Cats Shoot Down Host Cardinals, 18-4

May 16, 2009

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Ninth-seeded Arizona scattered 17 hits off of the nation's winningest pitcher in a blowout win over host Louisville, 18-4 in five innings, in the UA's second game at the NCAA Softball Championship Regional Round on Saturday morning.

UL's ace Kristen Wadwell (41-9) came into the game with the most victories in the NCAA, but was touched up for 12 earned runs on 17 safeties. The junior from Sydney, Australia struck out five and walked one - with the bases loaded - in four innings pitched.

The 18 runs that crossed the plate were the most for any Wildcat squad during NCAA play, besting a previous record of 15 runs in a victory over Florida State in 1995.

Eight Cats registered a hit in the game, with six registering two or more.

Stacie Chambers had a monster day, adding two more to her nation-leading home run total and knocking in half of UA's runs. The only other Wildcats in history to tally a nine or more ribbies in a contest were Laura Espinoza's nine-ribbie game against Stanford in 1995, Jennie Finch's nine-RBI output against Oregon in 2001 and Jackie Coburn's 11 runs knocked in against Stanford in 2003 - which tied an NCAA record.

Chambers' output was the highest in recent history for the Cats: Brittany Lastrapes tallied eight RBI earlier this season against Saint Joseph's, which was the most since current pitcher Sarah Akamine hit two grand slams against Louisiana-Lafayette in 2007.

The junior Chambers still sits atop the national standings with 31 home runs and 96 RBI. She is now second on the UA single-season home runs list, behind Espinoza's 37 in 1995. Only four Cats in history have tallied more single-season RBI than Chambers' current total, and she is tied with Leticia Pineda for fifth on the list.

Arizona (43-14) now has 130 jacks on the season.

The Cardinals (48-10) scored an unearned run in the first off of two Chambers gaffes behind the plate. The Glendale, Ariz. native coughed up a two-out strikeout pitch that allowed Kristi Cunningham to reach first safely and moved Chelsea Bemis into scoring position. Kassie Stanfill singled into center and Lauren Schutzler's throw to the plate was right on target, but Chambers misapplied the tag allowing Bemis to score unearned.

But UA picked up two of their own in the bottom half. Top three hitters Brittany Lastrapes, K'Lee Arredondo and Jenae Leles singled, and Chambers plated Lastrapes with a sacrifice fly to center. An out later, Lini Koria muscled a single up the middle, scoring Arredondo and giving the Cats a 2-1 lead.

UL tied the game in the next frame. Nine-hole hitter Vanessa James singled with two outs, and Big East player of the year Melissa Roth doubled her home.

Arizona tacked on four unearned runs in their half. Schutzler singled, then Karissa Buchanan reached on a fielder's choice where Schutzler safely advanced to second thanks to an error. Lastrapes singled to bring in her classmate Schutzler and after two quick outs, Chambers smoked her first home run of the day - a towering blast that stayed just inside the right field foul pole.

The Cats blew the game open in the third. After Koria flew out and Victoria Kemp reached on a bad throw to first, the next five UA batters scattered singles, bringing home three runs. Then Chambers - with the bases juiced - unloaded onto the jogging path beyond the right field fence for her fifth grand slam of the season, widening the margin to 13-2 after three complete.

Louisville's Roth doubled home her second run of the game in the UL fourth, making the score 13-3 UA.

But Arizona responded with five more runs, including a grand slam by Sam Banister - after a four-pitch walk to Chambers that scored a run. It was the 15th homer of the season for the senior Banister, who has made a name for herself following up walks to her predecessor with home runs.

Akamine (21-6) allowed a final run - unearned - in the UL fifth.

The junior hurler gave up two earned runs on nine hits in tossing her eighth complete game of the campaign. She struck out six and issued one walk.

Note: Arizona was the designated home team for the contest, as was determined by a coin toss the night earlier.

Up Next: Arizona will play the winner of Saturday night's game in the Regional championship on Sunday at 2 p.m. (11 a.m. Tucson time). The Cats only need one win once in two scheduled games to advance to the Super Regionals.

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