Cajuns Keep the Cats at Home

May 22, 2004

NCAA Region 1 Softball - Saturday, May 22, in Tucson

Game 13

Louisiana-Lafayette drubbed Arizona, 5-0, Saturday evening in Tucson, and kept the Wildcats at home.

Top-ranked Arizona (55-6) lost two games in a row for the first time since California bounced it from the Women's College World Series last May -- and this time Louisiana-Lafayette did the trick and ended the Cats' hopes of reaching the Series for a 17th consecutive season.

UL (59-7) played as spirited as Oklahoma had against the Cats, earlier in the day and it's the the fifth-seeded Ragin' Cajuns who will take on No. 2 seed Oklahoma on Arizona's home field in the NCAA Region 1 Championship game at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Two players were key for the Cajuns -- pitcher Brooke Mitchell and third baseman Danyele Gomez, but the whole team played a hand in extending the program's record season to 59 victories.

The Cajuns gave UA sophomore ace Alicia Hollowell her second loss of the day -- after losing only two all season -- and made it seem easy, blasting two home runs in the first two innings and seeming to make every at-bat count.

Meantime, Arizona, the overall No. 1 seed in the playoffs, managed only six hits off Mitchell (44-4), who they had beaten 4-0 Friday afternoon. Mitchell struck out seven, helped strand 11 Arizona base runners and, more emphatically, shut out the Cats at home for the first time this season and the first time since Oklahoma State pulled it off on Feb. 21, 2003.

Gomez socked two home runs, one early and one later, to punctuate Louisiana-Lafayette's attack.

The Cajuns one-upped OU, who collected eight hits and three runs off Hollowell, and tagged the 41-4 hurler for 10 hits, two under her career and season high of 12 against Stanford on May 2, a 2-1 SU victory.

UA loaded the bases in the first but came away scoreless. Allyson Von Liechtenstein chopped an infield single, Wendy Allen beat out a bunt single and Jackie Coburn drew a two-out walk. Freshman shortstop Kristie Fox fouled off six pitches from Mitchell before grounding to second.

Hollowell became only the third player in NCAA Division I history to reach 500 strikeouts in a season by setting down leadoff batter Holly Tankersly in the first, but gave up a home run to Gomez in the next at-bat as UL took a quick lead.

The Cats would have left another runner stranded in the second, but pinch-runner Candace Abrams was caught stealing on an attempted hit-and-run play that went awry.

In the bottom of the second, UL got a leadoff hit from Crystal George, a well-executed sacrifice by Joy Webre, a run-scoring single by pinch-hitter Desi Chatman and a two-run home run by Tankersley to make it 4-0.

The only early bright spot for Arizona was when freshman centerfielder Caitlin Lowe, the Pac-10 Newcomer of the Year gunned down Ashley Evans trying to score from second on a base hit to center by Lacey Bertucci in the bottom of the third -- with some help from catcher Mackenezie Vandergeest , who blocked the plate entirely and took a good shot from the sliding Evans. Hollowell struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

Jackie Coburn reached on an error and designated player Candace Abrams drew a base on balls to put two aboard with one out in the fourth, but Mitchell struck out Samantha Quintero and got Crystal Farley to pop out for the third inning.

Lowe led off the top of the fifth with a slap single, but Mitchell got Von Liechtenstein on a called third strike, luckily had Allen hit a line drive straight at rightfielder Tankersley. She walked Vandergeest, but got Coburn to hit a soft liner to second.

Fox doubled to lead off the UA sixth and Abrams drew a walk, but Mitchell got pinch-hitter Erin Palomarez to fly, struck out pinch-hitter Jen Martinez and got Lowe to fly out.

Hollowell struck out Gomez with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth to help UA avoid being run-ruled for the first time since No. 9 Cal State Fullerton whipped the Cats, 15-3, in Tucson on March 22, 2003.

Only Courtney Blades of Southern Miss with 663 in 2000 and Cat Osterman of Texas with 554 in 2002 have had more strikeouts in a season than Hollowell.

Arizona's string of World Series appearances ends at 16 -- the longest streak in WCWS history.

UL Coach Stefni Lotief - 'It is good to win. We expect to win games. Arizona is an awesome team and an awesome softball environment. We have a lot of respect for this Arizona team and their play. We will celebrate this win for about five or ten minutes and then come back tomorrow with our 'A' game.

UL Pitcher Brooke Mitchell - 'I had a lot of defense behind me. The team worked together today. We are ready to go for tomorrow.'

UL third baseman Danyele Gomez - 'We brought our game today. This was a very big game. Arizona is the least likely to lay down in a game.'

Arizona Coach Larry Ray - 'This is a let down. I give credit to Brooke Mitchell for shutting down an explosive offense. It breaks my heart to see the best team not play in Oklahoma City.'

'I've noticed people hit the ball hard against Hollowell when it is daylight. She has had more success in the evening games. Alicia was not at her best today, but I give credit to Louisiana-Lafayette.'


                              2004 NCAA Region 1 Softball                        Arizona Wildcats vs Louisiana-Lafayette                      May 22, 2004 at Tucson, Ariz. (Hillenbrand)

Arizona Wildcats 0 (55-6) Louisiana-Lafayette 5 (59-7)

Player AB R H BI Player AB R H BI --------------------------------------- --------------------------------------- Caitlin Lowe cf............ 4 0 1 0 Tankersley rf.............. 3 1 1 2 A. Von Liechtenstein rf.... 4 0 2 0 Gomez 3b................... 4 2 3 2 Wendy Allen 1b............. 4 0 2 0 Bryant 2b.................. 3 0 0 0 Mackenz. Vandergeest c..... 3 0 0 0 Evans 1b................... 3 0 2 0 Jackie Coburn 3b........... 3 0 0 0 Bertucci dh................ 3 0 1 0 Kristie Fox ss............. 3 0 1 0 Bergeaux pr............... 0 0 0 0 Shelly Schultz dh.......... 0 0 0 0 George lf.................. 3 1 1 0 Candace Abrams pr/dh...... 0 0 0 0 Webre c.................... 2 0 0 0 Samantha Quintero 2b....... 2 0 0 0 Guidry cf.................. 3 0 1 0 Erin Palomarez ph......... 1 0 0 0 Hebert ss.................. 1 1 0 0 Crystal Farley lf.......... 2 0 0 0 Chatman ph................ 1 0 1 1 Jennifer Martinez ph...... 1 0 0 0 Mitchell p................. 0 0 0 0 Alicia Hollowell p......... 0 0 0 0 Totals..................... 27 0 6 0 Totals..................... 26 5 10 5

Score by Innings R H E ----------------------------------------- Arizona Wildcats.... 000 000 0 - 0 6 0 Louisiana-Lafayette. 130 010 X - 5 10 1 -----------------------------------------

E - Evans. LOB - ARIZ 11; UL 6. 2B - Fox. HR - Tankersley; Gomez 2. HBP - Abrams. SH - Webre. CS - Abrams.

Arizona Wildcats IP H R ER BB SO WP BK HP IBB AB BF FO GO ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Alicia Hollowell L,41-5... 6.0 10 5 5 2 9 1 0 0 0 26 29 1 7

Louisiana-Lafayette IP H R ER BB SO WP BK HP IBB AB BF FO GO ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mitchell W,44-3........... 7.0 6 0 0 4 6 0 0 1 0 27 32 11 3

WP - Hollowell. HB - Mitchell.

Strikeouts - VonLiechten.; Vandergeest; Quintero 2; Farley; Martinez; Tankersley; Gomez; Bryant; Evans; Bertucci; George 2; Webre; Hebert. Walks - Vandergeest; Coburn; Schultz; Abrams; Tankersley; Hebert.

Umpires - HP: Tony Maddox 1B: Chad Stears 3B: Debbi Lauderback Start: 4:50 Time: 2:30 Attendance: 1561

Game notes: ID-263223 Game: AZ-ULL

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