pitcher Kelsey Dennis (13-5, 2.84 ERA). Arizona is the visiting team.

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