Arizona Advances to Winner's Bracket with 7-0 Win
TUCSON, Ariz. -- Ninth-ranked Arizona defeated UMBC, 7-0, in its first game of the Tucson Regional to advance to tomorrow's winner's bracket at 2 p.m. MST.
Both top seeds advanced on Friday, with Ole Miss defeating Villanova, 5-1 in the early game before the UA got a one-hit shutout from Hanah Bowen in the nightcap in Arizona's 7-0 win. Now, the Wildcats and Rebels will meet in the winner's bracket tomorrow at 2 p.m. MST. The winner of that game will move on to Sunday's regional final.
Arizona hit two home runs on Friday, with Jessie Harper blasting career homer No. 90, moving into a tie for third in NCAA history. Sharlize Palacios also homered and drove in four in the game.
Game 2: Arizona 7, UMBC 0
Arizona junior Hanah Bowen tossed a one-hit shutout and the Wildcats took advantage of five UMBC errors to go with some long ball and beat the Retrievers, 7-0, in both teams' first-round action in the NCAA Softball Championships here at Hillenbrand Stadium Saturday evening.
Bowen walked two and struck out four to improve to 9-3.
Bowen got in a jam in the first after giving up a hit to Maddie Daigneau and walking Julia Keffler. She got a popout, then they both moved into scoring position on a passed ball. But Bowen got two easy ground balls to end the threat.
Retrievers ace Courney Coppersmith (19-3) got into a bigger jam in the bottom of the first, with infielders mishandling short-game balls by Janelle Meono and Reyna Carranco, and Jessie Harper drawing a walk to load the bases with no outs.
But Coppersmith retired three hitters who had combined for 131 RBI – striking out Dejah Mulipola, getting a foul out from Sharlize Palacios and a deep fly ball from Alyssa Palomino-Cardoza.
Harper blasted her 90th career home run, and 14th of the year, after a Meono single in the UA third to make it 2-0. In the fourth the Cats picked up an unearned run to make it 3-0 when Peanut Martinez singled through the right side and a couple of throwing errors on a subsequent single by Meono allowed her to score from first.
Arizona (37-13) added some insurance in the fifth on a dropped fly off a ball hit by Dejah Mulipola and a two-run home run by freshman Palacios, her 16th of the season.
The earned runs off Coppersmith, who was third nationally with a 0.65 earned run average, were only the 14th, 15th and 16th of the season off the junior in 23 appearances.
Reliever Gillian McCarthy took over in the sixth and after a walk and a single, Palacios hit a chopper that the third baseman couldn't quite get to, and drove in Meono and Harper for a two-run single to make it 7-0.
UMBC dropped to 25-12 and will face Villanova in an elimination game at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Arizona and Ole Miss meet in the winner's bracket at 2 p.m.
Harper' 90 home runs move her to within five of the NCAA career record 95 by Oklahoma's Lauren Chamberlain. She's two shy of UA's record of 92 by Katiyana Mauga.
Game 1: Ole Miss 5, Villanova 1
The Ole Miss Rebels snapped Villanova's four-game winning streak and stayed in the winner's bracket with a 5-1 victory over the Wildcats in the opening game of the NCAA Softball Championships here at Hillenbrand Stadium Friday afternoon.
Anna Borgen (12-7) earned the victory, giving up just three hits in six innings pitched, all of those in the Wildcats' third.
Ole Miss (35-20) had two runners aboard with one out in the first after a two-base hit by Autumn Gillespie and a walk to Abby Latham, but Villanova's Paige Rauch (20-4) got an infield popup and a grounder to strand the pair.
The Rebels got a runner to third in the second after an infield single by Blaise Biringer, a sac bunt and wild pitch, but Rauch got another ground ball to end that threat.
Villanova put the first run on the board in the top of the third. Infield singles by Sydney Hayes and Dani Babroski were followed by an RBI single from Rauch, the Wildcats' leadoff hitter.
Ole Miss tied it quickly in the bottom of the frame with a single by Gillespie and an RBI double by Latham, although Latham was picked off after rounding second on the play.
In the fourth the Rebels had four hits and scored three times with two outs. Biringer singled with one out, Rauch walked Mikayla Allee after a second out and then Tate Whitley loaded the bases with a bunt single. Paige Smith socked a two-run single to left and Gillespie drove in the third run with a single up the middle.
Villanova tacked on a run without a hit in the fifth. Sydney Gutierrez drew a walk off relief pitcher Anissa Amarillas, Jessice Puk was hit by a pitch, a fielder's choice moved pinch runner Kelsha Loftin to third and she scored on a passed ball.
Villanova (36-14) will play the loser of the Arizona-UMBC game that follows in a game Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Ole Miss plays the winner of the second game at 2 p.m. Saturday.