Defensive Miscues Plague Cats in Loss

May 21, 2009

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PALO ALTO, Calif. -- A six-run fifth inning propelled eighth-seeded Stanford to a 6-4 Super Regional win over the nine-seed Wildcats Thursday evening, putting Arizona on the ropes in the best-of-three series.

The Cats committed two costly errors in the fifth frame, spotting Stanford two unearned runs. UA lost its third consecutive game at Stanford, after taking the only game against the Cardinal in Tucson.

Arizona - which dropped only its third game of the season when outhitting their opponent - now needs to win two in a row over the Cardinal on Friday to advance to the Women's College World Series.

Stanford's ace Missy Penna (35-6) scattered nine hits in the complete game. The Miami, Fla. native gave up three earned runs and two walks, but struck out seven.

Sarah Akamine (22-7) tossed five innings of six-hit ball, scattering half of her total in the fifth. The junior was touched up for four earned runs, issued one walk and struck out three. Lindsey Sisk saw her first action since May 3 at the same ballpark, pitching one inning.

Brittany Lastrapes hit yet another leadoff single to start Arizona's at-bats. K'Lee Arredondo reached on a bunt single off the glove of Cardinal third baseman Shannon Koplitz, but was out on a force play on Jenae Leles' fielder's choice. After a strikeout, Sam Banister walked to load the bases, and freshman Lini Koria came through with a bullet shot to left field that scored Lastrapes, but Leles was cut down at the plate to end the half with the Cats up, 1-0.

Alissa Haber's leadoff double put a runner in scoring position for Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Ashley Hansen, who sacrificed Haber to third. Koplitz made solid contact to short with a 3-1 pitch, but the alert Arredondo fired to Stacie Chambers at the plate who made the tag to keep the run off the board. Maddy Coon grounded out to Arredondo to end the inning.

Lastrapes reached again in the third when she was plunked with the 1-2 pitch. But a popup, groundout and strikeout left the sophomore stranded.

Melisa Koutz stepped to the plate with runners on first and second in the Stanford fourth. She grounded a high bouncer to Banister at first, but stopped and stepped backwards to avoid the tag. She was ruled out and the runners had to move back to their respective bases. Akamine struck out Rosey Neill, then forced Maya Burns into a fielder's choice to halt the threat.

UA's defense fell apart for the second time in three games in Palo Alto, giving up six runs on two errors in the Stanford fifth. Akamine picked up a grounder from Jenna Becerra, but her throw to first short-hopped Banister, allowing the speedy Becerra to reach second. Sarah Hassman singled to move Becerra to third, then Hassman stole second and Haber was intentionally walked. But the freshman Hansen put a hard grounder that rolled up the arm of Banister at first and into shallow right, plating Becerra and Hassman and giving the Cardinal a 2-1 lead. Koplitz then drilled a single into right, scoring Haber, then Coon smoked the first pitch she saw over the left centerfield fence for a three-run shot and a 6-1 Stanford lead.

The six runs were tied for the most given up in a single inning by Arizona; Arizona State scored six runs in a 10-8 Wildcat victory on April 10.

Arizona (44-15) loaded the bases with one out to start a rally in the sixth. Arredondo and Leles singled, and after an out, Banister walked. Koria then tallied her second RBI of the game on a single to left that scored Arredondo. Victoria Kemp shot a 2-2 pitch through the left side to cut the deficit in half, but Lauren Schutzler struck out, as did pinch hitter Kristen Arriola, to thwart the rally after UA had trimmed the Cardinal lead to 6-3.

Sisk came in to toss the Stanford (48-9) sixth, retiring three of the four batters she faced.

Lastrapes singled and Arredondo reached on a high-pop-fly error to lead off the seventh, but Leles popped up to second and Chambers grounded out before Banister singled up the middle to score Lastrapes. But Koria grounded out to short to end the game.

Up Next: Arizona takes on the Cardinal again at 5:30 p.m. on Friday. UA will be the designated home team and ESPN will televise the contest. Should the Cats win, Game 3 will be played at 8 p.m. with UA as the designated visitors. ESPN2 will carry the 'if necessary' game.

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