Feature: Arizona Reaches Women's College World Series Again
May 30, 2007
By Ari Wasserman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
May 30, 2007
Tucson, AZ (CSTV U-WIRE) -- 2004. That's the only season in the past 20 years the Arizona softball team had not qualified for the Women's College World Series.
The No. 1-seeded Wildcats (44-12-1) will make the trip to Oklahoma City once again this year to compete in the WCWS after squeezing past Cal State Fullerton 2-1 to win the Tucson Super Regional Sunday in front of 2,045 at Hillenbrand Stadium.
'I am very proud of this team,' Arizona head coach Mike Candrea said. 'The big thing this weekend that sticks out to me was we got contributions from top to bottom. That is a good sign for us heading into the College World Series.'
After suffering an injury to her face Saturday night by slamming into the center field wall, three-time All-American center fielder Caitlin Lowe returned to the Wildcats' lineup.
It is still unsure whether Lowe's nose is actually broken, but she wore a protective mask in the contest.
'I definitely didn't think (the ball) was as close to the fence as it was, but it was a must-catch situation, and I went after it,' Lowe said of her accident. '(The mask) is hard to see through the plastic part, but other then that it is good.'
'I am ready to go to Oklahoma and we are ready to take care of business,' Lowe added.
Although Lowe went 0-for-2 at the plate, Candrea said her presence in the lineup was a major boost for his ballclub.
'It was good to have Caitlin back (Sunday),' Candrea said. 'I thought that was just an emotional boost for out team. You should have seen (the team) when we announced she could play. It was fabulous. It was like you had a long lost sister that you hadn't seen in 10 years.'
Arizona took a different approach toward their victory Sunday, choosing to lean on strong pitching and solid defense rather than the explosive offense display they put on Saturday night. After scoring 11 runs in Game 1 Saturday, the Wildcats proved they could get it done with only two runs on the board Sunday.
Fullerton ace Candice Baker (21-14) allowed only four Arizona hits and two runs in her last career start.
Arizona's only runs were scored off an Adrienne Acton RBI single to right center field in the top of the third inning, breaking the scoreless tie and putting the fate of the team in the arm of Arizona starting pitcher Taryne Mowatt (36-10).
After struggling in parts of Saturday's game, Mowatt returned to her usual form Sunday against Fullerton (38-23). The Corona, Calif., native allowed only one run while yielding just three hits in her fifth consecutive postseason complete-game victory.
'(Saturday) they had their hits fall in, and (Sunday) they didn't have that luck,' said Mowatt, who boasts a 1.65 ERA. 'Defensively we played solid. ... I am not getting as many strikeouts, so I rely on my defense, and I think they played almost flawlessly.'
The Wildcats will meet a very familiar Baylor team on Thursday in their first WCWS game. The Wildcats met No. 8-seeded Baylor March 9-11, beating them only once in the three-game series in Waco, Texas.
'Now is when the fun begins, or the stress begins, however you want to look at it,' Candrea said. 'Baylor is a very, very worthy team. They have played very well all year.'
(C) 2007 Arizona Daily Wildcat via CSTV U-WIRE