Arizona Softball - Women's College World Series - Thursday, May 23
May 23, 2002
OKLAHOMA CITY--No. 2 Arizona and No. 7 Nebraska each managed only threehits, but one of Arizona's was a home run by Leneah Manuma and it proved tobe the edge in a 1-0 first-round Women's College World Series victory overthe Cornhuskers, 1-0, Thursday night.
UA's Jennie Finch , who was named a first-team All-American for the thirdconsecutive year Wednesday night, struck out nine and pitched out of acouple of jams to earn her 20th shutout of the year and improve to 32-5.
The Cats, 53-11 overall, will meet in-state rival Arizona State in WCWSwinner's bracket Game 6 at 6:30 p.m. Friday. The Sun Devils beat Michigan2-1 in an earlier game to set up the match between fellow Pac-10 schools.
Finch struck out the side in the first but gave up a hit to James in thesecond. James set down the first six Arizona hitters in order beforeArizona put a runner aboard.
Jenny Gladding walked to open the Arizona thirdirst base runner, thenJames hit Meaghan Finnerty with a pitch to move pinch-runner Crystal Farleyinto scoring position. But James struck out Lisha Ribellia, Lovie Jung andCourtney Fossatti to end the threat.
Nebraska put together its first threat with its second hit in the fourth.Finch walked Amanda Buchholz and gave up a single to Nicole Tromboli, thenAmber Burgess moved both runners up with a sacrifice bunt. But Finch struckout James and got Leigh Suhr to pop out to second base.
One staple of Arizona's 2002 season gave the Wildcats the first hit offJames in the fourth -- and gave UA the lead for good. With one out, leftyManuma slugged a towering home run to right field for the only scoring ofthe game. It was Arizona's nation-best 91st home run of the season andManuma's 21st, also best in Division I.
Arizona's bid for an insurance run came up short in the sixth. Fossattisingled to lead off the Wildcats sixth, then moved to second on a sacrificebunt by Finch. But James intentionally walked Manuma, struck out MackenzieVandergeest and got Jackie Coburn to foul out to first base to end the inning.
Burgess led off the Cornhusker seventh with a hard single off thirdbaseman Coburn's glove, but Finch got James to foul out on a bunt attemptand UA shortstop Jung forced the runner at second on Leigh Suhr's groundball for the second out. Suhr stole second but Finch struck out Lawrick toend the game.
Finch improved her three-year College World Series pitching record to 5-1,plus lowered her earned run average in the classic to 1.78 in the sixstarts and 39 and one-third innings pitched. She has 42 strikeouts.Manuma's home run was her first in 10 at-bats at the Series including lastyear's four UA games.
Nebraska was shut out for only the fourth time this season. The Huskerswill face Michigan at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Game 8 of the series.