No. 8 Softball Drops To No. 1 Arizona, 21-17, In Slugfest

May 10, 2003

TUCSON, Ariz. - The eighth-ranked Washington softball team (42-14-1, 9-12 Pac-10) lost a 21-17 slugfest to No. 1-ranked Arizona (50-5, 19-2) this evening for a split of the doubleheader. The Huskies won the opener 7-1.

Washington had six players take their chances on the mound, including four players that have never pitched in college in an attempt to spare its aces for the NCAA Regional Tournament next week. Arizona did the same, starting the game with their third-string hurler and finishing with a player who was not listed on the Wildcat roster as a pitcher.

UW jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning with a two-run home run by Jaime Clark over the centerfield fence. The homer was the 14th for Clark this season and her second of the day. The smack drove in Amanda Oleson who had reached base on a single to right-centerfield.

The Wildcats responded in the bottom half of the inning, taking the 3-2 lead, taking advantage of four walks by hurler Ashley Boek and a two-run double by Jackie Coburn.

The Arizona lead was short-lived, however, as Washington scored five runs in the second frame to go up, 7-2. Aimee Minor started the rally with a double to left field. Oleson and Rita Roach followed with back-to-back high-hop singles to the left side that scored Minor. Clark then laced a ball up the middle to plate Oleson before Kristen Rivera belted her 20th home run of the season, a line drive over the left field wall, to bring in three more runs.

UA chipped at Washington's lead in the bottom of the second, scoring two runs on three hits. After back-to-back singles by Allyson Von Liechenstein and Courtney Fossatti and a walk to Lovieanne Jung, Jackie Coburn hit a two-RBI single into left field. Washington brought in Tia Bollinger to replace Boek in the circle and the Huskies got out of the inning with two pop-ups, including a sliding catch by Clark on her knees in front of the Arizona dugout for out number three.

In the third inning, the Huskies put Oleson on the rubber for her first collegiate pitching appearance and gave Boek and Bollinger the rest of the night off. After two leadoff singles, Oleson settled in to sit the next three batters down in order and notched her first strikeout versus Mackenzie Vandergeest.

UW padded its lead in the fourth with three runs to take the 10-5 advantage. Rivera kicked off the rally with a double into the left field corner and Kathy Fiske followed with a single up the middle. An error by Jung at shortstop allowed Rivera to score and a triple by Minor to right center scored two more.

Arizona broke the game wide open in the fourth, scoring nine runs on five hits and two errors to take the 14-10 lead. A three-run home run by Coburn highlighted the inning for the Wildcats. Minor came in to relieve Oleson in the circle and got UA to ground out and lineout to Oleson at second base to end the inning.

The Dawgs battled back in the fifth with six runs on seven hits to tie the game at 16-16. Rivera hit her second home run of the game and 21st of the season, a three-run shot that cleared the centerfield bleachers. Dena Tyson kept the momentum alive with a double down the right line and scored on a double by Minor. Amy Hanson then drove home two more runs with a single to left.

The Wildcats regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a solo home run by Erin Palomerez off reliever Traci Tawney to give UA the 17-16 edge.

Washington came back in the top of the seventh to knot the score at 17-17 with an RBI single by Hyatt that scored Fiske. Fiske had reached base on a leadoff double to left field.

Arizona hit the game-winner in the bottom of the seventh with a grand slam off of Tyson who faced just two batters.

Tawney takes the loss for Washington as she gave up three runs over 1.1 innings. Shelly Schultz earned the win as she gave up four hits over 2.1 innings with one strikeout.

Washington now await Sunday's announcement of the at-large teams, top eight national seeds and first round regional pairings. The announcement will air live on ESPNNEWS at 7 p.m. (PST). Washington has participated in the last nine NCAA tournaments, advancing to the College World Series five times and coming in national runners-up, twice with an overall record of 37-16.

NOTE: Washington's game versus Arizona State played on Friday, May 9 will be aired on FOX Sports Net at 11 a.m. on Sunday, May 11.

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