Feature: Mowatt Filling Hollowell's Shoes

June 6, 2007

By Ari Wasserman
Arizona Daily Wildcat

June 6, 2007

Tucson, AZ (CSTV U-WIRE) -- OKLAHOMA CITY - When former Wildcat ace Jennie Finch left Arizona in 2002, it may have seemed that a player of her caliber would never be penciled in on head coach Mike Candrea's lineup card again.

But her eventual replacement could be found on that very same lineup card in Alicia Hollowell. The very next year, Hollowell eclipsed Finch's single-season strikeout record of 366 - fanning 394 batters - while posting a 40-5 record and a 0.94 ERA in her freshman year.

Three years later, Hollowell led the Wildcats to the 2006 Women's College World Series crown while being named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

Many believed that Hollowell's dominance would never be duplicated.

Enter junior Taryne Mowatt.

The Corona, Calif., native already has a WCWS championship under her belt, but now she is out to win one on her own as the lead actress of the play, the ace of Arizona's staff.

'I don't really look (at replacing Hollowell) as pressure,' Mowatt said last night. 'I have always been a pitcher, and pitching has always been my job. I am just glad the team is relying on me.'

Although Mowatt won 21 games in 2006 - giving Hollowell precious days of rest Mowatt herself rarely saw this season - she entered this season with the team leaning on her shoulder, or rather, her arm.

Last season Mowatt pitched 163 2/3 innings, allowing Hollowell's to pitch 279 innings. In this year's campaign, Mowatt has pitched 363 innings through last night, getting very little rest except for when freshman pitcher Sarah Akamine got some occasional action, making 15 appearances (12 starts) over 70 2/3 innings.

The junior All-American has pitched 53 innings and 6 games over the past seven days, totaling 888 pitches, while allowing no more than three runs in a game, as Tennessee scored three in the opening game of the WCWS championship series.

Now the Wildcats find themselves heading to the final game of the WCWS after Mowatt pitched a 10-inning shutout against Tennessee to put Arizona in the position to capture its eighth national championship.

'I really like having the team relying on me,' Mowatt said. 'This year they are relying on my arm, and I am glad I can contribute in any way possible. If we are going to be in the championship game, I am glad I had something to do with it.'

Following Arizona's seventh national championship behind Hollowell last summer, there was much skepticism on whether Mowatt would be able to do what was needed in the circle to get the Wildcats back to Oklahoma City.

But the critics started to disappear, and doubters gradually turned into believers once Mowatt started pitching early in the spring. Signs in the stands at Hillenbrand Stadium read, 'Taryne it up' and '# 9 on the scoreboard but #1 in our hearts.'

Hollowell said taking over for Finch was no easy task, as there were further pressures by others to perform, but added that it was her job to take care of business just as Mowatt is doing now.

'Everyone is going to have pressure, so all you can do is go out and continue to play,' Hollowell said after Arizona's loss to the Big Orange on Monday. 'I think (Mowatt) is doing an outstanding job. She has come in and definitely showed that she can be successful.'

It all comes down to this game, and regardless of the outcome, it is known that Mowatt has filled the shoes of past Arizona greats, leaving the door open for greatness once again next year.

(C) 2007 Arizona Daily Wildcat via CSTV U-WIRE

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